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Expobar DB pump issue?


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Hello all,

I've had the issue on the espresso yesterday, and same again today.

Light home use, 3-4 cups of espresso or milk based drinks a day. Fairly regular back flushing.

Issue I am having is when I pull a shot from the machine, the pump ramps up to 9-10 bar, then its almost as if the pump fails or stalls, pressure in the brewhead drops to about 4-6 bar and the pump switches on again but sounds weaker till it reaches 8-10 bar and stalls.

Any idea what the problem would be?

https://youtube.com/shorts/we__rmJCVpM

Here's a link to my coffee machine this morning. Steaming without issue.

Please let me know if you want more info. Many thanks in advance.

Egglet.

 

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With the pump running while brewing an espresso, check the return pipe to the water tank, is there water returning ? If water is returning the OPV may be sticking and releasing. If no water returning

Sounds to me like the pump. Assuming this is the vibratory pump, It is a relatively cheap part and easily replaceable. From my experience, and what I have heard from others they typically last about 5

Service is steam. Brew is brew. That's the pump, it's a lot cheaper from la macchina del caffe.

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With the pump running while brewing an espresso, check the return pipe to the water tank, is there water returning ? If water is returning the OPV may be sticking and releasing. If no water returning probably problem with the pump.

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I had a little look this morning. The ramping up and stalling continued.

Checked the return hose to the tank, it seems like water return to the tank only when the pump is on. So then the pump is stalling(?) There isn't any water going back to the tank.

So from my thinking, if it was a sticky opv valve then the water should be rushing to the tank while the pump is stalling (instead of whilst the pump is active). A pump failure would make more sense? Though the first shot pulled this morning the machine behaved itself and it went smooth, only when I pulled the 2nd shot did the fault arise again. If it's an intermittent problem a sticky opv valve would make more sense though the water return but doesn't make sense to me...

Maybe someone here will enlighten me with their knowledge and make my brain implode...😀

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Sounds to me like the pump. Assuming this is the vibratory pump, It is a relatively cheap part and easily replaceable. From my experience, and what I have heard from others they typically last about 5 years with normal use. Last one I bought was the equivalent of £21. As far as I know, just about all the machines use the same ULKA pump

I would just buy one and try that. If it is not the problem then you have a replacement pump for when your's inevitably does go.

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When the water is returning to the tank with the pump running ( sounding normal)  the OPV is opening.

When the pump is stalling and no water returning to the tank, the pump is struggling to pump because the OPV is not releasing the excess pressure above what is being released through the coffee puck.

What is your water condition , do you use bottled water ?     Have you changed beans  / grind ?. Has your machine been descaled ?

 

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@Egglet what happens when you use a blind filter? Does the same happen? Using the blind filter eliminates the flow from the group. So it will be only via the OPV. 

If it does happen, then most likely is the pump.

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The video does seem to show the flow is a little erratic but it doesn't seem as affected as the manometer, could be an illusion. A pressure gauge the group itself would tell you the puck pressure. There could be air in the system causing the noise and the fluttering of the manometer. Could also be loose mounting for the vibe pump? Or the pump is just dying. Have you done anything to the machine recently, like run it with an empty tank or remove fixtures on the boiler or even descale? Are there any visible leaks inside?

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16 hours ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

@Egglet what happens when you use a blind filter? Does the same happen? Using the blind filter eliminates the flow from the group. So it will be only via the OPV. 

If it does happen, then most likely is the pump.

Thanks all for the replies. I am finding that when I try to backflush using a blind filter, the pump does the stalling thing as well.

 

19 hours ago, AnthonyTD said:

Sounds to me like the pump. Assuming this is the vibratory pump, It is a relatively cheap part and easily replaceable. From my experience, and what I have heard from others they typically last about 5 years with normal use. Last one I bought was the equivalent of £21. As far as I know, just about all the machines use the same ULKA pump

I would just buy one and try that. If it is not the problem then you have a replacement pump for when your's inevitably does go.

