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Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
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jchabalk
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 11:35am
Subject: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

Hi there, i'm a long time reader, first time poster.

I'd had a Quickmill Anita for about 6 years or so, it's been used daily over that period of time and has always worked flawlessly.

I've looked around for any regular maintenance i should do to it and i've never really found anything major that needs to be done. I keep the machine clean, backflush regularly, backflush with cleaner, remove the screen and clean the group head completely every month or so. I've replaced the screen and gasket a few times over those 6 years. I've also partially disassembled the group head and cleaned it. I've never flushed the boiler, fully disassembled the head, descaled or anything else. My water hardness is good with no additives to it, i use filtered water through a brita and notice some small pieces of charcoal in the reservoir when i clean it.

I've had some problems starting to develop and i don't really know how to address them:

First problem: Heating (this happens on average once a week)
I run the machine on a timer so it's hot in the morning. I have a taylor thermometer in the group head that i use to check temperature. Sometimes it takes the machine 10-15 minutes to come to temperature, sometimes an hour. (i realize that i'm only testing that one point and having that at temperature and having the machine fully heated are two different things. you can definitely tell from touching the head and the water that's coming out of it)
I've found that if it's not heating I run a little water through it which triggers the pump to fill the tank and then the heater kicks in and it comes to temperature pretty quickly. It's as if the level of the boiler is too low and whatever the indicator is that triggers the pump to fill it is not calibrated correctly. This machine isn't plumbed, i do keep the reservoir tank full and the floater works properly.

Second problem: Pressure when pulling a shot (this happens probably once a week also)
When i pull the lever to flush, pull a shot, backflush etc, it sometimes take a considerable amount of time for water to come out of the head (up to 30s sometimes longer). The pump is working but nothing seems to be happening. Much of the time it works fine, sometimes it does this. Sometimes it works fine the second time, and sometimes it does that repeatedly.

I've talked to the shop i bought it from and he's super-helpful but given that the problems are intermittent it's tough to troubleshoot remotely and his shop is far enough away it's pretty inconvenient to bring it down there and leave it for him to try to reproduce. He hasn't recommended any additional maintenance.

Thanks in advance for any help, i'd be happy to provide any other information if it would be helpful. This has been a great machine and I hope to get many year more of service from it.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:22pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

6 years, Brita filter, never descaled. That would be my first place to look.

Have you ever disassembled the group? I would pull the mushroom and check its condition.
see:
How-To 19 - Overhauling and Lubricating the E-61 Group
For future reference, also bookmark:
How-To 18 - Simple Lubrication of the E-61 Group

The mushroom is a good indicator of the condition of the rest of the group. You will also want to remove the top "nut" on the group and check to see how much debris there is in and around the Gicleur and (if so equipped) the filter screen. Problems with debris here can slow water flow.

 
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jchabalk
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 30, 2012, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

thank for the reply frcn, i've never pulled that part of the group before. I remove it this afternoon and it's definitely got some scale on it, it's not terribly built up but over the entire surface there are deposits.

I've been reading some of the descaling links this afternoon and I'm going to go ahead and descale. If i can find some citric acid tomorrow i'll try to do it over New Years break, otherwise i'll order what i need and do it next weekend.

Your page on cleaning and lubing the group is great, i've done the lower part before on suggestion from a friend (i have having some constant dripping from time to time) - i've got a tube of food grade lube and am ready to roll.

I have a feeling that this is what i've been needing to do for a while. The shop i bought the machine from was always downplaying the need to descale which is why i stayed away from it for so long.

thanks! i'll update this thread with my progess.
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jchabalk
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Dec 31, 2012, 5:25pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

Quick update: I talked to the guys at Chris' Coffee this morning for a couple of minutes and they set me at ease (as they always do, I really like their service department).

I've got a few parts on order:
- Preinfusion Valve
- Brew Valve
- Drain Valve
- Cam Lever Gasket (x2)
- a few feet of silicone hose so i can replace the lines if i want.

$50 in parts after 6 years is alright by me. He said that descaling every 3-5 years is fine and that at 6 years it shouldn't be a big deal at all. I'll put up a picture of my mushroom and the scale that's on it when i can get a few minutes at a real computer so you can see.

