Automatic astra II pulls a few great shots then error light on
Hi, I have an automatic mega II astra. It will pull out a few really nice shots and then the error light comes on and I'll have to mess with it for the error light to come off and to get a shot again. I have completely cleaned everything as well as reprogrammed it with with the manufacturer. The error light continues to come on as well as the water not coming through on the shots correctly. I have adjusted the grind on our grinder a few times to see if that would help and it hasn't. It will pull a few beautiful shots then it stops and I have to mess around with it for a half hour to get a few more shots then back again. It seems to have a bigger problem on the right side then the left as you face the machine. I also found that the steam wand on the right side was not working correctly today when we tried to use it. Steam would not come out only a small stream of water. Thank you SO SO much for any ideas you can provide!
Re: automatic astra II pulls a few great shots then error...
The error light usually comes on when there is no water flow through the group after about 5 - 10 seconds, indicating a clog of some sort. The fact that it happens after two shots, however could indicate an issue with the processor. The problem with the steam wand could also point to a clog situation, especially in the other wand is working. First, try running shots through the problem group with no grounds at all in the portafilter; Say five or six shots if you can to see if you get the error light. Look at the water flow in the process: The water should just pour out of the portafilter. If the water is running freely and you still get the error light, you are probably looking at a processor/sensor problem. If not, it may just be a restriction. Remove the screw from the middle of the group head (the diffuser), and remove the screen and the brass plate and check them for clogging. You really want to wait until the machine is cold before you do so as the parts will be extremely hot. As for the wand, try removing it, and check it for obstruction.
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Try Mr. Espresso in Oakland, CA www.mrespresso.com. While they don't typically supply Astra, I believe they are familiar with the brand and can refer you to a technician if they can't service it themselves. Astra will also service their own machines, but you would probably have to ship it to their shop in LA.
Hi, I'm new to the coffee business and justed purchased this machine and no manual as well.
I just called the astra manufacturer (1-877-340-1800 ) and they were going to e-mail me a manual free of charge. Hope this helps. J Howell
The Astras have a vacuum relief valve, usually located on the boiler top. It looks sort of like a cap, with a pin or rod sticking up out of the middle, possibly with a ring through the end. While the machine is cold, you might try working that back and forth to see if it is stuck or not. If it is stuck, get it replaced.
The left grouphead sounds like a different problem than the right group head. For the left grouphead, I would start by replacing the group electro-valve. With hard water, this can cause the valve to remain in the closed position even though the water pump is running.
For the right group head, I would want to see this happen. Usually, if the gaskets haven't been replaced in a while (if you are busy, your 'while' may be quicker than others), I would evaluate the condition of the rubber gasket. I would also look at whether you are tamping too much espresso grounds into the portafilter. This can cause a similar symptom as a bad gasket.
You will need to reprogram the computer. To do this, it is relatively simple. take your grounds and tamp into your portafilter (I usually start with a double). make sure that you tamp it correctly.
Then, hold down the start/stop button until you see the lights flashing on the panel (if you want to program both groupheads at the same time, then hit the start/stop button on the other side as well.) Then with your portafilter inserted in the grouphead, hit the button that you would like to represent your double shot. you should see a water stream about the width of a cooked piece of spaghetti. After around 18 seconds to 22 seconds, you should have your shot levels filled. then hit the button that represents your 'double' shot to stop it. then hit the start/stop button. You will see the start stop button flash a couple times and then turn off.
That should do it. remember, that the preferred timeframe for a shot of espresso is 18-22 seconds. Your setting on the coffee grinder would then need to be set to make sure your getting a full shot in that amount of time.
You will have to adjust your shot timing, and possibly your grind. To program the shot timing, hold the Brew Stop button until all of the brew lights come on; That means all of the buttons are ready to program. Next, pull some grind for your portafilter and push the button you want to program. For a single, you want to pull a 1 oz shot in about 15-20 seconds; longer for a double. When you push the button, the shot will start to pull; when the shot is complete, push the button again to set it. Then do the same for the next button. Each group needs to be programed separately. Holding the the Brew Stop button again will turn out the remaining lights and save your programming to that point. As to the grind, you want to have the grind fine enough to give you a quality shot in the right amount of time. Good Luck!