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The water container has a dime looking ring on the side of it. The side that meets the machine.. There is a sensor on the machine that lines up with that metal ring on water container. This is a photo eye. What is happening is air bubbles are building up on the wall of the water container. Kind of like a carbonated drink. the eye is getting interrupted by small air bubbles coming in between the metal ring and photo eye on the machine. So tap on container like you would a soft drink. Slowly remove the container and you will see a couple air bubbles resting on sensor ring. IT THINKS ITS EMPTY. It usually happens when coffee pot sets for awhile. Air bubbles collect on the sides.
The pump should not refuse to pump just because it was momentarily run dry. We do not have that model here in NZ so I'm not familiar with it. Is there a way to apply some air pressure (lungs) to the top of the tank and operate it, or maybe you can find some plastic tubing (2 feet of garden hose maybe) that fits the tank socket, full the hose with water and pressurise the top of the hose while operating the pump. If that doesn't work you are doomed to have to open it up and look inside.
I had this same problem the fix was pretty simple. Air had gotten into
the fill line and the pump couldn't pump the air filled line. So to
get rid of the air try to brew a cup of coffee (make sure you have a cup
under) now cover the over flow at the top of your water reservoir with
your finger or thumb. Air bubbles should blow into you water storage
tank. Once the bubbles are gone remove your thumb or finger. Now try to
brew a cup of coffee again. --snapshot4
You need to get the pump "primed" with water going through it.
If the machine is new or has not been used in a long time, the plastic feed tube(s) in the reservoir will be dry. You have to get the water to slowly creep up these tubes until it hits the pump inside, then the water/steam will come out the head and will keep coming out each time you use it until it dries out again.
I've had to re-prime my Via Veneto several times, and each time it seems like I'm doing it wrong and the machine is broken. But follow these steps and you'll get there.
1. Fill the reservoir with water and put the two tubes in it. 2. Turn on the boiler button (left-most of the two narrow ones) 3. Don't put the portafilter on, just leave the head bare. 4. Turn on the pump and let it run. Watch the water level in the plastic tubes. Understand that at this point, the pump is just pumping air, which it is not designed to do efficiently. As it pumps the air it slowly draws water up the tubes. Really slowly. 5. You can speed this up by putting a cup under the steam tube and opening the steam valve. This is while the brewing pump is still on. You will have hot water squirting out of the steam tube. You may see the water moving more quickly up the tubes. 6. The pump may have to run for several minutes. You'll get impatient and scared something is wrong, but just let it run. You'll see the water creep up the tube and go into the unit. Soon afterward pressurized water will start spraying out of the head.
Now, keep it primed for months by keeping water in the reservoir. If you use it only infrequently, run the pump and at least get some water moving every week or so.
I've tried silly things like holding the tubes upside down, trying to get water forced up into them, but in the end, just let the pump do the work and be patient.
A good operating pump will fill the tubes in 2 seconds. Sometimes the spring loaded check ball in the pump assembly (brass tube) gets stuck. It can be unstuck by disasdsembly or high pressure air application.Unplug unit before opening the top or any inspection. The brass tube unscrews from the angle fitting, then release the rubber mount by depressing the white tab and slide it out. Note slowly and carefully the positions of springs, ball, plastic plunger and rubber washers.Look closely at the holder for the brass tube and you will see that it releases with a push and turn. The white plastic spring retainer in the brass tube unscrews with small forseps or two toothpicks. That spring should be weak and you should just be able to blow a little air by mouth (one way) through the tube if assembled correctly. I use a toothpick to push the stuck plastic valve out and scrape the calcified deposits off..
Try cleaning the inside where the discs go. There is a sensor underneath the clear plastic part which reads the barcodes on the discs. Make sure it is clean. Have you tried using the cleaning disc? Also if you remove the parts underneath where the discs go you can clean them too. Sometimes stuff will get stuck inside the plastic piece which leads from the disc to the cup... Just a couple suggestions...