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Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Alex Duetto...  
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,449
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue May 10, 2011, 7:28am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

MarkCan Said:

To answer your question - yes - when I turn the machine on cold the pump will push water through the group head.  Pressure measures around 9 bars.  Assuming I live in a hard water area - how often should I be de-scaling?  I was told 4 times per year.  I am using a product called "Ascor DC".  Is this a good product?  According to the instructions I need to mix the product with 1.5 litres of water then flush it through the system, 500 ml at a time in 2 mintue intervals.  

  1. Should I set up a filtration system to improve the water quality?  Suggestions? Cost?

  2. Sorry to be so naive but what is PTFE taped?  Is that the white teflon tape used by plumbers to help seal threaded pipes?

  3. The long hose in my system does back-flow when the machine heats up.  Is that normal or should I be doing something about it?  

Sorry for the flood of questions but I am getting very frustrated with my machine's performance.

Posted May 9, 2011 link

  1. Yes, RO then post treat..see http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/ro-water-copper-corrosion (you will have to join to get a newsletter, but they only send out a few per year). You can also go for a commercial or purpose made system, but they can be expensive in terms of cartridge changes.

  2. Yes

  3. No that's not normal and I suspect that eventually enough can come out to empty the pump chamber, especially if the steam boiler is on. The water should be coming out of the expansion valve and either exiting into the drip tray or back to the tank depending on model and year.

As for descalers, I don't really know what's good and bad, I don't use them any more. When I did I always used Citric Acid, 3 times per year. Trouble is it has no buffer salts and can cause some copper leaching, over time a little death each descale, better not to have to. Besides even with regular descaling it's had to eliminate the problem with the one way valve in the pump line. Always remember more than 95% of espresso machine problems (not down to reasonable component life) ultimately stem from hard water!

Best of luck

Dave
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mute
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 97
Location: Collegeville, PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bodum French Press
Posted Wed Jul 6, 2011, 4:38pm
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

I picked up a lightly used Duetto last month, and I sort of feel like the steaming on it is more anemic than my Silvia was. I'm curious what kind of boiler pressure you guys are seeing while steaming?

I have my steam PID set as high as it goes (252F), and after bleeding the steam for about 5s, the boiler is at about 1 bar. While steaming though, it drops as low as .75 bar. Is this inline with what you guys see while steaming?
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geoffbeier
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 339
Location: Arlington, VA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II, Gaggia...
Grinder: Macap M4 Stepless, Faema MPN
Posted Wed Jul 6, 2011, 5:11pm
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

mute Said:

I picked up a lightly used Duetto last month, and I sort of feel like the steaming on it is more anemic than my Silvia was. I'm curious what kind of boiler pressure you guys are seeing while steaming?

I have my steam PID set as high as it goes (252F), and after bleeding the steam for about 5s, the boiler is at about 1 bar. While steaming though, it drops as low as .75 bar. Is this inline with what you guys see while steaming?

Posted July 6, 2011 link

I have my steam set point at 259F, which has its resting pressure around 1.5 bar. Next time I steam, I'll look, but I think it drops to around 1 bar while steaming. If your PID only goes to 252, it might be worth calling Chris. Maybe there's some adjustment you could make, or you might be able to send it in for newer firmware.
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mute
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 97
Location: Collegeville, PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bodum French Press
Posted Wed Jul 6, 2011, 5:20pm
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

geoffbeier Said:

I have my steam set point at 259F, which has its resting pressure around 1.5 bar. Next time I steam, I'll look, but I think it drops to around 1 bar while steaming. If your PID only goes to 252, it might be worth calling Chris. Maybe there's some adjustment you could make, or you might be able to send it in for newer firmware.

Posted July 6, 2011 link

Hm. Interesting. My machine (according to the receipt I got when I bought it) just turned 1 year old like 2 weeks ago. I just reset my PID to defaults then reset T2 and I am able to set the steam up to the max of 262F (which I guess is what I had it at before and just remembered it incorrectly). If it looks like my pressure is abnormally low compared to other people, I'll have to give Chris a call and see if they might know what's up.

Fwiw, I'm using the 2 hole steam tip. I haven't had much luck with the 4 hole tip either.
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LATrapp
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2011
Posts: 15
Location: LA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex II Duetto, Silvia
Grinder: Versalab V3
Drip: Press
Roaster: Local
Posted Wed Jul 6, 2011, 10:21pm
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

mute Said:

I picked up a lightly used Duetto last month, and I sort of feel like the steaming on it is more anemic than my Silvia was.

Posted July 6, 2011 link

I have to sadly admit that I have yet been able to steam with my Duetto as well as I did with my Silvia. I could bang out the silky smooth iridescent ultra-microfoam goodness all day long with my Silvia. I have yet to absolutely nail it on the Duetto. I'm almost at the point where I might just hook the Silvia back up for steaming.

If you do a google search, you'll see several similar posts both here and on HB. So, the question is if the Silvia 'trains' you to make microfoam in a way that the Duetto doesn't respond to, or if the Silvia really is just a better steamer. I have yet to see any consensus in any of these posts, but I'm willing to try another tip (I have the 4-hole).
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jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 857
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Posted Thu Jul 7, 2011, 6:09am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

mute Said:

I picked up a lightly used Duetto last month, and I sort of feel like the steaming on it is more anemic than my Silvia was. I'm curious what kind of boiler pressure you guys are seeing while steaming?

