Azkoyen Bravo Pictures and Tour

I’m very please to have picked up an Azkoyen Bravo 1-group for only £67.

Listed as spares or repair, if has obviously been dropped in transit at some point as the legs are severely bent, and the chassis panels don’t line up.  However, before wasting time on straightening it up, I wanted to see if it was working.

When testing a machine I don’t know, I assume it is full of dangerous faults and proceed carefully one step at a time.  It is necessary to consider:

1. The mains wiring is incorrect and dangerous, with the possibility of incorrectly wired earth, poor earth connection to chassis, wire repairs with insulation tape, bare wires exposed inside casing, etc

2. Joints and hoses that leak and will spray water or hot steam on humans, electrical wiring, and your new flooring.  This may not necessarily occur immediately, and may result from solenoid valves opening, pressure in the system increasing as it is heated, and so on.

3. Safety systems designed to protect you which are bypassed, faulty or non-operational.

First task was to check the electrical safety.  This machine can operate on single or three phase, and so there is a diagram below the drip tray which shows the connections.  The earth connection to the chassis was in place and well made.  The mains wiring to the main isolator was in good condition.

For single phase wiring, the two live wires in the mains lead are coloured black, and the neutrals are coloured brown and blue.  This wiring just fits in a British plug for testing purposes, but really a new mains cable is required corresponding the the standard UK colours of Brown (phase) and blue (live).  The current draw in this configuration is 11A, so a 13A fuse is fitted to the plug.  The wiring fitted the plug and it is safe for testing purposes.

The mains cable enters the coffee machine through a gland in the base plate, and connects to the main power switch.  This has a protective plastic cover around it, and then has a metal protection plate above.

 

The switch has four positions:

OFF

1 (one element only)

2 (elements 1&2)

3 (elements 1, 2 & 3)

You can see the element here, with the three supply connections on the right.  The three connections on the left are from the pressure-stat.  You can see there are three element loops, allowing operation on single phase or three phase.

The output of the power switch (three switched live feeds) pass to the pressure-stat and then to the elements in the boiler.  The pressure-stat has three contacts which are closed when the boiler pressure is below 1bar.  The contacts open at 1bar, and then do not reclose again until the pressure is below 0.5bar.  The pressure gauge can therefore be normally seen fluctuating between 0.5 and 1bar.  It also means that the elements are powered whenever the supply is switched on, and the boiler pressure is less than 1 bar.  If the boiler is empty, there is nothing to stop the elements coming on and burning out !

In positions 1, 2 and 3 of the mains switch, the control board is powered.  This board monitors the water level in the boiler, and runs the pump and opens the fill solenoid to fill the boiler until the level probe is immersed in the water, at which point the pump and the solenoid are switched off.

In case there is a fault with the level detection in the boiler, the fill cycle only runs for 30 seconds or so.  This does not normally matter, as pulling a few shots and steaming some milk will only require the pump to run for a very short time to replenish the boiler.  If the boiler is empty, it is necessary to switch the mains off and on again a few times to allow the boiler to fill up to the probe level.

If the coffee machine has been sitting around for a while, the pump can seize up from under use.  It can be freed-off by inserting a large screwdriver in a slot in the end of the pump shaft and turning the shaft by hand (do this with the power off).

By the way, when you turn the power on, the green led by the power switch lights after about 3 seconds (as does the red flashing one on the pcb).  The pump does not start for a further 5 seconds.

After the power has been on for a minute or so, the boiler elements should be heard starting to sing.  After 10 or 15 minutes, the anti-vacuum valve will start to weep a little and then should lift and seal the boiler as steam pressure starts to build.

The pressure gauge will indicate an increasing in pressure and at 1bar the pressure-stat should be heard to click open and the elements will stop singing.  If left, the boiler will cool and the pressure will fall and at around 0.5bar the pressure-stat will close and bring the boiler back to 1bar.

If the pressure stat should fail to open for any reason (blocked pipe, split diaphragm, welded contacts, etc) the boiler pressure will continue to rise.  At 1.5bar one or both of the pressure release valves on the top of the boiler will open to safety release the pressure before the boiler ruptures.  Needless to say, if you witness this happening, switch the power off immediately and do not re-power until the coffee machine has been professionally looked at.

Opening the hot water tap draws water from the lower part of the boiler.  Opening the steam tap draws steam from the top part of the boiler.

