Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saeco Talea - automatic coffee machine - teardown and analysis

I got this coffee machine from work because it was a maintenance nightmare. I'll tear it down, do the analysis on how it works and detail on some design problems as well.

It's going to be a rather long post with quite a lot of pictures. I've marked all the detected problems with an asterisk "*", I'm sure some have been forgotten as this teardown was performed 6 months ago.



General description

Initial view with some components off: the left side holds the water tank, the right side has the dregs (spent coffee) drawer and waste water reservoir.
Control panel: top left is the dregs full warning light, general warning light, descale light, coffee button, coffee quantity button, water quantity dial (ring), steam/hot water selector button (left).
The 'aroma' rotary button and coffee dispenser is disassembled and shown at lower right. Overfill drawer (drip tray / coffee cup holder) is off from the height adjustment assembly.

The pipe thing at the left is the steam outlet for milk frothing. If the droplet button (water selector) is pressed then it dispenses hot water for tea.
The top side held the beans reservoir.

From the top we can see the grinding inlet (yellowish), ground coffee outlet (round keyed hole, center right), steam selector valve (lower left), power supply heatsink (center), power button connections (lower right), infrared transceiver (bottom) and the gears from the water quantity adjustment.



Power board


The power board is responsible for supplying the control board with power and switching the heavy loads: grinder motor, boiler, water pump, flow-rate meter.

Some optocouplers at the bottom of the board and the small size of the transformer hint to a switch-mode power supply design.


*I've modified the steam selector valve (top picture, right; bottom left picture) a while back to block its output since it was leaking. I did fit new gaskets since the old ones were too worn out. New gaskets did not fix the problem so the faucet assembly (under the silver rotary button) was blocked with some screws and threadlock.

*The green gaskets are special high-temperature silicone ones. You can see the left one has shrunk and been eaten away by hot steam during its life. If this wear is significant enough, any higher water pressure caused by finely ground coffee or scale deposits will force hot water past the faucet and down the frothing tube.
If the pressure and wear are high enough no actual water will make it into the coffee, it will all be sent down the tube.


The power board has two connections to the signal/control board on the left.


Whenever taking apart stuff it is useful to document it, for both reverse-engineering purposes and putting it back together. So I made an excel sheet having all the connections from all the boards, pin numbers and connector code:

Power Board

5p JP2 ->JP4 signal board
8p JP5 ->JP8 signal board
2p JP7 grinder motor
2p JP8 intake pump motor
3p JP1 N/C
2+1p JP4 power switch
2+1+1p JP6 boiler power + flow meter

ASSY


From now on I will refer to the rotary assembly that takes the coffee from the grinder, to the water valve and to the waste drawer as ASSY. The manual refers to as 'brew group'. It is not pictured here but a quick search on Google for "Saeco Talea Giro Brew Group" will display it:
http://www.coffeemaker-spareparts.com/Saeco-Spareparts/Primea-Talea-Odea-Parts/Brew-group-for-Saeco-Talea-Odea-Primea::3896.html


The assy is operated by a motor and has the following positions and operations:
- N - low limit - lets the user take out the unit, no parts are engaged, coffee holder is in place
- rotate R
- H - high limit - coffee is compressed into the water port, lower outlet valve is connected to the dispenser
- rotate L
- I - intermediary position - the coffee holder bottom raises up causing the spent coffee to fall into the dregs drawer
- rotate L
- N - some of the waste water falls into the bottom of the assy and down the inclined plane into the waste water reservoir.

*The next pic shows how much dirt accumulates during one month of very light usage. *Not all the ground coffee pouring from the top reaches the assy.
*Also, during rotation, some coffee is dropped because of poor tolerances.
*Steam coming from the waste tank under the assembly condenses and causes the spillage to bind (stick) and trigger the waste water sensor. *The inclined plane gets fouled with waste coffee and the assy gets stuck as well not being able to shed all remains.


*The waste water reservoir is also not properly aligned with the inclined plane and some water makes it onto the bottom of the unit and then under it.


Inside the assy drive mechanism we can see:
- assy detection switch, upper right
- high (H) and low (N) limit switches, center
- drive motor, simple brushed type, with a worm gear
- reduction gears (gray)
- waste water sensor (second picture)




I will detail the water sensor principle of operation later on.


Water circuit


The vibration water pump, situated at the back of the unit, draws water from the reservoir and pushes it through various hoses. There's a small flow-meter at the bottom that is used to measure water rate as well as detect lack of water.

The horizontal white cylinder is the relay for the boiler. Since the boiler draws a lot of amps it cannot be driven by the power board directly.



The boiler is at the left side of the unit, just above the water tank. *Some wires are being run unnecessarily close to this heated part, though it might have been an oversight of the technicians that last serviced it.


*Above we run into another problem: the small black pipe at the center pushes the water tank valve before the tank is properly secured to the unit. This means that if the tank is not pushed all the way in water starts to slowly leak out of the tank and below the unit, making it a safety hazard and ruining everything under it.

At my workplace, this "feature" completely destroyed the table underneath it within one year. The only way to safeguard against this is to give the water tank a punch inwards once-in-a-while and preferably immediately after refilling the water.
*Also, jolts from the other side (emptying the dregs drawer) might cause the tank to slowly come out of place with the same watery result.

