Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 2:14pm Subject: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
So I go to do my cooling flush this morning only to get a very loud vibrating noise. Immediately thought it was the cups on the cup warmer, but alas they were not the cause. The vibration sounds kind of similar to cups vibrating on the metal, or the drip tray not sitting exactly right, more metallic though not quite the same.
It still functions the same, normal pressure report on the pump gauge and the coffee tastes fine, but with the hood popped, it was measuring at 62db on my phone's noise meter. Second thought was maybe something inside was either loose or touching something else, but visually I could not spot anything out of the norm. There was no difference tilting the machine around to see if something had fallen loose completely. It's so freaking loud I cant tell where the noise is coming from, I can only suspect it's the rotary pump sitting underneath the boiler.
Third thought was maybe something went wrong with my inline plumbing. Checked out the pressure regulator (some heavy duty 25-75psi regulator that I keep at minimum pressure with fine tuning done on the rocket's regulator to ensure I'm at my desired ~9 bars), nothing seems out of the ordinary there. If there was too much pressure, the gauge would report it anyways, and if there was too little pressure it would make a metallic vibrating noise from the pump. I cant produce that underpressure noise with this regulator since it doesn't go below 25psi, but I tried reducing the water flow to the cold line to a trickle, and reproduced the underpressure noise from the pump, which was definitely a completely separate noise from the current rattling sound. I don't believe there is a problem with the water line.
Did some googling to see if I can find an espresso tech locally, but couldn't get ahold of anyone (dammit christmas, you've interfered with my life for the 3rd time now), and with the weekend approaching only a day or two later, I guess I'll hold off until Monday before trying to see if I can get real technician of some kind, and if not I guess I'll have to get it shipped somewhere like SCG's service center where I bought the machine (well past warranty period). In the meantime, this buys me some time to investigate further myself.
Any ideas on what could be going on? My guess is something is up with the pump and may need replacing. I do not intend to go in and start disassembling the machine, and I have a physical condition preventing me from lifting >5lbs (doctor's orders, etc), so I just don't have it in me to do much more than popping the hood and poking around.
Recorded a short video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_N1NQUpMMc ), and while it doesn't do the noise justice to what it sounds like in person, it's distinct enough to hear. Something of a metallic rattling ontop of the normal pump noise. Don't mind the paper towel, put that in there years ago to prevent direct metal to metal contact causing unnecessary vibration against the back wall. All I can say for now is it's not the outer casing that's rattling nor the drip tray.
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you're on the edge of freaking out? Yea... and worse, bad thoughts brewing in my head... I've been wanting to upgrade to a machine like the R58 or Duetto 3 for a some time.... dammit lol
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 4:46pm Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
Use a 1/4" or 3/8" wood dowel a couple of feet long and push on things to try to isolate the noise. You can also put one end in your ear and use it like a contact stethoscope. The sound on the video reminded me of bead bearings in a rotary pump/motor.
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 6:52pm Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
Been poking around with the back end of a long plastic spoon I use for cooking, though too short to get my ear on their while contacting the pump. When I'm in closer, it does seem almost like a spinning rattling from inside the motor than something lose anywhere around it. Something gone wrong with the ball bearings is plausible.
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 11:50pm Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
If it is a rotary pump, then that would be the first place I would look. I am sorry about the present infirmity that disallows you to work on the machine. I think that if you can get someone to do it for you, try removing the pump from the motor. Once that is done it should be fairly easy to tell if is the motor or the pump or both. What sometimes happens is that the rear seal of the pump fails and water gets into the motor.
Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 11:06am Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
I'll definitely be looking to get it serviced professionally, not comfortable enough with the amount of work and dis-assembly that would be required to get to that pump. Local tech company never contacted me back as to whether or not they can work on a prosumer machine. Whether I find someone local or end up shipping it to SCG's center (assuming I can pay out of pocket, since it's past warranty) it needs to be done. Perhaps a good time to have a pro check the whole thing out, replace any gaskets and whatnot.
In the meantime, I'm grinding in a $1600 dollar espresso grinder and brewing in a $3 plastic melitta pourover I have lying around. Feels so wrong, but damn fine cup of coffee.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,312 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Mon Dec 30, 2013, 7:21am Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
I don't see anything wrong with the grinder/brewer situation, enjoy the coffee!
