Question about DeLonghi EAM3500 Espresso Machine/Coffee Maker

5 Answers

DeLonghi Rialto Expresso Machine EAM-4500

We have a expresso/ capuchino machine Delonghi EAM 4500. we are receiving a message that reads generic alarm which according to the manual means that we have to clean the machine by removing the infuse and cleaning and replacing back. We tried this but now everytime we turn on the machine we still received the generic alarm message. we have cleaned the infuse several times one time the machine actually said ready and made one cup expresso but then went back to say generic alarm. Do you have any suggestion for us?

Posted by on

  • 3 more comments 
  • drjoe888 Jun 14, 2008

    the infuser is stuck up high and the machine says generic alarm. Usually when this happens I just unplug it and it self diagnosses and returns to making coffee. I clean the infuser often to prevent this from happening but this time it will not start working again and the infuser will not come down

  • aeropharma Jul 28, 2008

    My DeLonghi Rialto 4500 eventually got to the Generic Alarm message, but it took a longer route to get there.  First I got a message that the bean bin was empty, which it wasn't.  The grinder would whir, but not take up any beans. I removed all the beans in the bin and observed no visible obstructions.  As a temporary fix to bypass this, I started using pre-ground espresso beans that were fresh ground for espresso by the major coffee vendor.  This worked for about 4-5 draws, then the machine began telling me the coffee was ground too fine.  Then it stopped making anything, and displayed the dreaded Generic Alarm message.  Two calls to DeLonghi were of no value.

  • rupro Sep 20, 2008

    I got a new unit and from the beginning, the unit reported "grind is too fine, press ok to run water", so I did even though the grinder setting was on "7". Next morning, after long "heating up", I get "generic alarm" and that's it.

  • Anonymous Jan 16, 2009

    This machine sucks. Cleaned and cannot fix.

  • rupro May 11, 2010

    I got a new unit and from the beginning, the unit reported "grind is
    too fine, press ok to run water", so I did even though the grinder
    setting was on "7". Next morning, after long "heating up", I get
    "generic alarm" and that's it.


5 Answers

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 2 Answers

You need to reset it. Unplug machine, remove waste container and tray. Put the waste container back in without the tray and slide a knife under the waste container, close door. Plug in. It should reset. Turn off, replace tray and waste container and turn unit back on.

Easier, call their 800 number and they'll walk you thru it.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009

  • kimbinkl Aug 20, 2010

    this did not work, we have had 4 total of the 4500's all but the last two delonghi replaced. these last two we used for over the warranty period, so they tell us to send them to a service center. the latest is 'inset brewing unit' i replaced the defusser and cleaned everything, still get the message. I have one in the garage, due to a "general alarm" message. I really want both of these to work! I don't want to spend several hundred dollars to get them repaired.



  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.


    A rookie expert who has answered 20 questions on their first day.

  • Contributor
  • 30 Answers

For Delonghi EAM / ECAM machines - 3400, 3500, 6600, 6700

Serious fire risk!

Don't just short a thermal fuse! They are rated to 318 degrees Celsius and usually blow for a reason. One would be very lucky if that is all that's wrong.

"Heating Up" indefinitely
If a TCO (Thermal CutOut, the white ceramic blocks on the horseshoe) is blown, the horseshoe (steam boiler) control triac (usually BTA24-600BW) on the main board is probably breaking down under voltage stress. If the hot water function now blows loads of scalding steam you will need to replace the main board (or just the triac if you are confident, can upgrade to a BTA24-800) as well as any TCOs that blew. The normal symptom for this is the machine remains in the "Heating Up" state indefinitely, often after having reported "General Alarm" during the event.

Persistent "General Alarm"
This means many things. If the transmission is not stuck, check the main boiler has not burnt out (open circuit). This happens when the thermoblock labyrinth runs dry and overheats, a common problem caused by leaks, limescale, milk blockages or water filter contamination.

"Grind Too Fine"
When the machine says the grind is too fine and use the hot water spout, this is because the flow counter is not ticking. Getting this message too often can mean the flow counter is sticking.

