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I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
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tinyenormous
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 30
Location: boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: gaggia coffee
Grinder: bodium bistro burr / Hario...
Drip: v60 / aeropress
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:30pm
Subject: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

I just got shipment of a gaggia coffee today.
Here is the manual
I plugged it in, filled up the water, turned it on and pushed the brew button to prime the pump / fill the boiler. The pump activated and pushed out water through the empty portafilter.

The red and green light are on up top.

I waited 6 minutes as the manual says and repeated it. The water is no warmer than before. After 30 it was the same. No steam comes out of the wand when the steam button is pressed and the valve is opened.

Is there something I am missing, or does this machine have a broken boiler? I'm definitely a tinkerer, but I'm not about to pay for a broken machine.

Thank you for whatever help you can provide!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,897
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 6:57pm
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

New or used?  Open the machine and look for a loose connection to the elements, not real likely, more likely the switches.  Elements are external and not generally troublesome.  If used, was it recently serviced?  

Great site below, manual and parts diagram

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaModelCoffee.html#WIDTH:

I would look inside before ou spend the time to send away.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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fredk01
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

Sounds like there is no power to the heating element or the element is DOA.  Since this is brand new, I would contact the company you bought from.
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Mon Apr 1, 2013, 9:50pm
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

If it's new, send it back. Otherwise your machine is very simple internally. There are two green "ready" lights, one next to the brew switch and one next to the steam switch. I am guessing neither one is on. Try turning on the steam switch and see if the water heats up. If it does, the problem is the water thermostat. If it doesn't, it's either a wiring issue (if new) or a dead boiler heating element. The element is cast into the aluminum boiler body so you replace the whole boiler, I've seen 'em on eBay for ~$50.  Because the boiler acts as a heatsink, it's pretty tough to kill a heating element even if you run the boiler dry. All these machines are wired by hand and the quality of parts is excellent. One other thing that may have died is a temperature fuse on top of the boiler. They are 5 or 10 bucks.
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tinyenormous
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 30
Location: boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: gaggia coffee
Grinder: bodium bistro burr / Hario...
Drip: v60 / aeropress
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 9:59am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

dspear99ca Said:

One other thing that may have died is a temperature fuse on top of the boiler.

Posted April 1, 2013 link

I opened it up and one of the wires to the top thermostat(?) was unplugged. The box it came in was REALLY beat up.

After plugging it back in it heats up. since this has taken quite a tumble in the delivery is there anything else I should make sure isn't broken before accepting shipment. FYI this was a used ebay purchase, and it wasn't that expensive in the grand scheme of coffeemakers.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,897
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 10:39am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

Not the first loose wire from shipping!

A good test is use for a time or two.  You need about 15 minutes warm up and then try it.  If it heats to normal, pumps, and steams, and does not excessively drip from the ateam wand, it is probably fine.  You really do not know about the inside, scale, but if scale is bad, they often drip a lot from the steam wand.  Gaggias almost always drip a small amount, not enough to lose prime.  Scale will stop that seal and the drip is a fair amount.

You can always test with a Styrofoam cup for temperature.

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

Take off the shower screen and seem what the dispersion plate looks like.  Screen and plate fairly clean is a good sign.  If you can't turn the screen screw, then the prior owner may have not...

Gaggia parts are fairly cheap.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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tinyenormous
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 30
Location: boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: gaggia coffee
Grinder: bodium bistro burr / Hario...
Drip: v60 / aeropress
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:07am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

Thank you D4F
I used an ir thermometer this morning, but I admittedly had less than perfect technique. I pumped water out of the group and into a ceramic cup. The cup wasn't pre-heated, and the thermometer isn't calibrated but the water came out to ~165 or 167. I then redid the test with a preheated cup, but put the unheated portafilter on(!) Then I had to leave for work. Does that sound roughly on target? It seemed low to me.

I actually ran a shot through it for giggles right before I left for the day. It smelled good enough that I drank it! I guess that should be a good enough sign, but it is probably more of a sign of my unsophisticated tongue than a properly working machine.

