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Steve_M

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About Steve_M

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  1. It is recommended and should be done as you are emptying the boiler of water during the steam process. You need to refill the boiler by running the pump for several seconds and let water come out of the steam wand or out of the grouphead.
  2. This is my 2nd Gaggia refurb. I detailed the first one here. For $65 CAD shipped to my door, there was no way I was going to turn this one down. I assumed it needed some love by the description of "it turns on and the the water heats up, but that's about it". It has the exact same internals as the Classic. Here it is, unpacked and ready to see what's wrong with it. Popping off the shower screen, it was pretty obvious why this machine wasn't doing anything. The holes in the shower plate were also clogged quite bad. All things considered, the boiler wasn't too bad. After a some scrubbing with small wire and brass brushes, a few cafiza and citric acid baths, most of the parts cleaned up nice. By hand, I used a 4mm drill bit to unclog the ingress and egress water holes on the group head. They were still plenty clogged. Now onto the over pressure valve. Unlike the classics that have a hex hole on the adjustment nut, this one required a set of needle nose pliers tips to fit into the outer sides of the nut. It was also seized quite bad and required several applications of penetrating fluid and some heat. This was probably the most stubborn part to deal with in the teardown. With everything cleaned up and now moving, I got it all back together and calibrated the over pressure valve. It was during the OPV calibration that I realized I had another problem to deal with. The integrated drain tube in the plastic housing was clogged quite badly which wasn't letting the water drain. This caused the pressurized water to spray everywhere instead of being sent down the integrated tube and out the front of the machine like it's supposed to. I didn't take any pictures of the unclogging process, but I had to take the whole shell apart and the unclog the drain pipe, which probably took about an hour of jabbing at it with a cut off wire coat hanger and some drill bits. The dried up coffee stuck in that thing was like cement. And now for a little sample of the machine running like it should. https://streamable.com/lvb6e This machine is going to live at my parents place, as my father has been quite envious of the quality of coffee coming out of my Classic. Now they can enjoy the same!
  3. Nice find! This would have been perfect but the $12 in parts are going to cost me $40 in shipping. This is a common thing I encounter when dealing with online US shops. When I use eBay, shipping from the UK to Canada is often cheaper than from the US. Go figure!
  4. I picked up a used '91 Gaggia Baby that's missing the small rubber drain pipe and the steam knob from the top. I can probably replace the steam knob with something else, but that little rubber elbow (Gaggia Part # B0164 ) is proving to be pretty impossible to find. It looks like this I realize this is a UK forum, but if anyone has one, I'd be willing to pay for the part + shipping to Canada, within reason. Cheers.
  5. Not sure if you've left the big rubber gasket in that surrounds the shower plate, but you'll need to remove that to get the shower plate off. I used a bit of heat to remove the bolts that hold the boiler to the group head. Make sure you've got a good fitting hex driver so that you can wiggle the screw without stripping it.
  6. I started with sanding and then used the scotchbrite pads on my die grinder for quicker removal. I used a wire wheel to get into some of the pitted spots. Paint was multiple coats of primer and paint plus a few coats of a matte clear coat.
  7. If the brew light comes on but the unit is still heating up, something is not correct in your wiring. The brew light should only come on when there is no power being sent to boiler.
  8. A regular and bottomless portafilter will yield the same results. With a bottomless PF, you get to see how to shot is extracting by observing the formation on the underside of the basket. This is normally hidden by a regular PF and all you would see is the liquid coming out of the spout. The filter basket that goes inside of them are either pressurized or not. A pressurized basket generally only has a single exit hole and allow the basket to build up more pressure and is often a more forgiving process. A non pressures basket will have hundreds of holes in the bottom and will yield the best results provided you've got your coffee ground properly and have tamped the coffee evenly and with the correct pressure.
  9. +1 for giving this a try. I used this same guide a month or so ago to refurbish the switch on the classic I just restored. Since everything is apart, it's a good time to clean off any corrosion on the contacts. The brew switch will also have a tiny spring and a small resistor that need to be re-installed, so don't lose those, or if you don't have them, you'll need to find them. Here's my $0.02 for re-assembling the unit - start with one toggle switch at a time, inserting the pivot rod through the side of the housing and through the 2 holes of the rocker switch. With that switch in place, use some masking tape to hold that switch securely at the half way point between the up and down position. Move onto the next rocker switch and slide the rod through it, also taping the switch in the middle position. It'll take some patience and trial and error, but it can be done.
