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Franzpan

Fracino Classic Woes

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Hi guys, some of you may have read my previous thread about identifying a Francino machine that I was thinking of buying. Well I went ahead and bought it and now I'm wishing I hadn't.

 

The seller had sold it to me, saying he had taken it out of his cafe almost two years ago when he upgraded to a two group machine, it's been in his garage ever since and hasn't been tested since removal but was working when it was removed.

 

The machine looked great, really tidy without a mark on it, I was over the moon with it, thinking I'll have it running with very little or no work.

 

How wrong was I!! I hooked the water up when I got it home, can't wait to pull a shot on it in a few mins.... Uh oh! Water flooding over the bench. Not good. So took it out to the workshop thinking the water hose has probably got kinked and broken. Proceeded to remove the top of the machine. Shock!!! Horror!!!! Missing bits everywhere!

 

So now I have a great looking coffee machine with parts removed and maybe some missing altogether. Check out the photos below.

 

Parts that were lose in the bottom of casing

IMG_20140505_144228_zpsl1ctpita.jpg

 

Loads of disconnected pipes at side of boiler

IMG_20140505_144319_zpskdkncxy3.jpg

 

Something missing from top of boiler, also a loose wire

IMG_20140505_144334_zpssg6yzwdv.jpg

 

Gicar controller lying on bottom of casing. I take it this should be elsewhere?

IMG_20140505_144346_zpsj7btuvdj.jpg

 

So as you can see it's a bit of a mess, I contacted the seller who is telling me he was unaware that it was like this and that he will contact his engineer who removed and drained it. And get back to me.

 

So I don't know what to do, part of me wants to fix it cause I really want the machine. The other half of me tells me no, the parts have obviously been removed because the machine wasn't working.

 

Waiting on the seller getting back to me with an explanation. Tbh he seems like an honest trustworthy kind of guy but something doesn't add up here.

 

So my questions: Judging by the removed parts can anyone tell me what might have broke and what the symptoms might have been? And what is the missing part at top of the boiler? Does there look to be a lot of parts missing?

 

Thanks guy's.

Edited by Franzpan

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How did you pay off or it . It doesn't work get it sent back if you can .

this is one of the pitfalls of buying a machine that isn't connected and working for inspection unfortunately.

doubtful an engineer will remember form 2 years ago , and it sounds like dodgy story truth be told


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Hope you manage to sort it out or get your money back.

 

Things like this is why I'm always put off for buying second hand equipment

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If you got it cheap it might be worth making a project of it.

 

If you paid a price commensurate with a working machine getting your money back may be the best bet.

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Looks like the machine was dismantled for a major overhaul, job stopped, then forgotten about.

Unless you know your way round a commercial espress machine, I would suggest to retreat gracefully & try to get your money back (quote "sale of goods act" etc....).

 

The missing part may be either the hot water pipe or the steam pipe - they connect to the relevant taps. BUT the hole also is situated where the boiler safety valve should be - don't know why a new connector has been fitted, as the Fracino safety valve (male thread) always screws into the boiler casing (female thread) The lead to the water level probe appears to be missing.

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Thanks for your replies guys, espressotechno I had came to the same conclusion as you, it must have been a started overhaul or repair that was forgotten about.

 

Upon further investigation I seem to have all the components. Have looked at the Fracino parts diagram and the hole in the top of the boiler is indeed for the pressure safety valve. Which I have as one of the loose components.

 

I'm in two mind whether to try and repair it or not. Don't know much about espresso machines but I'm generally able to pick things up and fix things as I go. ( don't know much about car mechanics but managed to change injector seals on my fiesta =p )

 

I paid £100 for the machine so have a good wee bit to spend on parts before it becomes an expensive machine.

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Made some progress tonight. Haven't done any assembling other than one pipe but figured out what everything is and where it goes. I seem to have all the parts which is good bar one nut.

 

So a few question's:

 

I don't have the nut for the inlet solenoid picture below, could I use any nut and washer that fits? Would the nut need to be a certain type of metal as I take it the solenoid works like a magnet? Or would I need the exact nut made for the solenoid?

IMG_20140506_200118_zpsndcmohb_edit_1399405233768_zpsefpevyzs.jpg

 

This pipe was lying loose on the casing, I take it I have put it in the right place, going from the manifold to the intake of the flow metre?

IMG_20140506_200219_zps3parssi_edit_1399405428126_zpscmfbeh47.jpg

 

Have found what looks to be a lock nut, have absolutely no idea where it goes, any ideas? It has a shiny finish which makes me think it's off the front of the machine somewhere where it would be seen.

IMG_20140506_200553_zpstdqh3nqa.jpg

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WTF has his engineer got to do with it!? Get your money back pronto


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£100 for a self-assembly Classic seems pretty good to me!

By the time it's up and running you'll be more familiar with its workings than most folk are with there's - and that would give me a great sense of satisfaction.