It doesn't drip much from the wand, but I am planning on descaling it regardless. Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!
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tinyenormous
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 30
Location: boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: gaggia coffee
Grinder: bodium bistro burr / Hario...
Drip: v60 / aeropress
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:08am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

D4F Said:

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaModelCoffee.html#WIDTH:

Posted April 1, 2013 link

Thanks for this link. It's far better than anything I have found!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,897
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:30am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

It sounds like everything is working fine. You are welcome for the references. The temperatures you found are probably good. The water cools a lot as a false through the air. Try the steam.  

Post again after you've used it a bit  :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:41am
Subject: Re: I think my gaggia coffee is doa, can you help me verify?
 

tinyenormous Said:

Thank you D4F
I used an ir thermometer this morning, but I admittedly had less than perfect technique. I pumped water out of the group and into a ceramic cup. The cup wasn't pre-heated, and the thermometer isn't calibrated but the water came out to ~165 or 167. I then redid the test with a preheated cup, but put the unheated portafilter on(!) Then I had to leave for work. Does that sound roughly on target? It seemed low to me.

I actually ran a shot through it for giggles right before I left for the day. It smelled good enough that I drank it! I guess that should be a good enough sign, but it is probably more of a sign of my unsophisticated tongue than a properly working machine.

It doesn't drip much from the wand, but I am planning on descaling it regardless. Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

Posted April 2, 2013 link

Great that you got it working, it is a good machine.  It wouldn't hurt do de-scale it if you don't know its' history just to make sure it's in top condition.  You can buy some commercial de-scaling compound, or I generally just dilute some plain white vinegar in the reservoir, heat up the machine, and run a bunch through.  If you do not turn on the steam switch, you can pump water through the steam wand with the brew switch.  Then run a few tanks of plain water through until the vinegar smell is gone.  It probably needs a backflush even more than a descale but you need a blind filter basket (solid metal, no holes in it, completely blocks water) to do this.  You should also take off the screen (one screw) and soak it in a mixture of boiling water and powdered automatic dishwasher detergent... this stuff will get ANYTHING off and works really well on hard-packed oily coffee residue in the screen... this will potentially improve your shot quality as you aren't pumping new coffee through old grinds.

As for your water temp, do the test properly by using an instant-read digital thermo (I use my meat thermometer, works great) stuck through the top edge of the cup angled downward to the bottom.  Preheat both probe and cup with boiling water.  Make sure you've cut the cup down to fit snugly into the group head, and make sure the machine is fully warmed up.  The group head should be hot enough to burn you if you leave your hand on it, 15 minutes is the bare minimum time required, the longer it sits turned on the more the temp will come to equilibrium as all of the metal (not just the boiler) heats up.  Quickly dump out the preheat water, stuff the cup into the grouphead and turn on the pump.  My water was in the 190F range when I first tested it.  I replaced the (very cheap) water thermostat (5 minutes work) and it's now stable around 195-200F.

The last thing you can check on this machine is the pressure.  This isn't absolutely necessary, but Classics tend to be set a bit high which makes the machine more finicky with regards to grind and tamp pressure.  You need a 1/4" threaded pressure guage that will read to 200psi, they're about $10 at plumbing supply stores.  Remove the filter screen and then the screen plate behind it (2 allen screws)  Then remove the 5-bar pressure valve and screw the pressure guage into its' place.  Turn on the pump.  You should be reading ~135psi.  On the back of the boiler is a bronze tube-shaped fitting with two hoses coming off it, one at the bottom and one at the top.  This is the Over Pressure Valve (OPv).  To adjust, remove the top hose, unscrew the top cap, and using an allen key turn the fitting inside counterclockwise to reduce pressure, clockwise to increase.  Folks seem to think 270 degrees (3/4 turn) counterclockwise is about right if you don't have (and don't want to buy and use) a pressure guage.

Enjoy!

Dave
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