A little while back our pricey Breville coffee machine started leaking water out of the top right hand corner, at the back – somewhere water definitely should NOT be coming out from. So I decided to crack it open and see if I could find the cause.
Started by removing the hex screws from the back and the 2 phillips head ones from the bottom to remove the back panel. The top came off by giving it a few solid thumps with my hand on the back (towards the front), then unscrewing the grounding wire.
Removing the covers revealed some tubes and wires, as expected. Plugged it in and ran it again to find out where the leak was. Turned out to be squirting out of the top part of the ‘T’ junction you can see on the left in the image below, where the tube goes into that tan coloured plastic connector. That whole section with the black thing is the magnetic valve, apparently.
I figured it was a busted o-ring or something and proceeded to unscrew the connectors. Much to my amazement and horror, the top one just snapped with the slightest amount of force – which wasn’t much as I could undo these with my fingers. I guess there was a hairline fracture on that one, which is where the water was squirting out from.
What possessed Breville to make these things out of plastic is beyond me. They have hot water and steam going through them under reasonably high pressure. No way plastic was going to survive that.
I considered modelling these and 3D printing them, but I don’t think even ABS plastic would have lasted very well – despite melting at 230°C+. Thankfully I was able to get some metal replacements (Part Number: BES820XL/154) from this awesome guy at Eastern Electrical Repairs in Dandenong for only $20 for 2, as I figured the bottom one would blow eventually. Would have been substantially more for him to diagnose and fix the problem though. He kindly threw in some new o-rings to boot. What a nice guy.
The alternative was to get spares from here at eReplacmentparts.com, but I didn’t want to wait. There is also a useful parts diagram which would probably apply to both the BES820XL and BES830XL – not sure which one mine is. There’s a more detailed PDF parts diagram for the 800ES, which is pretty similar located here too. The parts for that at spares.bigwarehouse.com.au would probably do the job for any of them.
So I now had to figure out how to get that broken bit of thread out, so I could put the metal one in.
I unscrewed all the bits of the magnetic valve and removed the plastic bracket that holds it to the side enclosure, before drilling a couple of small holes into what was left of the thread.
That let me pop in some tweezers and unscrew it – thankfully it wasn’t too tight.
Next was to reassemble it all again. I found it was important to attach the little rubber o-rings to the end of the tubes first, instead of leaving them in the metal connector and trying to push the tube into that.
Lovely – all reconnected with a solid metal connector and all new o-rings. That should last a lot longer. Just needed to slide the magnetic valve back on and reconnect the plastic ‘L’ joint and tube.
It turned out to be important to make sure the 1 on the brass section of the magnetic valve is on the top so that steam and hot water work properly.
With all that done, I plugged it back in and confirmed there were no more leaks. So awesome to be able to make a decent coffee again.
Sadly, the steamer was not working and sounded clogged, despite me running through a 50/50 water-vinegar mix to de-scale the machine. I hadn’t done that in ages, despite being instructed to do it every few months. A build up of pressure from that may be what caused the plastic connector to fracture in the first place.
Unfortunately, fixing that is a little more involved and is still pending. Oh well – no frothy milk for the moment.
———- Update 05/02/2014 ———-
Disassembled everything and checked all the tubes, which were all clear. Figured maybe I put something together wrong – so checked my pics from before I pulled stuff apart the first time and it seems I put the brass section of the magnetic switch in upside down.
It has a 1 and a 2 marked on it and the 2 needs to go on the bottom – 1 on the top where the wires attach to the top of the black section. After swapping it back around everything works like it did before – steam and hot water coming out where it should. Hooray! Fully functioning machine again.