Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saeco Vienna Plus—How to Fix and Replace the Dosing Microswitch

The Saeco Vienna Plus is a great, relatively inexpensive (especially refurbished) automatic espresso machine!  After 6 months I started to have a problem where the bean grinding step would time out after grinding and grinding.  This led to compacted grounds and a clogged grounds chute -- the immediate fix was to open up and clean out the grinder.  This distracted me for a long time from real troubleshooting and determining the true root cause of the problem.  It turns out that the dosing microswitch was getting stuck / gummed up after sitting still from morning to morning.

Update 5/31/2020: Also check out my Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide for the Saeco Vienna Plus!

Saeco Vienna Plus

How do you know if the dose switch is broken?  Open up the front door and remove the brew group, like during usual cleaning.  In the upper right of the exposed area is the door where the grinds drop into the brew group; you can push open that trap door and feel for the paddle that activates the microswitch.  For me it was noticeably stuck after being unused for a day, but then would free up after being forced.

Once the microswitch has been determined the problem, you need a replacement. The Saeco part number is NE05.017 which was determined from this schematic. A few places online selling parts have this, but I ordered directly from Seattle Coffee Gear since I was going to order from them anyway. They stock this part as PRT119C6880 for $7.62 -- just need to call them to order since it's not on the web. They are very helpful!

How to replace the switch? Let's go! First, you'll need a #2 phillips driver with a relatively long handle, a small torx driver (T10 I believe), and a spudger or some similar prodding tool (I'm using a wax carving tool that I normally use to clean the grinder). A flashlight might be handy for the first try.

tools needed to open Saeco Vienna Plus

These instructions are based on what I found in these documents, and hopefully I improved upon them because they are pretty hard to follow (update 10/25/20--fixed broken links by hosting docs locally. See more resources on my Vienna Plus troubleshooting main page):

1.  Open up the machine like you were going to clean the grinder, but you only need to remove the bean hopper -- no need to take apart the grinder.  This video is great to learn how to clean the grinder and get this far.  When moving the machine to dump out the beans from the hopper, be sure to remove the water container first!  I suspect that getting water in the four top vent openings (center of the picture below) is what got me into this mess.

Saeco Vienna Plus with top hoppers removed

2.  The machine should now look like the picture above.  To remove the top cover, first remove the T8 torx screw [A] and the phillips screw [B].

Saeco Vienna Plus with main compartment open

3.  Two more phillips screws to remove at [C] and [D].  (yes, I cleaned it all)

Taking apart the Saeco Vienna Plus

4.  That's all the screws to remove the top cover, but now the steam knob is in the way.  It can be removed by first turning it ~halfway, then looking at it from below.  Use a tool like the spudger to push on the retaining tab through the square at position [E], then pull the knob straight off from the right.

Saeco Vienna Plus with top cover removed

5.  Now the cover can be removed and set aside.  The microswitch is hiding underneath the solenoid (yellow thing in the center of the picture).  To remove the solenoid, first remove the green wire connection [F] by pulling it straight off.  Detach white electrical connector [G] so that the solenoid can clear the circuit board.  Now press on tab [H] and pull the solenoid straight out (toward left).  Be careful when pulling on these connections not to damage any wires and find something safe to brace your hand against -- I was initially pushing against the circuit board but it was flexing so I found something else.  And don't lose the return spring which lives on the solenoid shaft.

Saeco Vienna Plus internals

6.  Now the switch is visible in the center of the picture mounted in a small plastic bracket.  The spudger can be used to pop it out of position.  First need to free the black wires clamped in the lower right of the bracket.  Then disconnect the leads and swap switches.  Reverse the procedure to put it all back together.

Now the switch is fixed!  Enjoy an espresso!

-Mike

Bonus troubleshooting info: If your machine is leaking dirty water onto the countertop, it could be that the drain into the drip tray is blocked. This happened to me so I followed the pictures and instructions here to clear the clog.

14 comments :

  1. i was suspecting the microswitch,
    i led it drown in a cup of wd-40 hoper this will save me a lil' bit of shipping
    great tuto thank you very much

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    Replies
    1. Great, I hope this works out! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. So what are the chances we have the same machine with the same problem Mike? Well I think we do!!!

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    1. Hi Maria! That's amazing! Hope it works out! Give me a call if there is any trouble.

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  3. Replacing mine now. Part number is good from Seattle Coffee above, though price is now $13.36 and $5 shipping. Thanks Mike for posting this fix.

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  4. Microswitches are relatively very small. You can try opening up the switch and cleaning the foreign particles that would have entered into the switch. As such the microswitch is very sensitive to dust particles and can easily get stuck. But a little caution need to be exercised.. as the parts of the switch are very small.. it is a big challenge to put them together to make it work..

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  5. Hi Mike
    I spent to much money and still have problem with my Gaggia syncrony compact when making a coffee grind Okay, but the flap won't open only water comes out.I replace grinder motor and the doser solenoid still no coffee. can you help.Thank you

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  6. Thanks for these detailed instructions. I have the exact same problem and just ordered the part. I hope it'll fix the problem and I'll report back once I can put it in. On a side note, Seattle Coffee Gear doesn't have that part anymore, at least that's what the rep told me, and she referred me to Encompass.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update -- let us know how it turned out!

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  7. Mike, any idea how to troubleshoot an electrical short issue I'm having on this same machine? I can turn the machine on but as soon as I push the drip tray into position, the machine shorts out and blows the breaker on the outlet its plugged into.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm bummer, sounds like it could be almost anything (especially if the issue is just being fully powered on, and not with the switch itself). With a quick search I couldn’t find an electrical schematic, but you might be able to find one or get help from Seattle Coffee Gear or another company that refurbishes machines. Let us know what you find!

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  8. Great article. My issue is that it grinds fine (I just replaced the motor), starts to pour, then stops right at the one espresso shot level, before the red light comes on. It finishes the cycle, though, and expels the grounds. I just can't up the water level and have to restart it each time. Any thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. I'd suggest doing a thorough cleaning of the brew group and descaling. I had a problem recently that may have been the exact same -- the brew process completed like usual except only a few drops of espresso came out and the red light came on. The pump changed tone when the espresso stopped coming out. Cleaning and descaling made it work again!
      Let us know how it works out!

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  9. Tanks for sharing such an informative post.

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