Look around in your town, check with coffee shops to find out who services their equipment, I am sure you can keep your repairs local. The insides of your machine use pretty much off the shelf parts so there should not be an issue.
In real life, my name is Wayne P. Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Posted Wed Jan 1, 2014, 1:24am Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
I contacted my local coffee roaster who I buy my raw coffee from, great guy, who didn't think anyone local was particularly good so I decided to have it sent to SCG for service. Rather just have it done right the first time, by people that work on this specific line of machines, than risk adding to my frustrations. I'll report back later with what the reported problem was, incase it might help someone else in the future pulling this thread up through a google search or whatnot.
Posted Sun Jan 12, 2014, 2:06pm Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
So what I know so far, the pump needs to be replaced and a couple small gaskets. Tech said something about when trying to turn it by hand, there was more resistance than normal, and also that there was a gasket or two hissing somewhere in the pipeline. Got maybe another 2 weeks of waiting before they get the new part in, hopefully the motor itself is fine or that could be another 2-3 weeks wait and more money. So far it's going to cost me a little under $500, including shipping back (excluding what I paid to ship it there).
Considering that baby is my lifeblood, I feel my health insurance should be covering it dammit!
Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 3:40am Subject: Re: My rocket is suddenly making a very loud vibrating noise
Heh, I pick my location of residence based on internet speeds & providers. There are supplements to espresso, there's no workarounds for crap internet.
So an update, I should be getting my machine back Monday. But things are a bit of a train wreck. Lets see if my ADD lets me organize this.
First off, the pump was bad, and they had to order a replacement from Italy that was supposed to take a few weeks. It hadn't arrived even the week after the ETA date, but the tech got in another rocket that came back due to a drip tray getting damaged on shipping and offered the pump from that machine at half the cost. I authorized it.
Next call I get, more bad news. They replaced the pump, but it was still noisy. They check out the motor and there was water damage, what may have happened was a uncommon scenario of the pump failure causing water to leak into the motor. They offered the spare motor they had for half the cost of a new one, I authorize it. With these two problems, it comes out to same price as the original quote basically.
Next call I get, more bad news. Told the machine is running quiet, quieter than some of their others now, great! But he pointed out some issue(s) with the pressure stat that I cant remember, but some misbehaving going on, and if he sent it back to me, it would likely not take too long for it to fail resulting in the machine ending back in the shop again. Doh, I thought paying more for a machine using a sirai pressure stat was going to make it last much longer than that before issues, although it's been... over 3 years (at least) running 24/7 so maybe that already is 'much longer'. The pressure stat was always something of concern to me, so there's no way in hell I wouldn't want it replaced if there's any sign of it going bad. Bad news is, the replacement is on a boat from Italy and not expected to arrive until late Feb. Well !@#$, it's already been a month and a half without espresso. $@!#$@ @#$% !@@@@@@@@@@@@@$#!
I didn't want to wait even longer, so the solution we came up with was to have the machine sent back to me, which *should* still function, and they would send me the replacement sirai pressure stat that should be pretty easy to install myself. I just have to learn how to take the case off the machine, which is supposed to be more difficult on my specific machine for reasons I don't remember (or understand). Hopefully it'll last until then, the (best) worst case scenario is it fails and that safety valve thing blows, and I'd have to order a new one to put in with the pressure stat.
Feels like a bit of Darwin going on here, and I wonder if anything got damaged on shipping to them because I didn't have some of the problems he reported on first inspection. It is what it is, the tech was one hell of an awesome guy and I felt he went above & beyond in various ways during the process so no complaints with SCG, just wish they would have had parts on hand if they come from Italy. It's probably a good thing I didn't attempt the repair myself.
Meanwhile in Arizona, my local roaster was dead on about local techs being !@#$s. Out of everyone I sent an inquiry to, before I went the shipping route, only ONE place ever bothered to contact me back saying they wont look at my machine (a touted 24/7 emergency espresso repair service), over 4 weeks after I sent the inquiry.
These prosumer machines (at least the rockets), as I saw it, were supposed to be built like tanks and easily serviceable with their commercial parts and all this great stuff, but I've lost my confidence. With all the work that had to go into this machine, I'm not comfortable handing it down to a group of friends that were interested so I could upgrade to the duetto 3 I have been eyeing. Maybe if I ever do decide to upgrade, I should look for a commercial machine. Not that those would last forever either.
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