Good luck with it.

 

cheers, cw

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Thanks Chris, yeah even just from doing a bit of research and reading I'm gaining a better understanding of how they work. I feel better about the machine now, when I first opened it up I was gutted, there where so many lose pipes and holes in the boiler and it didn't look like I had the parts for them.

 

I think I'll get it back together no problem though, just so long as none of the major components are broke, electrical items are expensive :(

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Got it all back together tonight. Filled the boiler to half way up the sight glass manually then proceeded to switch the machine on. Was met with all the lights on the automatic touchpad flashing and a being alarm sounding. Heating element didn't come on nor did the pump. Also noticed an orange light was on on the flow meter. Do these machines require programming? Or does this point to a particular fault?

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I have no idea but it sounds like you are very close to getting this sorted and I take my hat off to you! I know fracino have a tech support line number where you can speak to an engineer 0906 906 6666. I suspect though it wont be available until Monday morning at a guess

 

I would imagine its one of three things, either the wiring has an issue, or there is some sort of safety that needs resetting, or it might need a new control module thingy (see how knowledgeable I am!)

 

I will see if I can dig out the manual that came with mine. although mine isn't an auto like yours it will have instructions and troubleshooting for the auto so I will let you know if I find anything interesting/helpful


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Hmm, that's odd I'm sure I recalled seeing a trouble shooting guide in the literature but I have just checked and I don't see one. Maybe that was in the cherub books?

 

Anyway, are you sure the element doesn't heat up at all even if you leave it on for a while? The literature I have refers to guidance that if the machine heats up a little bit only it means there is an air lock in the system that needs bleeding out.

 

I also just found instructions on how to change the brew pressure which I'm delighted about!


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Thanks for checking that out for me Cam. I think Fracino support will be my best bet. I only left the machine on for a minute max but I'm pretty sure the heating element didn't come on, as with my Heavenly as soon as you switch the machine on you can hear the heating element making noises as it heats up.

 

Wanted to ring Fracino this morning but was so busy on work I didn't get a chance, most likely closed on Saturdays as you say though. Will ring then on Monday.

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Any further progress yet? I just came across this thread - I'd say you're doing quite well so far, and you're not that far from getting it working.

Message me if you need any advice - I could probably take you through a few things to try to work out waht the issues are!

Good luck!

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Nic, you just replied as I was typing my last post. I'm just home from work so will be going back to try the machine now. I'll see if I have any success but I'll most likely be calling on you for some help. Are you familiar with the buzzing alarm at all?

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no leave it for longer than that! My classic seems to take a couple of mins before you can discern the heating element working


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"Buzzing alarm" is a strange one - I wouldn't expect to find an audible alarm on a machine like that.

The flashing lights are likely an alarm signal - that would be more normal.

I suspect that the buzzing sound is something else. Did you find a nut to go on the inlet solenoid valve coil? That could buzz quite loudly if it didn't have a nut holding the coil down.

let me know how you're going - I can give you some pointers as to how to proceed if you need!

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Sorry that was a typo in my earlier post, it should have said 'bleeping alarm'. Its a fairly loud alarm coming out of the gicar control unit.

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Sorry that was a typo in my earlier post, it should have said 'bleeping alarm'. Its a fairly loud alarm coming out of the gicar control unit.

 

low water alarm, probably on pin F9, depending on the age of your RL30 unit and indeed if it is an RL30.


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Thanks for the help so far guys. Just been out and switched the machine on again, this time leaving on for 5mins. The boiler is heating! The alarm was drowning out any sound of the boiler lol. So it heats up but there is still the alarm sounding and the lights flashing. Buttons on the touch pad don't do anything.

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Alarm could be boiler level alarm? ,my cherub had a fairly low pitched alarm to warn about boiler level. May need a sensor replaced perhaps?


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From your pics, I only see one level probe - if there were two, then I might suspect a low level warning, but with only one.....I doubt it.

If it was me, I'd start disconnecting electronic components one by one, to see if something is causing the alarm by not working correctly: flowmeter (also worth checking that it's connected the right way round), then touch pad. Also worth checking whether or not the fill control is working properly - if you disconnect the wire from the level probe, the inlet solenoid should open, pump should run, and the boiler should fill; earthing the wire (by touching it to a metal bit of the machine, boiler or chassis) should stop it filling.

Possibly time to start thinking about the fact that you MAY need a new electronic control box...I still think may: might be something else causing the symptoms!

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Thanks Nic, I have tried disconnecting the level probe: nothing happened, earthed it: nothing. Disconnected the touchpad ribbon from Gicar box: nothing. Disconnected the flow meter: still nothing.

 

If the inlet solenoid was faulty would it cause the system to shut down? I think it's the same solenoid to the one on my Heavenly so I could try it in my Heavenly to see if it works, or is there an easier way to check?

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