When this message turns up, always run the hot water through till it flows evenly to ensure the system is irrigated. This probably should also be done after the machine has been resting for any long period of time during first warm up. This will help prevent boiler over-temperature events.


If the transmission is getting stuck there may be obstructions, the lead screw may be worn or the limit switches could be faulty. If cleaning and grease on the screw/bearings don't help then replacement is a big pricy job only for confident hands. Approach with caution.

Brew Unit
The transmission can wear out prematurely due to the brew unit becoming stiff. The piston in the brew unit should move smoothly and fairly easily. Keep the brew unit in good service by occasionally removing the piston to clean and re-grease the two big red o-rings using a food-safe grease. To pop the piston out the top, gently remove the plastic u-clip from the base of the shaft underneath, paying attention to which way up it goes for reassembly.

Frothing jug
For milk frothing issues, soak the milk jug cover in hot water and rinse several times. If it has a froth control that can be removed by sliding in the direction of travel towards the edge whilst jiggling it gently up and down. Clean off the little o-ring with a toothpick, be gentle. The control should easily slide and click back in place when done.

Froth still no good? Examine the milk coupling to ensure the o-rings are in the right spot and are pliable and undamaged. There should be an o-ring (usually green) on the top spigot, a (black) o-ring at the front of the bottom spigot and a (red) oring at the rear. The groove halfway along the spigot should be clear. Now with the toothpick and a hot moist cloth clean all the crud from the milk coupling, especially inside the smaller spigot. Check the tiny hole at the back of the larger spigot is not blocked.

Check the flow from the hot water spout is good. If not, there are internal issues, try descaling. If it is, test the frothing jug, if it is still weak either the jug cover or the milk coupling needs to be replaced. Get them to try a known good test jug at your local coffee service center to find out which, most will be happy to do this at the counter.

General Service
To keep these machines running right clean them out properly a couple of times a week, keep the brew unit serviced and always use the clean button on the frothing jug until the water runs clear.

Be aware they are only designed for a few years of heavy service. Regular cleaning, descaling and water filters can extend this a lot but from what I have seen ten year old domestic coffee machines are rare.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 28 Answers

Posting my comments again as I'm not sure they are getting through...

I had the same Generic Alarm problem and it turned out to be the thermal fuse associated with the frothing (i.e. the "U"-shaped) boiler. The part is available on-line here:

As a proof that this is indeed the failure in my machine, I bypassed the fuse and confirmed that the machine works if the fuse were there. I've also confirmed that the old fuse is blown (i.e. open-circuit). I can't recommend my temporary fix (a nail as a fuse replacement) but I have enjoyed the coffee while I wait to put in the new fuse :)

If I can, I'll take pictures as I put in the new fuse and post them here.

Posted on Aug 15, 2011

  • 10 more comments 
  • Rich Drewes Aug 30, 2011

    Iravra, I have the Generic Alarm problem. I've tested the thermal fuse (I think) on the U shaped heater on the back and it is short circuit, so not blown. This is the component in the center of the circular portion of the heater, correct? There is also a little button-shaped component that is pressed onto the upper right of the heating element which I assume is a thermocouple. (This is actually an ESAM 3500 not an EAM 4500). Any ideas? I also checked what appears to be the thermal fuse on the upper heater and that also is closed circuit (not blown).

  • Rick Avra Aug 31, 2011

    Ack. I'm sure the little controller checks a variety of things before it displays the Generic Alarm. I gather that you found another one. I'm glad to tell you about what I learned in the process.

    Here's a diagram that helps identify some of the parts:

    If I can find a way to upload a PDF, that will help as I collected some breakdown diagrams.

    Here are the things that I checked. Whether they all could cause a 'Generic Alarm' I don't know but they all seemed worthy at the time.

