Heating Element Testing?

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Heating Element Testing?

Postby onocoffee on Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:22 am

Anyone here know what reading should come up on a multimeter to test if a boiler heating element is working properly?
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Postby Robert Goble on Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:01 am

Details... what element? what machine? (would this make a difference?)
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Postby onocoffee on Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:14 am

Linea, La Marzocco, 2AV
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Postby roger on Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:28 pm

2 grp LMs have come with a couple of different wattage elements in the last 10 years.

You will need a voltmeter that can measure amp draw and voltage. Measure the voltage at the wall (the receptacle where the machine is pluged into) or at the element when it is in a heating cycle. You should read around 200-220 volts AC. Next you measure the amp draw of the element in question, again when it is in a heating cycle. Next you would multiply the voltage by the meausred amp reading and you should get (roughly) the wattage of the element. Voltage x Amp draw = Wattage (Note: This is a simplification of what is really going on but hopefully enough information to answer your question). Compare this number with the wattage number stamped on the element flange and then you will know how your element is fairing.

The amp draw for more recent LMs should be around 6-7 amps on a two group. If you are off by more than 10% then you may want to investigate further.
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Postby onocoffee on Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:00 pm

Thanks Roger

But since the machine is completely disassembled, I think it's a bit tough to run the element through it's heating cycle.

What I'm wondering is if there is a meter reading for the heating element to determine if it's good or bad - like how you can test the flowmeters with a multimeter. If I connect the multimeter to the heating element what numbers should I receive?

Also, how important is the gasket? I ordered new steam and brew heating elements from ESI but they arrived without gaskets - is this correct? I also noticed element size and wattage differences. The original element (1300w) works with a standard size hot water heater element tool while the newer one I just received is larger than the tool and in wattage (1400w).
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Postby paul_pratt on Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:06 pm

You can apply ohms law and measure the resistance of the element to compare to what it is supposed to be, just like measuring a coil or a flowmeter sensor. Voltage squared divided by the wattage of the element gives you the resistance of that element. Compare that with the multimeter ohms reading and apply the 10% rule.

e.g. a 220V 4000W element would be 12.1ohms

I think Roger will agree that they either work or they don`t and more often than not inefficiency is a result of limescale build-up.

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