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· 04/02/2020 4:50 AM
Morning Ed, I haven't done any green coffee hoarding yet but am hoping the supplies don't end up like the toilet paper isles!

· 03/31/2020 2:53 PM
Hey Ed. Thanks. roar

· 03/31/2020 11:21 AM
Hey quarantined home roasters! I hope you have great coffee! If they have a run on coffee, I hope you're set with your great home roast! Find me on Facebook! Ed Needham

· 03/25/2020 11:49 AM
New Rochelle in the news. I think of you every time I hear it. ... Please stay safe.

· 03/21/2020 7:36 AM
Good morning homeroasters morning Everyone is hopefully staying healthy through this. Hang in there and stay safe!

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Faema Compact S Rebuild - Part 2
Here is a first draft of my Faema Compact S rebuild article (Part 2). Please review and I’ll incorporate your changes and suggestions.


The Current State

When last we left the Faema Compact S, it was in a disassembled state with all of its water-proof components soaking in a citric acid/water bath and someone with the intelligence and resourcefulness of the average chimpanzee standing over it.

This article will cover:
1. The main water distribution valve (irritating Rube-Goldberg-esque valve)
2. The group head disassemble/rebuild.
3. Chassis prep and paint.

The Main Water Distribution Valve – aka The [enter explicative of your choice here] water valve.

Materials needed:
- Patience
- Valve seats, an o-ring or two, miscellaneous bits that could be currently broken or break during disassembly.
- Digital camera (take pictures during disassembly so you can get it together again.)
- Food-grade grease for re-assembly.
- A few Allen wrenches of the right size.
- A clean, contained work space for disassembly. I like to use a medium sized but shallow Rubbermaid bin for this as I can just put the lid on if I get interrupted in the middle of a disassembly or re-assembly.

Though it may look innocent, rest assured this is the most obstinate component of this machine! I re-assembled it 4 times before it worked right so learn from my mistakes.

From the diagram above: A. is where the water comes in from the pump (the pump does not need to be powered for water to go through the system.) B. is where water is directed to the group head. C is the boiler fill circuit. The rod to the right of C. is the manual boiler fill valve. You push it when pressurized water is connected to the unit and you can fill the boiler without having the machine powered on. The assembly below B is a pressure regulator for the brew head – the small capillary tube that juts to the left and up is an over-pressure drain that exits into the main drain. The single solenoid shown at the top of the unit is activated when the auto boiler circuit is ungrounded. (When the water level sensor is not in contact with the water.)
Here is a close up of the regulator with the adjustment (number of threads showing) as it was when I pulled the valve.
Here is the auto-fill adjustment. I’m not 100% certain of its function or adjustment so I basically left it alone. It seems to have a bearing on how much water is diverted to filling the boiler if the boiler is directed to fill while pulling a shot. This setting seemed to have minimal impact on water flow to the group head so I left it be.
Ok so I’ve pulled the screws off of the boiler fill circuit and this is what it looks like inside the opening. Note the spring, the plastic spring hat at the top of the spring and the failed rubber o-ring. (No one could get the o-ring size right for this so I finally just took the fitting down to my local hardware store and matched one up.) – parts to replace here – o-ring.
Here is the view of the inside of the bottom component. Note the view of the top of the plastic valve inside, ‘cause I sure didn’t… It will happily re-install upside down…
This valve and seat were broken before I got my chubby fingers on them. I replaced the whole thing. You can just unscrew the two white pieces (carefully) and just replace the rubber seat though.
This is the end of the water valve where the outside water comes in from the pump. I removed the 3 screws and took off the triangular head (detail of this in the next picture.) The end is not symmetrical so it will only fit *one* way back on. Simple enough for a chimp to do it as has been proven… ;)
Here is the end of the water valve that you saw above. Note the fitting at the top! This is a cool thing as you can remove the plug inside the fitting, fit some capillary tube and run it directly to a brew pressure gauge if you desire.
Ok, pulling the plastic end off of the end of the water valve. Note the spring seat and the white plastic valve seat holder below – yet another one of these that I installed upside down on the first re-assembly…
Another pic of the same but a little farther down. Note the spring and seat have been removed. This shows the orientation of the valve and the rubber seat. HINT – unscrew the plastic shaft from the white valve seat carefully to replace just the rubber seat. Or you could just break it off like I did and buy a whole new one…
Here is the main shaft, slid completely out of the valve body. Note the position of the white valve seat holder. Because I sure didn’t… When installed upside down this will cause the boiler to fill continuously and make you come up with a new expletive to describe the water valve… On this piece note the single o-ring and rubber water seat (right next to the white plastic bit) as the only parts that need to be replaced on a rebuild. Also note the spring… It is just slightly different than the regulator spring and they will happily swap places and fit just fine if you are not careful during re-assembly.
Here is the ‘water balance’ screw removed. Note the o-ring at the bottom to be replaced during a rebuild.
Here’s a view down inside that assembly. Nothing else in here. Note that I have removed the solenoid from the water distribution valve. (It would be just to the right of this opening.)
This is the regulator assembly with the top unscrewed. There’s just a cap with a spring in this picture. The additional nut on the cap is a lock to set the cap at the appropriate pressure. (I didn’t mess with this either as it seemed to work fine at the stock setting.)
Here is the spring under the cap. Note, once again, that this is almost the same dimensions as the water inlet spring valve and could be accidentally swapped if you are not careful during reassembly.
The view down inside the regulator with the spring removed. You can see the valve at the bottom.
Here is the regulator valve. Look at it closely and keep it handy for when you order a replacement… Unlike the other valve seats, you can’t unscrew this one to replace the rubber seat. This piece took 4 different tries before I finally got the right replacement one. 3 of them didn’t seat… When this happens, heated water runs backwards from the group head/hx circuit and squirts out the drain tube. When this happens the 3rd time, its best just to sit down for a while with a stiff drink and contemplate lots of things other than espresso machines for a while…

