Posted Sat Dec 10, 2005, 4:24pm Subject: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
This morning while warming up my Gaggia Dandy (similar to the Coffee but has the 3 way valve) for a cappi I heard some loud bubbling and hissing noises. When I went to check on the machine I could see water/steam spitting back into the water reservoir via the steam valve overflow tube, which I've never seen before. The unit also seemed hotter than normal, as if the thermostat had malfunctioned. When I turned off the steam switch and tried to bleed off the heat by running water out of the grouphead with the brew switch, nothing happened. Using the steam knob produced steam but it never tapered off and turned to water like it normally does. I turned the unit completely off and let it cool down for awhile, then turned it back on. Nothing happens at that point, the unit does not warm up and the brew switch does not activate the pump. I replaced the pump about 6-12 months ago after the last one (original?) starting working intermittently. The unit has worked great since then, better than I could ask of a $50 Ebay purchase for sure.
Any hints on what the specific problem is? Is there a fusible link somewhere in the unit that is blown by excessive temps? I have pulled the boiler out and separated the top and bottom pieces; there is a considerable amount of corrosion as I've read is common with the Gaggia units, but the gasket is still in relatively good shape and it doesn't look like hot water escaped the unit other than through the hose that feeds back into the reservoir. I've attached a pic below of the boiler and the gasket. Any help is appreciated.
You might check the main power line, and trace it back with a multi-meter to see if there is connectivity throughout the circuit. Chasing wires isn't fun, but sometimes, its the best way to find the problem.
Posted Sun Dec 11, 2005, 9:46am Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
Thanks for the links. It is possible that the steam valve (shown on top of the boiler in the first pic here) has gone bad, as the steam did seem to be escaping back into the reservoir accompanied by a lot of extra noise, but I think that's what the valve is designed to do, open up when the boiler pressure gets too high. The 3 way valve itself shouldn't be an issue as this problem popped up when I was heating her up for steam and nothing was leaking out of that valve outlet. The root problem seems to be the high pressure in the boiler and where the discontinuity in the power circuit is now. Does anyone know how to test the steam and/or water thermostats? What resistance values they should read maybe?
Posted Sun Dec 11, 2005, 8:48pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
Well, it looks like the problem does rest with the thermal fuse, it was blown in the unit. The fuse is listed as a 184C model but it's unclear if that refers to Celsius or if that's just a part number. The strange thing is that the fuse is wired into the ground circuit which I've never seen before. The fuse rests on top of the boiler so it can detect an overheating condition I suppose, but it's sheathed in silicone wrapping which would insulate it somewhat, raising the temp that the boiler can reach before the fuse is tripped. I'm still not sure why the fuse blew, I'm guessing the steam thermostat is stuck closed so that when the boiler reached operating temp this morning for steam production, the heating element didn't shut off like it normally does. So I'll be replacing the thermostat (both of them to be safe, they're probably the original ones anyway) and the thermal fuse. Hopefully this takes care of the problem.
Jasonian Senior Member Joined: 8 Aug 2005 Posts: 3,856 Location: Lubbock, TX Expertise: Professional
Posted Sun Dec 11, 2005, 9:28pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
Hopefully that's it. I'm willing to bet that if the fuse is heat-sensitive, it's sensitivity is far below that of the melting point of the boiler, and the insulation around it is merely to raise it just a bit so it doesn't keep going out unnecessarily.
jrb1021 Senior Member Joined: 26 Jul 2013 Posts: 4 Location: San Diego Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Jul 26, 2013, 12:39pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
There IS no Gaggia repair information. Importika has no list of "authorized repair shops" in the US. They will graciously allow you to ship your unit to them, with you paying shipping to and from their shop. Then for a mere $45.00 they will "diagnose" your machine. If you decide to have it repaired, probably for 200-300 dollars, per their agent on the telephone this morning, they will "credit" the 45 dollars towards the repair. If not, you're just out the money.