Thank you. I think from the helpful posts here, it can be assumed that it is likely a pump issue.

17 hours ago, El carajillo said:

When the water is returning to the tank with the pump running ( sounding normal)  the OPV is opening.

When the pump is stalling and no water returning to the tank, the pump is struggling to pump because the OPV is not releasing the excess pressure above what is being released through the coffee puck.

What is your water condition , do you use bottled water ?     Have you changed beans  / grind ?. Has your machine been descaled ?

 

Water here is quite soft, I don't have any issues with my kettle ever scaling up even after a few years. Water is also run through an inline filter before going in the machine. No change in beans or grind and ashamedly I will admit I haven't descaled the machine recently but I have cleaned and relubricated the group head quite often and when I do that there isn't any notable scale on the group head components. Descaling the machine will be on my to do list once Easter is out of the way. Thanks for the reminder.

 

3 hours ago, Rob1 said:

The video does seem to show the flow is a little erratic but it doesn't seem as affected as the manometer, could be an illusion. A pressure gauge the group itself would tell you the puck pressure. There could be air in the system causing the noise and the fluttering of the manometer. Could also be loose mounting for the vibe pump? Or the pump is just dying. Have you done anything to the machine recently, like run it with an empty tank or remove fixtures on the boiler or even descale? Are there any visible leaks inside?

Yes the manometer has been very twitchy the last few months. I hope I haven't done anything bad to the machine! Definitely haven't run it dry or any DIY work on it in the last few months. I will check for leaks tomorrow. But nothing major to note. I am starting to accept that the pump is probably dying.

Is there a particular pump model I should replace it with? Is there an upgraded pump or quieter pump? I have heard of rotary pump conversion but I cannot attach it to a water mains so that is out of the question.

Edited by Egglet
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You don't need mains for a rotary pump but you wouldn't be able to fit it inside the case of the expobar with the water tank so it would have to be external. There are various pumps around, the quieter lelit one can be bough from BB and la machine del caffe as well as the standard ulka ones. 

Don't descale the machine unless you have to. The kettle is a poor indicator of whether or not you'll get scale in an espresso machine especially at service boiler temperatures so it's worth checking whether the water will scale or not before deciding what to descale if you have to do any at all. You might find you just need to do the service boiler, especially if you haven't been flushing it regularly with fresh water.

It might be worth checking the solenoid that switches between the service boiler and brew boiler to make sure it's working properly before replacing the pump. The noise does seem to indicate the pump though...a simple test of the solenoid would be to draw water off from the service boiler by the hot water tap until the auto-fill kicks in, weigh it and record the weight, then run a few shots against a blind filter and draw more water off until the auto-fill is triggered: if it's about the same then then the solenoid is probably fine. If the solenoid were the issue in this way there would be a leak unless you were drawing water off the service boiler after every shot or so which you may well be doing if you're steaming regularly or making americanos.

Edited by Rob1
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the quick reply. You refer to a 'service boiler', can I presume you mean the brew boiler? (in my head there is a brew and a steam boiler in my machine). I am also slightly confused as to the solenoid that connects the two boilers together? The only solenoid I know about is the one that releases the pressure from the grouphead after pulling a shot. 

You also mentioned the lelit pump, is it this one?

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5 hours ago, Egglet said:

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the quick reply. You refer to a 'service boiler', can I presume you mean the brew boiler? (in my head there is a brew and a steam boiler in my machine). I am also slightly confused as to the solenoid that connects the two boilers together? The only solenoid I know about is the one that releases the pressure from the grouphead after pulling a shot. 

You also mentioned the lelit pump, is it this one?

Service is steam. Brew is brew. That's the pump, it's a lot cheaper from la macchina del caffe.

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49 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

Service is steam. Brew is brew. That's the pump, it's a lot cheaper from la macchina del caffe.

