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Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Ascaso Broken...  
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JoyLeon
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 8:19am
Subject: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Hello Everyone, I'm brand new here but have been lurking in the bushes for awhile ;)

My husband (who is a non coffee drinker) thought he'd surprise my with a used "Ascaso Dream" because based on our current budget, it seemed like a good deal. I'm afraid it's a bit of a lemon though and I'm hoping someone might know if I have a fixer upper or a fit for the dumpster on my hands.

After setting up the dream machine, It lit up like a Christmas Tree the second I turned it on. I let it warm up briefly (Maybe 3 minutes?) and went to to flick on the switch for the steam in order to prime the machine before use and the little indicator light didn't come on. I assumed it just needed some time to heat up? But after waiting a little while longer, still no light. So I made the assumption that perhaps the light was out. I went to open the steam valve and there was no noise at all. No Steam, no water, no thumping sounds. Nothing! So I turned on the switch to pull shots instead and I could hear the pump going and some water was pulled into the intake, but there was no pressure to actually pull a shot. So, I am assuming there is something quite wrong with my steam wand?

Does anyone know what might be going on here?
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biochemgawd
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 86
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Vario
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Sounds like you haven't primed the machine and filled the boiler. Read your instructions thoroughly, but most likely you do NOT want to activate the steam button, or else you might fry the boiler. You have to open the steam valve and activate the pump until water comes out of the steam wand. Keep the pump on and close the steam valve to push water through the grouphead. Run at least one full reservoir of water through your machine before you use it for the first time.

Good luck!
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JoyLeon
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Thank you! I may not have explained this properly from the get go. I initially went ahead and followed this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSgc18zqBNw

And this is where I noticed there was no noise and no water, It seems as soon as I open the valve for the steam there is no noise from the machine at all. But when I close the valve, it sounds like the pump kicks in than and tries to pull through the grouphead.


Hopefully that is more clear than my previous message (I suppose it's really not a steam switch, it's the one on the far right.)

Regardless I will give your recommendation and try and post the results. Thanks so much for letting me know.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,032
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:36am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

The video at 45 seconds they are talking about an AUTOMATIC BOILER FILL MACHINE which you do NOT have. Your boiler is a manual fill. At 2:30 they are telling you how to fill your boiler.

It is MANDATORY for you to fill your boiler after every time you steam and I would say to do it when turning the machine on in the morning too.

Actually, when they say that you must replace the whole boiler on Sylvia, that is not correct. SOME of the older ones do have a replaceable element and even when it is not that series, only the top half of the boiler needs replacement most all the time. To see inside a Sylvia, yes I know you have a dream, there is not much difference between the two in design see the thread I did when I went through a Sylvia for work. I bought it cheep as it had a blown heater and I wound up redoing the whole machine.
"full Silvia rebuild and minor mod with pics."

That is what happens when you do not descale the machine (the gunk in the boiler) and what a blown heater can look like.

So to review.
Your machine will not fill the boiler on its own, you must do it.
There will be  no noise other than steam when steaming.
You then need to leave the wand open and turn the pump on to fill the boiler after steaming.

I think the machine is likely OK and it is just all new to you. Unless, the boiler got empty and the heater was turned on and damaged it. YMMV


After reading your first post again, it is normal that at 3 minutes after turning on, you do not have setam, the boiler has not turned the water to steam yet! It will NOT make any noise until you turn the pump on, then and only then will you hear the pump.

How do you know the pressure was low? When there is no resistance, it will just look like flowing water. Only when presented with the pressure of the coffee in the basket or with a blank disc for cleaning will pressure build at all.

Your machine will need about half an hour to warm up before brewing. The boiler will be hot in less than 10 minutes but the whole machine needs to warm up and become stable, that takes time.

Try this, it should work fine unless the heater has been damaged.