Operating any of the coffee buttons on the control panel runs the pump with the fill solenoid closed.  Cold water therefore enters the boiler heat exchanger via the injector and is heated by the large body of water in the main boiler cavity.

This pressurised water, now heated, passes to the group.  The solenoid on the side of the group is powered and allows the hot water to pass to through the screen and therefore through the coffee.

A flowmeter measures the quantity of water flowing, and stops the pump as soon as the required volume has passed.  At the same time the group solenoid is de-powered, and allows any residual pressure above the coffee to be released to the drain.

The boiler can also be drained, before storage or transit, by opening a valve which runs to the drain  (only do this when the boiler is completely cold). The group solenoid also runs to the same drain tray.

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46 Responses to Azkoyen Bravo Pictures and Tour

  1. porter says:

    I am about to be donated a Bravo for free from a friend who runs a restaurant in New York City. I currently own a rancilio silvia and I eagerly anticipate the upgrade. The bravo has been sitting in a warm basement for over a year, so it looks like I will have to refresh a few of the parts. Hopefully, things go well.
    I was wondering if you can provide advice if I run across problems with it. There really is not a wealth of information about these machines. I gather that it has performed well for you in your use? I’d like to hear more about its temperature stability, as I read above that the Pressure Stat turns on and off at .5 -1.0 bar. That seems like a wide range to me. I wonder if that can’t be tightened to .2 bar max.

    thanks
    porter

    • admin says:

      Hi Porter,

      Glad to find a fellow enthusiast.

      I have to say, that I have not made a coffee with it yet – as you might be able to see in the photos, I only tested it in the garden from the outside tap.

      If I decide to move out my Gaggia TS and add some plumbing, I will probably put it in my kitchen for a while.

      The pressurestat could be changed for another if you wanted to improve the pressure (and therefore temperature) stability. However, I am not aware of particular models which have a tighter specification.

      The pressurstat has three contacts in use, and will be carrying three single-phase circuits or a single three-phase circuit, depending on how you have wired in the coffee machine.

      Here is a Sirai one:

      http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=400403124890&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

      Please let me know how things progress.

      Steve.

  2. Porter says:

    I’ve managed to acquire this machine, mine is slightly different. It is 110v for the USA market and has just two on positions for the power switch, as well as one off. I need to drain it as it has sat for a while with water in it. Sad but true.
    My efforts over the next few weeks will be to give it a good once over and replace the crusty parts. I could use a manual too.

    Cheers

  3. Phil says:

    Hi Steven, just wanted to say thanks for this really useful and clear article on the Bravo – and relevant to other HX machines in general. Regards, Phil

    • admin says:

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the comment. I am pleased you found the blog.

      I am on the look out for a Bravo Instruction manual in pdf that I can host here – as these seem impossible to find online.

      Steve.

    • admin says:

      The refurbishment looks to be going well from the photos.

      Bad luck with the pump shearing – not a cheap part to replace – but given the purchase price of the machine, probably a good investment.

      Steve.

  4. porter says:

    I also would like to have a users manual, any luck?

    I did find one good USA parts resource for consumable things like gaskets and O rings and some fittings. Parts are out there if you look hard enough!

    • admin says:

      Nothing yet. I guess we have to wait until someone helpful sees our posts and is able to provide a copy of the manual to share.

      Steve.

  5. porter says:

    Update – I found an espresso parts seller in california who was willing to sell me some small cost bits, so I am excited to receive them. The compression nipple on the end of the copper water pipe that is on the very bottom of the boiler had dissolved into dust. I am hoping that I can melt off the remaining silver solder and reattach a new one. Also, small O rings were in need of replacement, in between the brass piece at the side of the group head where the solenoid sits. They had dried and broken apart. Small items that are certainly needed.
    I have a whole new pump that seems to be a perfect replacement. About $70 usd, so not too bad on the wallet.
    Part of me really wants to rewire this for 220v. I have an outlet at the location that supports that, I am wondering about the advantages. My assumption is that cycling times for the boiler would be shorter. My element has 3 loops, there are 3 inputs, but as it is right now, it is wired for 110v, with the other 2 phases purposefully not attached somehow (probably at the pressure stat output).

    • admin says:

      Hi Porter,

      Let me know if you need some bits – I often have universal parts in stock like o-rings, plumbing bits etc.

