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Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Nuova Simonelli...  
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ShooterMcGavin
Senior Member
ShooterMcGavin
Joined: 17 Feb 2012
Posts: 53
Location: SoCal
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: N.S. Oscar
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:31pm
Subject: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Hi again,
I've run into a bit of a snag in my espresso journey.  When I tried brewing this morning, I thought I had ground the coffee too fine and choked the machine.  However, upon further analysis, I noticed that the brewhead is acting funny... It would sputter and sometimes only steam would come out before any water does...
I recorded a quick video with my phone and posted it on youtube:
http://youtu.be/IDIzok3zFRs

Any ideas what's going on, or how I can fix the problem?  Thanks!

 
Daviiid
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 4:12am
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

ShooterMcGavin Said:

Hi again,
I've run into a bit of a snag in my espresso journey.  When I tried brewing this morning, I thought I had ground the coffee too fine and choked the machine.  However, upon further analysis, I noticed that the brewhead is acting funny... It would sputter and sometimes only steam would come out before any water does...
I recorded a quick video with my phone and posted it on youtube:
http://youtu.be/IDIzok3zFRs

Any ideas what's going on, or how I can fix the problem?  Thanks!

- Chris

Posted March 18, 2012 link

It is normal to do a cooling flush to get rid of the super heated water and get down to brewing temps. The water in the HX tube is heated by the steam boiler so the first few seconds are super heated water. You can alter how long you would have to do a cooling flush by turning down the pressure in the boiler ( lowering the heat) but this sacrifices steam power. I have mine adjusted so I have about 2-3 sec of hissing water and then I flush for 3-6 sec longer to bring the brew temp down to 199f-204f.

Here is a read on managing HX cooling flushes http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

That is not a normal cooling flush Rob, it starts out normal looking then shows gaps in the water at the end of the video.  I believe something is wrong. I am going to guess the pump might be going out. My pump acted different when it died. (you can see video of my pump dieing) Something is stopping the flow of water or pulsing it.  Descale it first, but I am leaning towards pump or maybe a faulty valve.

When mine died it was super quiet on the brew for way way too long, then really loud at the end when it built up enough pressure to finally send some water through the puck.  Just pulling water it looked normal.  The problem only showed up under pressure.  I replaced it before it failed.  I ordered from NS the price was fine but they charged me 17 for shipping.  So I would order from Chris.  And I might have gotten the stronger pump too.  I am not 100% sure the stronger pump works but Chris should know.


Update:
My machine started acting like this more and more often.  This is what I did to fix it.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/577323

 
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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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 2:22pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Could be Helen, The sound of the pump sounded constant and my first impression is the PSTAT is way high, if it was up over 265f it is sort of normal to see that much hiss and sputter for a long flush. Now if the flow doesn't calm down in say 10 sec to a normal flow then looking at other things is in order. I turn my pstat up for large gatherings for steam power to do 12oz of milk in under 30 sec as well as being able to pull back to back to back shots without any wait, this does lead to a very long cooling flush when Oscar sits idle for more then 20min and it looks very similar to the video.

I had a scale build up in my HX tube awhile back since I was doing most of my descaling to the boiler and not enough to the HX, this led to excessive cooling flush since the flow was restricted and when super heated water stopped the flow was around 2oz of water in more then 30 sec, not normal, it took two more descales to just the HX to clear the scale.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

How many turns on your Pstat?  I assume you have the new one.

 
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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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

How many turns on your Pstat?  I assume you have the new one.

Posted March 19, 2012 link

The Sirai Pstat I adjust in half turn increments for fine adjustments. To go from where I have it set to party mode is 1.5 to 2.5 turns (or more, I judge it by the time the hissing takes to come to an end when machine has been idle) , for myself and the wife I have it set for about a 1-2sec flush of hissing and around 5 sec more to get it to 199f. When set to personal mode and pulling a second shot there is no hiss and I do a rinsing flush before prep of the second basket then lock and load. In party mode I prep 3 baskets, idle cooling flush is long but same 5 sec once ended to be at 199-200f then lock and load, pull basket load new, short flush to clear grind and lock and load, etc. the big difference is I will get hissing in 5-8 min of sitting idle which allows me to judge cooling flush to 200f (or whatever I am pulling at) where as personal mode it is a guessing game since there is no hiss to judge when to judge the count down.

