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Gaggia Tell/LL 2 Group Restoration

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I have nothing to say other than the excitement is building as more parts are added. I did a final clean up of the group flanges before placing the groups themselves on the frame. All valves are also installed. The chrome on the groups is in such good condition in my opinion though other bits like the valves and pre-infusion mechanisim show wear. This is not enough to justify rechroming it all.


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Thank you! I guess I lied and simply could not resist putting the panels on. I'd say among the worst things to do when working on this machine is aligning the panels, being up there with the elec

I have nothing to say other than the excitement is building as more parts are added. I did a final clean up of the group flanges before placing the groups themselves on the frame. All valves are also

I think I'll make this a thing now. For every machine I own I will put my Pavoni Professional, my first machine, on the cup tray (if possible) to show how big these machines can get. What I find prett

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The Switch

Summary: if you do not need to, do not open the switch up. Only do this if you absolutely know something is wrong with it or needs a very serious cleaning. Springs will fly away from you and cause headaches.

The rotary switch for the machine is housed on the frame via two screws. On the back of the switch there are two more screws, one of which holds the ground terminal. Taking these two long screws off will allow you to disassemble the switch. Be very careful in the whole process as there are a lot of springs that will go flying if you even look at them. 


The grey part is the front of the switch, and is where the locking mechanism for the switch is housed. It is a teethed washer that has two parts sticking out from the center. When the switch is turned one of these two parts will prevent you from turning the switch beyond 45 degrees. There is a green toothed gear that holds the mechanism in place





The terminals are segmented, in this case there are two blocks. The bottom one has two poles and the top one has one pole. If this were a 4 pole switch the empty half of the top terminal would be filled as well. For each pole there are two connections that are held in place by a spring loaded bar. These springs rest against a green disk with two dents on the circumference. This is when the switch is 'on' and allows the bar to create a connection between the poles.

The blocks lock together via the poles, and when you are putting them back together it can be very tedious as compressing these springs and inadvertantly releasing them will cause them to go flying, and may take some time to find them with a flashlight. It was not fun doing this and took me an hour to do it properly.











Edited by IamOiman
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This is the extant the rebuild will go until the heating element arrives. Then the testing can begin. Everything has gone smoothly so far but I will not be able to confirm any leaks/tightening adjustments untill then. Total time spent assembling was ~6-7 hours, most of it double checking I put it on right/adjustments. The only thing I regret is not being able to figure out to fix up the scuffed Gaggia tag on the front panel. I am also keeping the sticker of the company that the machine was serviced by at some point as it is a piece of the machine's history and I think makes it unique while reminding me of its origins. The groups both have the 8.5 E61 cafelat silicon gaskets and IMS showerscreens. It took a little probing but the portafilters fit perfectly now. One other thing I will definitely need to adjust is the preinfusion mechanism on the left group. It still feels a little sticky even with a new spring and ball, so I will clean that out again probably. Finally it is the question if the mercury pressurestat will not leak. If it does I will need to fashion a gasket while getting a C-spanner to unscrew it.




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holy... this must be a Gaggia speciality! If you've ever disassembled a Classic switch block, you'll know how complicated simple spring loaded things appear all of a sudden when trying to reassemble

Great progress mate! I can literally feel your urge to put it all back together. Yesterday!

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Thank you!

I guess I lied and simply could not resist putting the panels on. I'd say among the worst things to do when working on this machine is aligning the panels, being up there with the electrical switch. There is no single hole for a bolt to go through but slots that can really take a while to get the panels to all fit evenly...

It looks complete and is the first time the whole machine is together with the drip tray (YES!) but I am still waiting on that element. In the meanwhile it will sport the boxy 70's look on my bench. This is not a perfect repair, whether it was me scratching some parts or other goofs, but I think it turned out alright.

For wiring I intend to order the 12 AWG cable for the inside and SJEOOW 12-3 wiring for the power cable on McMaster.20191129_180111.thumb.jpg.3f573f1935ded36886a96e2eb2d13c69.jpg





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I think I'll make this a thing now. For every machine I own I will put my Pavoni Professional, my first machine, on the cup tray (if possible) to show how big these machines can get. What I find pretty funny is with the portafilter a single Gaggia group is the same if not more than the Pavoni in mass!



