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Help! Verona - Pump motor running, but no suction from water tank


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Hi all,

I'm hoping someone can help diagnose a problem with my Quickmill Verona (actually an imported Vetrano 2B, but it's essentially a Verona - it has the boiler drain valves etc).  The problem is that it isn't drawing water in from the tank to re-fill the boilers.

Confession time... I haven't used it for a while, maybe a couple of times in the last year, and turned it on the other day to backflush it etc before starting to use it again regularly.  There was already water in the boilers, so I tried pulling a shot but really struggled to dial it in, possibly due to low pressure at the group head.  Then when I put the blind basket with puly caff in it in there, there was no water came out of the group at all.

I turned on the steam boiler to see if that was working, and was fine.  I ran a load of water out of the steam wand and the hot tap.  After doing that, it tried to refill the steam boiler from the tank, and I realised it was taking longer than normal.  Too long.  Then even longer.  Looking at the pipe into the water tank, there were bubbles in it which weren't moving at all, and if I take the pipe out of the tank I can feel that there's absolutely zero suction there at all.

I can definitely hear the pump motor turn on when it's supposed to, but I'm suspicious that the pump itself isn't in a happy place.  I strongly suspect something is gummed up with scale somewhere, but since the pump isn't drawing from the tank at all I'm not sure how to get de-scaler through the system.

I've taken the back off the unit and there aren't any obvious cables which are disconnected or anything like that.  I've also checked that the tank/mains switch is set to tank (although I have tried it in both positions anyway just in case...).

Any advice greatly appreciated!  Either in how to proceed, or if there's any good contacts of maintenance people in the Yorkshire area (I'm in Huddersfield but happy to take it somewhere).

Thanks!

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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Age of unit?

Next steps:

  • Video problem with sound (include brew pressure guage)
  • Remove case
  • Photograph interior
  • Check for kinked hose
  • Try it again with case off, video with sound

 

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Thanks for the tips, I've had a go at getting some photos / videos, you should be able to see them on Flickr at this URL - let me know if any others would be useful as well.

Age = 6 years, although not heavily used in that time (weekend usage, not daily, and not every weekend either).

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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I've had a good look at the pipes as well, I can't see any obviously kinked, as far as I can tell behind the wires.  The steam boiler looks a touch canted over to the left, but I don't think that'll've changed recently - I assume it's always been like that.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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When you lift the brew lever, does anything come out, importantly what happens to the brew pressure needle?

 

Pumps is fine and making pressure see gauge...pressure is correct, water is running around the balanced bypass. Either:

  • Blockage somewhere (presumably after the pump gauge takeoff point)... preventing water flow
    • possibly solenoid valve blocked
  • Autofill solenoid not opening (in which case pressure should drop and water will flow from the group when you lift the lever)

My best guesses.

 

 

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If I were to narrow down Dave’s diagnostics...

based on:

2 hours ago, kevin said:

turned on the steam boiler to see if that was working, and was fine.  I ran a load of water out of the steam wand and the hot tap.  After doing that, it tried to refill the steam boiler from the tank, and I realised it was taking longer than normal.  Too long.  Then even longer.  Looking at the pipe into the water tank, there were bubbles in it which weren't moving at all, and if I take the pipe out of the tank I can feel that there's absolutely zero suction there at all.

Are you saying here that the steam/service boiler is not refilling at all?

 

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 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

If I were to narrow down Dave’s diagnostics...

based on:

Are you saying here that the steam/service boiler is not refilling at all?

 

I don't think it is Alberto, otherwise the pressure gauge wouldn't read 9 bar...which ties in with him not seeing water flow in the inlet tube.

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7 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

When you lift the brew lever, does anything come out, importantly what happens to the brew pressure needle?

No, no water comes out, and the pressure gauge doesn't change from the 9 bar reading.  The only noticeable thing which happens is the PID boots.  I've added a video of it to the Flickr album from earlier.

7 minutes ago, DavecUK said:
10 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

re you saying here that the steam/service boiler is not refilling at all?

 

I don't think it is Alberto, otherwise the pressure gauge wouldn't read 9 bar...which ties in with him not seeing water flow in the inlet tube.

Exactly, I'm pretty sure the boilers aren't filling - there's no suction on the inlet tube, and the pump never stops after I turn the system on to begin with.

 

19 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

possibly solenoid valve blocked

I'd definitely agree that it's a blockage somewhere.  I'm guessing that there's little to be done beyond a mass strip-down at this stage...?

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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Silly me. I only now realised, after watching your videos again, that the pump is running even though the service boiler is off and the lever is down. I also noticed the PID display does not light up when the machine turns on, only when the brew lever is lifted. Presumably that’s how the machine works? Surely not?

so presumably the service boiler auto fill sensor is calling for water (hits why the pump turns on a few seconds after the machine is turned on - , even though the service boiler is off). There’s pressure in the circuit as far as the gauge is concerned, and they pressure is released when you turn the machine off somehow. So it must be due to some blockage before the auto fill solenoid, because water is not getting to any of the boilers at all. 

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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The machine always runs the pump for a second or two after turning on, and the PID does normally take a few seconds to boot - I'm not sure if those timings are related at all.  It's weird that, in this fault scenario, the PID doesn't start booting until the lever is lifted (presumably it would turn on after the initial pump run, but that never finishes because the boilers aren't getting filled).