I initially assumed that there is a high-pressure pump that pushes water at high psi once the water is hot enough but it seems that steam is build up from the boiler room itself and a blowdown valve keeps it pressurized.
*Since the blowdown valve is downstream of the steam faucet a slight seal failure will cause the pressure to escape via the faucet and the (unobstructed) frothing tube or the milk island output, whichever has more wear.


Control board


This is the most complicated part of the unit requiring quite an extensive write-up.

Top left, under the two resistor arrays, we have VN770K, a short-circuit protected H-bridge drive for the grinder motor. The high power resistor underneath it is connected to the "SOURCE 4" terminal which probably goes to ground.
The U12 chip is an NDS9948 P-channel MOSFET, capable of driving 60V/2.3A.
The black potentiometer is actually connected to the water quantity ring/dial assembly, so it's probably sampled through the microchip's ADC. Below that there's a jellybean 78M05 and then a part marked "32C65". It has 4 pins and it's marked Y1 so I assume it's a ceramic/crystal oscillator, though I've never seen that marking before.


The chip under the revision sticker is MCP908AP32 - part of the 68HC08 family from Freescale, a Motorola 6800 compatible successor. Fun fact: the 6800 was one of the first processors to require only one voltage supply, back in 1974.
It does have 2kB of RAM and 32kB of flash, two 16bit CCP/PWM timers, two serial modules (one with IrDa), SPI, SMBus, 8ch/10bit ADC, 32 GPIO with 8 sink and 6 source (25mA) outputs.

Next to the CPU there's an ST95040 4K SPI EEPROM, probably used to store machine statistical runtime data like running hours, number of coffees, error count and other stuff. I suppose so because the service mentioned at one point that the machine lost its warranty because it was used in an office environment instead of a home.

Below the cpu there are two 74HC595D 8-bit shift registers that are probably used to free up some I/O pins and provide increased drive current. There are at least 42 signals being processed, not including the IrDa transceiver, EEPROM and other stuff, so clearly the 32 GPIO will not be enough.


The interesting bit about the CPU is the IrDa connection, there's what I guessed to be transceiver on the board with an IR transparent window on top of the unit.
It's marked BU7032 and has 8 pins:
- GND
- GND
- +5V
- GND
- GND
- TX? (goes to CPU)
- RX? (goes to a pulldown transistor and then CPU)
- +5V
I was not able to find any info on it.

The rest of the components from the control board are just passives or jellybean actives, with a notable 3-switch selector on the right.

The front of the board has the user interface stuff: buttons and leds, along with the slot for the water quantity potentiometer.


*A design aspect of this is that the board is really prone to flexing when buttons are being pushed. The middle part moves about 1mm when the coffee button (most used one) is pressed and this gap will get worse as the plastic retainers wear off.
*The capton tape was probably put on as an afterthought as it's really not a suitable way to guard the board against scratches caused by the springs.


Back view of the user panel assembly, showing the tension/return springs for the water/steam selector button.


Just for reference, the steam selector valve/faucet is driven by a magnet coupled to the rotary button that closes some reed/magnetic switches.



The control board has quite a mess of wires and connectors so it's always a good idea to mark and document them. It proved especially useful (aside from the pictures) when I put the unit back together 4 months after I've taken it apart.


Initially the plan was to design a new board for the unit that worked around some firmware flaws: not being to rinse and descale the machine properly, dumping ground coffee AFTER figuring out that not enough water is available, dumping coffee randomly, poor indication of available water level, no auto power-off, etc.

You can see that after the initial rough documentation of the needed inputs and outputs this proved to be a non-feasible goal as too much R&D was required on my side, far outweighing the cost of dumped coffee or a better unit.



Pins Label Ground pins +5V pins Signal/other pins Description Digital in (hall/mech switches) Cap sensors Analog in Digital Out Analog Out Unknown
2 JP10 1 0 1 boiler temp sensor (NTC/PTC)

1


4 JP1 1 1 2 steam valve selector 3




5 JP7 2 1 2 bean cover (2p) + grinder motor sensor (3p) 1
1


4 JP2 1 1 2 serial comm? 1

1

10 JP5 3 1 6 motor limit switches (3x2p), assy misplaced switch (2p), assy motor output (2p) 4



2
6 JP16 2 2 2 intake pump sensor (3p) + intake water level sensor (3p) 1



1
5 JP4 1 1 3 power/main board connector





8 JP8 0 0 8 main board connector





4 JP3 - - - N/C





2 JP21 0 0 2 side cover (assy/dregs) open switch 1




6 JP23 - - - N/C (1 gnd + 1 5v)





3 JP22 1 1 1 waste water level sensor
1



I/O











PB1

1 coffee qty button 1





PB4

1 coffee start button 1





PB3

1 water/steam button 1





DL9

1 empty dregs LED


1


DL1

1 heater on/heating LED


1


DL4

1 warning LED


1


DL5

1 descale LED


1


DL2

1 coffee on LED


1


DL6-8

3 coffee qty LED


3


DL3

1 water on/steam off LED


1


P1

1 water qty potentiometer

1


59


42
14 1 3 10 0 3

A good idea when sketching up these things is to count which pins are connected to ground, which are connected to digital power. The remaining ones will show you how many GPIO pins you require. Then you have to analyze the signal pins and figure out which are analog, which are digital and which are something else, so you can choose the uC with the required number of ADC channels.