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Hear, hear!, to all the above comments - it looks absolutely superb and has been a pleasure to see your photos ? well done you ? ? ? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The wiring I ordered from McMaster came in tonight (really quick shipping, like less than 48 hours after I ordered ON CHRISTMAS). The colouring I selected internally for the machine is the same as my Bosco (as well as EU standards), yellow/green for ground, blue for neutral, and brown for hot/phase. 

I only setup the wiring from the outlet to the switch, and will wait for the heating element to arrive before doing the internals. The insulation for the power cable is pretty thick, and I used an extremelly sharp carpet knife to take it off so I could access the three cables inside. The NEMA 5-20 plug I bought is very handy as it colour codes each prong (I often forget which is hot and which is neutral) when connecting it to my wires. It was pretty straight forward to assemble; I just needed to check the stripped wires had a good contact then tighten the securing screws on the plug.20191227_194033.thumb.jpg.9befec18915af4483e16156b2ed899e8.jpg




I played around with how I wanted to arrange the terminals I crimped with the rotary switch while being able to fit the plastic sheathing. I specifically want it on so I do not risk the switch becoming damaged from water while the machine is in use, so I will need to adjust it.

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ah good old wiring hassle... lots of time and efforts go in for no real visible gain only if in the end everything works as it's supposed to

good job!

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  • 1 month later...

It is approaching 15 weeks since I ordered that heating element. I was told 16 weeks was likely when it will be ready so I will see what happens in the coming week!

I ordered and received a standard Sirai p-stat to use for the machine. I did this because there is a chance this machine could be used for a business as a complimentary coffee provider at a relative's business. I am now going to be adding modern safety features like a thermostat as well when I find one I like. I was orignally going to use the La Marzocco 2-pronged thermostat, but it appears to be limited to 16A. Are there any suggestions for a thermostat that can be on 20A or more?

I set up the wiring for the semi-permanent arrangement in the machine. Whenever I select and receive the thermostat I will add that in addition. Literally the only portion missing is the wiring to and from the heating element. Whether I keep the p-stat in its orientation remains to be seen, but it is supported by the old bracket.

It also remains to be seen if I only want a zip tie holding the power cable from tugging at the switch.


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  • 2 weeks later...


After nearly 17 weeks, the element arrived today! I finished the wiring with that and tightened the bolts on the element. Be careful if you use brass nuts as in my vigor I stripped 2 accidentaly and needed to use some new ones. I would prefer my nut to be stripped over the flange bolt anytime.

It came as advertised, though it says 110V on the element. I cannot confirm right now if it draws the calculated current of 16.67 amps or a higher current right now.


Everything was ready for the first test. I brought some towels and had a drain line + bucket if I got that far. I selected 5/8" ID tubing to fit the drain tub snugly. I turned on the machine after presumably a decade or two of storage, and it heated up without issue! I tightened some pipe fittings as it heated up but nothing leaked from the boiler fittings, groups, or heating elements. In fact the only leaks I had were a loose safety valve as I filled the boiler from there and the manometer 90 degree fitting, both of which can be easily fixed.




Now to whether the machine is functional, let me just show these two vids and you make the call :D

Please do not mind my grunts as I pull the levers down...

The next things to do are fixing the small sputtering on the manometer piping and testing the machine out with coffee!

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I pulled two more shots yesterday with a little more coffee and finer grind, yielding me very paletable results. I was so excited I let it run a little overextracted but it still tasted good!


I have the right panel and cup holder taken off when testing the machine. I do put the cup holder on when I want to pull a shot, and the cups warm up quickly. If I had my normal towels covering them it would take maybe 5 minutes to get that nice, hot temperature. I noticed after the first heatup the boiler changed from a rosy pink to a full copper sheen, probably reacting from the heat. The pipes had this effect a little bit as well. I changed out the safety valve as the old one appeared weak and I want to be safe. The new one is much smaller (I used a 25mm wrench for the old one and a 20mm wrench for the new one) but still uses the odd M19 thread seen on Gaggia machines. Aparantly some La Carimali machines have this thread as well.




The manometer piping has been fixed up and no leaks are apparant right now. I tightened some boiler bolts but they were still pretty snug even after cooling down completely. At this point the only thing sputtering is the safety valve since the copper washer is normally a one time use part but I am using it until I hook the machine up to a pump. It emits a little steam from the threads very slightly but does not impact machine operation.

The single portafilter was missing a plastic ring towards the base, and as a result it was loose on the handle. I temporarily fixed this by grabbing a used gasket that originally held a Faema steam valve to the machine. It was a perfect fit to keep the portafilter snug!



