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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Rancilio Silvia...  
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Skutch
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Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 4:26am
Subject: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

I have a Silvia that I've been getting great steam/froth etc out of. Then, last week, I noticed the milk would stop swirling after about 10 seconds and it would just kind of gurgle around, until finally, there is no movement. The steam just dies out. I pulled the wand out and sure enough, there was hardly any steam pressure coming out. I let the machine warm up just as I've always done. No change in anything. It starts out hot and strong just as it always has, then just literally dies off to nothing after 10 seconds. The water is full, boiler full, etc. It was working perfectly up until about a week ago. Does anyone know what would cause this to happen? I have just descaled, etc. Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 4:42am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

If your using hard water you may need to descale.  Scale won't allow the water to boil enough for good steam.
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Skutch
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Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 5:13am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

I descale often and really baby the machine. The water is filtered and like I said, there really wasn't a slow degradation in steam. It just went from normal power, to dying after 10 seconds of powerful steam. Meaning, I could get powerful steam out of the wand long after the milk was done. Then all of a sudden, powerful steam for 10 seconds, then just air coming out.
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

How old is your machine?  This may also be a spent heating element.
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Skutch
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Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:22am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

The machine is about a 1.5 yrs old. I did however inherit it from someone that really didn't take care of it for the first 6 months and was essentially throwing it out. I descaled, back flushed, and as I said, it's really been working flawlessly for the 6 months or so. The steam always comes on full blast and powerful, but then just reduces to a trickle after about 10 seconds. Everything else works fine as it used to. Brew, hot water, etc. I don't think it's clogged because I would assume that would give me intermittent problems. This problem is consistent.
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 7:12am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

I would consider replacement (parts) before doing the following.  I think this would be one of two things.  1. Heat element is damaged.  2. Cracked or damaged boiler gasket.   I would take apart and inspect the boiler and gaskets.  You may be losing pressure during the heat up.  The thing is you will most likely need to replace the boiler gasket once you re assemble.  New boiler kits with elements range around $100-$130.

If you have taken anything apart lately you may have swapped the wires on the thermostats.
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 8:09am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

Not building pressure, or losing it?  Is the boiler hot, steam hot?  Try using an instant digital thermometer to determilne boiler temperature.  Heat the machine fully for 15+ minutes and then hit steam and check the boiler temperature.  If 280F plus, it is probably heating normally and you probably have a steam obstruction, if no obvious leaks.  If not hot, the I might thing of the steam stat, and then element.  Turn off the machine just before you measure if you are concerned about using a metal probe around the wiring and machine watts.

If you have a known temperature device then you can test when the steam stat opens and closes with a DMM.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Skutch
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Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 5
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

It's losing pressure. After warming up, it blows steam out as strongly as it ever did. Swirling milk, etc. Then after about 10 seconds, the swirling stops, and the amount of steam coming out is barely noticeable.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

Pressure is very temperature dependent.  Loss of pressure could be poor temperature unless there is a blockage.

Click Here (www.jgbhose.com)

What is the boiler temperature ready to steam?

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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JGG
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JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,385
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:53pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia steam pressure
 

A nozzle clogged by dried milk should be ruled out first. It happens in the best of families ;-)

Jim
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