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Mara X: Redirect OPV discharge water from drip tray to re-use – easy mod instructions (with pics)


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What?
This easy mod is to re-rout the water discharged from the over pressure valve (OPV) so that instead of being dumped in the drip tray and wasted, it will get reused in the machine. The mod is easy, cheap, invisible and completely reversible.

Why?
One of the very few complaints about the Mara X is that it dumps the OPV discharge water to the drip tray. Re-routing will (a) reduce water waste; (b) reduce the water that ends in the drip tray. This results in less need to fill the tank and less emptying of the tray.

How much water will be saved? Is this worth doing?
The amount of OPV water discharge varies by shot time and puck resistance (For example, @disq measured that 85ml of water was reclaimed in a ~49 second shot; My own experiment showed that water in the drip tray after one heating cycle and shot reduced from 125mm before re-routing to 40mm after – so about the same). This is not a huge amount, but it adds up, and if you invest in the water (bottled, re-mineralise etc.), you might not want to through it away and fill the drip tray with it.

So why does Lelit dump the water to the drip tray? Is there a disadvantage to re-routing?
Many (most) tanked machines return the OPV discharge water back to the tank. (e.g. Gaggia Classic, Rancilio Silvia, Lelit Elizabeth and more). This was also the case in the first prototype of the Mara X, but that was changed in the production model.

According to @DavecUK, the dumping of the water to the drip tray was meant to enable provision for a neat in-tank filter in the bottom-fed water tank, with no messy tubes entering from the top. However, you can do this mod and still use the in-tank filter; and if you don’t use the filter - it’s even easier.

How hard is it to do the mode?
This mod is very easy. I took my time and maybe spent an hour, but the actual job is very quick: just pop a few tubes from their fittings and connect them differently.

What parts are needed?
The mod requires two 3-way 6mm connectors (cost £6) and that's it. I used one Y-shape and one T-shape, but you can do it with two Y connectors. I used brass for durability and heat resistance, but you might be able to get away with plastic connectors).

Y connector: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRASS-barbed-Hose-Y-Splitter-Joiner-Connector-Available-in-4-sizes/302640867070?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=601489110379&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

T connector: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SOLID-BRASS-barbed-Hose-T-splitter-joiner-connector-Available-in-6-sizes/301942646786?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=600744504401&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

(Halfords sell a pair of plastic Y connectors if you don’t want to wait for brass to come in the post: https://www.halfords.com/tools/fuses-electricals-and-fixings/fixings/halfords-hose-connector-y-piece-6mm-hfx373-869180.html).

Optional parts:
@DavecUK suggested fitting a one-way no-return valve if you want to keep using the in-tank filter: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/One-Way-Valve-Sprung-Plastic-Barbed-Non-Return-Inline-Water-Air-Car-Gas-Liquid/251338340002?hash=item3a84eeb6a2:g:5xQAAOxyNExSMi3I. (This part is to ensure that water from the OPV discharge will not push back to the tank, potentially lifting the in-tank filter from its seat).

@MediumRoastSteam suggested using cable ties on the connections to secure them, and extra silicone tubing so that you can keep the original tubing intact if you want to reverse the mod. I didn’t use cable ties as my fittings a barbed and seem very secure as they are. I also didn’t need any extra tubing: I ‘borrowed’ 4-5cm of tube from the in-tank hose loop that I don’t need (because I don’t use the filter), and kept the original tubes inside the machine intact (so everything is reversible to original condition). However, I found that the tube from the bottom of the tank to the pump is long enough, so if I wanted I could do all the connections without any need for extra tubing borrowed from the tank.

I am convinced, what do I need to do (see pics below)?
1)     Remove the top panel and the main part of the case of the machine. See instructions in DaveC’s excellent video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhZG5tcqj3A&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=DaveCorbey

2)     Identify the OPV (pic below). Follow the hose that comes out of it. It terminates in a brass X connector.

3)     Carefully remove the OPV hose from the X connector, and re-route it behind the boiler to the other side of the machine (to where the hose from the bottom of the tank enters the pump - pic below).

4)     Either cut the hose connected to the pump a few cm above the entry and connect the T connector to the hose (or use a few cm of new hose to connect the T connector to the pump’s entry). Use the free connection on the T to connect the hose from the OPV. That’s the re-routing of the OPV discharge done.**

5)     (optional): if you want to use the in-tank filter, connect a one-way (no-return) valve on the hose between the tank and the pump. This will ensure the OPV discharge water will not return to the tank and push against the filter (I didn’t do this stage).