So, to recap, it will cost you 100 dollars to find out that your machine isn't repairable. They also indicate that the "normal lifespan" of their machines is 5-8 years. That seems pretty short given the expense of the items.
Calls to every local "espresso repair" shop in this county got me the information that none of them will work on Gaggia or Saeco machines. "Too unreliable" "Too difficult to get parts" "Not worth the time or expense"
Posted Fri Jul 26, 2013, 7:36pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
Jrb1021, welcome to CG.
You have posted on a thread from 2005 without giving information about what you want to do. Many repairs are best done by the user. I look at the site below to find the machine and parts to help describe what I need.
jrb1021 Senior Member Joined: 26 Jul 2013 Posts: 4 Location: San Diego Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Jul 27, 2013, 1:15pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
I bought the machine pre-owned a little over a week ago.
Although there was a bit more drippage from the steam nozzle than I'd have expected (when it wasn't being used at all), the machine worked well enough for six days.
Yesterday, I turned it on, and got a message that I needed to add coffee beans. The bean hopper was full. I called the previous owner who said she'd never seen a message like that and to check the internet. I called Gaggia. Three times. After the third time (the first two resulting in them sending incorrect instructions for the wrong machine), I was sent a youtube video link made by Wholelattelove demonstrating removed and cleaning of the grinder mechanism. An hour later, the grinder was immaculate and replaced according to instructions. I plugged the machine back in, powered up, and got a "heating/rinsing" message which never went away. I again called Gaggia and was instructed to open the steam knob, which I did. The machine then asked me to close it, which I also did, and I then got a message saying "Ventilate". I pushed button #26 in accordance with both the instruction manual and the verbal instructions of the Gaggia agent. Nothing happened.
They then had me go into menu and reset it to factory settings--which I did. We repeated the sequence. No change.
"This is now complicated. You can send the machine to us, at your expense, plus a 45 dollar diagnostic charge. If you elect to have it repaired we will waive the 45 dollar diagnostic fee. Either way, you pay for the return shipping as well. It's hard to say without actually diagnosing the machine, but similar repairs are usually in the 200-300 dollar range" Plus another hundred for shipping and handling. "These machines typically last 5 to 8 years". Given their initial cost, that would seem to me to be an extraordinarily poor value. For what they cost, they ought not to be considered as "disposable", and I'd expect them to last a great deal longer than that (Capresso, for example, guarantees their pumps for ten years).
Gaggia's US parent company has no listing of repair centers for their machines, authorized or not. Another hour on the phone in San Diego county led me to the information that only one company is even willing to LOOK AT a Gaggia machine, given the difficulty in obtaining parts and the general unreliability of the machines. That company felt that a 200-300 dollar repair (their on the phone without looking at it estimate as well) would not be worthwhile for a machine of this age.
I feel as though I have been ripped off, and I just wanted to share that experience. BTW, I contacted partsguru by e-mail BEFORE there was any problem with the machine regarding possibly replacing the steam valve as well as purchasing their "best descaler". They never had the courtesy to write back at all.
If you have any suggestions, I'd be most grateful. Otherwise, I am planning to see whether anyone has a use for the machine "for parts only" before just dumping it in a landfill. What an awful experience.
Posted Sat Jul 27, 2013, 1:36pm Subject: Re: Dead Dandy! Need Gaggia repair info please
I am still not sure which Gaggia you have, though it may not matter. It sounds like one of the superautomatics with included grinder. Most on the forum stay from superautos of most brands, not just Gaggia. There is too much to fail, and it does. Unfortunately again, they are expensive to work on and often get junked, except very high end machines. Hopefully you can research on the forum and ask questions before a next purchase. Machine reviews outside of forums are not often useful as you do not know the expertise of the reviewer, or how long they have used the machine. Sorry that you are having such a difficult time.
The Classic and some of the simple models have little trouble and are easy to diagnose and work on.
I do not know what you have invested, but you could call PartsGuru or WLL in office hours and perhaps talk to a person.
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