HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Gaggia "Espresso Max" troubleshooting (10 msgs / 164 lines)
1) From: Slinkster
I picked up a (free) Gaggia "Espresso Max" earlier today.  The pump 
works, the boiler gets hot, but only a few sputters of water and steam 
are getting out of the wand, and only dribbles through the group.  I've 
taken out the screen and the screen holder, the group is *very* clean 
(does need a new gasket soon though!) so the person who gave it to me 
made some effort to clean it, at least.
We have very hard water so I'm guessing the problem is scale.  Is it 
reasonable for me to expect enough descaling solution (citric acid 
solution) to be taken up to get into the boiler and do any good?  Or 
should I plan to take the machine apart completely, open the boiler and 
scrape out gunk?  I'm not averse to doing the latter but it won't be fast...
Comments and advice welcome!

2) From: Rich
What procedure and what chemical does the MANUFACTURER recommend?  Find out and follow the 
instructions.  It will take several applications to clear out the lines and you will probably have to open 
the boiler to get it done right.  The operable word here is right....
On Sat, 16 Jun 2007 17:23:23 -0500, Slinkster wrote:

3) From: Derek Bradford
It may even be airlocked.  Pop the cover and check the lines while
it's running...they'll be clear tubing.  When they get airlocked it
can take a bit of work to work it out.
On 6/17/07, Slinkster  wrote:
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau

4) From: Jack Rogers
Good advice so far.  And when you fill the water reservoir, don't fill 
it past the "Max", or the water will run right out the back.  That's not 
the name of the machine, it's the _MAX_imum water level. ;-)
Slinkster wrote:

5) From: Homeroaster
It probably just needs to be primed.  Open the steam valve, turn on the pump 
and wait till water squirts out the steam wand.
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)

6) From: Slinkster
Well, that's a very good question and I wish I knew the answer.
SM recommends something.  A reputable espresso machine mechanic 
recommends something else and specifically says NOT to use what SM 
suggests.  The English-language version of the Gaggia website (not the 
US distributor of Gaggia products, the actual Gaggia website) merely 
recommends descaling and doesn't specify what product should be used. 
The boiler is aluminum.  In theory all acidic products that would help 
dissolve the calcium deposits and make them easier for the pump to flush 
out are contraindicated.  So what *does* the manufacturer want me to 
use, I wonder?  Of course the answer is "Don't descale!  Buy a new 
machine instead!"
I will most likely start pulling the machine apart on Monday.
BTW, the condescension comes through loud and clear.
Rich wrote:

7) From: Slinkster
As nearly as I can tell that's not the problem, but I'll double-check it 
tomorrow when I'm awake and caffeinated.
Derek Bradford wrote:

8) From: Slinkster
Bahahaha!  Ok, I'm glad to know that, since I'm all about filling the 
tank to the MAXimum whenever I refill Sylvia :D
Jack Rogers wrote:

9) From: Slinkster
Nope, not that.  I tried it in all its variations.  I was only able to 
get it to put out once, and that was the first time I tried to prime it.
I'm really thinking the thing is so full of scale that the line out of 
the boiler is blocked...
Homeroaster wrote:

10) From: Derek Bradford
For the record, the first time I got mine running it took a good 15
minutes of intermittent priming.  I'd run it open for a while, see the
water climb a bit in the lines, and then close the valve (so I didn't
run the boiler dry too long).  It really took a long time, and I
wondered if mine might not be broken as well.
But like you said, it could be all scaled up, too.  But first things
first...is there water throughout the lines with no airlocks?
On 6/17/07, Slinkster  wrote:
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau

HomeRoast Digest