When peering into the back of the machine, I can see 2 solenoid valves - I'm guessing that one of them is to control the "source" water input (and is next to where the piped water inlet and the tank water inlet meet), and the other is to control whether the pump is going to the brew boiler or the steam boiler?  The first of those is more accessible, the second of them is behind a whole bunch of wiring looms.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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(I should also say to you both, many many thanks for pitching in on this, I really appreciate it)

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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Also, I don't know if this is relevant, but with the machine off then the brew pressure gauge is sat at ~2.5 bar - I'm sure that normally drops back to zero.  It doesn't change when I lift the group lever.

Edited by kevin

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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I just saw a third valve, up near the top of the boilers as well.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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11 minutes ago, kevin said:

I just saw a third valve, up near the top of the boilers as well.

Yeah. I’m wondering whether this one is to release the pressure in the circuit, hence why the pressure was always going back to zero. I actually don’t know for sure though.

given the PID display is behaving very erratically, I’m wondering whether you might have an issue with the control box... but again, no idea. 
 

this is way out of my depth. 😬

 

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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The boilers are not filling? Is it because of a blockage OR because the PID / controller is not sending full / correct signals ?

Remove the R/H side panel (1 csk screw at front, ball ended bolt at rear and one screwtop front)

Check behind the return edge of the front panel, there is an orange transformer there that controls the PID, check for voltage in and voltage out. 240 in / 12 out (i think). Check for any spillage that might have reached the transformer OR the brew switch ( I had an intermittent problem with the brew switch ) 

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There may have been some changes since I last worked with one. it's quite possible they disable the pid when the service boiler is filling, to avoid the brew boiler heating element being on. lifting  lever normally starts a timer so it may be that that's why it powers on the pid.

You need to trace the water path from the pump and beyond the brew pressure takeoff, as you come to the first solenoid dismantle it, check it and that may be where your problem is.

Edited by DavecUK
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Ace, thanks again all. I’ll dive deeper tomorrow and see if I can figure out the water path.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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1 hour ago, kevin said:

Also, I don't know if this is relevant, but with the machine off then the brew pressure gauge is sat at ~2.5 bar - I'm sure that normally drops back to zero.  It doesn't change when I lift the group lever.

This is correct on my Verona the pressure gauge drops to zero when turned off. Good luck with sorting this you've get the big guns helping you :)

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Sorry but Dave's technical expertise is way beyond mine so I can't add anything there. However, my Verona does exactly the same as yours (in your first video clip) when I switch it on after it has been off for some time. The PID display remains dark, after a couple of seconds the pump comes on and the pressure indicates about 9 bar. The difference is that after a few seconds the the pump stops again and the PID lights up. I've always assumed that the pause is the machine checking the boiler level and then running the pump to top it up if neccessary.

Could it be that the water level sensor for the brew boiler has failed and so the controller is sensing the boiler as empty and continuously running the pump to try and fill it ?

I guess you would really need the contol logic chart to figure it out but maybe it would be possible to check the boiler fill sensor somehow ?

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Good thought @Markk, but I'm more convinced by the blocked or valve failed theory - mostly based on there being no suction from the water tank.

Today I got distracted by another project, but I did get the sides off the machine and that lets me see a lot more.  I intend to document the water paths, if I can see into it enough, and then figure out from the readings where the blockage / failure is.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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Yes, I see what you mean but is it possible that there is no suction because the tank is already full (but the sensor is not registering it) ? Just a thought.

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Hi there,

please bear in mind I k now nothing, I mean literally nothing, Dave and the gang are definitely your best bet, but it reminds me of a problem I had with a different kind of machine - nothing to do with coffee, and I did a bit of a google to see if anyone had mentioned this in relation to your machine and found the following - please please do not do what is recommended in this article without checking it with the excellent, very knowledgacble people here, as again, I cannot stress enough - I know nothing...

air bubbles causing issues in machines unised for a bit

 

ALthouth the article is about noise, I wonder - could it be possible that your blockage is as simple as air in the system?

again - please check with the actual people that know things.

hope it helps.

Edited by Catlady101
missed a bit

I know nothing 😜

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10 hours ago, Catlady101 said:

ALthouth the article is about noise, I wonder - could it be possible that your blockage is as simple as air in the system?

Thanks @Catlady101, what a great find!  I'll definitely bear that in mind when poking around inside the machine.

Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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I also note this thread https://www.home-barista.com/repairs/quickmill-vetrano-2b-no-suction-in-tank-mode-t45379-10.html which is a very similar sympton, and ends up as a blocked output nozzle from the pump.  Although thinking about it, if the pump output were blocked, I guess I wouldn't be seeing the 9 bar of pressure on the gauge?

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Espresso: QuickMill Vetrano 2B, Niche Zero, Pergtamp, VST 18g basket, Brewista scales

Pourover: Hario V60 number 2, MBK Feldgrind, Acaia Lunar scales

Aeropress: Eureka Zenith 65e, Sage smart kettle

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30 minutes ago, kevin said:

I also note this thread https://www.home-barista.com/repairs/quickmill-vetrano-2b-no-suction-in-tank-mode-t45379-10.html which is a very similar sympton, and ends up as a blocked output nozzle from the pump.  Although thinking about it, if the pump output were blocked, I guess I wouldn't be seeing the 9 bar of pressure on the gauge?

So it must be blocked after the gauge (as I suggested)...unfortunately the gauge take off used to be right close to the pump on the Verona, unless they changed it.

Edited by DavecUK
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