      The European wiring of the element is as three separate coils each designed to have 230V across them. If this was reduced to 110v, the power of the element would reduce to a 1/4 (P=V^2/R) – so I guess the element in use in the US is different (a 1/4 of the resistance of the 230V element?).

      Using 220V would allow the contacts of the pressurstat to last longer as a lower current would be being switched, but is all depends on the element differences between the models. The parts manual shows an element with a single loop, and is not representative of the machine I have.

      Steve.

      • porter says:

        Interesting about the wiring. I know that there is a 0, 1 and 2 setting on the front. And I count 6 wires with rubber caps, in and out of the heating element. 2 black, 2 red and 2 white. The same 6 wires (or the same colors) go in and out of the pressure stat. My element has three loops of copper on the inside. But, the plug for the wall is not 220v, it is for certain 110v. It is a 2003 model, and has 2 simple on/off toggles on the cast aluminum panel, not the touch pad I see above, so, its not volumetric. With my luck, the pump will be shot, or I will need a new pressure stat, or perhaps an element. Thanks for the offer, I think that I am now set for small bits.

        • admin says:

          I am not sure about US wiring. Is the 220V bi-phase (ie 110V-0V-110V)? How many wires are there in the mains lead? Is the element casing or the element itself stamped with the voltage or wattage?

          It may be the only mod required to convert to 220V is to wire the mains plug in a certain way. There is a wiring drawing on the machine with three options.

          How would you convert the pump & control board for 220V, or would it work from one phase?

          Steve.

        • admin says:

          Please see my latest post with photos of the wiring diagrams from my European spec machine. Don’t know if they will help.

          Steve.

          • porter says:

            Thanks for the diagrams and the explanation. I didn’t see any wiring plate under the drip tray, maybe I need to look again. I do have the serial plate on the boiler, but it has no electrical info.
            I do appreciate the help.
            In the us, there are different plugs for 110 and 220, that’s about where my electrical knowledge ends. Heavy use items, such as a clothing dryer, use 220 for the hot air heating element, but normally, everything else is 110ac, and 50hz.
            A dryer is what was in place of where I now make coffee, and the 220v line to the circuit breaker box still exists, all I would need is a plug and socket. But, you bring up an interesting point about the pump motor, that is probably rated for 110v use.
            I think that I am going to get the machine functioning again before I go any further into modifying it. I’d like to say thanks to you for the continued comments here, seriously, this is great!

  6. porter says:

    Well, I have one question for you. Where in the system is the shut off mechanism for the autofill? When I filled my boiler with house pressure, there was no activation of a solenoid that stopped the flow of water into the boiler, and it overflows. I manually shut it off and drained some water out. I see a solenoid under the drip tray, but doesn’t that divert water to the heat exchanger?
    My status is: I am simply testing all of the functions. The motor and pump work, I stopped all of the slight leaks with tightening things, I can get water to run through the group and it seems that I need to trace the power to the element, as I am not getting heat from it.
    Any help would be great, and by the way, I am headed to the UK tonight for business, I’ll be in Haddenham until wednesday, then avignon after that. thanks for the help

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      The fill solenoid is item number 58 on page 77 of the parts manual.

      See http://www.stevenheaton.co.uk/blog_coffee/?p=335 for the manual and you can also see the fill solenoid in the photo on that post.

      I had a problem with the machine overfilling too. My problem was that the level probe was scaled up, so you could check this first, or just short the probe to the boiler to see if that stops the water.

      Also, I would check that there is a good earth to the boiler for the level control circuitry to reference to. The level controller is part of the main PCB.

      Finally, check the volts at the coil of the solenoid, and perhaps disassemble to see if the inner slug with the washer on it is moving freely.

      By the way, there is a timer which prevents continuous filling (prevents the solenoid being open for more than a few minutes, reset by switching the machine power off and on again).

      Good luck.

      Steve.