Almost all the safety switches are hall sensors, thus magnetic-based. This includes the side covers open detection, bean cover and dregs drawer detection. It's useful to have a handful of magnets around when testing the unit with covers removed.

An interesting connector is JP2 - this is continued under the unit and provides an USART connector probably for diagnosing the unit at service. I'll try sniffing that in the future, the only problem being not to make a mess of coffee residue everywhere.


Water sensor


What I though initially to be capacitive sensors (for water sensing) are in fact a turnkey solution that outputs a digital level.
They are TS100 TouchCell units, probably custom tuned for Philips/Saeco.

I think the two resistors along with the PCB capacitor on the other side forms some kind of configuration that oscillates only above a specific capacitance.
The 6-pin IC takes 5V, ground, a common pin between the resistors and the two [differential] RC inputs and outputs HIGH whenever the capacitance threshold is reached, within 150us.

This can be achieved with a 555 timer and a Schimtt trigger.



Consider the following article: http://www.digikey.com/us/en/techzone/sensors/resources/articles/liquid-level-sensing.html and the last schematic. If the output of that 555 is integrated through a capacitor and fed through an op-amp in a Schmitt trigger configuration then the required output will be seen.
Maybe a single opamp can do both integration and triggering. Maybe the entire design can be done with a single or dual opamp package in a relaxation oscillator setup. Who knows, it needs some experimentation.

*The only problem with this setup is that it is not able to tell how much water is present, making it impossible for the machine to estimate whether enough water is available in the tank for a coffee of the selected size.
*The same sensor is used also for waste water sensing where it is too sensible, especially when coffee residues are present.

Hopefully Philips did not pay a lot of money for these sensors because even though they simplify firmware development they are not really able to quantify levels of detection. My guess is that they just order a few tens of millions of these and use them everywhere they get the chance to, even in cheaper units which do not have a microprocessor controlling the stuff.

Grinder unit


The grinder has an interesting design starting with a clean isolation from the outside. You can see there is no coffee residue near the motor. Top is the rotating center shaft with the non-rotating adjustable gear. Upper right is the grinding outlet.



The small wheel in the center rotates the big adjustment wheel, changing the coarseness of the ground.



The adjustment actually varies the distance between the two ceramic grinders.


The lower wheel is driven by the brushed motor through a worm reduction. Notice the black rectangle with a connector on the lower side of the bottom cover. Also notice the two black magnets on the white gear.


The black box houses a 4-pin device marked 506K 6373. It's most likely a hall effect sensor and its output is sent to the CPU to determine the grinder rotational speed. From there, the CPU can determine if the grinder is stuck or out of coffee (spinning too fast).



Conclusion


There are a tons of things which I've forgotten since the time I opened up the unit. It was a good idea to take pictures at each step since without them the machine would probably still be in pieces.

What I assumed initially to a be a straightforward analysis of a simple machine yielded surprising findings. It is indeed not trivial to design a good automatic coffee machine, even less so to do one that gives good-tasting coffee like this does. I did assume however that many years of iterative design have gone into this and expected to find mostly only firmware mistakes. To my surprise, most of the problems with this machine and its slow death have been mechanical and hydraulic.

This article could have easily been five times longer and with ten times more pictures but everyone has a limited attention span. I might detail some inner workings and findings in separate posts.

84 comments:

  1. Saeco Talea is a good automatic coffee machine but now I can't find it in Asian market, some latest Saeco coffee machine models like Intelia, Royal one touch... are more popular

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  2. Very interesting post, exactly what I was looking for. However, I got stuck at the first step: opening the machine... :(

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    Replies
    1. Remove the screw under the coffee beans cover. Slide the cup drawer all the way down, pull it forward to remove it.
      Pull aroma adjustment knob, there is a screw behind it, remove that as well. Pull out the aroma adjustment unit. See first picture (cup holder is not yet all the way down).
      The coffee bean holder, front and top panel all come out as one piece. Some force might be required: pull the bottom part of the front panel over the cup holder and to the outside and work your way up to remove the top piece.

      Undo all the torx screws (6-10) below the unit; there might be some screws also behind the doors, near the top.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the post, trying to fix saeco syntia that is notoriously dumping the grinded coffee instead of brewing. Looks like there is problem with the load size detection and it overfills the brewing unit even when I select the lowest aroma setting :(

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    Replies
    1. The aroma setting on my machine does not affect the brewing process. Run the descaling procedure, adjust the coffee grinding to a coarser setting, clean the 'assy'.

