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Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
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Descartes
Senior Member
Descartes
Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 406
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Bodum Chambord FP
Roaster: GG/SC
Posted Sat Oct 25, 2008, 7:55pm
Subject: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

It's been a while since I've posted here.  I've been quietly enjoying my coffee with much enthusiasm.  

I bought the Tea I think about 4 years ago.  Time flies.  It's been abused a little, following me on a lot of relocations, different water hardness, etc.  I've kept up with maintenance, but it's starting to show its age.

Some of the issues:  Decreased pressure, the pressure monitor flickers, the temperature consistency has greatly reduced and the overall shot quality has been poor.  

I know it needs a more thorough cleaning and overhaul, but I'm tempted to just get another machine.  

Any thoughts?  I'm in the Atlanta area if that makes a difference.
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__________
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 920
Location: .
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Machine now fixed ;o)
Grinder: None
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Sun Oct 26, 2008, 2:47am
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Descartes Said:

It's been a while since I've posted here.  I've been quietly enjoying my coffee with much enthusiasm.  

I bought the Tea I think about 4 years ago.  Time flies.  It's been abused a little, following me on a lot of relocations, different water hardness, etc.  I've kept up with maintenance, but it's starting to show its age.

Some of the issues:  Decreased pressure, the pressure monitor flickers, the temperature consistency has greatly reduced and the overall shot quality has been poor.  

I know it needs a more thorough cleaning and overhaul, but I'm tempted to just get another machine.  

Any thoughts?  I'm in the Atlanta area if that makes a difference.

Posted October 25, 2008 link

Hi.

I used to have a Tea.  It wasn't the best machine in the world, but probably on a par with its stablemates from other manufacturers in that price range.

It would be sad to junk it after only a few years, if a bit of intervention and perhaps a couple of replacement parts might bring it back to operation "as new".

A couple of thoughts/suggestions:-

Temperature consistency - if you mean the boiler pressure is varying wildly, perhaps a replacement pressurestat would resolve that.  If that is not what is indicated, I'd bow to those with much more experience of the hydraulic system and the e6i syphon arrangement.

Lots of people with a Tea, me included, have had the brew pressure gauge problem.  They tend to get water in the capillary leading to the gauge, rather than air. Water isn't compressible, so the damping effect that the air in the pipe is supposed to achieve is lost. Try removing the gauge and pipe (it's an easy job) and heating the pipe carefully over a gas flame to force out any water/steam then refit it. You'll probably find this works.

Decreased pressure - possibly the pump getting worn ?

Of course, if you want help justifying buying a new, better machine, then assume that none of the above is any use at all  ;o) but a repaired machine would at least have some resale value.

I sold mine - in very good working condition - for a good price to offset buying the double boiler machine I should have bought in the first place.
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neo82087
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2008
Posts: 29
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Oct 26, 2008, 7:41am
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Just wanted to mention that I've been working on getting a broken Isomac Tea back up to working condition and I found it pretty straightforward. Replacement parts aren't too expensive. I was also having a problem with low pressure that was solved by replacing the pump. I'd recommend contacting Stefano, he was very helpful in helping me get the right parts I needed. Good luck!
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pdx
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Feb 2004
Posts: 36
Location: portland
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: speedster
Grinder: versalab m3
Drip: Chemex
Posted Sun Oct 26, 2008, 8:49am
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Descartes Said:

Some of the issues:  Decreased pressure, the pressure monitor flickers, the temperature consistency has greatly reduced and the overall shot quality has been poor.

Posted October 25, 2008 link

I had a Tea for 3 years or so- I got rid of it when the pstat stuck on & flooded my kitchen.  To repair it I just needed a new pstat, new heating element, & I cut new glass lenses for the gages (when the machine went down it melted the plastic ones.)  The repairs were pretty straightforward, but I had to spend some time chasing out stupid wiring problems (the fusable link which should've prevented the problem was touching the boiler, shorting electricity through the ground.  Every time I'd touch the Tea & my Synesso I'd get shocked.)

Heating the capillary tube should stop the pressure gage flutter, or just blow it out with canned air.

I used a 1/4" CEME pressurestat from EspressoParts.com  Anyway after the repairs the Tea worked better than ever, so if you're not stepping up to another league of machine I'd just repair the Tea.
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Mole
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Aug 2007
Posts: 37
Location: London, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto
Grinder: Mini E Doserless
Roaster: GeneCafe
Posted Sun Oct 26, 2008, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Seems a shame not to give it an overhaul, even if you then choose to sell it.  Not least of which, if you buy another E61 machine it would give you some experience with reconditioning the machine, in particular the group!

----
The pump may be tired, but it might also be that the OPV is old (I am assuming there is one!) and the seat inside it has worn.  Therefore, it might let by more easily than when new, which would give a reduction in pressure.  Have you tried to adjust the OPV?  I would perhaps try this before replacing the pump, just in case it is this cheaper option!  Also, I would be tempted to take the OPV apart (if possible) and check the condition of the seat, give it a seperate descale and put it back together.  If the OPV is letting by during idle, this might cause temp consistency issues (see comments below), so a deep clean might help.

----
As for temp consistency, I would check the condition of the pstat, as Keepitsimple said (does the boiler pressure vary wildly?).

I am assuming you have descaled the HX pathway seperately to the boiler, so that there should be no problems with scale in the thermosyphon pipes and in the group itself?

What do you mean by temperature consistency?  Are you referring to the group getting cool at idle?  If so, I'm not surprised.  After 4 years service, the group (and OPV) is more than likely a little tired.  There are a lot of gaskets and seals in the group.  People change the main group gasket every 6 to 12 months, as they get hard and start to leak during brewing, but forget that there are similar gaskets in the group.  They might last 2 years, 3 perhaps, but they will harden, gain deposits, let by and eventually cause issues.  Temperature consistency, particularly during idle periods, is one such problem.  If the seals in the group allow slight leakage at idle (and/or the seat in the OPV) then air can get into the system and can cause the thermosyphon to stall.  This results in a cooler than normal group and cool shot.  The way to test for this is to see if it takes longer for water to exit the group when flushing from a long idle than when flushing from a much shorter idle period.  If so, there's some air got in.

I would be tempted to take the group apart (http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/e61-group-servicing) and see what the condition of the internals are.  Look for scale in the filter at the top, worn or hardened O-rings and gaskets, worn pins from the valves (the ones that contact the lever cam), etc..  The parts to completely rebuild an E61 from the inside should not be too expensive and should give you a completely new feel again.

Hope this helps,

Martin
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stefano65
Senior Member
stefano65
Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 1,415
Location: Eugene OR
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme,Elektra,
Grinder: Vario,Macap,
Vac Pot: not
Drip: not
Roaster: not
Posted Mon Oct 27, 2008, 2:39pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Before starting to replace parts consider a complete descaling

 
Stefano Cremonesi
info@espressocare.com
www.espressocare.com
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Descartes
Senior Member
Descartes
Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 406
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Bodum Chambord FP
Roaster: GG/SC
Posted Mon Oct 27, 2008, 7:48pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Tea on its last leg.  Repair or buy new?
 

Thanks everyone.  That gives me a lot of things to consider.  

I'm going to take some time and review the information and see if I think overhauling it myself is something I can do.  Thanks!
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