synesso troubleshooting, traulsen freezers for summer, wiha vs vaco vs P & C

Last week our Synesso Cyncra two group espresso machine started to empty water out of its right side (where the drain tray empties to), while also producing an audible pop sound before the water. Our quick staff did the right thing by turning the machine off (at the machine). This was safe enough, however the best course of action would have been shutting it off at the electrical panel (espresso machines should always be on their own circuit/ or breaker). The next step would be shutting off water (although not needed in this case since they called me). so… what happened.

In this case the sound was the pressure safety ‘popping’ open. The steam tank had filled completely with water under pressure, because the solenoid valve controlling the filling of the tank had shorted. The ‘way’ in which it had shorted is very interesting to me. The natural position of this valve is closed. When current is applied to the magnetic loop the valve opens. Here the current was not being sent on the ‘hot’ line, but we think was bleeding from neutral to ground, and yet somehow running through the loop. This was an extremely corroded solenoid, with lots of rust, and although we did not fully test our theory- well, replacing the electronic solenoid appears to have put the machine to normal.

Parts in the system to consider are the level probe (sensing water level), the electronic box (relays low current to high current), and the solenoid valve. We start with the solenoid, because its a beautiful and easy part to replace, with almost no tools, and no messing with water. This problem occurred because when wet things are placed on top of the machine, water drains and sometimes hits this solenoid valve. Total time to fix the problem- 30 minutes, with mostly cleaning. Time for temperature stability on the groups 45 minutes (a guess).

Overall the Synesso is a pretty rugged machine, and fun to work on. The only repeat issue we have seen lately has been when a stainless steel braided cable is pushed inside the machine and is touching the steam boiler. These cables simply break when touching the boiler, or getting too close to the boiler.

ok- please let us share some other thrilling mechanical news/discovery/revelation-

Traulsen freezers are so so so much quieter and better made than True (they didnt pay us to say that). Everything made by True refrigeration that we have bought new has failed and has just been poorly made. The best excuse we have heard was that it was made in America on a friday (because Americans half ass everything on fridays right?) On a faith level, currently we have a lot with Traulsen. Many coffee shops probably already know (and bars) that a regular bar cooler cannot actually handle the weight of beer without the floor slumping in, and we dont know if a traulsen does or does not.

wiha vs. vaco vs. P &C- ok, so you cant buy P & C drivers anymore, and Vaco may or may not have stopped production three years ago, but Wiha’s are still made, and people say they are rad. We have bent, and destroyed some Wiha’s (especially the handle, which was a lovely idea), but Vaco and P&C with their classic resin handles, and especially the old P&C bulldriver with its square neck- you could hammer them, misuse them, melt them in electrical sockets- those are really coming through for us right now (i should probably get you pictures of these drivers. (oh and xcelite small driver sets- maybe the best purchase of drivers we ever made at the roastery, before it was the roastery).

Lastly, and the most exciting mechanical news of the day. We have installed a rope and pulley system for our front door at the bar. With a window weight from the Littlewood house or Lee’s Better Letters, we now have a mechanical door closer, which will help keep our room cool, and our bills for air conditioning lower.

It has been too long since we shared with you. The camera seems to be always at the bottom of our bag, and us in a hurry to get places. more news soon- best-all of us.

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