  10. The simplicity of the machine is really what attracted me to it. Boiler, pump, OPV and 3 way solenoid. Even the choice of using a neon lamp as the brew light indicator is really neat, allowing the lamp to be lit when the boiler isn't receiving power. It allows me to keep using the brew light even when using the solid state relay. You can approximate the temp even without an external readout by looking at how much the brew light is pulsing off.
  11. Thought I'd share my restoration project here to maybe inspire some others as well as to get some pointers from Gaggia veterans! I wasn't satisfied with my old Breville BES830XL machine and some searching led me to either the Gaggia Classic or the Rancilio Silvia. After watching a couple of teardown videos on the classic and seeing how mechanically simple the machine was, it was the route I decided to take. I found a used Classic from the late 90's for sale and began the project. To say it wasn't well maintained would be a serious understatement! I forgot to take a pic of the machine prior to tearing it apart, but the gold coating on the case was in pretty rough shape and while it seems some folks like the gold look of the older models, it wasn't my cup of tea! Got the machine torn apart here. The bolts holding the boiler to the group head were seized quite badly. Had to use a torch to try and expand the brass on the group head and then I was able to thread out the bolts with some vice grips attached to them. Here's everything laid out and organized so I don't lose track of things As you can see, the boiler and group head were in pretty rough shape. All metal parts ( boiler, group head, OPV, solenoid valve, etc.) got a nice soak in a citric acid bath and I hand sanded the surface of the boiler down to get rid of the pitting. A little more sanding with some 150, 400 and 800 grit and I got the boiler face cleaned up pretty nice. I also did a bunch of hand sanding inside the boiler I ordered up an ebay gasket set and and got everything back together. Now onto the case. I stripped it down to the bare metal and was contemplating leaving it like this, but there was just too much pitting on the front and in the bottom where the water reservoir and drip tray sit. Painted it a "stainless steel" tremclad colour. Turned out alright. We'll see how it holds up over time. Now onto the next phase. Adding a PID controller. I didn't like the look of the external boxes everyone is using, so I decided to use a small arduino + SSR setup and will keep all of the components inside other than a small OLED screen that will sit outside the case. Here's a shot of the boiler with a thermocouple with M4 threads that screwed into the old coffee thermostat location. Testing out the solid state relay with an arduino board I had already made up for another project. This is what the current arduino board looks like. It's not the final state either, but it's much smaller. As is stands right now, I've got the machine up and running and have been using it daily for about a week and it's been running great. I need to finished up the arduino bit and get it all mounted inside. The PID control is working quite well. I also ordered up a bottomless portafilter from ebay and splurged on a nice VST 18 gram basket. Additional things I have planned. Not all of them are high priority: Create multiple pages for the OLED display and cycle through them Read the status of the steam switch to crank up the boiler setpoint for the steam wand. Either add an analog pressure gauge to the front of the machine or use a pressure transducer and use the MCU and OLED to display it Read the status of the brew switch so that the OLED displays a second timer to time the shots Add a second SSR to PWM control the water pump to add a pre-infusion stage The code running on the arduino is here. I'll keep the thread updated as things progress.
  12. Hi, Thanks for the parts diagram. The o-ring I'm looking for is not listed on the diagram. It's inside of the solenoid valve assembly and it should be about 18mm The gaskets you listed are for mating up the solenoid valve to the group head.
  13. Greetings from Canada! I'm overhauling a used classic (late 90's gold model) that I recently purchased and it seems that the solenoid valve assembly is missing the main o-ring seal. It looks to be around 18mm in diameter but not sure of how thick it needs to be. I do know that a 2mm ring is way too bulky and wont allow the valve housing to thread back into the base. Finding a 1mm o-ring in that size is also proving to be a challenge and I'm not even sure that's the correct thickness. Any advice would be great. Thanks.
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