Author Topic: Secondhand Gaggia Issues  (Read 450 times)

Offline sidefx

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Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« on: July 07, 2017, 03:45:29 PM »
I purchased a Gaggia Classic machine at a local clearance auction for $57! However I have found a couple issues.

1. The first and major issue is the steam function does not work. I can brew espresso normally but when I switch over to steam the brew light does not turn off and back on (just stays on). I get nothing from the steam wand knob unless I flip the brew switch, then it is just a flow of hot water. Could this be a bad steam thermostat?

2. The portafilter has to travel past 6 o'clock to maybe a 4 o'clock position in order to seal up. There is a seal in the group head but maybe its too short?

3. The steaming wand is missing the piece that locks it to the stainless line. Is this something I can get at a hardware store or should I just upgrade to the Silvia?

On a side note I see people talk about 145F and 155F steam thermostats, shouldn't the temp be closer to boiling?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 04:12:42 PM by sidefx »

Offline SusanJoM

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 07:10:06 PM »
I would guess that you need a new steam stat.

The upgrade to a Silvia steam wand is always met with thumbs up, but it's another subject altogether.

There is an article in the Resources section about how to test that steam stat.  It's pretty straightforward.
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Offline vindibona1

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 08:28:41 PM »
I purchased a Gaggia Classic machine at a local clearance auction for $57! However I have found a couple issues.

2. The portafilter has to travel past 6 o'clock to maybe a 4 o'clock position in order to seal up. There is a seal in the group head but maybe its too short?

You probably just need a new brew head gasket.

Quote
3. The steaming wand is missing the piece that locks it to the stainless line. Is this something I can get at a hardware store or should I just upgrade to the Silvia?

Yeah... If you can get the steam to work, the Silvia is a good upgrade.

Quote
On a side note I see people talk about 145F and 155F steam thermostats, shouldn't the temp be closer to boiling?

Perhaps you're mistaken on the unit of measure.  145 CELSIUS is 293F. That's about right as my steam setting goes to about 300F.  145F isn't hot enough to brew espresso, let alone steam.


Offline sidefx

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 09:23:23 PM »
I cannot test the steam thermostat like the resource page states since no steam is produced.

Did a test of the brew water temperatures and they are only around 110-120F per my thermometer.

Opened the machine up to ensure all the connections are made and checked the thermostats. L107 on the brew & L145 for steam.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 09:29:23 PM by sidefx »

Offline D4F

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 10:56:11 PM »
The lock position of the PF is relatively unimportant if it locks and doesn't leak.  I tighten mine only slightly and don't always get to 6 o'clock.  I can tighten farther, but once it seals, no point.  If it takes 4 o'clock to seal, it is probably on its way out and can be replaced.

You originally posted that you can brew espresso, and then say that the brew water is about 120°F.  If you can stand to drink the espresso, the water is likely really much hotter, near 200°F.  Brew water temperature is very difficult to measure and not done well without an instant read digital thermometer and Styrofoam cup.  Really only with a thermofilter.

If not familiar, search espresso temperature Styrofoam cup.

Offline sidefx

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 11:39:35 PM »
It's hard to say on the temp I took the reading right from the group head.

As for usage the machine was new, the auction website deals with returns. So I guess the steam issue could have been the problem.

It looks like the thermostat is normally closed allowing the heating element to function. When the circuit is broken shows temp is meet. It looks like the steam thermostat is functional it just switches at a low temp, maybe close to the brew stat since no additional heating occurs between the two settings. Where is the best place to get a new stat?

Also how does the machine flush itself when going back to brew temps? My other machine flushes water into the drip tray.

Offline D4F

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 12:07:35 AM »
It's hard to say on the temp I took the reading right from the group head.

Also how does the machine flush itself when going back to brew temps? My other machine flushes water into the drip tray.

Describe how you obtained the temperature.

Not sure the meaning of flush itself going back to brew.  It has a 3 way valve to relieve pressure.  There is no "flush."  Back to brew temperature is just settling back down to stability over about 4 - 5 minutes.  What other machine and process are you referring to?

Offline AndyPanda

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2017, 02:01:59 AM »
I would suspect the steam switch itself or the wiring if you are getting full brew temp - but if you only getting 120F brew temps then that does sound like the steam t-stat could be opening really early (the steam t-stat is in circuit all the time so if it opened at too low a temp it could cause brew temp to be low). 
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 02:09:39 AM by AndyPanda »

Offline sidefx

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2017, 07:36:58 AM »
My previous machine was a Mr Coffee pump model. I could get a decent cappuccino from this machine and really wanted something cheap first to see if I could do this at home. I knew a better machine was on the horizon but when I saw this deal I couldn't pass it up.

