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Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Rancilio Silvia...  
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insomniac928
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Hong Kong
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 1:16pm
Subject: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Hi guys,

After 5 years of honorable service my Silvia finally seems to be running on its last legs.  She was working fine about 2 weeks ago but after returning from a 2week trip there just seems to be a laundry list of problems.  I'm pretty sure I left her off with a full tank before going on the trip, but upon switching her back up yesterday its just not making espresso and giving all sorts of bad indications.

Just need your advice whether you think this is going to need professional assistance and whether you reckon it will be worth repairing or I should just be looking at a new machine.

Symptoms are as below
- Upon switching Silvia on, the indicator light flashes on as normal to suggest its warming up.  This light never turns off, however, even after 20 minutes later (I switch it off after that long because it doesn't seem like a good sign)
- I can't hear water being boiled at all (i.e. when it cycled previously you could hear water boiling), but the machine does get a little warmer after 10-15 minutes (a lot slower than before)
- Brew function pushes water through the brew head, however, its not hot (but a little warm?).  The water is milky, however (white residue?)
- Water switch similarly pushes water through the wand which is warm but not hot and also contains white residue
- Steam function does nothing other than flash the LED on

There is also one last very worrying symptom I've noticed.  The machine gave me an electric shock twice when I made simultaneous contact with the OUTSIDE of the Silvia and another metal appliance (my oven) so I've left it disconnected now.  The shock was enough to set off my kitchen's fuse breaker both times (though nothing burned/blew).  After the second time though I decided it not a good idea to continue playing with it without a bit of advice.

Any ideas on what the problem is here?
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,098
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

The heater element has failed. On the newer models, both the heater element and boiler body are replaced as one part.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Your boiler might be so caked with scale that the heating element is no longer working and--worse--creating a short inside the machine. Have you ever descaled your boiler? If not, get some citric acid powder from a food supply dealer and mix it into your reservoir. Run through a few warmup cycles and flush out the group until the water is clean again. Good luck!
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,098
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 1:47pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

The fact that you got a shock from the machine tells that current is flowing into the case. I would recommend for your safety that you not use it until you can confirm the problem. (...it also  says that your outlet does not have a GFI or it would have tripped and protected you from that shock.)
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insomniac928
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Hong Kong
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 3:14pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Thanks guys

I took the machine out to a better insulated room and descaled the machine - the water is now clear again, however the other issues still remain.  Guess there must've been some internal damage.

I suspect current is still flowing into the case as well as I got a tingling when I put both hands on the drip tray and made contact with the machine.

Thinking at this point it might be a case best left to the pros
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
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 Mon Oct 28, 2013, 3:27pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Your heating element is cracked, the insulation has come out (That white crap in your boiler water) and the electrical filament inside the element is shorting out to the water or the metal of your boiler.
Quit using it before you electrocute yourself.

You'll need to replace the element. As stated above, on newer models the upper boiler and element are all one sealed unit.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,842
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 Tue Oct 29, 2013, 6:34am
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Agreed, your element was uncovered and it has melted it's insulation. I bought a Sylvia a couple of years ago and documented the rebuild, it had the exact same issue you have, the heater element had gotten too hot and melted the case, exposing the user to shock.  You can do the work yourself if you are handy. To pay a shop to do it, may cost more than you want to put into the machine.

Take a look at my thread, it shows the gunk that builds up inside the boiler and what the melted heater looks like, as well as takes you through the entire rebuild.
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/547829

 
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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insomniac928
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Hong Kong
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 30, 2013, 4:04pm
Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia V3 Problems
 

Thanks for all the tips guys, read through the thread linked... and have decided to drop it with a local distributor to check how much the damages for a repair would cost, as its not easy to get the parts myself locally (in Hong Kong) and ordering from the US can only snap me a 110v boiler (we're 220-240V here)

big bummer.. but on the flipside this might be the timing for an upgrade... :)
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