    - Ceramic thermal fuse on the U-shaped boiler (the one that failed on mine)
    - Thermal fuse on the main boiler (sounds like you checked this already)
    - Thermal fuse on the pump (pump is 59 in the diagram)
    - Water flowing through the flow-meter (72 in the diagram)
    - Temperature sensor on the main boiler
    - Temperature sensor on the U-shaped boiler
    - Pump works

    The thermal fuse on the main boiler (that you checked) is not like the one on the U-shaped boiler. It is a garden-variety one like this:

    encased in a plastic tube. I've forgotten what the fuse on the pump looked like but I recall checking it.

    To verify that the flow-meter was passing water (so to speak) I just pushed in and removed the water reservoir a few times and I could see the bubbles going through the flow-meter. Whether the flow-meter was actually registering the water movement I never got to check.

    In my unit the 2 thermocouples both have long white wires that go back to the controller board and appear to be identical. I disconnected and removed them and then checked the resistance through them as I heated them up just to confirm they weren't dead. I also swapped them since the leads are long enough. Obviously, this didn't change anything for me.

    Checking the pump works correctly obviously entails some risk since it takes 120VAC. I have a handy power cord with dangerously bared ends that I use for this. I disconnected the power wires to the pump and then attached my external power via clip-leads, being *very* careful not to touch the hot lead in the process and making sure I wasn't touching anything else. I can't recommend this since not everyone is as careful about this as I am. I've been shocked a few times it *always* hurts and can be deadly.

    I never got around to looking at the motor and infuser movement. When I plugged mine in (i.e. first power), the infuser moved around normally so I guessed that it was healthy enough.

  • Rick Avra Aug 31, 2011

    One additional comment. I just switched to the version of this thread - i.e.

    and the text displays much more cleanly.

  • Rich Drewes Aug 31, 2011

    Thanks for your suggestions! I will try some out today. The irony is that it was a LESS COFFEE error that caused me to start working on the machine. After disassembling quite a bit of the machine, I am now in probably a worse situation with the GENERIC ALARM (even though I may have finally addressed the LESS COFFEE error which may have had to do with the machine not sensing when the infuser on the screw reached the top of its travel).

  • Rich Drewes Aug 31, 2011

    Any way anyone know of getting a more descriptive error code? I'm sure there is a better diagnostic built into the machine than "GENERIC ERROR"!

  • Rick Avra Sep 01, 2011

    I don't know of a way. Certainly a few more lines of code could have made all of this much easier.

    Thinking about it, I'd *guess* the 3 sensors I know of (the 2 thermocouples and the flow-meter) could all cause the Generic Alarm and since you've checked the fuses to the boilers (and assuming they are both getting hot) then the thing to focus next on is the pump/flow-meter.

  • Rich Drewes Sep 01, 2011

    When I turn the machine on, the infuser cycles down to the bottom, then back up to the top. It goes all the way to the top and depresses the springs inside the circular brew part far enough to close the contact switch on the side of the top heater module, and then the machine stops and displays the GENERIC ALARM message. The pump does not run at all, but I have verified that the pump does run when connected directly to 120V. The little Klixon thermal switch attached to the side of the pump is OK (closed circuit). The thermocouples on the heaters show resistance and the resistance changes when I apply a little heat. The fuse on the back of the U shaped heater shows closed circuit as does the thermal fuse on the upper heater module (the one pushed into the plastic tube).

    Any more suggestions, given where the machine is stopping (with the infuser at the top, just depressing the contact switch, when I think the pump should start pushing water through the system for a rinse)?

    The flow meter has three wires coming from it and does not seem a likely source of problems because it would not register anyway until the pump actually starts pumping, which it doesn't.

    Thanks again for your help. I hate to trash this thing but it's 4 years old and it would probably cost $300 or more to send it to get fixed.

  • Rick Avra Sep 01, 2011

    I know your pain. I was in the same situation.

    Wow, you did some great checks. My failure was clearly different. My 'generic alarm' message came after a couple minutes, presumably because it waited for the boiler to heat and, due to the fuse, it never did. Since your message is earlier, it must be unhappy about something else. You're right that the pump doesn't kick in until later in the cycle so that is probably not it.

