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La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
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elliottrosenberg
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Oct 2010
Posts: 5
Location: melbourne
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Oct 15, 2013, 9:05pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

Hi all,
Just my Cuadra back after having the element replaced. All seems working fine now.

There seems to be a lot of people having issues now that their machines are 18 months to 2 years old. Is this usual for an h/x e61 machine? Would we expect to see similar issues with more expensive machines?

Cheers,
Elliott
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 474
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 Wed Oct 16, 2013, 5:18am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

No.
More expensive machines use more expensive parts, for the most part.  For example, the auto-fill controller on the Cuadra is so simplistic that it neither turns the heating element off nor triggers a relay to do so.
One of the upgrades that Cuadra owners do is to put in a better power-board (Controller) or a relay to switch element power away to run the boiler-fill solenoid rather than the element when the boiler isn't full.
Having a heating element on when exposed to air is very hard on it.

The Cuadra is an affordable, little $1000 machine with chromed plastic bodywork that is made to look both "Good" and "Like a real machine".  If it is used once in a while, it produces great coffee like any decent E-61 setup.
If used like a real, $2500+, semi-commercial machine and left on 24/7 the shortcomings will reveal themselves.
Shortcomings like the inadequate sacrificial relay, the nylon hose run all the way up to the Heat Exchanger inlet, the Autofill-only Power Board, the routing of the relief-valve hose, etc. can all be replaced and improved upon.

I think you were probably being facetious when you asked "Would we expect to see similar issues with more expensive machines?" though.

The boiler fill solenoid on the Cuadra still impresses me...  I have had calcium issues with the solenoids on both of my Giottos. One I just keep cleaning and descaling, the other I've replaced with a nice big one like the Cuadra's... So far no more problems on the big one.

Anyone else have calcification issues with the Cuadra's solenoid, or does it now always occur at the boiler-inlet itself for everyone?

Every machine is going to have some issues. EVERY machine.  It depends on that machine's own limitations. The more expensive machines may have fewer cheap parts in them, but nothing's perfect. It would cost too much.
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hirschaj
Senior Member
hirschaj
Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 12
Location: Idaho
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cuadra II
Grinder: i-Mini
Posted Wed Oct 16, 2013, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

Brentvdg Said:

...Someone please start up a "Pimp my Cuadra" thread and max it out for optimal longevity and performance. :)

Posted October 14, 2013 link

+1  I would definitely start to upgrade my Cuadra with better parts over time if I knew what parts to replace with what. I'm super happy with the machine itself and would love to improve the reliability over time with DIY projects. SStones seems to be very knowledgable so maybe he could help some of us who are interested in pimping out our machines by providing advice. As for me, I'm an IT geek who could probably create a website to host this valuable information (in addition to upgrading my machine and posting about it).
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Carlitovich
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2013
Posts: 31
Location: NH, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra 006
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 4:50am
Subject: Re: Cuadra won't turn on...
 

SStones Said:

Awesome.
Water is so much cheaper than a new element.  :)

Posted October 11, 2013 link

:)
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 474
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 Thu Oct 17, 2013, 4:51am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

If you scroll through the pages in this "Machines Forum" and read the    Subject: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 1 through 7 of 7, you'll appreciate a very well laid out, step by step account of that job.

 Here is the last of them.
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,249
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 6:21am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

I dont leave my machine on all night and fear scale more than anything else. I use Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water plus Ascaso 24 LT tank cartridge and BILT Osmotic Scale reduction pack.
I test my water with a TDS meter and API 5 in 1 test strips. Here is a picture of my general hardness.

Iluvdabean: photo12.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,249
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 6:22am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

Here is the TDS reading I took this morning along with API test strip.

Iluvdabean: photo.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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FLKirkland
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Location: SC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Nuova Era Cuadra II
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013, 1:04pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

I recently purchased the Cuadra and love it.  However I'm having an issue that I was hoping someone could help me with.  I flushed the machine with 2 or 3 tanks when I first started it up.  I've been using it for the past 5 or 6 weeks daily.  So the system should be flushed.  However, every time I froth milk with the steam wand the milk takes on a strange smell and taste.  I can't explain it, but it is kind of chemically, metallic, burnt combo taste.  It is subtle, but there.  I've tried several different types of water (filtered, bottled, etc.) but they all have the same taste.

I also took a pitcher of ice water and put it under the steam wand and ran it for a couple of minutes till the ice water was hot.  The water in the pitcher smelled and tasted weird too - so I know it is also not the milk.  I contacted 1st Line, but she only suggested trying different water which I'm pretty sure isn't the issue.  Has anyone else run into this problem or noticed it?  Could it be the water softener?  Has anyone tried using the unit without the softener?  Thanks in advance to help from anyone!
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,249
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013, 8:41pm
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

Mine did that for a short time and then stopped. I ran water through the steam wand and the group. I think its normal.
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1stline
Senior Member
1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 492
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 10:36am
Subject: Re: La Nuova Era Cuadra Owners Thread
 

FLKirkland Said:

I recently purchased the Cuadra and love it.  However I'm having an issue that I was hoping someone could help me with.  I flushed the machine with 2 or 3 tanks when I first started it up.  I've been using it for the past 5 or 6 weeks daily.  So the system should be flushed.  However, every time I froth milk with the steam wand the milk takes on a strange smell and taste.  I can't explain it, but it is kind of chemically, metallic, burnt combo taste.  It is subtle, but there.  I've tried several different types of water (filtered, bottled, etc.) but they all have the same taste.

I also took a pitcher of ice water and put it under the steam wand and ran it for a couple of minutes till the ice water was hot.  The water in the pitcher smelled and tasted weird too - so I know it is also not the milk.  I contacted 1st Line, but she only suggested trying different water which I'm pretty sure isn't the issue.  Has anyone else run into this problem or noticed it?  Could it be the water softener?  Has anyone tried using the unit without the softener?  Thanks in advance to help from anyone!

Posted October 22, 2013 link

Sorry, I just returned from visiting many manufacturers at the HOST exhibition in Milan, Italy. In about 1% of customers for ALL espresso machines, we do get an inquiry of a foul smelling type of water. Every water is different and every water has a somewhat different chemical reaction to the metals in a  new machine. In almost all cases of that 1%, we have found the water needed to be changed. I have not yet been able to pinpoint any specific water.

In some cases, there is some mold build up in the reservoir or tubes in the reservoir. These would need to be removed and cleaned with bleach.

 
Sincerely,
Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
www.1st-line.com

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1stline
Twitter: http://twitter.com/1stline
Blog: http://1st-line.blogspot.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/1stlineespresso
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