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Gaggia Classic – no flow through group head


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Hello!

I expect you've read lots of posts about this topic, I've been through quite a few myself!

Thursday before last, only drips came through my group head. Water followed through my steam wand as normal. It had been fine the previous morning (to the extent you can trust a sleepy person hurriedly making their morning espresso).

The shower screen was embarrassingly dirty (see image) and it had been a couple of months since I last descaled, do I thought that was the cause.

I only had Puly Caff to hand, so I ran 1.5l/40g of that through. Once I got some Puly Cleaner through the post, I ran 3x sachets through, while switching the solenoid to try to smash up any bits of scale, but there's been little to no improvement: 

 

Do you think the solenoid needs replacing? I could hear the 'thud' of the valve moving as I switched it.

Any other tips? I've had this from new since 2013 and it's done loyal service. I'm not ready to let it retire yet!

Thanks for your help!

Keith

signal-2021-02-20-142957.jpg

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When the brew is on (stream off) do you see water coming out the OPV back into the reservoir?

It does look like your solenoid is blocked, or perhaps something between the valve and the group head, based on that coffee build up under the shower screen.

You could try removing the dispersion plate and checking the 4 holes are open, and that there's nothing blocking the hole above that in the group head. Cocktail stick might do it.

Have you tried backflushing, does anything come out of the drain pipe into the drip tray?

Edited by Michael87
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You need to remove the dispersion block behind the screen = 2 alan screws then thoroughly clean screen , block and area behind.

Try running brew without the block and screen in place  = does water come through ?? If not the solenoid is blocked / stuck.

Puly Caff is NOT for running through the boiler, only a cleaner for group head.

If you are in hard water area use d-scaler in water tank.

You need to severely UP your cleaning regime.

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Thanks for your help, Michael!!

7 hours ago, Michael87 said:

When the brew is on (stream off) do you see water coming out the OPV back into the reservoir?

I had to check, but it does indeed come back into the reservoir.

7 hours ago, Michael87 said:

You could try removing the dispersion plate and checking the 4 holes are open, and that there's nothing blocking the hole above that in the group head. Cocktail stick might do it.

I took the dispersion plate off with the shower screen and gave them both a good clean, but I've poked through the 4 holes with a cocktail stick and the hole in the group head too, like you suggest. 

7 hours ago, Michael87 said:

Have you tried backflushing, does anything come out of the drain pipe into the drip tray?

I've always been a bit scared of backflushing, but I just tried it for the first time. Some foam started coming out of the drain pipe before I turned the pump on. I ran the pump maybe 5 times in 10 second runs, not much came out. I've got another thrilling video for you: 

I hope I didn't do any irreparable damage by running Puly Caff through it... It was all I had at the time; an act of desperation maybe.

Thanks again for your help!

 

Edited by keithiopia
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Yeah that looks blocked to me. You only need to run the pump 3-5 seconds (once the blank portafilfer is full) to get to max pressure and when you turn off there should be a big spray out. I could tell it was blocked from the first frame because nobody with a clear solenoid would backflush with that drip tray cover off (or at least nobody would do it twice!). 

Might need to take the solenoid apart. Can be done with boiler in situ if you drain it first I think

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On 28/02/2021 at 18:34, Michael87 said:

Might need to take the solenoid apart. Can be done with boiler in situ if you drain it first I think

After I read the instructions for taking the solenoid apart and cleaning, I thought I'd be better off replacing it, to be on the safe side. I ended up replacing the Ceme with an Olab. Belt and braces.

Here's the result: 

I'm still getting some black and white bits coming through (see photo), but hopefully more flushing with clean water will sort that out.

Thanks again for your help!

PXL_20210303_215123153.jpg

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@keithiopia

I had issues with my solenoid when it I first got my gaggia! If there's still some stuff coming out I'd just backflush and descale a good few times this week to clear any remaining bits out. The solenoid should be pretty powerful when flushing out stuff! 

I had to unclog my solenoid and just descaled a lot the first week and now my machine is running lovely

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