Base came back from powder coat and I reassembled. Quite easy once one has taken a dozen of these apart or more and re-assembled them.
Checking the element with a volt meter set for resistance one can see if its leaking to ground. Well only if its really toast, a Megger is what is needed to really test an element. The megger puts a real actual load on the element while testing. Too bad I don’t have one of these!
So what to do? Element seemed fine. I installed the element. Lets plug it in and test.
Boiler filled with water (critical as you do not want to fry your element!) or it will come out looking like this:
This is what happens to an element one leaves on with the boiler empty!
Plug in the La Pavoni, and I check with a volt meter the tank to ground. Crap 40 volts!!! Every damn one of my old 200/800 elements went to crap when plugged in. I saw from 3 volts up to 80 volts, amps, not sure but you are not supposed to see any voltage to the boiler!
Well 40+ years of scale, crap water, put away with water in the tank, etc has left pin holes in the elements. When voltage is applied at 110v and a tank of water, voltage to boiler :(.
Now all these old La Pavoni’s have 2 prong cords. Something of note, the 70-73 has a ground on the boiler ring and the ground wire is in the cord, just cut off at the plug. The 73/74 does not have that ground or the hole on the boiler ring.
An old element and a rebuilt side by side, you can see the old ones have had their better days.
So how does one go about a new element? The fine thread elements on the right are no longer made by La Pavoni. You can’t get them new. The option is a fine thread conversion ring and a new stainless element. Thing is, you can only find the fine thread conversion rings on ebay every once in a while and a place in Austria that rarely has them in stock. I am looking into getting some made in the future but that is another post. So that is out for the moment.
There is a factory in Hungary that still rebuilds them on the side. Yes you heard that right, you can get them rebuilt. Francesco who has the history of the La Pavoni and other machines on his site and lots of useful information has the contact info. After sending overseas which takes about 2 weeks it then gets sent over for rebuild which takes a month or so, then two weeks for shipping back to the US. Is it worth it? Look at this new rebuilt element up close:
Its a work of art!
Here is a rebuilt La Cara element before and after:
You can see the rough texture to the element. You can’t see in this photo but it was actually soldered for repair at one point. I bought this machine as a parts box so this was not unexpected.
So nice, a work of art in itself one almost does not want to install it into a machine!!
Here is a La Pavoni element reinstalled. Notice the ground screw on the right.
I drilled and tapped a hole in the brass boiler ring for a stainless cap screw to hold the ground. This meant adding a new cord with three prongs. Now if there is voltage to the boiler it will go to ground and to a ground fault outlet that will trip! If you have one of these machines you must run it for your own safety on a GFCI outlet!!!
No voltage to boiler, yay! New elements to last another 40 years, yay!
Please send me your old elements if you have them kicking around without a machine 🙂 If you have a machine that you toasted the element it, all is not lost, its repairable!