Thursday, 28 December 2017

Jata CA704 Cafetière Demi Expresse

Bought this coffee machine in July 2016. It's been descaled a couple of times, but as we live in a relatively soft water area, I don't pay that much attention.
There are a bunch of these machines which look pretty similar in a price range of €25 (Gifi)  to €70. This one has a control board and 12V relay which turns off the heater after ~10 mins.

Jata CA704 Cafetière Demi Expresse 26 x 21,5 x 33,8 cm

It had started producing little coffee. I descaled it and it was fine for a day, then a problem again. Having striped it, it seems scale had caught up in the narrow pipes in the control valve.
To strip it, you need to remove the control knob. This wont come off as it has a release lever you can't get to.
Remove the base. Triangle heads. Disconnect the blue and white wires to the heater. Remove the 4 screws way up inside. 
Remove 2 screws under filler, and gently ease out the silicon seal.
Remove the 2 screws adjacent to the coffee holder
Wiggle the top bit, noting you cant remove it as the knob is in place. Remove 2 screws, 1 each side now visible below control knob.
The top piece and boiler are now free. Turn control knob until release lever (white) is visible inside black knob shaft. Press release and pull knob. I took some material off this so it holds ok, but can be removed with a good tug.

The boiler can be separated. Control part comes off revealing ceramic plates.
Took 3 hours with sulfamic acid (Casino descaler) to dissolve the scale. The boiler is aluminium and there was no noticeable change in the surface finish.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Bath mixer

Generic mixer bought from Homebase in 2009.
Not massively different to the other mixer on this blog. In the pic below, the hot inlet to the block is on the right (left when mounted)
The cartridge as shown has cold on the RH mesh.
Taken apart as the temperature control seized up due to limescale and little use. There was plenty of grease in the LH threaded part which was moved around to lubricate as needed. Scale removed gently with a screwdriver and finished with emery cloth.
To get the temperature knob in the right place, set knurl to full hot and place grey part such that the 38C limit pin on knob sits just in front of the max temp grey part. When the knob is then rotated it will correctly stop at 38C. Then need to readjust the knurl, so that full cold forces the thermostatic piston to full cold. Partly remove the knob so that it freely turns and turn in the cold direction until you feel the resistance of hitting the piston. Make this point 20C. Then refit knob and turn towards full hot. When it stops, you'll find that by partly removing the knob, that full hot is ~1/8 turn.
If the last part, readjusting the knurl, is not carried out, the piston has nothing to push against, so will only do full hot.
In fully cold, the piston is forced ~0.5mm before it hits the stop.
The piston is 5.5mm at ~16C, and extends to 7mm at ~45C
The control knob piston is 22mm at full cold, and extends to 26.5mm at full hot. moves ~2.5mm per 1/2 turn
Thermostatic capsule marked 5701 8H258

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Thomas Watt LED lamps

Thomas Watt LED (A+ rated) lamps are branded for distribution in France under an energy saving scheme. There have been 3 handouts. The first was 10 free, the second was 15 free plus €1 for a further 15. The last tranche, this month, is 25 for €1. Oddly you are eligible for each batch. It's not a wide choice, offering 9W ES 9W BC globe, 7W GU10 or 5W SES candle.
These run much cooler than a bunch of Ikea (A rated) LED ones I got in 2013, and use 1W less energy for the same lumens.

The GU10 has 11 LEDs and run at 96V DC/ 0.4VAC, although the HF component was too high to measure with a multimeter.

By comparison, the 10W Ikea ES globe  (had 2 fail within a couple of months of use) have 44 LEDs and run off 30.7V set up as 4 clusters of 11 in parallel. It was the PSU that failed.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Cubster hydro box oil level

The gearbox has always been a bit talkative, grumbling to itself when cold, irrespective of ambient. Last time it went out to collect leaves it was positively reluctant.
The K46 box fitted is sealed for life. However, under 'heavy' use, its oil should be checked and changed. I'd say this ride-on has had an easy life, however, it was worth a quick check of the oil level.
In order to make life easy for the customer, there is no dip tube, or emptying point. By removing the collection tube, and the breather you can almost get to the recommended filling/inspection point, conveniently located under the pulley and fan.
Some variants have an oil expansion vessel, but I've got a breather in that spot. I had to remove that to get to the cap. Again, to help the customer, they fit one-use jubilee clips which are easy to fit in production, but risk injecting yourself with a screwdriver when trying to remove them, assuming you don't stuff the screwdriver straight through the pipe. Once removed, I couldn't get the cap off, so managed to measure through the dip tube and refer it to the cap. 35mm was what it appeared to be. The recommended range is 17-22mm. I added some 5-30 fully synthetic. The forums suggest 10-30, 15-50 or 5-50 synthetic. It's now about 25mm and a lot quieter.
The oil is oily colour, not grey or black.