      Delete
  4. Pieter: you need a torx (15?) screwdriver for most screws.
    Remove beans cover, there is a screw under it.
    Pull out the aroma knob, there is a screw inside it.
    Move the tray to the lowest position and pull the outer part towards you. Now you can take out the big plastic middle part, by pulling it towards you, from above the tray, just enough to clear the water qty knob, and up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Vaiovillage: does it sound like the machine is having a hard time getting water through the ground beans? It might mean that the grind is too fine, the coffee too greasy or the machine requires descaling.
    If it does not finish compressing the grind into a capsule and gives up then it might be that the big rotating assembly needs cleaning or that the o-ring around the piston might have come off and blocks the piston from going inside the cylinder.
    I would look at these two first.

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  6. I'm on my third automatic coffee machine in the last 15 years. The first two were Miele with Saeco parts and the third is a Saeko Incanto Delux. Most of my problems have been with the water system. (Keeping the heaters clean, pumps working, and hoses not leaking.) Presently, my Incanto complains of a grinder block. I have cleaned the grinder and it turns freely with a wrench on the screw. Can I jump the two power terminals to test the motor? Do you know whether the grinder is powered by line voltage?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember off-hand but you can check if the motor has something
      inscribed. Then I would test with 6V, 12V and if the motor doesn't draw any current then try with line voltage.

      Delete
  7. i have the talea giro plus, it has worked for 2 years, but yes needs cleaned a lot to avoid problems. we have mostly had problems when we had friends over and i made too many americanos in a row. the steam build up would cause things to clog. Currently we are trying to fix a grinder problem. The machine works fine on bypass doser, but as soon at it sends a signal to grind coffee it stops and all lights flash red. Any thoughts? thanks, signed, coffee blues

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I would guess one of the following:
      - grinder set too fine, it can be adjusted from the top (barely) with an allen key
      - grinder wheel is stuck, you have to take apart most of the machine to clean it
      - grinder motor is at end of life and does not have enough power
      - hall sensors are broken (unlikely) or the wires going to them have been pinched

      I don't have the bypass doser (I think) so things might be different for you.
      As a last resort try emptying the coffee beans and putting something softer, like rice, I've used this method before to clean the grinder but I don't think it's ok.

      Delete
  8. Two questions:
    1. Brewing cycle time on my Saeco Syntia is 15 sec. It should at least 25 sec. What could be done about it?
    2. With a container full of beans machine does not finish the grinding and throws coffee out.What could be done to force the machine to finish the cycle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. You have to understand that these machines are not replacing the 5-50k espresso machines in the coffee shops, they are just a substitute.

      Nevertheless, the brewing time is either fixed (by timing) or dictated by the volume of water that has to pass. This means that with a finer coffee the water will have a harder time getting through.

      2. I would guess that the machine thinks the grinder turns too fast or too slow. This can be caused by an incorrect coffee being used or an extreme grinding size (too coarse/fine).
      Or perhaps the speed sensor on the grinding motor has failed.

      I'm not a professional so please take my words above with a pinch of salt.

      Delete
  9. I got this coffee machine from work because it was a maintenance nightmare. ... ecoffeegrinder.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. got a malfunctioning unit for free.. seems to make large cups but not small cups. Small cups setting it will grind, and go thru the motions but no coffee comes out. Maybe the large cup setting is also making less coffee. Water system problems?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The water adjustment should not influence coffee making, it only sets the time(?) for the last step - how much time the water pump should be on.
      If you get very little water out then you need to run a descaling procedure: press the 'water droplet' button in the front and rotate the steam selector on top of the unit. Before that you should put some descaling agent inside the water tank (or at least a vinegar solution). Run it for 15-20s at a time, wait for 1 min, repeat. Do this for about 2 tanks until you hear that the pump is not forcing itself so much. Afterwards you need to run the same steps with clean water.

      The number one killer for these machines is limescale so make sure to periodically descale (search wikipedia for 'Descaling agent').

      If by large coffee you mean the 3-steps button on the front that sets the coffee quantity: grinding is too fine or 'ASSY' is too dirty.

      Delete
  11. I have the exact machine pictured but mine won't pour anything. I can't actually de scale either because nothing flows. The steam wand is working but not the coffee pourer. I took it apart and cleaned the hose fitting from the assy to the pourer and all the components of the pourer - everything seems to be clear but still nothing... any suggestions?

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  12. I found my problem. It was a blocked brew group. The little holes in the brew group got blocked so flushing the out with really hot water seemed to do the trick

    ReplyDelete
  13. I found my problem. It was a blocked brew group. The little holes in the brew group got blocked so flushing the out with really hot water seemed to do the trick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chris, I'm glad you were able to solve the problem.
      If the brewing group got clogged then you wouldn't have been able to descale, so I assume the clog was before the brew group / assy.

      For future readers, to force the machine to descale:
      - fill the tank with distilled water and descaling agent as per instructions
      - press the 'droplet' button on the front of the unit
      - turn the hot water knob to the front position
      The machine will make a grinding noise for a while. If this lasts for more than ~10s the machine will stop by itself but I suggest you stop after 5s.
      At this point I turn the how water knob to the opposite position, releasing the pressure from the installation, wait a while, then repeat.
      If machine refuses to anything after this point: check that there is water in the tank and that the waste water is emptied.
      As a last resort, restart the machine via the power button and try the same operation.

      In case of really hard water and/or unmaintained machine it might take 10 cycles to get the water flowing. Some vinegar might help, but at your own risk.

