Caveats by Dr.Pavoni
1.If you have small children and haven't bought the machine yet, good, don't buy it. Even though it is a good machine, it gets extremely hot, and you can get burned on it very easily. Your child's well being is more important than a shot of espresso. If you already have the machine, make sure you operate it where "little hands" can't get at it. Is there a place like this???
2. Be careful where you place your la Pavoni on your counter top. Don't place it too close to your overhead cabinets. After a while, it will take the finish off due to the escaping steam. This is from personal experience.
3. Descale, descale, descale. This can't be emphasized enough. If you don't do this on a regular basis, I can assure you that you'll be spending a lot of money replacing the fuse in the machine especially if you don't have a resettable fuse. The stainless steel heating elements don't scale up as much but you should descale anyway to eliminate the deposits that form on the part of the boiler that are right along the sides of the element and below. They are hard to see since the element blocks your view. The quality of your espresso may also be affected. Another advantage is that your machine will be cleaner for any repair work and it may prevent future trouble on other components.
4. If you're blowing fuses frequently it's because you need to descale your machine. The fuses Pavoni uses are thermal fuses. They do not prevent electric shock. They are only used to cut the power if the heating element overheats. That is why they are affixed to the heating element. If you eliminate the fuse, you have a chance of burning out your heating element. See the TROUBLESHOOTING section for the fuse replacement instructions.
5. When you are troubleshooting the electrical system, make sure the machine is NOT PLUGGED IN. The reason is that you don't need power to perform the tests and the other reason is that water and electricity don't mix. It's very dangerous to troubleshoot the machine with the power on and having water in the boiler. You would have to tip the machine to access the electrical components, and in turn you could burn yourself on the boiler or have the possibility of water/steam coming out of the overflow tube or pressure valve. This could result in a very bad situation. So again, UNPLUG the machine before you do any work on the la Pavoni! It's just common sense.
6. If you hate maintenance, this is not the machine for you. Espresso machines, by large, are high maintenance items. You need to clean them properly. Your guests, who came over for a cup of java, deserve as much. Don't kill the guests with your espresso!
7. Before you uncap the boiler, ALWAYS BLEED OFF THE PRESSURE BY OPENING THE STEAM KNOB NOT THE BOILER KNOB!
Getting hit with a faceful of steam and hot water is not a pleasant experience.
8. I gave the sizes for the nuts, bolts, etc. that are on my machine. Your machine could be different. That's why it's good idea to buy a metric wrench set of the most common sizes so you can cover yourself.
9. A note on the "Millennieum" edition of Pavonis. These machines came out roughly around 2000. A sticker under the base identifies it as a Millennieum. Make sure when ordering parts that you state that you have a Millennieum model. Some parts are different than prior models. On the outward apperance they look the same as prior models. There are some changes that may cause you some problems. They replaced metal components with the infamous "plastic" versions. The flange that is attached to the back of the Group and also the piston inside the Group are made from a plastic-type material. That is not always a bad thing but the piston rod tends to unscrew from the plastic piston head somewhat easier than the metal version which may lead to a water inlet problem. The unscrewing may extend the piston down far enough in the Group where it blocks the water from coming into the Group. The flange may melt if you run the boiler dry. I have also been notified by a Pavoni owner that even leaving the machine on for an extended period of time will also melt the plastic flange. So please, unplug your machine when you are done making your coffee! So if your having trouble with water not getting into the Group, pull the Group and examine it for the above conditions. There is not a 100% certainty that you will have problems but now you have some information for troubleshooting purposes. This is not a call to arms but just a heads up!
NOTE: I've been told that Pavoni has changed back to the brass piston but I'm not sure if that is really true. If you have a plastic piston and are having constant problems, you can retrofit to the brass version.
10. After machines get 20+ years old you may have a problem finding replacement parts. Always talk to a Pavoni dealer before ordering parts. A lot of older machines cannot retrofit with the current part. Personally, I would not buy a machine second hand older than 10 years. Think twice about buying off of eBay. I have received a lot of horror stories with purchases off of eBay. Generally these machines have sat in basements for years unused.
© 2010 Francesco Ceccarelli. All rights reserved.