To get the temperature I left the portafilter off and just placed an instant read thermometer under the stream of water from the group head.

Andy, thanks for that diagram. Very easy to read compared to the wiring diagram in resources. I see how the steam stat is in line. So this morning I let the machine warm up in brew mode, once I reached temp I bypassed the steam stat and the machine then the boiler kicked back on. So the steam stat is opening very early.

Where is the best place to get parts? I found a site from the UK (I'm in the US) and eBay didn't really have many options.

Offline SusanJoM

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2017, 10:40:06 AM »
Espressoparts.com
'parts ship free'

https://www.espressoparts.com/search?q=thermostat
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Offline AndyPanda

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2017, 08:57:50 PM »
Andy, thanks for that diagram. Very easy to read compared to the wiring diagram in resources. I see how the steam stat is in line. So this morning I let the machine warm up in brew mode, once I reached temp I bypassed the steam stat and the machine then the boiler kicked back on. So the steam stat is opening very early.

I'm glad you could read the diagram.  I was going to recommend that you jumper the steam t-stat as a test but I thought better of it (I have no way of knowing someone's level of electrical understanding) because with it jumpered you can overheat the boiler until it blows the thermalfuse and that doesn't reset itself, it needs to be replaced if you blow it.  So don't leave the steam switch on with the steam t-stat jumpered.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 09:06:37 PM by AndyPanda »

Offline sidefx

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2017, 08:53:17 AM »
Yeah it works in brew mode now the temps are much higher haven't measured it yet.

Steam works but I didn't want to blow the fuse so I only tested for a short while.

As for the thermostat these seem like something generic you can get at an electronic wholesaler.

Offline AndyPanda

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2017, 10:53:17 AM »
Well they are overpriced for what they are but the only places I've ever found them cheap has required 1000 qty order or high shipping.   For example I found it at the espresso shop in UK for $4 but after shipping it's not a good deal.  Amazon has some the right temp and about $2 but not the threaded type.  When I was searching for one, years ago, I finally just decided it was worth paying the high price for the convenience of getting one with the right threads.

You can PID the thing for about $30, so there's always that option instead of the mechanical t-stat

Offline sidefx

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2017, 04:16:45 PM »
Yeah the cheapest place I have found is Cafe Parts, they have a 145C with reset about $12 after shipping. Should i upgrade to the 155C they have or just get the stock temp?

The next issue is still the portafilter rotation. I have tried to brew close the 5-6 o'clock rotation (its just snug) and I get leakage. I have to really snug it up to this point (picture attached) to get a good basket seal. I took out the group head seal and it looks brand new and the thickness is 8.38mm so not far from the 8.5mm stock.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 04:21:50 PM by sidefx »

Offline AndyPanda

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Re: Secondhand Gaggia Issues
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2017, 05:47:25 PM »
Not sure what the reset is ... it might trip and not come back on until you reset it which would suck. If it were me, I'd get one that was meant for your machine  - or I would totally hack it and buy a $2 one without the threads and epoxy it on - but I wouldn't buy a goofy one to save $4.

For me, there is no big advantage to going 155C or even 165C from the stock 145C stat.   The reason I say that is that regardless of what temp the T-Stat is set for, it will hit that temp and then shut off and cool WAY too far down before it comes back on again.  So the secret to steaming is to not let your T-Stat shut off in the first place.  I do that by opening the steam valve while the heat is ramping up and starting to steam the milk as the heat is on the way up (don't wait for the ready light to tell you it's hot).   I also tend to shut the steam switch off and then back on again so it stays hot but below the t-stat shut off.  (having a thermometer on the boiler helps you see - but you can tell just by the strength of the steam - when it's steaming hard you can flip the switch off and as the steam pressure just starts to fade a bit you flip it back on for 5-10 seconds and feel the pressure build again.  It's a dance that feels awkward at first but you get used to it pretty easily.

Re: angle of portafilter handle --- it is a non-issue.  Just ignore those stoopid marks on the front of the machine telling you where the handle should go.  You twist the handle until it's tight regardless of how far that is.    Is your issue that you have a double spout and the angle is throwing you off for two cups?   If so, you can twist the spout on tighter or looser to get the angle right.    Or if it really bothers you, you can order a new gasket, they aren't expensive.   
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 02:03:27 PM by AndyPanda »

 

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