My local neighborhood home-brew shop sells citric acid so i'll pick some up next weekend when i'm out that way. I'll probably brew up a double-ipa too.  

The parts will arrive next Monday so sometime next week i'll descale and rebuild the group.
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TheRaven
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Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Ann Arbor
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 3:55pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

When my e61 valve gaskets/washers are worn, I noticed water in the drip tray when it shouldn't have been there (i.e. the e61 was leaking out the bottom when preheating but idle and hence was not full and circulating hot water and hence my similar temp probe was reading low. This could also explain your delay in brew time as the HX and e61 may need to fill fully before it reaches pressure.

Keep your old valves and after soaking them in penetrating oil, see if you can unscrew the pins without breaking them off. If so you can replace the washers only and have an extra set of valves on hand (the aren't all cheap). After 6 years, the pins may very well just snap off when you try and unscrew them. It is also possible that without periodic lubrication the metal on the pins may have worn down.
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jchabalk
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 2:16pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

Thanks a for all the help (both this thread, and also the forum)

I was able to get over the brew shop yesterday morning and i picked up the citric acid as well as ingredients for a nice double-IPA - so while the wort was steeping and boiling I was descaling my Anita. It all worked out pretty well - and it was definitely necessary. Here are some notes, i'll see if i can include some pictures below.

- I ran 2 full tanks of descaling solution through the machine (HX and boiler) over the course of the afternoon.
- I couldn't find anything too authoritative on what concentration to use, i ended up going with 2 quarts of water, 2 tablespoons of citric acid crystals
- Instead of removing the water tank assembly and fill detector i tilted the machine on it's side(s), back and front, rocked it occasionally, and left it propped in a tilted position using a couple of large rubber door stoppers to keep it put.
- 1x 1 hour session tilting the machine a different way every 15 minutes, rocking in-between and flushing the HX every 15 minutes
- 1x 30m session doing the same.
- Then a couple of rounds of filling and emptying the boiler, same deal with the HX
- The water came out a rich green/aqua
- Flushed everything with 3 tanks full of tap water using a similar method as the descaling (less time, less rocking etc)
- Everything ran clear by the end
- I don't have my replacement parts yet so i'll do another tear-down of the group this week, but i tore down the top and bottom to clean, rinse, lube etc last night
- Where the mushroom had scale on it before it no longer does, where the scale was there is no chrome plating
- With everything torn down I cleaned and flushed the group a bunch to get rid of the chrome flakes i was seeing
- Now everything's running clear and the water does not have an off taste.

I'll probably run another descale this week when the parts arrive, then tear the entire group down (including the handle), replace the parts and lube everything again. Unless something happens that should be good for another few years. I'm definitely going to be descaling more frequently than every 6 years though ;)

It's operating a whole lot better now than it was before, the action of the handle is smooth, water fills the group head and drains the way it used too. All in all i think this is what it needed.

Here are some pictures - if there's a better way to display them let me know and i'll update the thread.

Mushroom Before:
Click Here (i622.photobucket.com)

Descaling Water (2 quarts water, 2 tablespoons Citric Acid) this is AFTER running through the boiler and HX (NOTE: the wall is actually a light green color, it threw the camera off, so the water as shown is even greener than it appears, it was almost a aqua):
Click Here (i622.photobucket.com)

Mushroom After:
Click Here (i622.photobucket.com)
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jchabalk
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 1:24pm
Subject: Re: Quickmill Anita Service Questions - Starting to have some problems
 

I've got the replacement parts i need and am going to rebuild the group today.

I figured I'd start buy doing one more citric acid descale so i'm in the middle of that right now following the same procedure i did last weekend.

I was expecting the water to come out clear but i'm still getting a light blue color to it. Should i continue to descale until it's coming out perfectly clear or is that too much to ask?

And/or should i increase the strength of my citric acid (currently 64oz water, 2 tablespoons of Citric Acid).

Also, is there a reliable way to know if the machine needs more than just a flush or two with citric acid?
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