L'anna water height sensor and possible vacuum valve issues

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Postby GreenBean » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:31 pm

Oh that is disappointing. It must be incredibly frustrating, Chris :( I was hoping that you would have Anna back to her old self by now and could enlighten us as to the cause of the problems. It seems that you are no further forward and are still in a position that you either have to start replacing parts to see what fixes it or to find an engineer who can identify the problem.

I assume that by boiler inspection he was suggesting a boiler safety inspection rather than checking if a descale is necessary or a visual inspection for leaks. From a safety point of view the most important item is the safety relief valve. With a copper boiler corrosion should not be an issue only serious mechanical damage would compromise the safety of the boiler. In a home situation you would know if you had subjected the boiler to such damage. A simple visual inspection may be useful to find leaking fittings but these would not compromise the safety of the boiler. The safety relief valve can be removed, cleaned and inspected or simply replaced if you have any concern that it could fail to open.
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Postby dr.chris » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:06 pm

Its difficult. He was a nice guy and most of what he said made sense but he didnt give us the confidence we had hoped for and we still dont have a working machine. Its a pain and really a waste of time for him and us.

He did talk about replacing the safety relief valve as a matter of course.

The original engineer (who was recommended to us by the local cafe) is due to come over and have a look. He sounds like he knows much more about the Iberitals.

I would be pretty happy just sourcing the flowmeter and relay from HappyDonkey and replacing them myself. But then it is 5 years and it does make some sense to get an expert to give her the once over, you just want it to be a proper expert.
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Postby dr.chris » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:06 pm

Quick update. Different (as in the original) engineer came round (and one who knows the machine) Took maybe 10 minutes to diagnose the relay as the issue and went on his way. He is ordering us a new one so here's hoping...
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Postby GreenBean » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:03 pm

I am sure we all have our fingers crossed for you, Chris :?
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Postby bruceb » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:25 am

Relay? Hmmmm, hope you'll tell us more when you find out if it really was the problem. Wishing you luck!
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Postby dr.chris » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:42 pm

Hmmm. Well the relay was a problem, just not the problem. Its very strange after all these years not hearing the relay going nuts while the heater is active.

Next up is the controller. This is sad given that its only a year old give or take, but with some luck Jason the engineer will be back on Friday with a new one.

I suspect that if it is the controller the problems may be linked to how the relay behaved (lots of arcing and buzzing noises)

At least we went through the other possibilities. Problem resets when you switch the machine off and on so its not a broken wire. Jason bypassed the pressure switch and it still happened so its not that, and it was happening when there was no flow at all so dont think its the flowmeter yet. We didnt talk about the touchpad itself but the controller is the obvious one.
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Postby CakeBoy » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:47 pm

Seriously, we took the same path, it's the flowmeter ;) Several engineers suggested all sorts to us too. Is no flow not much the same as insufficient flow, hence the same issue manifests? :) I'm just so sorry you are still going through so much with her. It will all be worth it in the end though when she is making great shots again.
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Postby dr.chris » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:17 am

Well if the control board doesnt work...

It does trip when there is no flow in the system, just on heating up alone. The only common factor is that she trips on heating, but that she does not always trip or not straight away. If you are prepared to sit next to the machine and switch her off and back on again everytime she trips you can get her up to temperature.

As far as I can tell the flowmeter works by having a rotor with a couple of bits of metal in the end. When flow goes through the rotor spins and induces a current in a coil which in turn lets the controller know that water is going through the tubes.

If its a fault with the flowmeter the most likely issue (other than the rotor becoming fouled in some way) would be water getting into the coil in the flow meter. I would imagine that could stop a current being generated when the rotor spins, so that the controller thinks there is no water in the pipes.

So, for instance, if Anna is trying to pump water into the boiler and the system trips then I could happily point the finger, but that is not what happens.

I'd be very happy to be persuaded otherwise. I am a lot more comfortable with mechanics rather than electrics, but generally speaking all the sensors and meters are simple things, its the controller that works out what to do with the data.
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Postby CakeBoy » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:45 am

Our flowmeter looked perfect too when it was finally changed. I totally get what you are saying and it clearly may well be the control board or multiple issues.

I remember us also having issues with the trip switch on the side at some point and ending up with it replaced as the sensor inside the element was faulting out. That was an odd one too.

Me too, I'm not totally comfortable with electrics either :)
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Postby bruceb » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:17 pm

Oh my, when I read this thread I am the more thankful for my 20 year-old 100% manual espresso machine. It has a big, 0/1 on-off switch, a pump, a heating element, a pressure switch, water sensor and a switch to turn the pump on and off. Oh, and a neon bulb to show when the power is on. In 15 years I have replaced the pump. I am concerned that the heating element will give up the ghost one of these days, but if it does I can replace it myself for about 30 quid. I wish you good luck with your machine Chris. I don't have the nerves for that kind of thing anymore. I kept electron microscopes running for half a century and although I still own a soldering iron I'm pleased to never have to use it.
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Postby dr.chris » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:53 pm

OK new PCB seems to have finally fixed it. Shame we have run out of coffee but that can soon be fixed :)
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Postby CakeBoy » Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:42 am

Oh well done, Thank goodness for that and you are up and running again at last :) See, I told you it wasn't the flowmeter! ;) Not good that you are without coffee though.
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Postby GreenBean » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:21 am

Great news, Chris :D I am sure you will soon be enjoying great coffee again.

CakeBoy wrote:... See, I told you it wasn't the flowmeter! ;) ...
I guess we were all thrown by the fact that a new controller was fitted only a year ago :oops:
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Postby dr.chris » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:08 am

Same here. I suspect its either just one of those things, or that the behaviour of the relay (constantly switching on and off) didnt help its longevity.

You could of course also put the failure of the old unit down to the fitter (i.e. me) as opposed to Jason from Uno who did us a great service popping over Saturday evening to fit the new one.

We did manage to pick up some Barnraiser (coffee circle) from Coffeefix on Sunday. Its not quite to my taste to be honest but Anna seemed to be working very well with it. It was just really exciting to be using her properly after a few weeks.

I expect to be in Manchester at some point (probably several points) this week so will probably aim to pick up some deerhunter from North Tea Power. We have been doing the Monmouth thing for a long time now and need to at least check out alternatives, but are finding the modern style light roast/fruity flavours thing not to our taste.
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Postby CakeBoy » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:08 pm

Having her working well again is always amazing after issues. I remember ours after the new pump. The old one deteriorated so slowly that it was almost missed and the coffee declined in quality slowly. The new pump brought a massive and very sudden improvement.

We had a bag of Deerhunter recently. Very nice coffee, medium but has something about it :)

We find the lighter style medium roasts cannot cut milk to our taste beyond small 4.5floz or so sizes. We keep a stock of Scott's rather meaty, and very tasty, medium dark Italian Blend in for 6oz wake-up capps in the morning and move on to the smaller flat whites and more medium roasts as the day goes on. Never very light roasts though.
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