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Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Used Oscar...  
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 6:27pm
Subject: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

I recently bought a used Oscar from a lady who owns a business and she had two of the Oscars for sale for 650.00. She said she bought these machines for her once a month meetings office and that the machines had only been used for one year. I offered 450.00 and she accepted and said if I wanted I could buy the other later at the same price. I decided I should try one out at a time as many things "could" be wrong. I brought machine home and learned what a newby I am by not letting machine warm up long enough and not opening the steam wand to equalize boiler pressure, not flushing water through to ensure portafilter nice and warm. So, the result was warm expresso shot that spurted out in 8 seconds yaagh!
I have to mention the lady used the machines for ground coffee. I checked and the machine is set up for ground coffee looking at the screen under the group-head and from looking at pictures. The lady handed me some brand new portafilters never used and a back-flush dish which she had no idea what it was; she called it a little flying saucer do-dad and gave me a tamper and didn't know what that was either so she must not have been making espresso with machine.
Notes: about machine: once machine heats up nicely in "30" minutes (instead of previous 3) The steam is strong, and during 30 minute warm-up period the heat light cycles on for a while, then off for a while machine is warming up.
**Note** owners manual says nothing about heat light going on and off during heat up. The owner manual only says that it takes 3 mins for boiler to heat up. I learned from forum it takes 30 minutes.
Questions:

  1. When machine is heating up is it normal to hear water cycling and the heat lamp to go on and off? and continuously if machine left on to keep temp up?
  2. Steam is strong but I put some in a shot glass and looks like white partical substance on bottom of water in glass. Probably never backflushed, I watched this done on utube. Will Back-flush with detergent clean steam? (or will I have extra calcium in my steamed milk)
  3. I watched descale on utube with italian guy descaling through steam wand by laying machine on side. Should I attempt this or would you recommend I send to Shop for descale?
  4. The portafilter basket only has holes about the width of a half dollar size in the middle of basket. Is this normal? I'm used to baskets with holes on all the bottom. Also, I used all my muscle and I can't get the basket out of the portafilter; I'll keep trying.
  5. Last question. I live in Saint Paul, MN. is there anywhere I can take my machine locally for fixes? I only found companies in California that said ship it UPS.

I've decided to leave machine on 24/7 so it will always be heated. I'll have to remember to purge a second of steam to equalize boiler pressure.
Tomorrow I will get a small amount of espresso grind from the coffee shop and try machine while it is totally warmed up. I'm waiting on my Baratza Vario grinder to come Fedex.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 7:44pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

Steam wand has milk in it. Does the steam smell funny?  If so the boiler has milk in it. Check out my sig file link.  450 is a good price.  Less than I paid for mine.  You need to find out if you are set up for pods or grinds.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

Steam does not smell funny just see a white chalky substance in bottom of shot glass.
Should I attempt descale?
Also, how do you know if your set up for pods? Shower screen appears large enough for ground coffee.
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 8:00pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

Not sure what sig file link is.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

the link at the bottom of my post.  Go to chriscoffee.com and look at the pod kit to see how you are set up.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

Sorry I was too busy to post a long reply yesterday.  I would not bother descaling it just yet. If used as little as she and only one year old they would not need descaling unless your water is the worst hard water ever.   I wish I could find a one year old machine for that price.

It is really possible if she did not know what she was doing she got pod set ups.

The heat unit pops on and off all the time, probably it is fine.

That basket you are talking about is the single shot (or maybe pod) and it is silly.  Toss it or hide it.  Get the double shot and don't look back.  I did not like the NS baskets at all and my tamper would not fit them (it would not go down past the ridge) I bought VST Baskets

You take a paint can opener, butter knife or screw driver and pop the lip of the basket up like a paint can all the way around till it pops off.  I also cut the bottom off one of the 2 handles I had to make a naked portafilter and it is all I use. The normal one has the backflush disk in it and I sometimes use it to split a shot if I have guests that don't want double shots.  (rarely)

You can fix oscar if you can turn a screw driver and have metric tools.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

I figured out how to get filter out. I saw pictures of what pod set up looks like. I believe I am set up for ground coffee. My shower screen in the group head doesn't have a screw its a hole you would insert alan-wrench I tried to unscrew so I could look at the difuser size but it was to tight and not sure whether to go left to unscrew since foreign machine. I took pictures of my shower screen, portafilter baskets, and the shot glass with water in it from steam to see a bit of particles. The steam really isn't foul smelling but does have a slight odor.  
I looked under the machine and though the lady who sold me said she only used machine for one year, the manufacturer date says 2005 so I guess machine is 8 years old. Maybe she had them in storage. Anyway, here's some questions:

  1. Can I post my pictures to this; if so, how?

  2. I will descale machine tomorrow through steam wand by laying machine on its side opening steam wand to purge water out. Then I will right machine add descale to water in appropriate mixture in reservoir heat machine repeat process then purge clean water through.
    If milk is present in boiler will this solve problem? I thought milk could not get into a Oscar boiler.

I have to figure out how to get steam tip off of nozzle before I attempt purge.

Notes: Machine heats up nicely in 30 mins and steam pressure is a monster. I'm still waiting on my Baratza vario 220 settings. I got a bit of espresso from caribou and had them grind for espresso so I could test machine again. This time after 30 minutes machine was warmed up, portafilter was hot, I removed portafilter, added coffee and made a shot. It came out in 10 seconds to fast but was piping hot, just a little crema not enough, but the shot was not sour, the color of the crema was caramel and the espresso was very dark brown. The grind probably was not fine enough. Im glad I spent alot for a good grinder and cant wait it to come ups and see if it solves my shot time problems.
Tomorrow, Im playing with Gaggia Classic with PID to see how well it does.

 Autorun.inf
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,040
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun Sep 1, 2013, 7:48am
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

  1. Milk can get in if they don't flush the steam wand or they don't know what they are doing.  I would say that is possible, but if it doesn't stink it is probably not bad.

  2. I would get to know the machine before you descale.

  3.  You can only do one very small photo at the time and it is at the bottom of the page when you post.

  4. Unscrew the tip carefully, if it is old it could be chromed brass and easy to bend.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 1, 2013, 8:27am
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

I will take your advise and hold off on descaling. I have read that HX machines should not be descaled. Also, if descale is done unwanted particles can wind up in the wrong place and cause harm. I heard best to have tech open machine and do descale with boiler apart. (for us newbies)
I am waiting for Baratza Vario deluxe grinder to arrive next week. I will test performance of machine with proper grind once I discover best setting (220 settings).
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osteenjames
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 49
Location: St Paul Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 1, 2013, 4:09pm
Subject: Re: Used Oscar Simonelli Semi-Auto machine Questions:
 

I could post picture from my droid but this forum says 75kb size only and smart phone size is larger.
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