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Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Just upgraded:...  
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Descaling Oscar, like descaling the Ellimatic I have, is a little different because of the lack of hot water spigot. There's this video on YouTube that walks through a basic descale, and there's a great post over on HB about descaling HX machines in general. Bear in mind, though, that as gunked up as your machine appears to be, it may need some serious work. If the steam is smelly, you're probably going to have to do some disassembly to get the boiler really cleaned out from old milk crud that got sucked in through the steam arm.

A thorough descale can cause little bits of scale to come loose and jam up in valves and the like, so after the first descale, you may discover that you need to do some more radical cleaning. lf the three-way valve isn't spitting anything out at all, you may need to remove it and soak it in Cafiza overnight to dissolve old, gummy coffee oils. What does the shower plate look like if you pull the screen and dispersion block? (if you don't know, that's just taking a stubby flat-blade screwdriver and unscrewing the bolt that holds the shower screen onto the group head. The screen and dispersion block should just come right off. Unless, of course, they're glued to the plate by old coffee oils and mung.) Cheery thought, isn't it.

Never fear. These are all pretty simple things to do, and by the time you're finished, you'll understand a lot more about how an HX machine works and how you can get the best out of it.
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 7:46pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I took the shower head off and cleaned it. It was half-caked with old coffee, which I thoroughly scrubbed off. The steam isn't smelly, really. The main issues are that when trying to backflush it just sits there and does nothing each time, just humming quietly and building up pressure, but this mythical *whoosh* and flush of water into the drip pan never ever seems to come. Some milky gunk does end up in the blind disk, though. And every single shot I pull, whether choked or gushing, ends up extremely underextracted and watery. Fresh beans, old beans, turkish grind-you name it. Could this also be a symptom of the 3 way valve being screwed up? I'm not very handy, admittedly, but my roommates are and would probably help me with taking the machine apart. Frustratingly enough, one of the screws that holds the cup warmer on is stuck and won't come out. I tried to take the cover off so I could see what kind of pstat I had, but no dice.

I should mention I do live about 25 minutes from Nuova Simonelli's US facility and they did offer to take a look at it for me--for a fee, natch.

Thanks again for the encouragement and the advice!
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 864
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 8:05pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

You might try an extended back flush session. Load the blind disk/basket with Joe Glo/Cafiza and do the three back flushes. Then put in fresh detergent and try again. Eventually you should break through the crud. Be careful not to overwork your pump. Give it a couple of minutes between sets of three back flushes.

If it's strictly scale buildup this won't fix that, but you'll need to descale anyway.
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

GV, you're a wealth of info (all of you are, seriously). You wouldn't happen to use any kind of IM service for chat would you? I really appreciate you taking all the time to help out such a clueless noob. I'm glad to know I'm not going crazy. I have the following on hand:

Java Kleen (some sort of caustic de-gunker I got from WinCo)
Joe Glow
"Dezcal" Pellets

I've run a bunch of blind cycles with both the Joe and JavaKleen and there hasn't been even a drip into the tray from anywhere inside and no whoosh or indication the pressure is being relieved. I will try what you suggested, I just don't want to ruin my pump. So would the 3 way valve problem cause the runny, weak shots, out of curiosity?
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 864
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 8:38pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I'm just learning a bunch of this stuff myself. I'm just a hands on kinda guy, and it's mostly still fresh in my head.

Do you hear the solenoid on the 3-way valve go "thunk" (more of a muted click, really, but I'm used to big honkin' relays) when you stop the shot? Because the valve could also be not working if the solenoid got messed up. If you're not much of a DIY type and haven't done much work with electronic trouble shooting, it may start getting to be more than you want to deal with if you start having to swap out parts. It would certainly help if you can get the covers off so you can see what's going on and listen/watch more closely what's happening in the machine when you pull a shot.

The pump getting quieter as the pressure builds is natural, btw. That's what vibe pumps do, quiet down as they get to the top of their pressure range. The little burst after it's been running a bit may be the autofill circuit kicking in to top off the boiler.

Depending on what NS is talking about in terms of their diagnostic fee, it might be worth it just to know what all might need attention.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 8:44pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

GVDub Said:

Sounds like nobody ever cleaned out the machine before and the three-way valve is clogged. Could be scale, could be coffee crud. Either way, you need to do a full descale and some serious cleaning, it appears.

Oscar can pull great shots, but it sounds like the one you bought got no love from the previous owner(s).

Posted September 5, 2012 link

+1 for sure.
As was said, a used machine its NOT a new machine. Descale that baby, but I'd download and print a proper guide for descaling an HX machine, hopefully more specifically the Oscar.
When finished, it might be good to know what your water source(s) are. Hopefully not unfiltered tap.

As to the grinder, see if Kyle or Kyra at Baratza can work with you on an upgrade to a refurbed Preciso. It is an awesome grinder.
The Virtuoso is also nice, but truthfully not quite up to the grind specs of a Preciso, Vario, SJ Mazzer, etc.

HANG IN THERE. I'd wager MANY MOST of us here have been one way or another in your shoes! ;>D

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

If you are not getting the woosh you need to get that valve out and clean it.  Take lots of photos to remember how things connected and put all the parts in little cups.  I ended up cleaning that valve, replacing a safety value and the pump on mine.  It runs great now.  The machine is a tank.  Just clean it and I bet it will work great for you.  I knew nothing about this when I started.  I jumped in with both feet and now feel like I could fix them for a living.  Start with back flush and clean the valve and go from there.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 9:31pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

go on youtube and listen to oscar pulls.  You will hear what a normal machine sounds like.  I believe I posted what a sick pump sounds like on an oscar as well.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:30pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I don't know if I hear a thunk after disengaging the pump, but after doing some aggressive backflush cycles--5 seconds pump, 5 seconds rest--over and over I do hear a really gentle hiss and a tiny trickle of water came out in the back of the tray! Does this mean progress?

Also, I'm really curious, would this have anything to do with the problem shots I was pulling, ie being too cool and blond?
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:37pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Also, now the PF is under so much pressure I can barely move it. I don't want to scald myself :(
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