I'm going to start working on my first restore/rebuild. It's a Brasilia Portofino Del-2 Compact. I wanted to start this thread to post pictures of my progress and what I'm learning as I go. If you have input or suggestions I would extremely appreciate them as I am new to this process.

First, from what I was told when I got this machine the main issue was the heating element. There is also corrosion that needs to be cleaned. I have a workshop that has power that I will be working on the machine.

CHALLENGE 1: Getting water setup. I do not have a water line available so I need a good way to get water to the machine.

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Hey - be careful disconnecting those leads. Too much torque will turn the stud inside the heater, not good for it. I like to brace it with pliers or another wrench, especially on older heaters.

Hi gentlemen, I'm a newbie to commercial coffee machines (only had a Gaggia Titanium before) & to barista exchange & am just about to go through the pain barrier of restoring a Brasillia Portofino 2GR/DIG like Ryan's but a 2001 model, that I picked up for 150 euros from an old lady who'd kept the machine in her cellar (cave in French) for a year where some mice used it as their winter abode! They've chewed a lot of the wiring loom (hence the price) but it remains to be seen what other horrors lay before me. So just wanted to say thanks, this thread has been really useful & I'll post soon with pics.

Question: has anyone any tips on replacing the electrical wiring loom?

Ok, Here's what I found out:

I didn't check resistance, but I tried different things to look for a "beep" on the multimeter.

I only got a "beep" on connections between #1 to #3 and #2 to #4

I also test all of the leads to the boiler with no response. To the best of my knowledge the boiler is dry because I recently drained water from the bottom.

Thoughts?

Your heater is a pair of u-shaped elements, which is why you have 4 ends sticking out. You want continuity in both elements and nowhere else. So you should get beeps between 1 and 3 as well as 2 and 4. This is good.

Your results aren't a guarantee that the heater is good, but you've ruled out one way it can go bad. Check resistance too to eliminate another possibility.

I don't understand what you're saying when you talk about testing the leads to boiler.

Hope that helps.

I think he was checking for continuity between the element legs and the boiler.  It needs have water in it first for that test to be meaningful/conclusive.

Brady said:

I don't understand what you're saying when you talk about testing the leads to boiler.

Hope that helps.

Ah... yes I bet that was it.

+1 on the "gotta have water in it to be meaningful" part too.

Scott said:

I think he was checking for continuity between the element legs and the boiler.  It needs have water in it first for that test to be meaningful/conclusive.

Brady said:

I don't understand what you're saying when you talk about testing the leads to boiler.

Hope that helps.

How is the restore going. I picked up my own Brasillia Portofino 2GR and got it running great now after changing the 110v plug it came with ? lol

Hi Benjamin,

Unfortunately you can't get conclusive results with a multimeter alone, when testing for a water short. You can have a heating element test good with a multimeter and still pop the breaker when there's water in the boiler. This is called an insulation resistance test and requires specialized equipment to test it (also called a "megger" after a company that manufactures these testers). I have an insulation resistance tester and have used it to conclusively condemn elements in the past, but given your situation I would invest the money in the $200-250 or so you would spend on an aftermarket heating element. If everything else checks ok and you are still popping breakers, it's usually a sign your element has been breached.

The cups the antivac and pressure relief valves sit in are for collecting condensation and are really more necessary for the antivac, which if working properly will be seeing a lot more steam than the pressure reliefs ever should. I wouldnt worry too much about discarding the cups for the relief valve, but keep it under the antivac.

One other point about your element, I can't remember the size exactly but it will probably cost you less to buy a 15" adjustable wrench, remove all surrounding obstacles, make sure the boiler is properly supported, and remove the element with that. I used this technique on an ECM Raffaello with a similar element recently and though it was tight, the wrench cost $30. you might be into that for a socket alone.

Good luck. If you took your machine to a friendly welder, they might extract your rusted bolts for a case of beer. I would have new pieces sectioned in if I was doing a top shelf refurbishment of your machine, but if the perforation is in hidden areas, just a wire brush and a quick coat of rust converter primer may do the trick. Cheers

Interesting. I can see how it would be possible, but would be curious to know how many cases you've run across where there was a ground fault at the element which your continuity check actually missed and your Megger tester caught. I'm always on the lookout for new tools, but all of the failed espresso machine elements I've seen have shown a clear short to ground with just my Fluke.

Latté 911 said:

"Unfortunately you can't get conclusive results with a multimeter alone, when testing for a water short. You can have a heating element test good with a multimeter and still pop the breaker when there's water in the boiler. This is called an insulation resistance test and requires specialized equipment to test it (also called a "megger" after a company that manufactures these testers). I have an insulation resistance tester and have used it to conclusively condemn elements in the past..."

Hi Brady,

The difference between using the Megger versus a regular multimeter is the ability to put a high voltage across the testing points using capacitive discharge. Admittedly when there's water in the boiler a water short is usually pretty obvious, but when evaluating a machine for refurbishment that has an empty boiler and/or trips the breaker when powering up, the insulation resistance test with a Megger is quick, easy and conclusive. Cheers

I've often found that the resistance of the the element, when dry, will climb toward the M-Ohm range, when you have a break in the insulation and a water short.  Although, sometimes it will fall towards OPEN, as well.  Which is why I'm a firm believer in taking ohm readings on elements instead of just looking at continuity.  Resistance can start to wander up and down from spec, as well, so being able to get a reading and then do the Ohms Law calculation will give you a good idea of whether the element is on the way out.  I sometime have to scratch my head at why people are so resistant to Resistance.  Continuity is for checking for breaks in wires and determining unknown switches.  It's inconclusive, at best, on elements.

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