Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

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Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:27 pm

Hi Group,

I've had my machine for almost 10 years and have just replaced a lot of ailing components in an attempt to improve performance. Main issue is that the brew temp seems too high after the machine has been left standing for more than 30 mins.

If the machine has been stood idle for an hour it takes about 5 seconds after pressing the button for water to be expelled from the group head. When the water comes out there is a lot of steam, I generally have to dispense approx 100ml of water before it stops bubbling. Even after all that faffing around the coffee does not espress well, usually blowing holes in the puck and channelling.

My mate (?) thought there was a hole in the heat exchanger pipe (inside boiler) so I managed to buy up a scrap L'Anna and swap the boiler .. alas the problem is the same after 4 hours more faffing, indeed it could be worse!!

So you experts, can you throw any light on it? After all the pain it causes I still love L'Anna and don't want it to die

Thanking you in anticipation

John
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:55 am

What does the pressure dial say?

Doesn't sound great but hopefully fixable.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:35 pm

Hi Chris and thanks for response. Pressure reads 1.2 bar reliably and heating relay is new. I've lifted the boiler level switch and this has reduced the steaming from group head, there's still a need to purge air/steam from group before water is suitable for brewing coffee
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:29 pm

Have you tried adjusting the pressure switch (? can't think what else to call it - the sensitive little screw under the rubber cap top right back) to get that down?

I try to run my lovely Anna at about 0.8-0.9 although she can be at around 1 before bleeding off the water. I don't like running above 1 and I can't remember getting steam out of the group head.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:04 pm

Hi Chris,

The pressure has always been set at 1.2 bar but I have no idea what Iberital state it should be. I have just adjusted the switch so it trips out the heater between 0.9 and 1.0 bar and will post again when I've had chance to see how it performs.

Thanks again for your suggestions

Regards,

John
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:49 pm

I left the machine standing for an hour and the problem remains. When I pressed the start button there was a 5 second lag followed by steam and bubbling water from the group head. Looks like I need to try something else ... any ideas?
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby CakeBoy » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:42 am

Hi John,

Like Chris, my first thought was the pressurestat. If not that, perhaps you have a flowmeter issue. We had a strange one a while back involving not dissimilar symptoms to your own. Despite stripping the very basic looking flowmeter and it all seeming fine, we eventually changed it anyway and the problem was rectified.

The thing with flowmeters is they are very delicate and it's hard to see damage. It may not be that but water delivery issues often are related and the part is cheap. Scott got us one in a couple of days.

The temperature issue in the head may be a red herring related to the restricted flow.

It is also worth checking seals and return valves. This is an interesting thread and may help shed light, as is this.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:03 pm

As Cakeboy says this is now unlikely to be the problem but just to finish off that thread

I can't remember if it was Scott or Cakeboy who told me about the correct pressure to work at, but I remember being told that about 0.8/0.9 is best for domestic (Occasional use) If Anna is being used frequently, e.g. as a back up in a shop then the ideal pressure goes up
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:01 pm

@Chris - it's interesting what you say about the reasons for reducing pressure, maybe the L'Anna machine has an issue with heat soaking when idle in a domestic environment. My problem has slowly got worse over a couple of years, the pressure has always been set at 1.2 bar. I'll leave it at 0.9 max until I find a solution, thank you for your input.

@Cakeboy - If we eliminate the P.Stat it should be fairly easy to try substituting the flowmeter, I'm not sure where it is though so can you please help me identify it? I have suspected malfunction with, the lights fail to flash after 10 secs when backflushing and shot volumes vary a lttle
- I also take on board your comments about seals & valves on E61 systems. If it's not the flowmeter then maybe the next thing is to get a set of seals then strip and service the group head?
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:26 pm

The flow meter (if it is what I suspect from previous conversations here) is sort of middle back in the case. Its a black disk/puck with pipes connected to it. You open it up there is a small white plastic blade with a couple of metal contacts at its base.

I can't promise but I might try and post a pic at the weekend.