Turn on the main power switch.
open the steam wand.
turn the pump on until water is flowing from the steam wand.
Turn the pump off.
close the steam wand valve
let the machine warm up (30 minutes)
Grind your coffee (pre weighed or weigh after grinding 14 to 20g for a double shot, depending on your grind and coffee basket size.
put coffee in basket and groom
tamp coffee
lock pf into machine
pull shot. a double should take from 20 to 30 seconds for 2 fl oz including crema
remove PF from machine
turn steam switch on
when hot, steam milk
turn steam switch off
with milk steamed set pitcher on counter and turn on pump on the machine with cup or bowl under steam wand.
When water flows from steam wand, turn pump off.
close steam wand valve.
make coffee drink
either clean machine and turn off or clean wand and make more coffee then clean machine and turn off after making sure boiler is full by opening steam wand and turning pump on.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JoyLeon
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 1:08pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Thanks for being so helpful and explaning this to a noob to home espresso like me. I'll give this a try as soon as I get home. I don't think anything should be ruined, I was really too scared to do anything that might wreck it so I turned it off constantly after a short time.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,032
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Sep 20, 2013, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Take a few deep breaths!!! It is OK :D

As long as there is water in the boiler being on for half an hour or two hours will make no difference and neither will hurt the machine.

One thing I do not remember seeing is what grinder do you have?

The grinder is MORE important than the machine, ESP when starting out! It is MUCH easier to pull great shots with a $1000 grinder and a $300 machine than it is with a $1500 machine and a $100 grinder.

You need, let me say that again, YOU NEED, no YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO ADJUST THE GRIND JUST BEFORE THE SHOT! You also need FRESH coffee! That is less than two weeks FROM THE DAY IT WAS ROASTED! You may as well be beating your head against a brick wall without these too CRITICAL things!

Sooooooooooooo many of the problems that new people have come down to old, stale coffee and if they have a grinder, it is not able to grind for espresso. I do understand, it is VERY HARD to spend that kind of money on a grinder when you first start, I know, I was there!

If there is not enough for a quality powered grinder, you can use a hand crank grinder for under $100 while a good powered grinder STARTS at about $350

If your total budget is under say, $700, spend half on the machine and half on the grinder! As the budget goes up the ratio changes until you get to the $750 grinder range, then the improvements that come with higher price, are less and less. For bang for your dollar, in grinders, $700 is the sweet spot.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JoyLeon
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Sep 22, 2013, 1:49pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Hmm, Ok I tried what you had described earlier and still had no luck. So I called in a friend who owns an older Ascaso dream like mine and he couldn't get the water to flow either. So we opened the top to observe and see if we could spot the trouble. Here's what we "seemingly" know.

The pump works fine, the water makes it up and through the pump but it doesn't seem to get passed the solenoid valve. The boiler heats up as well, but I obviously don't want the machine on if there's no water getting into the boiler. I will say there was a ton of air (possibly from the machine not being used for quite some time?) in all the water lines and it did take a bit of time to get the actual water up to the pump in the first place, but I'm really not sure if I should try anything else now, or see if I can track down a replacement for the solenoid?

Thanks
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,032
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sun Sep 22, 2013, 2:01pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Disconnect the line going TO where you suspect the blockage is. You should have water flow. If so, connect it back up and remove the line on the other side of the valve, see if it is operating. If that is the problem, use w volt meter to see if there is power getting to the coil. If the valve does not operate and there is power to the coil, remove the solenoid valve and take the valve apart and check for blockages. If all looks good and it is still broken, replace.

Oh, BTW, remove the power lines from the heater and insulate them to prevent shorting and you can safely work as long as you like without worrying about the heater.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JoyLeon
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 27, 2013, 8:20am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Firstly, I'd like to say thanks again for all the help. It turns out there was literally nothing wrong with the espresso machine at all. The problem? The actual wall plugin was drawing an insanely low current through. So thankfully, my electrician bro in law was able to get it all sorted and I now have a functioning ascaso dream. :D I look forward to learning how to use it properly now and enjoying some tasty espresso.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,296
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Sep 27, 2013, 8:32am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Broken Dreams - Help a gal out
 

Awesome news!  With Wayne (calblacksmith) helping you out, there was no need for anyone else to interfere.

Now that you're up and running, check out www.espressomyespresso.com.  Read article 12 Easy Guide To Better Espresso At Home.  It's under the how to section...and ask more questions as needed.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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