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Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Delonghi ec155...  
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jnmoore
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Mar 18, 2014, 9:32pm
Subject: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Hello all,

I've had the ec155 since may 2012 and used it typically 5-7 times a week, sometimes more sometimes less. I know it's agreed upon to not be a particularly good machine for making great espresso but it suits my needs well enough and thankfully (or not depending on your outlook!) I don't have a very discerning palate when it comes to espresso.
My problem is that it has recently begun struggling to pull a shot. It went from a good flow to a slow flow a few months back and then I cleaned the boiler filter, which I hadn't done before (I know, shame on me) and it improved after that but still not as good as it used to be. Just a few days ago it got to the point where it was barely dripping and took ages to pull a shot and it of course had no crema and tasted awful.

I have now cleaned all the filters and they're definitely clear. I also descaled the machine with citric acid and then vinegar twice as I stupidly had never considered that I ought to have been doing that regularly (Shame on me again). The water flow is still pretty much non existent, though. When running the vinegar or the citric acid mixture through without the portafilter on it had decent pressure, although still not as good as I believe it's supposed to be. However when I run filtered water though without the portafilter or even the boiler filter it has very little pressure and often will barely even drip out.

I should also mention the ready light doesn't stay on particularly long either, although to be honest I never paid attention enough from the beginning to be able to compare how long it originally stayed on. When running water from the tank through just the boiler (no filters) continuously the light goes on and off throughout and whenever it comes on it steams and spits but doesn't increase flow.

The steam wand seems to be working as it always has with no problems. The machine also seems to be heating up properly and the water pressure doesn't improve with longer preheating. I did also switch my coffee a few months back. I was buying pre-ground cafe bustelo (I know...) and switched to Starbucks espresso roast which I'm buying whole bean from the store and having the whole bag ground at once at Starbucks (slightly better, no?? lol). I did notice that it seemed to be more finely ground even then the cafe bustelo but as all the filters are clear I don't imagine that it's playing into things at all however I wanted to mention it so you have all the info possible.

So my question is if there is something more I can do or if it is as I fear and the pump is failing? It seems like the pump to me but I've just read of so many people who had this machine for 4 and 6 years and more before having problems that not even two years seemed too soon for it to be breaking permanently to me. Although it is true that in hindsight I really did not care for it as well as I thought I was and should have been. I am open to suggestions and advice, even if it let it go and get a new one :/ I'm probably not going to upgrade to a better machine though as I really can't justify the significant price difference, just so you know before trying to convince me ;)

Thanks in advance for sharing your time and knowledge!!
-Jessica
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 6:39am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Sorry to say but it sounds like a damaged pump.  Not sure if this caused it but unless your machine has a 3 way solenoid valve to run off the back pressure you should never descale and or use citric acid on it. The EC155 doesn't have one and isn't made to be descaled. Especially with an aluminum boiler.  Machines like the EC155 are made to be disposable really.  Once they breakdown you toss them and go buy a new one.  Plus the price to replace parts on such a low budget machine just isn't worth it. A regular vibe pump on it's own is $50 + tax and shipping.

My advise is to toss the machine and go get a replacement or maybe look into an upgrade setup. If you decide to replace it I'd also grab a "zero water" jug so you can feed it soft water eliminating the need to ever descale the boiler. If you also want to improve your espresso there are mods out there for the EC155 but a good grinder and fresh coffee will be needed.
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jnmoore
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 8:53am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Well thankfully I don't think descaling had anything to do with the water flow problem as I did that in response to the problem and hadn't ever descaled previously.
I had seen it mentioned in the forums here about not descaling this machine too and I'm not sure what to make of that advice as the manual for the ec155 specifically talks about descaling with an agent specifically made for scale or with citric acid and states that unless it's performed regularly the warranty will be void. Now that doesn't matter in my case as I'm outside the warranty period anyway but I find it interesting.

Well, thanks again for your input! The soft water idea is probably a good one as Phoenix does have pretty hard water. And I probably should clarify that I'm not entirely opposed to an upgrade of some kind I would just need it to be around $100 or less and from the suggestions I've read here on coffee geek that just doesn't really seem feasible :)
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 9:16am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

jnmoore Said:

Well thankfully I don't think descaling had anything to do with the water flow problem as I did that in response to the problem and hadn't ever descaled previously.
I had seen it mentioned in the forums here about not descaling this machine too and I'm not sure what to make of that advice as the manual for the ec155 specifically talks about descaling with an agent specifically made for scale or with citric acid and states that unless it's performed regularly the warranty will be void. Now that doesn't matter in my case as I'm outside the warranty period anyway but I find it interesting.

Well, thanks again for your input! The soft water idea is probably a good one as Phoenix does have pretty hard water. And I probably should clarify that I'm not entirely opposed to an upgrade of some kind I would just need it to be around $100 or less and from the suggestions I've read here on coffee geek that just doesn't really seem feasible :)

Posted March 19, 2014 link

Well with that budget if your willing to hand grind and do a few things you can really improve a new EC155's performance.  

  1. You can buy a Hario Skerton for $40, replace the grind adjust disk with an M8 nut to make it a stepless hand grinder which I have been using with my Silvia for some time now.  Makes good espresso grinds.
  2. Use your old portafilter, cut off the bottom where the spouts are and get your hands on a "607706 double basket".  This will convert your portafilter to a unpressurized bottomless portafilter.
  3. Buy some 6 mm hose clamps and a Silvia V1/2 Steam wand.  Open up the machine and replace the old wand with the Silvia. New clamps will replace the delonghi ones you will have to break off.