      Also, there are refill kits with granulate and water filter (Intenza and Aqua Prima). The same granulate can be used to fill Brita-compatible water filter packs - a double win, since they are so expensive.

      Delete
  14. Good day i wonder if you can help me i got a coffer machine (seaco) and it is 110 volts can i change it to 220 volts. i blow the pc board that works with the power supply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It won't work, all the other components are rated for the supply voltage: water pump, boiler, supply for the main board and motors ...
      Your best bet is using a 220->110V transformer rated for at least 1500W.

      Delete
    2. Can you please give a price on a power supply for 110 volts thanks

      Delete
  15. Great review you wrote , congratulations .
    I have a question: is it possible to reduce the rate of entry of water to create the best coffee ? Thank you, Emanuele

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The easiest way to achieve that is to grind the coffee finer (smaller particles). The finer it is ground, the harder it is for the water to get through. At some point the machine will refuse to make a coffee, so just switch to a coarser setting.
      The Saeco has an adjustment for this - lift the lid for the beans and you will see a small adjustment screw. Press on it and THEN rotate it a small amount. Do not try to rotate it without pressing as it's locked.
      Should be in the manual.

      Delete
  16. Hi! My saeco odea giro automatic coffee machine is dispensing the brewed coffee to the waste water reservoir instead of pouring from the nozzles in front of the machine and into the cup. Coffee seems to be brewed normal, only problem is that it gets into the wrong place. When cleaning cycle starts, when I start the machine, the water goes also to the waste not through the nozzles as usual. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like some pipes/tubes are clogged with scale deposits. Fill up half the tank with cleaning solution (or vinegar, worst case), run the cleaning cycle a few times while adjusting the knob for the frother in different positions. That is the knob for the cappuccino, above the machine. You can reuse the same water while it's hot, it seems to work better. Afterwards, do a normal cleaning cycle.

      There should be an accessory with the machine, it's like a small brush similar to the one used for cleaning bottles. I think it's supposed to go up the coffee dispenser holes to clean them up.

      Check that the big assembly inside the machine is clean, the coffee filter (metal grill) is clean and that the tube from the side of the machine going to the coffee dispenser is free of obstructions. It's beneath the assembly, upper left corner.

      Delete
    2. Well i managed to solve the problem. It turned out that the thin tube in the upper left that brewing group inserts into (coffee dispensing tube) was broken and half of it was inside the brewing group part where it is inserted. I took it out using a toothpick (i inserted the toothpick deep then pull it out and the the part of the broken tube came out too) and then i used superglue to fix the tube. The machine works perfectly again. To replace the coffee dispensing tube you have to take apart the whole machine as i saw in a youtube tutorial about how to change it, so i am very pleased with fixing it with superglue that i think it will be ok if ill be careful at removal and reenter of the brewing group.

      Delete
    3. Glad you've managed to fix it. However, I don't think it's a lasting repair, the superglue will get washed away after a while (inside your coffee, nonetheless) and it will break again.
      You could try to reinforce it using a 2-part epoxy.

      I am not convinced the entire machine needs to be taken apart, the front dispenser comes off easily - a T10(?) screw inside the 'aroma' knob.

      Delete
    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKwxxUgQu7g

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  17. My Saeco Talea Giro Plus has had a sensor error of some sort for a very long time. It otherwise operates normally until it decides it has an error. I will get the ! error flashing, and what seems to fix it is: open side door and remove puck/water disposal. turn off machine, turn on machine, reinsert disposal tray and shut top door. I think there is a problem with some sort of sensor on the side. I never seem to get the puck full error, just the ! and no operation until I clear it. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. checked on another machine and the error light goes on as soon as a door opens and off as soon as its closed. On mine, there seems to be no door open error when you open it up. Must be a door sensor?

      Delete
    2. I've had similar behavior before doing the teardown. With regular cleaning (every 3-5 days) the occurrence has reduced a lot.
      Remove the waste assembly and the rotary assembly and clean everything thoroughly with a damp cloth. Let it try completely. While it's drying, clean the removed parts very well by hand - the dishwasher doesn't do a great job.

      The contacts are magnetic so they should last a really long time.

      If it's a flashing error the door is not closed or the waste basket is not sitting properly. Try to open/close the door a few times to see if it fixes it. Then try to remove/reinsert the tray without opening the door to see if that's the problem.

      If the error led is lit up continuously then the water sensor is triggered. It's a capacitive non-contact sensor and it might mean that the machine is dirty or damp inside the waste space.

      Delete
    3. The door has a magnet in the middle-upper position, check with some ferrous device (screwdriver).
      Take a strong neodymium magnet and wiggle it under the sensor inside the machine, the one that matches with the door magnet.

      It's a Hall sensor, though I'm not sure if it's the mechanical type or the electrical type. If it's the mechanical type, the magnet action might be able to force it to move if it has become stuck. Mine doesn't make any sound when a magnet is near (unlike a bicycle speed sensor)

      Do this with the machine turned on and see if the status led changes. If not, I suspect either the sensor is damaged or its wiring is.