  7. porter says:

    It seems as though my next step is to take apart the machine to the point whereby I can reach the components for testing with a multimeter. I’ll drain the boiler, remove the heating element’s power connections and test them individually, and record their functions so I know which switch position powers what, in terms of electricity to heat. Next, I’ll have a closer look at the diagrams to ensure that I have the routing of the inlet piping correct. As I have it assembled right now, the main pressure from my house water has the ability to fill the boiler, without the help of the procon pump activating.
    I did a full descale of the boiler, so I feel that the auto stop of the filling mechanism should be clean enough to act properly, but I will have another look. The timer on the filling does work, and I was able to override it by turning the power switch off and then on again, this is how I test filled the boiler.
    I do not know when I will have the time to get to this, but I will try to report back when I have learned more.

    thanks

  8. Porter says:

    I snapped a picture tonight that closely matches your shot. It’s of the under the drip tray area and it seems that my shot has one less solenoid than yours. I’m not sure where it should attach. Have a look and comment back here. Thanks.
    http://sprintveloce.tumblr.com/post/54057199494/missing-a-parker-solenoid-any-help

    • porter says:

      Up and working now, with a little help from a friend. Im testing it out, off of 2 of the 3 elements. It does fully function, recovery is somewhat slow. Its running hot, it needs 8 seconds to flush off steam, then 4-5 more for cooling, then wait, then pull shots.
      You extra solenoid is for metered flow. I don’t have that.
      Thanks for the help- I refer back to your pictures often, great shots of the beast.

      • admin says:

        Sorry I missed your earlier message about the missing solenoid.

        If it is running hot, presumably this could be decreased by reducing the pressure of the boiler slightly.

        I am wondering if you have timed flow rather than metered flow?

        Glad it is up and running.

        Steve.

  9. porter says:

    Just a final followup on my journey with the Azkoyen. I’ve been running it daily for a month now, with all three loops in the heating element on, which is rated at 600 watts per loop for a total of 1800w. I have had little to no troubles with it electrically. The pressure stat works well to keep the 1.1 bar setting. If a long interval between uses occurs, I have to bleed off some steam and water to bring the HX temperatures down. I installed a thermometer probe on the grouphead, where the hex nut sits under the flow buttons, so I can monitor water temps. The steam is amazing, silky milk in seconds, same thing for the hot water tube. Espresso shots are immediately forceful in terms of water pressure ramp up, but I have learned to dose and tamp carefully to avoid geysers. I am very impressed with the machine, it certainly is an upgrade from my rancilio silvia. Thanks again for the help, I owe you a favor.

    • admin says:

      Hi Porter.

      Good to hear it has worked out well.

      The steam performance is up with the best I have seen.

      I hope you continue to enjoy it.

      Steve.

  10. ARMENIQUE says:

    could you please let me know if I can order a instruction book, so I can adjust the timer.

  11. Ivan says:

    Hello,

    I just bought one of these and had no luck finding the manual for it. anyone knows where to find one? I will be starting it up tomorrow, so the main thing I need to know – what is the 0, 1, 2, 3 dial for. I can read here its for switching some elements, but no idea what that actually does. Can you please just write it for me simple – if I want to make simple espresso and occasional tea, which number should it be switched to? I run it on 220V in case this info is needed. Thanks.

    Ivan

  12. Ivan says:

    Hello again,

    sorry to bother, but I am not so good with electricity and I have no idea what do the elements do or what’s a difference if I have 1, 2 or 3 connected. Can you please explain just in few lines? Thanks.

    Ivan

  13. Ivan says:

    Hi,

    I finally managed to connect the machine and when I switch it on, clock comes on, red PCB light is flashing, I hear a long buzz for about 5 seconds and after that I get FAL8 on the display. Any idea, please? Thanks

  14. Ivan says:

    Yes, water is connected and running through hoses. The display is next to 0 1 2 3 dial along with some other buttons. Here is a link, hope it works.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Azkoyen-Bravo-Group-1-Coffee-Machine-/151429066535?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=8GiqzDhcIB%252ByxhObCYSRldQzkrU%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

  15. Ivan says:

    Well, I tried to spin the pump with a screw driver as on your picture, but I can only move it about 4mm each direction. When I switch on the machine, I do not see the screw spinning nor do I hear water flow. Just some buzz. So my guess is there is no water.

    • admin says:

      The pump should rotate continuously if you try to turn it with a screwdriver.

      When I first tried mine, which had been stored for years, it was very tight.

      I would try two things.

      1. Check the voltage at the pump connector to see if there is a mains feed to it.
      2. Carefully try to turn the pump with a screwdriver with the power on.
      3. Remove the pump body from the motor, then try 2. again. Try to turn the pump shaft to see if that is seized.

      Steve.