It's a all a lot of modding and you will have to use a bit of elbow grease to grind but you could have a low budget set up capable of producing espresso that's 10 times better and microfoam good enough to produce latte art.
The machine will be capable of good microfoam and actually good espresso.

Cost is as follows.

- New Delonghi EC155 $100
- Hario Skerton grinder $40 (Amazon)
- M8 nylock/posilock nut $1
- Silvia V1/2 wand $18
- 6mm Hose Clamps $3
- 607706 unpressurized double basket $5

Total cost: $167

I promise you can't get cheaper than that for a setup that can produce good espresso and microfoam.
If your wondering. This was my first setup and I can confirm the results. :)
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jnmoore
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 9:24am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Wow that's great thanks! I had read about some of the mods but having it all laid out like that in one spot makes it much more clear and simple sounding. I think for now I will work on getting the new machine and keep the rest in mind, maybe I can tackle one mod at a time :) and I know I do not have the patience to learn a skill like latte art- no matter how much I love it! But it's nice to know that if I ever changed my mind I could haha
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Jessica, welcome to CG. Your solution may be a new machine as already noted, at least the simplest solution.  OTOH, you may want to try a few things with your machine, and keep some of this in mind if you end up with a new one.  I used a Delonghi EC 701 for years before I knew of the forum.  I believe that the boiler is still stainless in the EC 155, no aluminum parts.  Gaggia is aluminum, I don't believe the Delonghi is.

http://www.wholelattelove.com/DeLonghi/ec155.cfm

Decalcify/descale is recommended and should be done regularly with descale solution, and citric is acceptable.  There are several commercial solutions as well.  Descale notes in the manual

Click Here (s3.amazonaws.com)

You can't backflush without a 3 way, but should descale.

The pump may not be the culprit.  Looking at the diagram noted below, note the parts 56, 57, and 14, 15.

Click Here (www.ereplacementparts.com)

There is a valve and spring that keep a small amount of back pressure in the boiler so that the water does not flow out without the pump running.  A piece of scale can lodge there and partially block the valve and flow.  You can get dripping and/or low flow.  The valve can be removed and cleaned, and you may need to learn that if you stick with non-3 way machines as they have similar mechanisms.

If you detach the pump from the boiler and run the pump into a glass for 30 seconds you will get the unobstructed flow which should be in the 600 ml/minute range if a ULKA pump or equivalent. I only measure for 30 seconds and double, and do not keep the pump running.  You may also find a reasonable rate by just running the pump with the steam wand open.  It ;probably will not run over about 450 - 500 ml/min rate as the diameter may not allow full 600 ml/min flow.  Similar on this thread

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/656355

Hope that this is helpful and not confusing :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 10:41am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

D4F Said:

Jessica, welcome to CG. Your solution may be a new machine as already noted, at least the simplest solution.  OTOH, you may want to try a few things with your machine, and keep some of this in mind if you end up with a new one.  I used a Delonghi EC 701 for years before I knew of the forum.  I believe that the boiler is still stainless in the EC 155, no aluminum parts.  Gaggia is aluminum, I don't believe the Delonghi is.

http://www.wholelattelove.com/DeLonghi/ec155.cfm

Decalcify/descale is recommended and should be done regularly with descale solution, and citric is acceptable.  There are several commercial solutions as well.  Descale notes in the manual

Posted March 19, 2014 link

Well I'll be damned.. :P
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TheRealScubaSteve
Senior Member
TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 11:58am
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Burner0000 Said:

New Delonghi EC155 $100

Posted March 19, 2014 link

If you opt to purchase another machine rather than try to fix it, Top Brand Living site is selling for $67 with free shipping. Not sure of their reputation as I've never heard of them. That would almost pay for a Hario, though.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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jnmoore
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 15
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Wow thanks for all the new info to consider!

Glad to hear that descaling is ok with the ec155 because otherwise I was really confused as to why my manual was saying to do so!

And to be honest I had read people mentioning that parts 14 and 15 may be problem causers but the idea of taking apart my machine was intimidating. I suppose if it's that or buy a new one anyway what harm can I really cause?? Haha. Do you have any information or tips on taking it apart? I'm really not sure where to start or what on earth I'll even be staring into when I get it open! The diagram you linked to is helpful, though.

Also, does the same pump control the pressure on the steam wand and the boiler where the espresso is actually made? Because I assumed they were controlled separately as I had no pressure for the boiler and the same pressure as always to the steam wand. And if so, does proper pressure from the wand indicate the likelihood that the problem is coming from the valve and spring possibly being blocked, or not necessarily?

And thanks for the tip on the cheaper option for a replacement! I saw that amazon warehouse deals has like new ones for about $60 so I would probably consider that since then I get free two day shipping with prime.
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,086
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 1:09pm
Subject: Re: Delonghi ec155 water pressure/flow
 

Here's an exploded view of the machine

View Here

From what I remember you need to first pry off the steam knob and front knob.  Remove small phillips screws for both under the knobs.  Next remove 4 long phillips screws. If you flip the machine over they should be around the grouphead.  Take out the water tank and remove the tank cover and the top should pry off exposing the internals.
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