      Delete
  18. Hi
    Fantastic blog you have very inspiring!
    I wonder if you could help me to ? I have a lot of grey hair I have been struggling with me Saeco talea ring plus for to days now ! Problem is it continues to make an priming water circuit for hours ! I have teared apart clean it and descal it ! I had luck to times to make a good coffee ! But after I have descale it it won't work only priming for hours !! I think maybe it is the flow meter or the blow down ? What do you think ? Thanks if your reading this and replay
    With best regards Martin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was The flowmeter that was The problem !

      Delete
    2. Hi Martin
      I have a same problem with my machine. Could you ,please tell me how you fix it?
      thanks

      Delete
  19. Hi,

    I currently have a problem with my Telea Giro Plus and was wondering if you could help. Water is leaking from the bottom of the unit and will not run through the system to make a coffee. No error lights on but when I try to make a coffee it grinds with no problem and the grinded coffee ends up dry with water coming all through the bottom of the machine. Also tried a descale but very little water came out of the steam wand, most of the water came out from bottom of machine and also in the water container of the brew group. Please let me know what it could be and where I should start

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Martin,
    Great article. I have Gaggia Platinum Swing Up machine same as Saeco Talea Ring. It developed an issue when it has coffee in the hopper but after grinding it, the powder goes into dreg box. If I push beans with my fingers into the grinder, the maker will brew couple of cups but, after will display a message Fill container with coffee even though there is plenty in the hopper.
    I took apart the machine and cleaned the grinder, also did discaling and lubricated brew group just to make sure I cover all the points. Still, it does the same round of dumping powder into the garbage. I think it is Hall Effect sensor located on grinder. Do you have any idea what else could it be?
    Thanks,
    Gene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gene
      I have a Saeco Talea Ring plus and have the same issue. Not sure hot to fix it and don't want to spend $500 or more to ship it away and get it fixed.

      Delete
  21. As mentioned by 'Coffee drinker' above, there is a nice youtube channel with a lot of information: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAoPVatiWo-RRkXkApZXeAA
    or search for 'Miroslav Stoicev'.
    He also sells some parts on ebay and they are not terribly overpriced.

    ReplyDelete
  22. A device that is basically used to measure the flow of air through a pipe or tube is known as the air flow meter. These are usually used in cars to measure the amount of air that enters the engine at a particular time. It helps to regulate cars and ensures its smooth functioning. These are available in a range of settings and features to suit different purposes.

    Flowmeter Installation

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for this post and the responses the comments. Both are extremely helpful.

    My Saeco Odea Giro Plus has had an ongoing problem that "fixes" itself after a while either by not using it for several days or by adjusting the water knob at the top while coffee is brewing.

    Here's the problem: coffee does not come out of the front dispenser. Even at start-up, water does not come out of the dispenser. Recently (i.e. today), the grounds have dry, so I suspect that water is not getting into the brew group correctly.

    The odd thing is that this problem tends to happen after descaling the machine. Yesterday, I descaled the machine, made several coffees, and then turned the machine off for the night. When I turned it on this morning, the machine made half an espresso before the coffee stopped coming from the dispenser.

    As I noted, I've been able to "fix" this problem by adjusting the steam/water wand while the pump pumps water to the brew group. Doing so makes the pump briefly sound like it's doing its job, but then it get quieter.

    Other than this recurring issue, I love this machine and want to keep it. Any ideas on how to fix this problem correctly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would suggest you make a small movie clip with the symptoms, others might help you out. The machine I got had a similar behavior in the beginning, turned out the [plastic] 'faucet' at the top of the machine was cracked and water was going anywhere but in the cup. I 'fixed' mine by plugging the unused cappuccino hose with a drywall screw and Loctite. It has been like that for more than 3 years.
      A replacement faucet (see part 11004625 and everything inside) is around 50USD, but I cannot be sure that is the problem.

      Delete
  24. Very interesting post, exactly what I was looking for. Just seeing post and discussion I have got full information regarding coffee machine.

    Rapid Industrial Supply

    ReplyDelete
  25. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT CAN HELP A RETIRED ARMY GUY WITH A QUESTION ABOUT A MIELE CVA 615 WITH A BREW UNIT ERROR THANX

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi there,
    Could you tell what are those blue components on the third picture (top right) next to where the yellow wire is connected?
    I can't tell if they capacitors or varistors.They almost look alike.
    The reason I am asking is that, my machine was shorted after some outside house work. Pulled some underground wires and pretty much all electronics in the house were damaged.
    I inspected my Saeco Intanco deluxe, and found that the 115v 9v 3.2va transformer is damaged and two yellow things in front were burned. Mine are yellow yours are blue. Couldn't tell what they were since they badly damaged, but similar once on the board are 7n241k. I was told they were varistors.

    Tried to put a dual input output 115v 9v 2.3va transformer and it blow the second I turned the power on. Anything else that I might have a check (components) for damage?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They look like MOVs and are marked RV2(and RV1?) on the board. So I would guess varistors is the right choice.

      The yellow chips in my picture look like small isolation transformers, but I could be wrong. They are marked ISO6-ISO8. The smaller black ones look like optocouplers, ISO1-ISO4, ISO9.
      My guess is that everything between the fuse and up to (including) the optocouplers/transformers needs to be replaced, it probably received 220V. I think it's better if you can source a working power board from a broken unit.