    I'm wondering if there is some position/proximity switch that is bad. Could it be that the contact switch on the side of the heater module that you mentioned is not actually closing (i.e. making contact)?

    If it would be helpful for me to try something on my machine, let me know. I still need an excuse to crack it open to put in the new fuse so if you want me to check something while it's open, I can.

    One question. On first-power (plugging into the wall) the infuser moves around a bit and the display shows "Self-Diagnosis." After that it goes quiet and the display goes dark. I assume that works okay for you and that your failure occurs only after you hit the power button and the infuser moves up to the top as you mentioned. All that correct?

  • Rich Drewes Sep 01, 2011

    The proximity switch is definitely pushed (verified with voltmeter) when the infuser reaches the top of the cycle.

    After plugging the machine in, the self diagnosis starts, the infuser cycles down and then up and then the GENERIC ALARM appears immediately after the proximity switch is pressed at the top of the infuser movement. This is about the point where the pump should start a rinse, I believe. The display does not go dark; the GENERIC ALARM stays on, apparently because something failed in the self diagnosis cycle. I wish I knew how to get the machine to say what failed! I'm sure someone, somewhere, knows this information.

    Thanks again. I feel like this is solvable!

  • Rich Drewes Sep 01, 2011

    It's back in business at the moment. Took the motor assembly out, pulled the little circuit board (magnetic rotation counter?), looked OK, tested the contact switch at the bottom of the plastic vertical guide system (in which the infuser drive shaft turns), looked OK, pulled the top boiler again and examined everything, reassembled, then fired it up. This time when I plugged the unit in, the self diagnosis cycle completed quickly *without moving the infuser all the way to the top* and powered off. When I hit the power button, unit went through the normal heat up and rinse and I could make a cup of coffee! The original LESS COFFEE error that started this whole thing is gone too (still no clue what that meant--the manual only suggests that coffee floating around inside the machine might cause that, but the machine was spotless inside). My theory about what fixed things is that either the disassembly/reassembly tweaked a loose contact (even though I had tried to check everything in the past), or perhaps my manual turning of the motor (which I had also done in the past) happened to end up at the right end position so that it didn't get into some self-diagnosis error loop that it couldn't previously exit. We'll see how long it lasts.

    Thanks, Rick, for your help!

  • Rick Avra Sep 01, 2011

    Hah! Another salvaged appliance!

    Thanks for the details. There's no telling when my machine will hit the same problem so it is great to have your notes.

    I'd guess that that contact switch at the top was a sort of kill switch and triggered the 'alarm'. Whatever method the controller uses to stop the travel wasn't working so it hit the end and died. Like you said, perhaps rotating the motor fixed it so that the travel stopped in time.

    Surely the coffee tastes better from a coffee machine you've fixed!

  • Rod Williams Jan 08, 2012

    Hi Rick,
    I just bought a second hand machine...frustrated I had no idea...the foil works a beauty well done and thanks heaps..from Rod in Sydney Australia


  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.


    An expert that has over 10 points.

  • Contributor
  • 21 Answers

I just started disassembling mine, after receiving the general error message. The brewing module would either stay up, or it would not go all the way down. I opened the machine and removed the back panel, and turned the motor axle myself -by hand (the very lowest part of the motor), than in turn lowered the brewer to the down end and after restarting it, the machine would "fire again" for a couple of times, before I would get the general error again.
I disassembled a little more and I found out that the small board that controls the motor was all black from smoke on it's back side. That's never a good sign, and it's the cause of all these similar problems. It is labeled as DeLonghi 5232104400 part number. It seems like an easy fix, but I'll have to check with my multimeter to see is something else fried the board, or got fried by it.
Unfortunately, I have not found any service manuals, just a part manual in Italian and as I am not a trained technician, it'll be a trial and error procedure.
Normally I would have thrown this away, but the bloody thing makes the best damned coffee I have tasted.