Hi @Rob1

I am Interested in the Lelit MaraX as a Pump replacement for my expobar Brewtus iv. Office Leva DB. 

Is it a simple enough replacement? 

 

@Egglet are you going ahead with the changeout?

Thanks. 

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40 minutes ago, Sean63 said:

Hi @Rob1

I am Interested in the Lelit MaraX as a Pump replacement for my expobar Brewtus iv. Office Leva DB. 

Is it a simple enough replacement? 

 

@Egglet are you going ahead with the changeout?

Thanks. 

No idea, it should be really. Onlly problem would be if you have to drill new holes which I'm guessing is unlikely but possible and power requirements but I don't think they're too different from an ulka.

@Egglet The position of the auto-fill solenoid might vary a bit. In mine it's tucked under the service boiler. There will be two paths, one feeding the brew path which I think heads to the OPV and then on to the HX that runs through the service boiler, and another that heads straight into the service boiler so that it can be filled with water. The group is lever operated and doesn't use a solenoid valve to release pressure...

Edited by Rob1
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2 hours ago, Rob1 said:

No idea, it should be really. Onlly problem would be if you have to drill new holes which I'm guessing is unlikely but possible and power requirements but I don't think they're too different from an ulka.

@Egglet The position of the auto-fill solenoid might vary a bit. In mine it's tucked under the service boiler. There will be two paths, one feeding the brew path which I think heads to the OPV and then on to the HX that runs through the service boiler, and another that heads straight into the service boiler so that it can be filled with water. The group is lever operated and doesn't use a solenoid valve to release pressure...

I think I've found the solenoid that you're mentioning.

Had a look, nothing is obviously leaking, no kinked tubes. I guess I could take apart the opv valve and have a look to look at scale. But I'd have to take apart the whole pump - opv valve assembly to have a look inside.

IMG_20210405_212829.jpg

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2 hours ago, Sean63 said:

@Rob1

@Egglet are you going ahead with the changeout?

Thanks. 

I'm having second thoughts about it at the moment. The shape of the lelits out flow is quite different that that of the original one. Right angle Vs straight. Though again I've never dealt with pumps before so maybe the right angle bit can easily be swapped out...

 

16176304077601536690395441649598.jpg

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I wish I could see the other end of the pump...it's just out of shot....However, they are all pretty standard, that looks like a normal Ulka EX5 with the plastic input tube and brass end?

Rocket ECM Ulka pump EX5 230V

See the end on the left, which is on the right in your photo...it only needs a bit of Silicon tube pushed over the plastic barb fitting...why they put that brass crap on there escapes me.

 

Nothing here...

 

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5 hours ago, Egglet said:

I think I've found the solenoid that you're mentioning.

Had a look, nothing is obviously leaking, no kinked tubes. I guess I could take apart the opv valve and have a look to look at scale. But I'd have to take apart the whole pump - opv valve assembly to have a look inside.

IMG_20210405_212829.jpg

Look slightly above and to the left of the cable tie, there is a greenish blue stain that looks like a leak.

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7 hours ago, DavecUK said:

I wish I could see the other end of the pump...it's just out of shot....However, they are all pretty standard, that looks like a normal Ulka EX5 with the plastic input tube and brass end?

Rocket ECM Ulka pump EX5 230V

See the end on the left, which is on the right in your photo...it only needs a bit of Silicon tube pushed over the plastic barb fitting...why they put that brass crap on there escapes me.

 

see this picture, taken from whole latte loves YouTube video (credit goes to them). It's literally like that but flipped right to left in real life. 

Screenshot_20210406_092300_com.google.android.youtube.jpg

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Just get an Ulka EA5 or EX5, or similar...olab lelit quiet X pump....it's all be good

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Nothing here...

 

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On 05/04/2021 at 18:54, Sean63 said:

 

@Egglet are you going ahead with the changeout?

Thanks. 

At the end, I am going for the olab pump. Just placed my order for it just now. I'll let you know/update this thread with how it goes.

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