      Delete
  27. Thank you,

    I replaced the transformer and the two burned varistors. Now the machine turns on, heats up, but I don't hear water pump.

    No hot water, no steam and no coffee. All it says is ventilate. I did prime it good, but no luck.

    I am thinking to change the Triacs (Thyristors) next to the burned varistors. The writing on them is all gone.

    How do I test the water pump? I am thinking to just hot wire it, but I am afraid it will destroy it.

    Is it possible just to test it with Multi-meter?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you've gotten this far then it might be recoverable. My pump is rated for 48W@220V (see marking) so I assume for your machine is also at line voltage. Since it's not primed I would suggest you don't power it up for more than a few seconds otherwise it will overheat.
      For triacs a good rule of thumb is to use 2-4x rated power, so for my pump it would be 48W/220V*4=0.87A. Motors (pump) will have higher inrush currents while resistive loads (heater) will have lower.
      I would guess the control parts are triacs and not thyristors.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ligius,

      It turned out that the Klixon at the pump was bad. I bypassed it and everything works fine now :)

      One more thing. The Grinder unit, I see there is a mark on the big adjustment wheel(yours marked in red). How do align that with the small adjuster?
      What I did was, I put the big wheel in then turned the small adjuster until the mark on big wheel aligned with the mark on small adjuster.
      But then when I put the top cover on I don't know if I have to set the adjuster(where you dump coffee beans) clockwise or counter-clockwise.
      What do you say?

      Thank you

      Delete
    3. Don't remember right now, it should be set in a way that it allows full adjustment in either direction, I think I marked the gears with a marker before taking them off.

      Delete
  28. After 3.5 yrs my Talea Giro Pro has become unusable due to something during Descaling (which I have been doing religiously).
    Here is where I am at.
    1. I started the normal descaling process.
    2. the intermittent feed of water cycled through until the water tank became empty.
    3. Here is where the issue comes in. I wasn't standing there when the tank became empty and it didn't just stop trying to pump, instead the pump was continuing. So i refilled the tank thinking the pump would just start moving water for its normal cycling during the descaling process. It did not move water anymore. Its like the pump is not primed and can not prime itself. Since I'm in the descaling mode I can't determine how to get the water to prime and continue through to finish. Now it is just stuck no matter what I do.

    Any Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just force the descaling process with the full tank, the pump will eventually prime itself after a few tries. On my unit I do this: press the 'teardrop' button, rotate the knob (faucet) above the unit to the hot water position until it fails, reset it, rotate it back, until it eventually primes.

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My unit is fully functional but producing very translucent coffee (able to see bottom of cup). The unit is +/- 5 years old. What do you think could be the problem? What parts would you advice to replace anyway?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would first clean the brewing unit thoroughly, the black assembly which you can remove from the machine. You should see coffee stuck to the 'slide' and to other various parts, preventing fresh coffee from going inside the 'cup'.
      If that does not fix it, perhaps the faucet is leaking, but you should see that as water coming out from some other places.
      Other than that, you could try setting the coffee grind to a coarser one or clean the coffee outlets in the front with the special brush/stick thing, that goes inside the tubes.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
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  33. Hello, My Odea Giro is exactly 5 years old and has been working great without issue until a few days ago. It seems to be functioning fine but has started producing really weak coffee. No leaking, I've tried different beans, cleaned the brewing unit several times, and no change. Any suggestions as to what it might be?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello, My Odea Giro is exactly 5 years old and has been working great without issue until a few days ago. It seems to be functioning fine but has started producing really weak coffee. No leaking, I've tried different beans, cleaned the brewing unit several times, and no change. Any suggestions as to what it might be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would suggest running at least one descaling cycle to make sure that is not an issue. Normally as long as water makes it through the cup it should go through the coffee grind.

      I don't have any ideas yet but if you like tinkering you could open the side door and affix a small magnet at the door detection sensor just above (middle) of the brewing unit. This would allow you to run the machine with the door opened and see if water somehow makes its way around the coffee. To see where the magnet should go use a metallic piece to find the matching magnet on the door (top middle).

      Apart from that you can check the funnel for the coffee to see that it's not clogged, but I assume ground coffee is already getting to the brewing unit. Check the coarseness and adjust if too coarse, but normally the grinding wheel does not wear out so easily. On my unit, to adjust the coarseness I have to push down on the small black spindle inside the beans container and rotate it.

      Delete
  35. Hello, my Talea Giro plus is now about 8 years old. I had recently replaced the grinder motor and the sensor below the motor. (By the way, https://www.encompassparts.com has great prices). But now, the grinder seems to grind longer in time and a lot of times the just ground coffee is directly disposed into the trash bin and the red exclamation mark goes on. By lifting and closing the bean lid, the error is gone and the next time the Machine woks fine - sometimes. Currently wasting lots of fresh coffee. Any advise other than to buy a new Saeco will help.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check to see if the bean lid sensor is not obscured by coffee remains. You can force the sensor on with a powerful neodymium magnet, see if that causes the issue.
      The other suggestion would be to check the grinding motor sensor wiring, maybe it's pinched. If the sensor is faulty the machine will think it has not ground any coffee.

