domestic espresso machines is an activity that
can be separated into 5 distinct
the initial problem can be something of an art, but the block diagram
should help with some of the basic problems. Once the diagnosis is
reasonably certain, the disassembly phase can begin.
At this point it's wise
note that certain machines (mostly thermoblock
machines made in China) are designed NOT to be disassembled by the
layman. If there are special screws or bolts, if the fasteners are
the body is glued or clipped together with internal fasteners, it's
that the manufacturer doesn't want you poking around inside. These
machines usually come with "Replacement" warranties, i.e. you send them
back to the manufacturer and they ship you a new one and scrap the dud.
One important rule with
all repairs concerns the electronic connections,
particularly those for the various electronic bits like switches,
etc. NEVER LEAVE THEM DISCONNECTED. If you have to take the wires off
remove the thermostat, reconnect them to the thermostat as soon as it's
removed. Any time that a wire will be disconnected for longer
than a couple
of seconds, TAKE A PHOTO so you know exactly where and how it
Plumbing connections tend
to more forgiving (there's usually only one way to
connect them) but Teflon tape, thread sealant and high temperature
gasket sealant are proven methods for preventing inconvenient leaks.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER!!! ANY REPAIR WORK ON
MACHINES SHOULD ONLY BE CARRIED OUT WITH THE MACHINE DISCONNECTED FROM
ELECTRICAL POWER AND THE BOILER COLD. IF YOU IGNORE THIS AND DAMAGE
YOURSELF, DON'T COMPLAIN TO ME; YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
thing you need is a reasonably comprehensive tool kit. Note that (apart
from the "weird bits" set) there are no really specialised tools
involved, just metric spanners, metric sockets, screwdrivers, pliers,
wrenches and a hammer.
LELIT PL042 COMBI
Most of the steps
outlined below apply to machines from Imat, Nemox and Lelit, as well as
obvious rebadges such as the LaPavoni Napoletana. I have concentrated
on the models with 3-way solenoid valves as they are the most complex.
|There are 2 indispensable
"special" tools needed
for this class of machines. The first is an 8mm socket with
the outside edge ground down sufficiently to give access to the
group collar nuts.
||The second tool is a 14mm ring spanner ground flat so
that it can undo the thin, soft edged brass water distribution nut
and allow showerscreen removal. (Note that showerscreen types and
fixtures may change from machine to machine, and the current Lelit
machines don't have this screen and nut combo.)
|Getting in to
the machines is
simple, there are only 2 small phillips head screws to be removed. One
is behind the grinder hopper ..
|| ..and the other
at the corner
of the water tank recess. The whole top then lifts off. You'll have to
remove the filter on the end of the inlet hose to free the hoses.
|Unlike the Silvia, this is
as good as it gets for
access to the internals in these machines. In order to fix stuff like
the element, solenoid or some bits of the steam valve, you have to
remove the boiler first.
||The first step in removing
the boiler is freeing the
indicator light, accomplished by pressing a finger on the little orange
cover on the machine's front, then pulling the light away from the
|Then using a 15mm spanner
undo the split retaining nut
on the steam valve until you can slide it free of the shaft.
||The shaft can then be
unscrewed and removed through
the front of the machine. Stuff like o-ring replacement or shaft touch
up can be done at this stage.
|Next step is removal of the
wiring; the thermostats
unscrew. Remember to reconnect and/or label and photograph as you go
along. Remove the wiring and outlet hose from the solenoid valve as
||Then undo the water inlet
hose (12mm spanner.) Older
machines have this brass nut and ferrule arrangement. Do NOT try
grasping the hose with pliers, use sandpaper or a scotchbrite pad.
|It's easier on the latest
Lelit machines. With these
fittings you simple depress the green plastic ring and pull the hose
out of the fitting, and replacement is accomplished by simply pushing
the hose back into the fitting.
|| At this stage you undo the
group collar nuts and
remove the group collar. The whole boiler, steam arm and solenoid
assembly can then be lifted clear of the machine. This is the point
where the steam arm o-ring and the solenoid coil and valve can be
removed and replaced.
|Now comes the tricky part.
The water flow through this
boiler to the group goes >>boiler input>>steam
assembly>>solenoid valve>>teflon pipe>>copper
pipe>>water distributor. First undo the 10mm compression nut and
remove the pipe from the nipple.
the 12mm nipple nut from the top of the
copper pipe through the boiler. Do not damage the thread or lose the
|Now you can undo the 4x8mm
boiler bolts and separate
||At this point things are
easy; you can replace the
element, replace the boiler o-ring, whatever. The reassembly goes in
reverse order, but with the addition of a little bit of silicone at the
top of the copper pipe, and around the element and boiler o-rings. And
make sure that the group collar is on the right way before doing up the
nuts. MAJOR TIP:
Don't Forget to push the
solenoid drain tube back onto the nipple before testing the machine.