The old Pstats I am not familiar with and they require small increments of adjustments to have big affects.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Yes I have the same Pstat as you.  I would like to get the flush lower.  Right now water dance plus a few seconds is about 5-6 oz  I would like it about 4 oz I think.  It was about 7-8 oz before I turned it down.  I am thinking I will give it another half turn and see what happens. I have long idle times because of the low number of shots I pull.  I wish I had a gauge for my portafilter.  I will end up making one but I can't this week.

 
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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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 4:13pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Yes I have the same Pstat as you.  I would like to get the flush lower.  Right now water dance plus a few seconds is about 5-6 oz  I would like it about 4 oz I think.  It was about 7-8 oz before I turned it down.  I am thinking I will give it another half turn and see what happens. I have long idle times because of the low number of shots I pull.  I wish I had a gauge for my portafilter.  I will end up making one but I can't this week.

Posted March 19, 2012 link

You mean a scace? They are not cheap and while they will give you a real world display of your shot temps and humps it may not be worth it until you really require 199 vs 200 vs 201 vs 202 etc.  Honestly since you have a Vario W you could probably train yourself with Redbird, it tastes like a snickers bar at 199-200f with an 18g-18.5g dose 30sec pull after 1st drop appears. If you pull shots after idle most of the time you can pretty much count on that when the water dance stops you are at 205 to 206f and every second more is around 1f less. I know, very low tech but it works and you get to enjoy some great espresso to boot even when figuring things out.

I agree that lowering the Pstat will save you from filling the reservoir as often and I find a 1-2 sec after idle cooling flush still will allow me to steam 4-5 oz of milk in under 20 sec.
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ShooterMcGavin
Senior Member
ShooterMcGavin
Joined: 17 Feb 2012
Posts: 53
Location: SoCal
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: N.S. Oscar
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 4:20pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Rob, Helen - Thanks for the replies!  It may indeed have to do with brewing temperature as I had the machine on for a good hour or 2 before that problem.  the sound of the machine itself didn't/doesn't pulse

This morning, I turned the machine on, let it warm up (with steam wand open) for ~8 minutes, pressed the brew button, and here's what it looks like now:
http://youtu.be/Nsdxr334WnY
I'll admit - I don't know what normal looks like, but it looks better than what I saw yesterday

Here's a double shot shortly after using red bird espresso:
http://youtu.be/gSHfByp1o0E
Uneven.. Grind too fine, tamp too hard, or both?
Taste - a little on the bitter side

thanks for the replies! and congratulations Helen on your new Vario! I'm jealous!!

 
Daviiid
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,150
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Mon Mar 19, 2012, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - Brewhead Problem
 

Christopher, 8 min is not a long enough warm up time to stabilize all the componates, my tests show about 35-45min is what the Oscar takes to come to full stable temps. Your video of an eight minute warm up is telling me your pstat is set very high, there was no water dance but it looked to be stemming hot. Yes the boiler heating light goes off around 8 min but there is a whole lot of metlal that still needs to come up to temp to heat the HX tube and for all that metal to stabilize to temp. I usually let Oscar stay on 24/7 but that is me, if I do turn it off and wake up and need a shot I will still let it warm up for 20 min minimum and pull some water through the group and PF during that warm up to help heat it to get a shot quicker.

The good news is your machine seems to be functioning fine and you just need to learn how to do a cooling flush for those times it has sat idle and allow the machine to get stable before pulling your first shot when just turning it on.

Edit. Bitter shots can be due to Shots being pulled too hot, proper cooling flush can fix this.
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