In theory there is nothing to go wrong. It spins, it generates a current which tells the control box if and how quick flow is going through, and that's it.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:45 pm

More thoughts. Basically stating whats probably obvious because it might help to spur some insight.

The water that goes through the head comes directly from the reservoir via the pump and a pipe through the boiler.
The only pressure it should feel is generated by the pump.
The only heat it should feel is what is conducted through the walls of the pipe in the boiler
We know if shes left for a while the temperature of the water in the pipe in the boiler should reach the temperature in the boiler
We know if Anna is having trouble pumping water through the head then there must be either an issue with the pump or an obstruction (e.g. scale) somewhere in the pipework between group head and pump.

If there is any other pressure in the system it will be because there is a fault in the heat exchanger (pipe). I suspect if that was the case then the group head would be dribbling when it was sitting at idle, as there would be a force acting on the water in the head. (This is just a guess)

So we have steam at the head. This suggests that the water feed to the head is too hot. That would infer that the boiler temperature is too high and its where we were going with the pressure stat conversation. It might also infer a problem with the thermostat. However you replaced the boiler so that is probably not the issue

Thinking about what else you have said (about steam and time delay between hitting the button and water coming out) the other possibility is that there is no or very little water in the system between pump and head when its sitting at idle. Why that would be I don't know yet, but it may be down to the pump not working when it should be, which does come back to the flow meter or perhaps the controller.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:30 pm

Thanks again for your comments Chris, unfortunately the problem pesists and this is an update:

Flow sensor tested and no problem is evident. We removed screw from top of Group Head and steam was leaking from the housing. We removed the flow restrictor (nut with small orifice inside Group Head housing) and that was clean (as was the gauze) ... so no signs of any restrictions there. Refitted flow restrictor nut and switched machine back on, as soon as the vacuum valve activated we could hear air hissing (from the flow restrictor nut on top of the Group Head) as steam pressure built up.

My friend who is helping me to fix my machine is an espresso machine technician, he's had several years' experience servicing/repairing Costa machines so he should know his stuff. The only explanation he can offer is that the replacement boiler (from a scrap machine) ALSO has a pin hole inside the heat exchanger pipe ... to me this is an incredible coincidence unless this is a known fault with Iberital machines?

We are still scratching our heads with this one!
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby dr.chris » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:33 pm

I can only sympathize as we went through something similar a while back - not the same fault - but the having an obvious problem and not knowing what it was. (The solution was a 2nd new controller, after the relay had been replaced - which had probably helped to wreck the 1st replacement controller...)

As far as I know the boiler is not a regular problem with l'Anna's in that I don't think its come up here before and I have not experienced it. As you know the internals all feel pretty solid. Having a pin point hole would potentially lead to water being pushed out of the pipe feeding the group head and steam being present.

Still its good to be pushed to think about how she works even if its for unfortunate reasons such as this.
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby johnca » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:42 pm

Yes we're on our third PCB/controller, not a cheap item to replace!! Most people lose their L'Anna PCB's due to water splashes leaking through the machine's top cover and it drips into the PCB casing.

I change the relay most years, fairly cheap but can be scary when they fail (never fail safe, always dangerously). Thanks again Chris

I'm just hoping a Knight in Shining Armour can throw some light on what's happening here
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Re: Iberital L'Anna Fault - HELP PLEASE

Postby CakeBoy » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:46 pm

Oh John, so sorry to hear of the ongoing woe. I agree with Chris, it would suggest flow meter or controller. Similarly not come across boiler issues as described but of course it may well be so.

I tend to rattle on about the flow meter as Chris will attest, and I have been wrong, but we certainly had similar flow issues (no steam though) some years back and eventually changed the flow meter with success. Any slight error can create considerable flow issues and its not something visible on inspection. Presumably you have stripped and checked the pipes for scale and blockages, and tested the pump for consistent pressure? Erratic quantity of water from the head can be a pump just beginning to go. Have you got a manometer portafilter to hand?
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