Posted on Jan 23, 2010

  • fiona hunt
    fiona hunt Oct 05, 2014

    "Normally I would have thrown this away, but the thing makes the best damned coffee I have tasted" the best ever finish to a moan I ever seen Priceless!!!


  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

We have had 4 total of the 4500's all but the last two delonghi replaced. these last two we used for over the warranty period, so they tell us to send them to a service center. the latest is 'inset brewing unit' i replaced the defusser and cleaned everything, still get the message. I have one in the garage, due to a "general alarm" message. I really want both of these to work! I don't want to spend several hundred dollars to get them repaired. HELP

Posted on Aug 21, 2010

  • Rick Avra Jul 22, 2011

    This is an old thread but I'll post my comment in case anyone stumbles onto it. I had the same Generic Alarm problem and it turned out to be the thermal fuse associated with the frothing (i.e. the "U"-shaped) boiler. The part is available on-line. I'm still waiting for mine but in the mean time I've bypassed the fuse to confirm that the machine works if the fuse were there. I've also confirmed that the fuse is open-circuit.

  • Rob Stuck Aug 15, 2011

    Hi Iravra

    Did this end up fixing the problem?
    Do you have a pic of the fuse it is?
    Any info would be great



4 Suggested Answers

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Delonghi EAM3400 water ends up in tray will not come out of spout

i had this problem, and have now finally figured it out and fixed it. the problem is that there is a solenoid valve sticking. i believe that the valve is used to relieve pressure after using the steam, and it vents the hot water directly to the tray. if you aren't diligent about descaling, or if there are water impurities, or if you use the machine infrequently, or for probably any number of other reasons, the valve can gum up and stick in the "open" position, continuously draining the water directly to the tray.

one easy way i've got my machine to work was to cycle steam on and off a few times, thereby signaling the valve to open/close, and unsticking the valve. you can see if it worked without wasting coffee by initiating a rinse cycle, and seeing if the water correctly comes out of the coffee nozzles.

if that doesn't work, you can disassemble the machine and tap on the valve. it has a square black solenoid ~1" square on top of a brass valve. it is mounted on the same bracket as the u-shaped heater. a few sharp raps on top may free up the valve.

if that doesn't work, remove the valve, and try to blow through it. if the valve is stuck open, air will go right through. hold the valve upright and tap it onto a hard surface (countertop, floor, etc.) try blowing through it again. when the valve is unstuck (and held in its normal operating position), you will not be able to blow through it.

once the valve is unstuck, run your machine through a descale process. that should take care of it.

Posted on Feb 13, 2010

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Less coffee error message on my Delonghi Rialto. I

Did you find the solution? The same problem has just happened to me.

Posted on Dec 03, 2010

  • 452 Answers

SOURCE: My delonghi magnifica pronto cappucino

needs new motor and poss pcb assy ...needs testing.

Posted on Feb 28, 2011

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

DeLonghi Rialto EAM-4500. When I turn it on, it makes loud noises and give me the following message:Ground too fine adjust grinder and insert water spout

Step: 1 Switch off your coffee maker. Remove the first brewer unit. Wash it thoroughly under running water.

Step 2: clean the coffee grinder using vaccum cleaner.

Step 3: switch on the Machine !!! Make Coffee

(Note: if you hear loud noises during coffee preparation then please use food graded grease to fix it)

Mar 19, 2017 | DeLonghi Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines


How to descale espresso machines.

Have you ever wondered, 'how do I descale my expresso machine?' First lets us understand what is exactly is scaling. The build up of minerals inside the hot parts of your coffee machine or espresso machine is commonly called lime scale. When lime scale builds up inside the Espresso machine, it slows down the water flow, reduces the boiler capacity and can prevent your coffee machine from working properly. To keep your Espresso machine operational at full order, it is important to descale it every three months. The time intervals between descaling depend upon many factors. Quality of your water and the amount of water running through the machine are the two main factors that decide the frequency at which you should descale your Espresso machine. The more you your machine, more often should you descale it. In some cities, in conjunction with a water filter you can use your coffee machine for a year or more without descaling at all. If you use less water by drinking espressos you'll need to descale less often than if you make cappuccinos.