6)     To finish the job, go back to the X connector where the OPV discharge hose was originally connected. Remove the 3 remaining hoses that are connected to the X connector (safety valve, solenoid and drip tray), and connect them to the new Y hose connector. Secure the connections with cable ties if you want (I didn’t), and also secure the Y connector to the electrical wires (as it was originally with the X connector). (Bottom pic shows this before and after)

**An even simpler option: Just follow steps 1-3 and 6, but after removing the OPV discharge hose from the X connector route it back to the water tank (requires to make a cut in the top of the tank so that the cover of the tank can sit flush), or route the hose to a bottle next to or under the machine. Both these options are possible, but of course less elegant than the proposed full mod.

That’s it, all done. (To be safe, it might be a good idea to run the machine (carefully) with the case off to see that everything is working as it should and you have no leaks before fitting back the case (to be honest, I didn’t bother).

Enjoy the machine with less water waste and less emptying of drip tray. 😊

Credits and thanks: @DavecUK, @disq, @MediumRoastSteam and all other fantastic members here for their support and contribution.

415506945_OPVdisconnected.png.306e7b5fa3b83ce9db0a30b17e8e5bb1.png1555406236_Reroutetopump.thumb.png.8699bf6f9fa635bb1431a1fe1ad59ba6.png124324308_XtoYconnection.thumb.png.743044976370a1463cd933930b42961c.png

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What? This easy mod is to re-rout the water discharged from the over pressure valve (OPV) so that instead of being dumped in the drip tray and wasted, it will get reused in the machine. The mod is e

It's the highest point in the system, I suppose if any air gets in it's goring to sit there... Interestingly Vibe pumps can have de-aerators (much less common now), but they are always after the pump,

Of course, I am the first person in history to discover the idea of re-using OPV discharge water. I came up with this geniusity right after I finished inventing the wheel (and the word geniousity).  💡

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@Doram - great! great! great! - Let us know how it goes in the next few days! This is an amazing guide to this mod! 

This should be a sticky thread on the Lelit Forum for sure!

@Jason11, @Stanic, @Badgerman ^^^^

Edited by MediumRoastSteam
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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

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Thanks for posting this. Sounds like a v useful mod. In terms of the non-return valve, if that is put in the tank feed tube to pump (before the Y piece), if the OPV releases water when the pump isn’t running, won’t that cause a pressure build up against the pump in the OPV to pump re-routed tube? Or will it flow through it?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, itguy said:

Thanks for posting this. Sounds like a v useful mod. In terms of the non-return valve, if that is put in the tank feed tube to pump (before the Y piece), if the OPV releases water when the pump isn’t running, won’t that cause a pressure build up against the pump in the OPV to pump re-routed tube? Or will it flow through it?

I didn't use the non-return valve, so this better be answered by @DavecUK. However, just from common sense - the OPV releases the pressure from the pump, so it only discharges water when the pump is running. I can't think of a situation where the OPV will push water when the pump is idle, but maybe I am wrong?

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Circuit won’t be under pressure if the pump is not running. Not in the MaraX. (The manometer can tell you that) 👍

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

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1 minute ago, siliconslave said:

parts on order - although even with £6 of parts its going to take a while to break even on re-mineralised water... will save emptying the drip tray so much at least :)

Did you go brass or plastic ?

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5 minutes ago, siliconslave said:

just had our kitchen redone - if I cause the machine to dump water everywhere i'm going to be in serious trouble :D

At least you can say.... “but... only water. Could’ve been worse.” (E.g: coffee!)

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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this mod is even better than the traditional approach mentioned above as lukewarm water does not go back to the tank.

If you use bottled water or home distilled, it’s a no brainier IMO

Edited by MediumRoastSteam

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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31 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

this mod is even better than the traditional approach mentioned above as lukewarm water does not go back to the tank.

If you use bottled water or home distilled, it’s a no brainier IMO

I totally agree. I said it's reversible, but I can't see why anyone would ever want to go back. I would want it even if I used tap water, just for the sake of getting less water in the tray (45ml per shot vs. 120-150ml that I was getting before. With the amount I was getting I had to empty every day, now it will just empty when I want to clean the tray). Less need to fill the tank is also a bonus.  Finally, as it's all under the hood, you still get to keep the neat bottom-fed tank, no hoses to remove and splash when you take the tank out.

It really feels like a win-win-win situation. It works and feels as something that came out of the factory, not as a mod, because it just makes the machine better, period. Unless I am missing something important, I wouldn't at all be surprised if Lelit will do it themselves next time they revise the Mara X.  

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Firstly thank you so much for the detailed guide. I would be even more lost without it and wouldn't even attempt it.
I am awful at DIY stuff, parts ordered. Seems simple enough?
 

Would be easier to put the pictures underneath each step rather than at the bottom of the post. Maybe this is just be being terrible at following.

 

6 hours ago, Doram said:

4)     Either cut the hose connected to the pump a few cm above the entry and connect the T connector to the hose (or use a few cm of new hose to connect the T connector to the pump’s entry). Use the free connection on the T to connect the hose from the OPV. That’s the re-routing of the OPV discharge done.**

Is the new hose the hose inside the water filter? I use RO water so I guess I don't need to use the provided water filter, I just did because my plumed RO filter change is long overdue. What size hose would I be looking for if I wanted to buy a spare? 

