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Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
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Hector
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Joined: 15 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 12:41pm
Subject: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

Hello,

This is my first post on this forum.  I have had an Isomac Millennium for 9 years now.  This morning I noticed that my shots are taking double the time to pull.  I normally pull them in 25 seconds and now they are taking about 40 to 50 seconds.  The coffee taste sour  -  not good.  There has been no change in the beans, grind or anything else.  Everything ran fine yesterday.  I have this system plumbed into the house water supply and have 2 in-line filters (charcoal and ion-exchange).  I typically brew coffee at home 2 - 3 times a day and have never encountered this particular issue.

Here are some observations:
  1. The boiler pressure is where i normally have it: 1.1 to 1.25 bar.  The pressure stat was replaced with a Jaeger unit within the last 2 years.
  2. I observed that back flushing is a little less intense than it normally is.  I am gauging this qualitatively by the lower sound that it makes.
  3. I evaluated the group pressure using a blind portafilter with a pressure gauge.  It registered about 8.5 bar.  I have never used one of these before and do not know what pressure I should have.  
  4. I tried increasing the grind size but the shots still took a long time and ran very thin implying poor extraction.
  5. I also tested the hardness of the water leaving the group head.  It was low suggesting that I should not have a scaling issue.  

I am not sure if I have a pump issue, expansion valve issue, solenoid value issue, blockage or other.  Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Hector

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greattemper
Senior Member
greattemper
Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Tel-Aviv
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Andreja Premium by quickmill
Grinder: Lelit
Roaster: Popcorn
Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

Did you observe any change in the flow during the cooling flush?  cc/min - this is easy, just measure how long does it take to fill up 30cc water without the PF. this will give an indication if scale is building up in the GH. I suspect this is the reason for your problem due to the flow not being effected by increasing the grind size.
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randytsuch
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Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 578
Location: LA, Ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office with...
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Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

I was also thinking it might be a scale related problem

When was the last time you descaled?
Even with water treatments, you still need periodic descaling.
If its been a long time, its possible a hunk of scale broke loose, and is now clogging something.

Randy
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Hector
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Joined: 15 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

I just measured the flow rate without the PF.  I measured 100mL/min.  Does this seem correct?

I have never descaled before either.  I assumed that it was not an issue since I have always used filtered and softened water.  It seems that I should attempt to descale first.  I have heard that people use citric acid to descale.  Are there any recommendations for descalers (citric acid or other), concentrations to use and how long to descale for?  I am not sure how the process works.  I appreciate the help.  Thank you!!!

Hector
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randytsuch
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Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 578
Location: LA, Ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office with...
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Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 7:07pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

So that's about 3 oz in a min?

This sounds REALLY slow, you must have a blockage somewhere.

Here's a thread about descaling, and there are many others
Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

I just descaled my machine this weekend, it was pretty easy.  You may have a little more work in front of you, because you machine is plumbed in, you need to feed it from another water source.

Also, descaling is meant as preventative maintanance, it may take a lot of work to fix it at this point.

Good luck
Randy
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:54pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

Hector Said:

... I have never descaled before either.  I assumed that it was not an issue since I have always used filtered and softened water ...

Posted July 15, 2012 link

Using filtered water can deminish calcifications, but it doesn't deliver you from regular descaling.

 
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"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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Hector
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Joined: 15 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jul 16, 2012, 6:13pm
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

Thanks everyone for the help.  I was able to fixed the problem and am somewhat embarrassed to the admit the root cause.  

I removed the machine from its spot in the kitchen and was about to begin dissembling . . but then thought to check the water line feeding the unit.  In order to remove the machine, I had to close a valve on the incoming stream.  I then took a large container and opened the valve to fill it and in the process measured the flow rate.  Only a trickle of water came.  I did some further investigating and noticed two kinks in the line.  I am not sure how the kinks got there but that solved the problem.  I am back in business.

I now get about 500mL per minute out of the group head.  I will follow everyone's advice and descale the unit soon.  I have had the unit for nine years now without descaling - it's about time.  Thanks again.

-hector
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,023
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 2:20am
Subject: Re: Troubleshooting Isomac millennium: shots are taking longer to pull
 

Hector Said:

... I did some further investigating and noticed two kinks in the line.  I am not sure how the kinks got there but that solved the problem.  I am back in business ...

Posted July 16, 2012 link

Never mind. A simple solution like that is better than a defective machine after all. However, regular descaling is still a good idea.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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