A pdf here

this is a nice post

Saturday, 11 November 2017


Dishwasher played up in Feb 2017. Threw water out through the vent, into the base and sort of flooded. Pump ran continuously. Seemed to be a blocked pipe vent. More notes on hard drive.
Repeat performance 11/11/17, however the cause was not a blocked vent pipe. The DW flooded and the pump ran, but no water emptied. Removed the drain hose, but there was almost no flow. There is a NRV on the pump, so it wasn't possible to blow to clear the blockage, but careful sucking cleared it out. 
After strip down, it turned out 2 cardamom pods had got past the filters and were blocking the pump inlet, and there was plenty of other gunk. The pods would not have caused the over flow, but is shows that large bits got past the mesh filter and blocked the outlet pipe, or possibly the impeller.
The bits get easily past the mesh filter when it's removed for cleaning. The filter mates with the base, so large parts on the pre-filter simply stay on the base, and never get cleaned out. When the filter is dropped back in, they can drop straight in to the pump. Cardamom pods swell nicely and block the small pipes. 

Friday, 10 November 2017

HDD enclosure

The hard drive failure was confirmed after the purchase of an external sata case

It's a really nice case for 2.5" drives. This one was €5, the usb2 one being a few cents cheaper.The controller is a innostor is621 which, despite some adverts stating it, is not UASP/ SATA. It connects as a bulk transfer drive (Win 10). The manufacturer's web site doesn't state it either, and I can't find a datasheet.  

However, the Maxtor M3 drive I bought is UAS/ UASP, but tops out at ~20MB on usb2. Odd, considering it could be 480Mb/60MB. Write cache was off (normal) From a few searches, plus info from CrystalDiskInfo, plus a teardown video, the drive is Seagate st2000lm007 (mobile HDD), with a 128MB cache, 140MB/s, SATA 6Gb/s.
Nice review here
Crystal Disk Mark Q32T1 shows 32MB read regardless of cache setting. The write improves from 28.5M to 30M with cache on. Seq write test was actually 6MB worse with cache on. The above review shows 41MB normally, plus a massive improvement to 100MB with cache on. USB3 makes a lot of difference.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Hard drive failure

A few years back when I went to Windows 10, the PC seemed to run a bit slower. I sort of expected that, a W10 was bigger and took longer to do stuff.  It's been like that since Windows 3.1; a more cynical person might claim that it was a deliberate ploy between Intel and Microsoft to increase sales?
This got worse and worse, with disc usage being really high. Damn Windows. I eventually bought a SSD (Evo 750 256G) about a year ago. I installed it along side the HDD and it just sat there for storage. Well, the PC certainly speeded up. 

However, this latest Fall Creator's edition seemed to slow everything down again, particularly start up and shut down. I didnt think any more of it until I decided to clean the HDD and remove it. It was taking over an hour to move 100M bytes. I found the usual whining about how Windows 10 was the worst ever, and its disc access was so slow. I'd already tried all the solutions in the past, so quickly skipped to new solutions. There weren't any, just the odd post about impending HDD failure, which fitted with my observation; the drive would read data fine, then drop to 0B/s for 30s, then read ok. Windows disc manager showed it was OK. Another utility showed reallocated sector count is 1992. It's a 500G, so that's a lot of storage gone. I've had it for 5 years and manufactured 6 years ago.

This is my first personal HDD failure; I've owned about 15 HDD, the first costing over £100 for a 1.3GB in ~1993 (you can get around 4TB for £100 now, and it's a lot faster) I remember copying a CD onto it and having half left; but this was when Windows only took a few MB. I've also had one fail at work in 2006.  It turned into a proper coffee grinder. The support staff didn't know what a HDD failure was, so that tells you how uncommon failures are; they supported about 1500 PCs.

Now the disc is out of the PC, it's running a lot faster. I imagine Windows was updating the drive status on the HDD which was taking a long time to complete.