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Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 6:48am
Subject: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

On the weekend, I caught up on all the maintenance on my La Nuova Era Cuadra espresso machine. This included descaling the machine and replacing the softener unit.

The descaling operation took all day, but went well. When it was time to flush all the descaling solution from the boiler, it took three reservoirs of water before I didn't get blue-tinted water from the hot water wand.

This morning after pulling a shot, I flushed some water from the hot water wand and gray water came out. I flushed a few more cup fulls and it was starting to clear up but I didn't have time to keep at it.

Can somebody tell me what could cause this?

scanfield: IMG_20130305_071109.jpg
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,466
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 10:32am
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

scanfield Said:

On the weekend, I caught up on all the maintenance on my La Nuova Era Cuadra espresso machine. This included descaling the machine and replacing the softener unit.

The descaling operation took all day, but went well. When it was time to flush all the descaling solution from the boiler, it took three reservoirs of water before I didn't get blue-tinted water from the hot water wand.

This morning after pulling a shot, I flushed some water from the hot water wand and gray water came out. I flushed a few more cup fulls and it was starting to clear up but I didn't have time to keep at it.

Can somebody tell me what could cause this?

Posted March 5, 2013 link

Dark stuff in the boiler, probably trapped in with the scale that had sedimented down to the bottom overnight. Theres a lot of crap in Tapwater, try distilling a few litres and you will see what I mean. I presume it's a horizontal boiler machine which is why you had so much trouble getting all the descaler out. In fact 3 reservoirs won't have been enough to get it all out of the steam/hot water boiler, so what's left probably continued to act overnight. The sediment might  be a problem for a while as it will stir up every time the machine boils the water, but because the water take off tube is not at the bottom of the boiler, you can't drain it completely.

Your best bet is about 3 more reservoirs of water full, and your going to need to drain the steam boiler as much as possible by switching off once it's hot, draining the water out (as much as will come out), refilling the boiler, allowing to come to temperature and repeating until you have gone through 3 or 4 more reservoirs.
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DaninMaryland
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Joined: 3 Jan 2013
Posts: 79
Location: US
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: V2 Silvia
Grinder: Vario-W
Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:40pm
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

DavecUK Said:

Dark stuff in the boiler, probably trapped in with the scale that had sedimented down to the bottom overnight. Theres a lot of crap in Tapwater, try distilling a few litres and you will see what I mean. I presume it's a horizontal boiler machine which is why you had so much trouble getting all the descaler out. In fact 3 reservoirs won't have been enough to get it all out of the steam/hot water boiler, so what's left probably continued to act overnight. The sediment might  be a problem for a while as it will stir up every time the machine boils the water, but because the water take off tube is not at the bottom of the boiler, you can't drain it completely.

Your best bet is about 3 more reservoirs of water full, and your going to need to drain the steam boiler as much as possible by switching off once it's hot, draining the water out (as much as will come out), refilling the boiler, allowing to come to temperature and repeating until you have gone through 3 or 4 more reservoirs.

Posted March 5, 2013 link

Is it possible for the OP to remove the boiler and clean it out?  you probably knocked a lot of scale off the boiler and its probably just sitting there in the boiler.  Water will eventually clear up, but if it were me i would just take the time to remove the boiler, open it up and completly clean it out.  You said it took a long time to get the water not to be blue, indicating a lot of scale build up.  I would just take the time to do it right and open it up
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 5:45pm
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

DaninMaryland Said:

Is it possible for the OP to remove the boiler and clean it out?  you probably knocked a lot of scale off the boiler and its probably just sitting there in the boiler.  Water will eventually clear up, but if it were me i would just take the time to remove the boiler, open it up and completly clean it out.  You said it took a long time to get the water not to be blue, indicating a lot of scale build up.  I would just take the time to do it right and open it up

Posted March 5, 2013 link

I thought the blue was just a reaction between the acidic solution and the copper boiler and wasn't an indicator of scale build up?

I really am not confident enough to take apart the machine to clean it out. If that's what it needs, I'm going to have to find someplace to take it for service.
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
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Location: Canada
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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

Two points I want to offer before you decide you need to take it in.
1)  You could remove the level-probe, insert a flexible hose to the bottom of the boiler and siphon the water out. That will extract almost all of the water at each draining, instead of the half a boilerful at a time going through the hot-water wand.

2) The grey in the water could be the insulation from inside your heating element if the element has somehow been damaged, gotten internally damp then cracked when heated.
If you have an ohm-meter, I would suggest measuring the resistance through the element, it should be 10-15 ohms...  And with the meter set to the maximum range, many thousands of ohms, you shouldn't get any reading between either of the element contacts and the body of the boiler.

If you want me to clarify either of these points, feel free to ask.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 6:43pm
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

SStones Said:

If you want me to clarify either of these points, feel free to ask.

Posted March 5, 2013 link

This is a diagram of the boiler:
http://i.imgur.com/ycjbF27.png

Is the level probe item 7 in that drawing?

Is it points 14 and 15 that I would test with a multimeter?

scanfield: cuadraboiler.png
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 511
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 8:42pm
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

Yes. Number 7 is the level probe.  You can just pull the wire off and then unscrew the whole thing by the large nut. Try not to pull the probe itself (The inner rod) up or down in the sleeve.  A large change would change your boiler-fill level.

And for testing the resistance you'd want to get about 13 (Anywhere from 10 to 15)ohms resistance between the two electrical connectors on item 14 there, where the wires are connected, they might be screw-down nuts on eyelets or just push-on connectors.  And infinite resistance between either of those connections and the copper body of the boiler.  Basically to see if your element is wet and shorting to ground through the boiler water.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Mar 6, 2013, 4:43am
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

I don't think it's the element because if it were shorting, the machine wouldn't be operating normally.

It's been heating the same as always and hasn't tripped any breakers. So for now, I'm going to keep flushing. Two reservoirs through last night and this morning it's less gray.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 5:23am
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

I had the flushed water pretty much clean but then I let my machine sit unused for 3 days and today, it's making grey water again.

I'm going to call 1st-Line and see what they say.
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scanfield
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2011
Posts: 181
Location: Texas
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuovo Era Cuadra
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013, 6:39am
Subject: Re: Gray water from boiler of HX descale (Cuadra)
 

1st-Line said I need to take the heating element out and inspect it. Not sure if I'll be able to do that.

They also suggested plugging the machine into a GFI outlet to check for an open circuit. It already is plugged into a GFI outlet, so I'm pretty sure electrically the machine is ok.

I've been using filtered water in the machine. I'm going to stop doing this because I'm thinking that the grey water could possibly be carbon from the filters.
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