 

Would be great if someone made a video of this to help the DIY blind crowd!!
Seems like a 10 minute max job - am I right?

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9 minutes ago, kico said:

Is the new hose the hose inside the water filter? I use RO water so I guess I don't need to use the provided water filter, I just did because my plumed RO filter change is long overdue. What size hose would I be looking for if I wanted to buy a spare? 

It will be very clear and simple once you open the machine. In stage 4 that you asked about - The original situation is you have a hose going from the bottom of the water tank to the pump entry. This hose is feeding water to the pump. Let's call it hose A.

Now you have a new hose (coming from the OPV) - This is hose B.

You want to join Hose B to Hose A, so that both feed water to the pump entry. You do this by creating a T junction (the T connector). You just connect the T anywhere on Hose A (using 2 of the 3 ways on the T), and then connect hose B to the third connection on the T. Now both hoses A and B feed the pump. Done.

To connect the T connector to hose A, you either cut it anywhere, and connect the T to the middle of the hose, or you connect the T to the end of the existing hose A, and add a small piece of new hose, and connect this bit to the pump entry - both are basically the same thing. You really don't need to buy more hose, because the existing hose A is long enough. If you did want to add a small piece to the end, the loop hose inside the tank (which you don't need if you don't use the filter), is exactly the same as hose A. (Even if you do cut a small bit of the loop hose in the tank, you still have plenty to use the in tank filter in the future if you wanted to).

I hope this makes sense, but it will for sure be clearer when you have the case off.

 

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7 minutes ago, Doram said:

It will be very clear and simple once you open the machine. In stage 4 that you asked about - The original situation is you have a hose going from the bottom of the water tank to the pump entry. This hose is feeding water to the pump. Let's call it hose A.

Now you have a new hose (coming from the OPV) - This is hose B.

You want to join Hose B to Hose A, so that both feed water to the pump entry. You do this by creating a T junction (the T connector). You just connect the T anywhere on Hose A (using 2 of the 3 ways on the T), and then connect hose B to the third connection on the T. Now both hoses A and B feed the pump. Done.

To connect the T connector to hose A, you either cut it anywhere, and connect the T to the middle of the hose, or you connect the T to the end of the existing hose A, and add a small piece of new hose, and connect this bit to the pump entry - both are basically the same thing. You really don't need to buy more hose, because the existing hose A is long enough. If you did want to add a small piece to the end, the loop hose inside the tank (which you don't need if you don't use the filter), is exactly the same as hose A. (Even if you do cut a small bit of the loop hose in the tank, you still have plenty to use the in tank filter in the future if you wanted to).

I hope this makes sense, but it will for sure be clearer when you have the case off.

 

I understand your original explanation better with the pictures, it is clear. I will cut the extra bit of hose from the filter. Thank you so much!

My RO filter already wastes 5 glasses of water per 1 glass of filtered water, this will make me feel better about not wasting (as much) water!

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9 hours ago, kico said:

I understand your original explanation better with the pictures, it is clear. I will cut the extra bit of hose from the filter. Thank you so much!

My RO filter already wastes 5 glasses of water per 1 glass of filtered water, this will make me feel better about not wasting (as much) water!

Great, glad to hear you understood the pictures. It's a very simple change, but it's a little tricky to explain it when you can't have a look inside the machine. You really shouldn't worry - it is super easy and well worth it IMO.

Good luck with it, and do share your experience once you have done it - would love to hear how it went! :-).

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@kico - I think you are turning this innocent puppy of a mod into a 7-headed monster! 😂👍 The instructions there are super easy to follow, as @Doram say, once you open the machine and locate the OPV, the hose, the X fitting and the pump, it will become extremely clear. 

The OPV and the pump are the same as in the Elizabeth. You'll need a food safe silicone hose which is 5mm I.D. (inner diameter) and 8.5mm or 8.mm O.D. Outer diameter if you want to keep some as spare. 

It's always good to have some hoses as spare handy just in case a vacuum breaker, solenoid breaks or a mod needs doing... 🙂 - That's why I have 2 metres of that spare at home 🙂 

Like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Clear-Silicone-Tubing-Hose-Pipe-Pond-Aquarium-Fish-Tank-Air-Pump-AFS-Tube-FDA/130771449103?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=430096423714&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Edited by MediumRoastSteam
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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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2 questions:

1. is it essentially rerouting the water back into the boiler?

2. is there any reason this couldnt be done on a bianca? probably one more for @DavecUK 

 

but if so this is huge for all lelit e61 machines. 

 

thank you for the guide, i hope i can use it on my bianca as wasting water is irritating!

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