  16. Ivan says:

    Great help so far – when I had the machine on, I spun the pump and eventialy it started spinning. But after 10 second while the left clock is on around 11BARs it goes down to 3BARs and I get the message FAL8 again. The red LED inside I can see it flashing around 3 times per socond. Not sure what that means. I tried to contact Azkoyen, they told me they sold the division and the other company didn’t answer yet. BTW, the machine looks very nice and clean from the inside, but I had to change the main intake water hose because there was a lot of rust in it. Any more ideas I can try, please?

    Ivan

    • admin says:

      I would say it sounds like a blockage – especially from what you have said about the hose.

      There are probably a few water filters throughout the pipework from what I remember, so I would start taking the pipework apart, starting with the pump main body.

      Steve.

      PS If you can get a user or service manual from the new firm that would be fantastic.

  17. Ivan says:

    I tried to put the hose in a bucket with water to test the “sucking” of the pump, I had a very tiny bite when I stuck my finger there, so the pump looks ok to me. Anyway, I will try to find somebody to take it apart as I am not very good with these things. its just I got tricked by an ebay seller that was selling it as working, but I really like the looks of the machine so I want to get it ready.

  18. Ivan says:

    Well, there is good news. Quality espresso got back to me. I have the manual. Regarding the error code:

    <>
    When the water pump is functioning for more than 30 seconds and the circuit board does not receive a signal from the water level probe in the boiler to say it is full, the machine will show this message.

  19. Ivan says:

    Well, so far after 3 hours I still didn’t get espresso. I have been going from 0 to 1 for about 20 minutes and still getting FAL8, then I thought, let’s try to open the valve for emptying the boiler. It dumped the water right underneath the coffee machine. But from this point the boiler started to heat up. With 3 elements on I managed to get the preasure to around 1 BAR, but there has been constant hissing and water went to drain. Meanwhile the machine has been sucking its own watter so I guess at least that’s is good. There is a green LED between the two gauges, this kept flashing so I guess it needs to be on for me to be able to do coffee. Any new ideas, please? 😀

    My mail is ivandr333@gmail.com if you want the manual and programing manual.

  20. Ivan says:

    BTW, do you know any good service in UK where I might send my machine? I am sick of services that change parts for parts but don’t really repair. Thanks

  21. Ivan says:

    Hello,

    do you do commercial repairs? can I send you my machine?

    Ivan

  22. porter says:

    The element in my Azkoyen Bravo has three loops and six poles. Only one of the loops is now functioning, so it is down to 600W total. Its slow, but working. I am trying hard to locate a replacement element, without any luck here in the USA, for parts. I am wondering if you have an European source for a boiler element, or advice. Because we use 120v, the drop in power from 220 is not half, but a mere 25%. Where I want to end up with is about 1500W, which means I am looking for an element that has 6000w of available power at 220v. Any help would be great.

  23. Hideo says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the detailed information. We have a Bravo A1, which started clicking quite often. When it clicks, it shows error codes e3, c1, sometimes c3 and b3 (or t3?). The water pressure meter on the left “swings” from 7 to 9 or so, But the pressure on the right stays at 1.2~1.3. Hot water comes out, so it may be possible to brew espresso, but we haven’t tried yet.

    Do you have a list of these error codes? If so, would it be possible to share it with us? We have a manual written in Japanese and are more than happy to share it with you if useful.

    Thank you so much.

    • admin says:

      Hello,

      Sorry I don’t have an understanding of the error codes.
      Yes, I would like to see the manual, it might help. I will contact you separately about that.

      Steve.

      • admin says:

        Thank you for the manuals (in you direct email).

        I could not see reference to the error codes so here are some thoughts/guesses.

        Error codes will result from the control unit not seeing inputs it expects. Its inputs are the boiler water level probe and the flowmeters for the groups.

        Is the boiler filling correctly? Is there scale on the probe? When you disconnect the probe, does the boiler start filling and when you reconnect it, it stops filling?

        The numbers after the code could refer to the group number. Do you know the flowmeters are operating? Do they have a flashing led on them to indicate their operation? Does the dosing work? Has the dosing volume been programmed? Perhaps the flowmeters need descaling.

        Can you identify where the clicking is coming from? How often does it click (in a day say) and how often in 10 seconds?

        You don’t say, but is the machine in normal use, but with occasional errors shown, or is the a non-working machine that you are fixing.

        Steve.

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