Installation is the reverse of the above and straight forward if you are above chimpanzee grade intelligence. If you are more like me, it might take a time or two to get it right but given time and the appropriate curses it will all go together and work like new.

The GroupHead

Materials needed:
- A couple of o-rings and gaskets for the group head.
- Possibly, a new jet and screen.
- A new group-head gasket.
- Some sort of backflush detergent. (I used Cafiza)
- Brass brush for scrubbing.
- Something small for digging out the yucky bits from the small nooks and crannies (I used an old dental pick.)
- A couple of tools for getting out the group head gasket.
Yuck… And THIS is the side that the coffee doesn’t come from! Disassembly is straightforward on this as there’s not much to it. Remove the 4 screws holding the solenoid (This is for the 3-way valve) to the group head and remove the o-rings. (replace the o-rings for sure as they have a lot of heating and cooling cycles to go through so likely they will not reseal.) An astute reader pointed out that you can unscrew the nut at the end of the shaft and then remove the solenoid, magnet, etc. priror to removing the 4 screws to give you better access.
Another view of the same. Pull the large plug for more access while cleaning and replace the gasket after cleaning is done on re-assembly.
The underside. Ugh… Pull the cap shown there for cleaning and replace the gasket. (don’t worry, there’s nothing under that one either.) Replace the group head gasket since access will never be easier. By the way, there seemed to be 3 choices in gasket thicknesses, mine was the 8.5mm. While access is easy getting my gasket out was not… Numerous attempts were made with various items (tools, pry bars, vice grips, small mammals, chain saws, etc.) but all met with failure. After bandaging the wounds on my hands, forehead and finding my missing teeth, I decided to just take the easy approach… I sunk a machine screw into the old nasty gasket and tugged it gingerly out with a pair of vice grips while wearing a hockey mask. (This is usually about the point that the neighbor stops by.)
Removing the main jet. Items for possible replacement here – main jet (unscrewed from the bottom of the piece I am holding) and the small screen under it. Mine were actually fine once I cleaned them up. Item for definite replacement – that o-ring about half way down the shaft!
Here is the main jet removed and you can see the screen as well.
Another shot of the orientation and showing more filth.
Here is a look down inside the opening. Nothing to replace here but lots of cleaning to do…

The cleaning… I soaked it 4 times in a Cafiza solution that I use to back flush and clean my working machines. I made it extra concentrated and scrubbed it to within an inch of its life with a brass brush. Also for the smaller areas I found that a dental pick ( the kind the dentist uses on your teeth ) works best. I can gingerly scrape out the debris out of the smallest spaces with it.