      Delete
  36. I have a 5 year old ODea Giro and it keeps clicking off randomly and then I have to turn it off and on a couple of times to get power. Then sometimes it works fine. What is wrong with it and how can I get parts and fix it? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have a 5 year old ODea Giro and it keeps clicking off randomly and then I have to turn it off and on a couple of times to get power. Then sometimes it works fine. What is wrong with it and how can I get parts and fix it? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably the X2 capacitor, if there is one on the board. It should look like a colorful cuboid. If that is not the case, then I would first suspect electrolytic capacitors. All of these parts are on the power board, the one with the heatsink, not with the microcontroller.

      Delete
  38. Hi sorry for my english.i have à problem i have a sensor That i don't Know where it goes. He is with à plug Who goes at the grinder but where go the sensor ? Thanks for your help

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I need more info, a picture or something, cannot figure out what the question is.

      Delete
    2. The sensor sits just below the grinding wheel, as far as I remember.

      Delete
  39. Hi Ligius

    I have an approximately 5 year old Gaggia Platinum Vogue which looks almost identical to the unit in your post and has some Saeco parts inside.

    The machine would only make one cup after start-up and then would just grind a bit and dump coffee grounds into the hopper without any more cups made. Clean the brew group and grease and restart and still same problem - 1 cup only and coffee then getting dumped in hopper without brewing.

    Descaled machine as well still same problem.

    Thereafter I removed and cleaned the grinder using instructions from "whole latte love". Machine primes and can dispense water and steam but now doesn't grind at all - is it likely to be the grinder motor or a sensor and how can I check?

    Many thanks,

    Josh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Josh,
      Is any error displayed on the machine? I would check that first, perhaps the sensor for the hopper cover got disconnected.
      If the machine does not even begin grinding then I assume it's either the motor at fault or (more likely) the plug going to the motor. I don't know exactly what cleaning procedures you've followed so not sure what could've been affected.
      The machine detects a grinding error by [I think] detecting the speed of the motor connected to the grinding wheel. So the motor has to spin first for the unit to detect an error. At least that's my assumption.

      Delete
  40. See also http://hackcorrelation.blogspot.de/2017/02/automated-coffee-machine.html for troubleshooting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ligius

      My assumption was also that I'd inadvertently disconnected something or blown a fuse somewhere. The two ceramic fuses on the board seem fine.

      The motor has a print on it which appears to say 230V so I disconnected the wires to the motor and connected them to a multimeter on ACV. With sensors all normal and machine in code checking mode, the voltage initially reads ~20V. When I push the grinder mode it jumps initially to around 165V and then falls back to 90V. I'm assuming therefore that it is being sent a grind signal as it should.

      Should I then guess the motor is at fault? Any easy way to check the motor without sticking 220V on it?

      Thanks,

      Josh

      Delete
  41. Hello everyone.

    Thanks for the post, I found a lot of useful information here.

    I need a little help, I have a Coffee machine Delonghi ESAM 3500 N, I have a problem with the amount of ground grain, I always choose the option of "extra strong tast" but it is only grinding a small amount of grain, grinding time is just about 3sec, some times less and some time more, the coffee leaves very weak,
    Occasionally she makes a correct coffee, grinding more grain and getting a coffee with the strong flavor but is very rare.

    This problem of error in the amount of grain ground, can only be on the board, or could be some sensor or relay...?


    Thanks for your help!

    Giglio,
    From Brazil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Giglio,
      I can't help you with that as it looks like a completely different machine. However, the problem could be caused by: bad coffee (not for automatic), incorrect grinding adjustment, broken grinding wheel, bad grinding sensors (speed? weight? not sure which you have) or bad motherboard/connections.
      Sorry I can't help more.

      Delete
    2. Probably a broken power board right now trying to find out , this problem appears on many delonghi coffee machines. on one replaced interface board problem didn't go away waiting for power board to arrive.

      Delete
  42. Hi Ligius, I have a three year old Seaco Minuto, which doesn't want to leave the rinsing process after decalc process. I have tried several times with lots of water to complete the process, but it looks like it is always stuck at appr. 95%. I tried all functions in test mode and everything works fine. It heats, it grinds, the water comes out normally, etc. I can completely disassemble and assemble the machine, but it doesn't return to normal working mode anymore. Do you have a hint, or even better the right solution for me? Thank you very much! Regards, Mark from The Netherlands

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mark,
      That's a somewhat different machine. I know on some machines (like Talea, but others as well) you have to keep a button pressed for a few seconds.
      Other than that, I would play with the steam selector 'wand' and check all the sensors by re-seating stuff.
      As a last resort, you could unplug the machine in the middle of some cycles so it forces an end-to-end travel on startup.
      That's all I can say for now.

      Delete
  43. Hi Ligius. The amount of grained coffee could be set thru Infrared beam but I'm wandering if could be another way. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. hello everyone i have a little issue with saeco touch plus it look like water pump not get enough of power

    ReplyDelete
  45. i will please if someone can tell me what is problem i checked power supply on pump and show only 20 V same at motherboard 20 V and should be 220 V

    ReplyDelete