I have my steam PID set as high as it goes (252F), and after bleeding the steam for about 5s, the boiler is at about 1 bar. While steaming though, it drops as low as .75 bar. Is this inline with what you guys see while steaming?

Posted July 6, 2011 link

Mine is set to 252 reads 1.3 standing drops to 1.1 while steaming with the 4 hole tip makes great micro for one or two caps at the time. I almost never steam more than that at once. I would say there is a hardware issue and call Chris for sure. This is measurable and so should be something that can be fixed.

Mute's point about the quality of the foam is subjective and would make it hard for Chris to help. I am sure none the less that Mute's findings for real and training on one machine then moving to another is an interesting notion. I should like to try my hand on a Silvia now ;o)

Let us know when you get it sorted please. What you learn well it might come in handy for the rest of us Duetto owners.

 
Yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
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mute
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 97
Location: Collegeville, PA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Bodum French Press
Posted Thu Jul 7, 2011, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

LATrapp Said:

I have to sadly admit that I have yet been able to steam with my Duetto as well as I did with my Silvia. I could bang out the silky smooth iridescent ultra-microfoam goodness all day long with my Silvia. I have yet to absolutely nail it on the Duetto. I'm almost at the point where I might just hook the Silvia back up for steaming.

If you do a google search, you'll see several similar posts both here and on HB. So, the question is if the Silvia 'trains' you to make microfoam in a way that the Duetto doesn't respond to, or if the Silvia really is just a better steamer. I have yet to see any consensus in any of these posts, but I'm willing to try another tip (I have the 4-hole).

Posted July 6, 2011 link

Yup, same boat here. I haven't quite figured out what the issue is, but I end up with milk that looks like it microfoam, but isn't properly integrated before it gets too hot. In the cup.. it's even more disappointing.

It should be noted I'm using a very small steaming pitcher so as not to waste milk, which was tricky at first with my Silvia, but I soon mastered. I might move back to my larger pitcher and waste some milk to see if I can get better results.
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Masterdebater
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Feb 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E - Type B
Vac Pot: Looking
Drip: What is that?
Roaster: Considering
Posted Thu Jul 7, 2011, 7:55am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

mute Said:

Yup, same boat here. I haven't quite figured out what the issue is, but I end up with milk that looks like it microfoam, but isn't properly integrated before it gets too hot. In the cup.. it's even more disappointing.

It should be noted I'm using a very small steaming pitcher so as not to waste milk, which was tricky at first with my Silvia, but I soon mastered. I might move back to my larger pitcher and waste some milk to see if I can get better results.

Posted July 7, 2011 link

I have noticed that drop in pressure as well, which is quite annoying. I have 20A service in my kitchen as well. An instant .5 drop is normal? I have both the 2 hole and 4 hole tips. The 2 hole works much better imo but I can't say that I am overly impressed with my "micro"foam.
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HandsOnRoaster
Senior Member
HandsOnRoaster
Joined: 4 Jul 2011
Posts: 6
Location: Wadebridge, Cornwall
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: Alex Duetto
Grinder: Ditting and Mazzer Mini Auto
Roaster: Joper CRM-15
Posted Sat Jul 9, 2011, 3:48am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

Hello,
We use our Alex Duetto in our small roastery and have just switched from tank to mains water supply.  This was one of the main Duetto features we liked (in addition to rotary pump, twin boilers etc.). We've used a pressure regulator on the incoming supply just in case this is ever too high, and the pressure gauge on the Duetto reads around 3.5 bar whilst pulling a shot - I'd be interested to know whether any other forum members have done a similar thing and what pressures they are getting?  I think the mains pressure might influence things slightly....but there seems to be different opinions on this!
Thank you.

 
Paul
Hands-On Coffee: Micro-roasting on the Cornish coast
www.hands-on-coffee.co.uk
www.facebook.com/handsoncoffee
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Bob_McBob
Senior Member
Bob_McBob
Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 456
Location: Waterloo, ON
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Aug 4, 2011, 1:21am
Subject: Re: Alex Duetto Owners-Please speak up!
 

This weekend I replaced my Duetto's pump, installed one of the new-style vacuum breakers with tubing, and did a full descale, siphoning the steam boiler full instead of the lazy pump method.  I also switched to RO water.  

I turned on the steam boiler the next day, and after a few minutes I heard some sputtering that turned out to be a bit of water coming out of the safety valve.  The pressure on the gauge was fine, so I assume the boiler was slightly overfilled.  After some testing I got the impression it was not filling to a consistent level, though I obviously couldn't actually see inside.  Since then I've tried diluting the RO water 10% with bottled spring water to increase the mineral content for the fill probe.  It seems to have made the fill level fairly reliable, but I still get somewhat wet, sputtering, and inconsistent steam.  I also hear what sounds like the occasional tiny sputter from the safety valve, but it's hard to tell.  I'm not sure whether it's the RO water, the fact that I descaled the boiler higher than the (probably scaled) fill probe would allow for the first time in 2-1/2 years, or a combination of the two.  Can I lower the fill probe slightly to increase the steam power?

I have been far too lazy about lubricating the group cam.  In the past, coffee oil made it smooth after a detergent backflush, but the lever is not very smooth now.  I am going to disassemble the group and check the mushroom for scale and lubricate the cam and such per the wiki instructions.  Hopefully nothing needs replacing yet.

 
Chris
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