The result is shiny and pretty clean. I’m shocked at the amount of old coffee and gunk that was in there. I can’t imagine that its been back flushed in years… Makes you wonder about the maintenance on the machines where you stop for coffee now, doesn’t it?!?

See below for combination pictures of the grouphead mounted in the frame and painted frame pictures.

Chassis Prep and Paint

- Materials needed:
- Drill and rotary wire brush (stainless is just fine here.)
- Rust preventative and primer.
- Finishing paint.

Basically the chassis was a semi-gloss industrial looking black. I didn’t object to this but decided that since all of the parts were now out of it, I should treat the bits of rust that were present and put a fresh coat of paint on it. I started with a rotary wire brush on my drill. This seemed to work pretty well and could almost completely drown out the voices of my spouse and children. (At least near enough so that I could claim, that was the case anyway.) Brushing only took about half an hour since it wasn’t too bad to begin with. Next I applied a system from POR15 on the exposed rust. First I used their marine grade cleaner diluted a little less conservatively than recommended. After it dried, I wiped it down with the prep liquid to etch the exposed surfaces. Unfortunately I wiped a bit more on the paint than I should have… Next I painted the POR15 on the rust areas and let it set up. POR15 is great stuff and it bonds completely to the metal surface (and your skin, hair and teeth for that matter…). It’s the best rust treatment stuff I’ve ever found and won’t come off until you wear it off. It sets up so hard, that you can’t re-seal the container and get it open again.

Since the frame started out semi-gloss black, I decided it should stay that way. I found some semi-gloss ‘industrial grade’ Rustoleum black that seemed to fit the bill. As some of you may know, painting is not one of my talents. Heck, I’d probably stand a better chance at landing a 747 (and having the aircraft be re-usable) than I would of getting a decent coat of paint on something without runs, bubbles or something going wrong. This was to be another one of those times… Remember when I mentioned that I was a bit too liberal with my application of the etching treatment? Unfortunately the treatment and lacquer paint do not seem come together all that smoothly. 3 coats later, I had a finish that was tough, durable, semi-gloss and a bit ‘wavy’ in places. My wife of course, had to comment: “YOU painted that…? It looks better than I thought it would…” and then being one of the sharper ones in the family, ran from the room before I could hurl something at her.
View from the top. Shiny group head and somewhat mottled paint finish come together.
More of the same except from the front.
Another from the top. Note the rust treated POR15’ed area just to the left and above the grouphead, on the floor of the machine. The copper and brass pipes look good after their citric acid bath…
One last view from the back. The solenoid cleaned up pretty well using my wife’s tooth brush… I put a new one out for her of course but not before I let her see me using it for this purpose… (This was soon after the “Looks better than I thought it would” remark.) Note the pipe coming out of the blue solenoid cover – this is the drain for the 3 way valve.

Article 3 will cover the steam and water valve rebuilding, exterior panel prep, boiler insulation and OPV valve adjustment.
Edited by jimoncaffeine on 12/11/2006 10:57 AM
This is excellent and the photos are fantastic! Makes me wanna get back to taking things apart and fixing them! Seriously ... it's like the Haynes manuals I use for auto repair. Great Job!

Eddie Dove

The South Coast Coffee Roaster
vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Reference
Glad you liked the article guys! It really easier than it looks for this type of machine. I'd have been a little more intimidated by the project if it had the auto dosing mechanism but now that I've seen that side of it on my *current* lsm machine maybe that isn't that bad either.

Thanks for reading it,


Great work! You aren't leaving yourself any room on the down side. I'm really enjoying this - can almost taste it.


Glad you liked it!

In Total, the rebuild took about 3 1/2 weeks with most of that time waiting for parts and an average of about 30-45 minutes a day to devote to working on it.

The third article is going to also have to cover a few loose ends... (the water level gauge/autofill circuit, Water softener (the Faema one), some ideas on where to buy parts and some general credits, url's etc.) I'll have to see how big it ends up and put it into a 4th article if necessary.


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