📹 Rocket Espresso Appartamento Serie Nera: Flow Issues

Troubleshoot flow issues on Rocket Espresso Appartamento Serie Nera.

Flow Issues

No Steam From Wand / No Hot Water From Hot Water Tap

  • Check the brew function on the machine and see if water is able to flow through the machine for this function.
    • If the brew water is not flowing, refer to the “No Flow At All” section of this article.
    • If the brew water flows but is not hot, refer to the “On But Not Heating” section of this machine’s “Machine Not Heating Or Powering On”  article.
  • If there's no hot water from the hot water tap, check the steam function of the machine. If you are able to draw steam from the steam wand then the steam boiler must be pressurizing and heating.
  • If there's no steam from the steam wand, check the hot water function of the machine. If you are able to draw hot water then the steam boiler must be pressurizing and heating, because hot water is expelled from the machine by steam pressure.
  • Check the steam gauge of the machine. Does it show pressure? Typical range for the steam gauge should be 1-1.2 Bar.
    • If the gauge is within the 1-1.2 Bar range, then the steam wand is likely blocked.
    • Remove the tip from the steam wand and test the flow. If flow is restored, then the tip needs to be cleaned and reattached.
    • If the flow is still blocked, then there may be a blockage in the steam wand itself. Clean the wand by using a pipe brush that has synthetic or plastic bristles; metal bristles can damage the wand. Then soak the wand in a solution of hot water and backflushing powder for ten minutes. Test flow again.
    • If there still isn't flow, then there may be a blockage farther back in the steam circuit. The machine may need to be professionally cleaned to remove the blockage.

The video below shows how to diagnose an obstruction between the boiler and hot water or steam wand in an espresso machine. Symptoms of this problem are normal steam wand performance but no water output from the hot water wand or vice versa. This tutorial uses an ECM Synchronika dual boiler espresso machine. Procedure is similar for other dual boiler machines.

How To Diagnose Espresso Machine Hot Water or Steam System Obstructions

  • If the gauge is not reaching 1-1.2 Bar, but it is pressurizing some, then the steam pressurestat may just need to be adjusted.
    • When adjusting the pressurestat, only slight adjustments should be made. Small adjustments will make a large difference in the pressure.
  • If adjusting the pressurestat the first time did not raise the pressure, try adjusting it a few more times. If the pressure is still not rising after several adjustments then the pressurestat is likely broken and will need to be replaced.
  • If the gauge sometimes reaches 1-1.2 Bar, but flicks around a lot or randomly drops to zero, or is always sitting at zero, then the steam boiler is not building pressure for some reason.
    • If the machine is spewing a lot of steam from the top as it is heating up, then the vacuum relief valve may be stuck open. This valve is supposed to close once the machine produces enough steam pressure.

The video below provides a tutorial on vacuum relief tear down instructions, including how to remove the top and sides to get inside the machines (Skip to the 8:50 mark).

Vacuum Relief Tear Down Instructions

  • The high limit switch may be tripped. The high limit switch is an internal killswitch which prevents damage to the machine caused by power surges or the machine overheating. Instructions for resetting the high limit switches can be found below after the cover is removed. Make sure the machine is turned off and unplugged.
  • While the machine is open for resetting the high limit switch, check to make sure the wiring to the pressurestat isn't loose or disconnected. Reconnect the wires and see if the steam circuit pressurizes properly.
  • If there aren’t any disconnected wires, the pressurestat will need to be replaced.

Poor Or No Flow From Grouphead

If the steam/hot water for the machine is working fine then there is likely something causing a blockage or pressure issue in the brew circuit. Otherwise refer to the “No Flow At All” section of this article.

  • If a water softener is attached to the inlet line of the machine, it may be preventing water from flowing. Please remove the softener and see if the flow improves.
  • The grouphead is dirty and needs to be cleaned.
    • Taking apart the grouphead for manual cleaning is the first step. This should be done on a monthly basis. The instructions can be found in the document attached at the end of this article.
    • If cleaning the grouphead restores flow to the grouphead, the machine should be immediately backflushed to prevent further flow issues.

The video below explains how to backflush your espresso machine.

Maintaining Your Espresso Machine - Backflushing

  • There might be a kinked, broken, or loose line somewhere in the machine. Remove the top of the machine and take a look inside to see if you see any obvious issues.
  • There might be an issue with one of the internal valve assemblies, which may need to be cleaned or replaced.

Learn how to disassemble and clean an E61 brew group mushroom, jet and top valve and how to test your machine for flow to determine if cleaning is required in the video below.

How To Clean E61 Brew Group Mushroom, Jet and Top Valve

No Flow At All

NOTE: There may be a kinked, broken, or loose line somewhere in the machine. Remove the top of the machine and take a look inside to look for any obvious issues.

  • If the machine is set to the plumbed mode:
    1. First try switching to the reservoir mode temporarily and see if it resolves the issue. If this resolves the flow issue, then the issue is specific to the inlet plumb line, and you should go to the next step. Otherwise keep the machine in reservoir mode and skip down to the next section which deals with testing the "No Flow" issue for the machine in reservoir mode.
    2. Return the machine to plumb mode. The next thing to check is to see if we can isolate where the flow issue is occurring for the plumb line. Try putting the plumb line hosing into an external bucket or container filled with water and see if the machine will draw water from this source. If it can't, then there may be a blockage somewhere in the plumb line itself.
    3. If you are able to draw water from the plumb line, then there may be an issue with the plumbing supplying this line.
  • If the machine is set to use the reservoir:
    • If the pump does not sound like it is activating:
      • Check to make sure the water tank is filled, and the machine isn't indicating that the water tank is empty.
        1. If the tank is empty, refill it.
        2. If the tank is full, but the machine thinks the water tank is empty then the tank may not be seated correctly. Make sure there isn't anything blocking the tank from sitting flush inside the machine.
      • Remove the cover of the machine and check for any loose or disconnected wires.
      • Make sure there aren't any kinked or pinched hoses.
      • There may be an issue with the water tank sensor. The tank's level sensor is not compatible with reverse osmosis or zero waters because of their lack of mineral content. The sensor depends on minerals being in the water to pass an electrical signal which tells the machine that water is present in the tank. Waters that don't have enough mineral content will not be able to pass this electrical signal, so the machine will not think water is present.
      • There may be an issue with the pump powering on.
    • If the pump does sound like it is activating:
      • Check the water tank to make sure it is filled and that both the inlet line and the return lines are inserted into the tank. Make sure the inlet line in particular is below the surface of the water.
      • If you are using the water softener on the inlet line, try removing it and see if water can flow through the machine.
      • Open up the machine. Make sure there aren't any kinked or pinched hoses anywhere.
      • There may be a stuck valve inside the machine.
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