The heating element resistance was measured, and I got 7.5Ω on my readings. At 120V I calculated the power to be 1920W. I am pretty ok with this slight difference in power and the machine heats up to pressure in 25 minutes at just under half full in the boiler and reaching operating temperature in about 70-80 minutes, a similar time frame for my Bosco. It also might mean I could squeak by with a 16A thermofuse but I will need to wait for that when it arrives with my Ascaso order. I am ordering the same one Paul Pratt uses for his machines, branded under La Marzocco.

The last thing on my mind is how the p-stat is held. In its current position there are two issues: it will be tedious to alter the pressure setting once the panels are on as the adjusting screw is only accessible when a specific panel is taken off. This may not be bad for me as for my other machines I have never altered their settings once I have it set during initial setup. The other issue is the bracket that originally came with the machine will not fit the thread connector on the p-stat. It is too narrow on the slot. For now I have the whole p-stat resting on the nut of the pipe, but I do not want to keep it like that. I am probably going to fashion or acquire a different bracket to answer this at some point but I do not believe it will damage the pipe over time.

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More testing today! I sealed up the safety valve with some teflon tape and as of now there are no visible leaks. The pressurstat cycles on and off every 2 minutes and 15 seconds on average, which seems a little low in duration. My Bosco cycles every 5 minutes idle for comparison, and the deadband in pressure on the Gaggia is about 0.1 bar. There may be a very small steam leak somewhere so I will need to keep my open. 

I cleared a bench off to throw the coffee accessories on when pulling shots. I cycle between groups with the same portafilter to check they behave similarly even with the slightly different 80mm hex spanner height. I have not really noted a difference so far. 



I tried the steam wands today. The left one was full of black crud so I used a pitcher with soap and water to clean it up but the right wand was ready for use. It froths very quickly like my Bosco 4-hole steam wand.


Some general notes about the Gaggia group. It seems to run hotter than the CMA/Astoria group on the Bosco, though the groups are more directly connected to the boiler with the Gaggia. I reduced the pressure as a result to about .9 bar. I do not need to do warming flushes either with the coffee I am using. It is just walk up and pull. One big difference between the Gaggia group and the CMA/Astoria group is the amount of time I need to leave the portafilter in the group to prevent sneezing. I can take out the portafilter about 2 minutes after the shot finishes while Gaggia takes about double that time. The puck is still a little wet even then, but it has not dampened the quality of the shot at all. 

The machine itself is a heat sink. I would not really want to run this in the summer time at home competing against my AC unit as the large copper boiler and massive groups are quite toasty. Perhaps I could insulate the boiler to mitigate this and also reduce electricity consumption. No serious issues have cropped up and I am almost ready to start using my mineralized water used for my other machines. The tap water here works in a pinch but can scale up the boilers after prolonged use. Pretty giddy and cafeinated right now so I need stop myself for today!

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  • 11 months later...

Well, it is finally time to use the cabinet for the original reason I ordered it. I switched out the President for the Gaggia LL tonight and did a test heat up. It had been a while since I turned it on so I brought to pressure, drained some water, experimentally pulled a shot without really drinking it, and tightened or sealed any slight steam leaks, mostly from a steam wand I had to adjust. This was also the first time it turned on with the new wiring, as the old wiring was suffering from loose crimps since it was before I bought my current ratcheting crimping tool.




I also adjusted the piston height a little, so that the bottom could get as close to the shower screen as possible without touching it. This resulted in removing one of the cap nuts. I had to do this as with the 4 v-ring and gasket stack the upper group sticks out higher than the original configuration, and to achieve the low height for the piston the lower nut had to go. It involves some tinkering with the preinfusion mechanism so that it resets after pulling the shot and returning to resting position.





Outside of the small stuff I am just hoping the gasket stack is still good to go. It is not that difficult to change out but I have none on hand. I also figured out the drain tray actually takes a 3/8" BSP fitting so I just hooked up a SS hose rather than the big tubing.



Edited by IamOiman
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This is as far back as you can go with my threads, as this was my first project! I am not sure if I can ever let go of this one as I was aided along by a friend who passed away this year, OldNuc. Really helpful and nice guy.

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Gaggia is all tuned up now! It needed some adjusting with the piston height but now I can get a full volume shot while still being able to engage the preinfusion mechanism. The offset lever is just so cool I think. Cat tax included.






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