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frustrated with silvia not turning on again. help with preventing this appreciated!


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Hey there everyone.

First time poster but long term Rancilio Noob.

I`ve had my Silvia for about 2 years and was always impressed by the foam and overall shot quality of her, but underwhelmed by the amount of control e.g. temp etc. I use her exclusively for pulling shots, i`m not a steamed milk kind of person and my girlfriend isn`t either, so the steam wand just goes unused.

About 4 months ago, she wouldn`t turn on. I checked the outlet again and again and contacted customer support. They had me reset the thermostat (to no avail), then told me to send her in (60€), pay for repairs (60€) and send her back (surprise, 60€). The company told me the issue was that the motherboard had to be replaced since the boiler ran dry, overheated, damaged the resistor and the motherboard. I didn`t understand how that was possible, since I take excellent care that my tank is always at least half full and maintain my Silvia lovingly.

I accepted the situation and tried to take even more care, so this wouldn`t repeat.

But it did. 3 weeks later. She wouldn`t turn on (insert groundhog day meme)

I definitely don`t want to send her back in again and am tempted to just replace the motherboard myself (roughly 65€).

My question is twofold.

Am I right in assuming this is the correct repair?

and

How can I prevent this from happening?

 

Thanks a lot in advance.

Andrew

Edited by usuallycaffeinated
forgot a word like the mug that I am
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hello how do you know if your tank is half full? i am unsure on the specifics of the sylvia but I think that an overheated boiler can make things very hottt and cause issues to motherboard so it is not completely out of the question have you looked inside to see if you can see damage to the motherboard yourself?

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Hey, thanks for the fast reply.

I`m talking about the water tank in the back, so it`s a visual inspection. Are we talking about different things here? Slight language barrier  is possible, I`m from the Austria )as the € might imply).

I`ve attached an image of what I understand the motherboard to be (functionally it is, again, I accept there could be a double language barrier here, the customer support was italian). The unit looks as unremarkable as the last time this damage occured, no smells, no visual hints of anything wrong.

spacer.png

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Your question is very open ended, there could be several reasons why it does not turn on.

Is the socket where it is plugged in sound,  try something else in the socket (kettle)

Is the lead damaged/ cracked, has it been severely bent/ kinked ?  Does the power light come on on the  machine ? Does the pump run ?

Have you rechecked the thermostat trip ?  Do you run water through the brew head after brewing to ensure the boiler is full, do you run water through the steam valve to ensure boiler is full.     Is your water supply hard= scale. Do you de-scale the machine. 

If a thermostat becomes defective it can fail open = no heat. OR it can fail closed and keep boiling the water = overheating / boiling dry.

As to the repair it is not possible to say what the problem was, if it worked when it was returned it must be assumed that was the problem.

To prevent further problems maintaining a good maintenance schedule is important, eg ensuring boiler is left full after use, descaling as necessary and cleaning , removing screen+ cleaning

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Be careful which Gicar box you use nowadays they are not like the old RL30 universal Gicars. Programming has advanced and many are customized to manufacturers machines. e.g. lelit use a custom Gicar, with different firmware for different models (because they don't have a lot of coding space. The Minima uses a custom Gicar wuite a large one to cover all of it's programming (much of which users are unaware of).

Nothing here...

 

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How good are you with electronics? If it was me I’d remove the Gicar box, rig up some dummy circuits and test the functionality with a multimeter. The circuit diagram is on the side. That would at least eliminate that as the problem.

Another alternative is to bypass the Gigar box completely. This requires a new switch, but it isn’t inherently required for the machine to work. Its only function is to cut the power after 30mins.

Only do these if you know what you’re doing though, the pins will be at mains voltage, so if you touch them when it has power it’s going to hurt a lot and potentially even be fatal.

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Hi Andrew,

I'm new to the Rancilio too, but have spent quite a bit of time poking around inside it lately.

I have to admit, if it was my machine I would not be in a hurry to pay for another Gicar box. What's to stop you're second replacement breaking in a few weeks? It sounds like Rancilio fixed the obvious thing, without actually investigating the route cause of the issue. Based on the diagram printed on the Gicar box in my Silvia, it probably comprises of nothing more than a timer and a few relays. These components should essentially last forever, I would guess there's a problem elsewhere in your machine that is causing the Gicar box to break. If you don't find the route cause then it will continue to break going forward. 

I'd echo BenH's post here, if you are comfortable with basic electronics it's easy enough to bypass the Gicar box. But first I'd recommend following what El carajillo said (check the thermostats etc), a multimeter would be a big help, but please only go poking around inside if you are confident and you know what you're doing, especially if the machine is plugged in! You should be able to check if the thermostats are ok with the machine off, you can also check the resistance of the heating element. I guess the thermostats should be a low resistance (0 to a few ohms) and the heating element a few 10's ohms. If the fault is intermittent it might be very difficult to find I'm afraid....

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On 03/03/2021 at 16:13, usuallycaffeinated said:

But it did. 3 weeks later. She wouldn`t turn on (insert groundhog day meme)

Is there no warranty on the repair if it broke after 3 weeks?

On 03/03/2021 at 19:14, BenH said:

Another alternative is to bypass the Gigar box completely. This requires a new switch, but it isn’t inherently required for the machine to work. Its only function is to cut the power after 30mins.

Bypassing the Gicar box as suggested will 1) save the need to get another one; and 2) Stop the 30 min auto shut off to enable you to put the machine on a smart plug and have it on for as long as you want.

You can find instructions on how to do it here: https://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&hl=de&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&sp=nmt4&tl=en&u=https://voir.pt/2018/11/16/echter-rancilio-silvia-e-umbau-auf-alte-version-v5-mit-funktionierenden-lampen/&xid=17259,15700021,15700186,15700191,15700253,15700256,15700259

 

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