Nostalgic Rumblings
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12/9/2012


Fixing the espresso machine…

Filed under: Electronics Disassemblies — Charlie Summers @ 6:27 pm

My espresso machine, a Saeco Sirena, started leaking a few months’ ago…water coming out the back of the machine implies a broken hose, and also suggests continuing to use it could get the operator, and that’s me, electrocuted, since water and electricity rarely mix.

Now a sensible person would have sent the machine out for repair, but since sensibility is not my strong suit, I decided to disassemble the machine and fix it myself. I found a place on-line who sold a hunk of replacement hose at a wildly-inflated price (but then, it isn’t like I needed a thousand feet of the stuff, either), so I picked one up.

Disassembling the machine wasn’t difficult, but when I looked in I saw these weird little hose clamps…for someone more used to the common screw-tight clamps, these Oetiker things seemed to come from Mars. They are a crimp-type, requiring a special tool to properly clamp them.

I looked for the tool, and was a little horrified to discover it was in the $30-range, and not immediately available anywhere locally (although, oddly, only Staples stationary store could deliver one to my local store for pickup the next day). And I admit it bothered me a little to pay that kind of money for a tool I was unlikely to use more than two or three times within my lifetime.

So…I made one. Photos and such after the jump.

First stop, Harbor Freight, home of the cheap disposable tool. For $2.50, I bought a small end nippers. Home, and dig out a rusty file from the basement…outside on the window ledge, I gently filed down the cutting edge on both sides of the cutter, making sure they were flat so as not to damage the clamp. Now that they were no longer cutters but instead crimpers, it was a simple matter to cut off the old clamps with a large diagonal cutters, cut the hose to length (I bought a 12″ hose which included four clamps, only needed about 9″ and two clamps), place it in the machine, and crimp the Oetiker hose clamps with my “new” tool.

Later I marked the tool with Sharpie so I wouldn’t drive myself crazy a few years from now wondering why the d*mned things wouldn’t cut a wire, and done.

Odd coda to the experience; the pump started leaking pressure shortly after this repair (my guess is that it was losing pressure for a while, and only after it got bad enough did I notice), which gave me practically no crema in my espresso. So when Woot recently had a good deal on reconditioned automatics, I bought one. I’ll post a review of it when I get some time…and I’m hanging on to the Sirena just in case I ever come up with a good deal on a pump assembly. It always pays to have a decent spare, and even if you hate coffee you have to admit the Sirena is a beautiful kitchen appliance…

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