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Bridgette Anderson
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My barista shorts out the GFI switch!

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Hello,

We've had this GREAT machine for a long time. A (very long espresso-less) month ago, we plugged the machine in and pressed the on button and the GFI switch on the wall blew. I'm assuming it is a fuse - perhaps associated with the heating element. Any suggestions?

Much thanks,

BMA

Edited by: pollytintop, mayer, and rj713 ( )

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Henry H
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This is usually caused by the heating element rupturing and shorting to the boiler/casing. You can test for this by removing the top/back of the machine (6 small phillips-head screws) and checking for continuity across the heating element contacts (the two 90 degree prongs sticking out of the top of the boiler). If there's no continuity then the boiler needs to be rebuilt with a new heating element and boiler gasket.

Additionally, a heating element rupturing is usually caused by over-heating due to mis-use, so before putting the money into repairing or replacing it you might want to make sure you're using the machine properly. Regular descaling is also key to the boiler's health.

+ could you expand on what you mean by "mis-use".

mayer,

1) Not descaling/decalcifying on a regular basis; this should be done roughly every 3 months, depending on your water hardness. 2) Descaling with lemon juice or vinegar instead of a citric-acid based product; the sugars in the former will clog up the pump, and the latter will eat away at gaskets and make the machine stink. 3) Brewing first then steaming; this will empty the boiler leaving it vulnerable to overheating. On this machine the pump does not run during steaming, only brewing, so you should steam the milk first then brew the shots in order to keep the boiler full.

Henry H,

Thanks for your response Henry. A detailed repair manual from you would be most welcome to the world of coffee affectionados.

mayer,

Ok, this is probably a stupid question, but how do you "check for continuity" across the heating element contacts?

Karen,

There are no stupid questions! One way of doing this is with a multimeter (instructions here: http://www.acmehowto.com/howto/homemaint...), but you can also build your own basic tester with two wires, a battery and a flashlight light bulb. Include the heating element in your circuit, and if the bulb doesn't light then you've got a break in the circuit, which indicates a bad heating element.

Henry H,

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Majesty
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Have you tried the Barista in a receptacle other than the GFCI you are currently trying it on? I would try at a friends or neighbors house, just to rule out a service issue at your home or apartment. I once thought I had a faulty brand new microwave, when I tried using it it would cause the breaker to trip. I tried it at a neighbors house and it worked fine. It turns out that if I had my AC on and tried to use the microwave, it would cause the GFCI and breaker to trip. This is usually cause by insufficient amperage in older homes or apartments. If the same problem persists in another circuit, then it's safe to say that the Barista has a short somewhere. Check the power cord on the Barista for small nicks or abrasions, first, and if all is well there, you are going to have to open it up for further inspection.

Edited by: Majesty ( )

A GFI is a safety device usually located by sinks and the like to prevent electrocutions. By all means do as Majesty suggest but use the neighbors GFI circuit. You want to be sure there is no short in the device. +

rj713,

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Loudmouthfrog
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In addition to the preceding answers there is the possibility that the GFCI has simply worn out or become defective under load. Check the appliance by running it on an other GFCI. If it works fine...replace the GFCI.

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