Descaling products are widely available from stores that sell coffeemakers and espresso machines. Be sure that the product you buy to descale your Espresso machine is intended for this specific use only. Before you descale your Espresso machine, always unplug it and make sure that it is cold. Also, never immerse the appliance in water and nor should you use abrasive cleaning products or scouring materials on any part of your Expresso machine. In case your Espresso machine does not come with a instruction guide or booklet, then use a proper citric acid based descaling solution designed for espresso machines. This should be mixed and prepared as per the instructions on the bottle or packet. Once your Espresso machine has been descaled properly you would not be left wondering, 'how do I descale my expresso machine?', treat yourself to a great cup of coffee. Some popular models of Espresso machines are Krups EA8080 Espresseria Automatic, DeLonghi Magnifica EAM3200S, Krups Nespresso CitiZ & Milk XN 7106 Fire-engine red, DeLonghi Perfecta ESAM5400, DeLonghi PrimaDonna ESAM6600, DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM4200S, DeLonghi Perfecta ESAM5500 and Magimix Nespresso Citiz M190.

Here is a basic generic picture of a espresso system of how they work.

I hope this helps. Feel to contact me for addition questions. Thanks Mike

on Jul 26, 2011 | Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines

1 Answer

My Coffee machine Delonghi doing expresso without foam today. Before doing good expresso with foam. help please.

Espresso should have crema not foam, foam is air added to coffee, like Starbucks does. Issue lays in the grinder and coffee quality. Recommend using Italian espresso bean like Miscela d Oro

Apr 14, 2014 | DeLonghi Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines

1 Answer

Water leaking from underneath my delonghi ec330s

There could be a loose hose, or a hole. Try to call the number the expresso came with.

Feb 08, 2014 | DeLonghi EC330-s Pump Espresso Maker

1 Answer

Delonghi rialto eam4500: Lost Hot Water Spout. Where to get one?

I had the same problem!! I was able to find one on Amazon:

It works on 4500 as well as a couple of other models :)

Jul 25, 2010 | DeLonghi EAM3500 Espresso Machine/Coffee...

1 Answer

Delonghi rialto. i need a manuel and video

I'm not sure if there is a specific model number on yours. But here is a link to a DeLonghi Rialto 4500.

Feb 27, 2010 | DeLonghi Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines

2 Answers

Had the Rialto 4500 for over a year. All of a sudden the milk is not coming out properly, mostly just steam. I've cleaned the tube and container top many times ! What else can it be ?

Me too! They ordered me a new milk pitcher from Italy. Didn't work. They told me to run it through some tests using water in pitcher. Didn't work. They then told me to send it in to a Delonghi repair shop. They just told me that it was all "clogged up" and also needed a new generator. The tow are linked together. We descaled fairly regularly. Total tab: $380! OUch! Have not told them to go ahead. seaching for cheaper solutions. Let me know if you hear of any.
Will Houston TX

Oct 23, 2009 | DeLonghi Esclusivo Magnifica ESAM3300...

3 Answers

Need descaling instructions for EAM 4500 auto espresso machine

use 1/4 cup of vinegar and fill pot with cold water, run through machine

Aug 01, 2009 | Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines

1 Answer

Hotter coffee

can also - press menu untill temp comes up - set to high.
(only low med and high)

Mar 01, 2008 | DeLonghi EAM3200 Espresso & Coffee Maker

Not finding what you are looking for?
DeLonghi EAM3500 Espresso Machine/Coffee Maker Logo

8,321 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top DeLonghi Coffee Makers & Espresso Machines Experts


Level 3 Expert

102366 Answers

Henry  Thomas
Henry Thomas

Level 3 Expert

1074 Answers

Shehu Pro
Shehu Pro

Level 3 Expert

1284 Answers

Are you a DeLonghi Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides