DeLonghi User Guide


(Ryan Mitchell) #1

This is a reference guide (That could also go in the Wiki) about use of the recently repaired DeLonghi automatic espresso machine, an ETAM36.365.M (Electronic Thin AutoMatic Series 36 Model 365 Trim Metal). Any ETAM36.365 part or guide will work in this machine, and many internal parts are shared between all ETAM machines.

Preamble
The device has been modified (See: Repairs) so that while it can make Espresso and black coffee, it will not be able to produce steam, so steam, frothed milk, Cappuccinos and Lattes will not be available.
The full manual is attached at the end of this document, but because this is a “Ryan Special™” hotwire/modification, I’ll run you through the specifics here, and other tips and tricks I’ve found from my years at DeLonghi.

Basic Usage
Panel

This is the front panel of the machine, the options highlighted in red require steam, and thus will not function in this machine.
The options in green, however, will work just fine.
The options on the black plastic screen are for changing machine configuration options, and can be left alone.

On the right is settings, being the amount of water desired, and the amount of beans.
Select the desired coffee size, then the desired strength, then on the right select for single or double amount. The machine will immediately begin grinding after you select either one or two cups.
If it stops at this point, and returns to the main screen, there is a chance you have double pressed the button, and immediately canceled the coffee. This can happen if you have dry skin, press too hard, or for a number of other reasons. A quick fix is washing your hands without soap, then drying off excess water on your hands with a paper towel. You can also use a softer piece of skin, like your ear or nose.

If you want something with milk, just heat the milk separately, perhaps in the microwave?

To customise the amount of water delivered from an option, select the option you want to customise, then press and hold either one or two cups on the right, letting go once the desired amount of coffee is produced.
So not to mess with any members, please only customise the “My Coffee” option, and leave the rest as is.

When starting up, if the machine is cold it will rinse some water through itself. Keep this in mind, as to avoid filling your cup with rinse water and needing to grab another.
When shutting down, it will do the same.
If you wish to manually rinse the machine, you may do so by pressing the “Menu/Esc” button once. The first menu option is “Rinsing”, which we want, so press “:sweat_drops:/Ok”. It may ask you to confirm, if so press “:sweat_drops:/Ok” again.
If you are shutting the machine down, I recommend doing this, then the moment the rinse stops, pressing the power button. This gives the machine a double rinse, and saves the internal components some unnecessary movement.
Otherwise, you can simply let the machine rinse itself when it turns off.
If you leave it for a while, without use, it will shut itself down automatically, and perform a rinse cycle.

Maintenance

Daily (on days it has been used):

  • Empty the grounds container after you have finished using it (By sliding out the drip tray and lifting out the used grounds container.
    Throw it in the garden, coffee grounds make excelent compost.
  • Empty the water from the drip tray
  • Rinse the machine if you are not going to use it again (See above)
  • Shut the machine down at the end of the day

Weekly:

  • Shut the machine down, and remove the infuser from the side of the machine, and rinse it under a tap

Monthly:

  • Shut the machine down, and remove the infuser from the side of the machine, undo the four screws on the side of the infuser (Not the one on the grill on the end of the plunger), slide out the plunger, and rinse off any coffee grounds under a tap. If you have any food grade grease, wipe off the o-rings with a paper towel, and re-apply grease. This only needs to be done every six months to once a year, however.

Yearly:

  • Descale the machine.
    Canberra has some of the best water in the world, and I’ve tested the tap water at MHV, it’s a nice 50PPM TDS, so I do not expect scale to build up, ever, and a water filter is unnecessary. It is still good practice to descale, and should be done every 3-12 months depending on the usage of the machine, or whenever the machine requests doing so.

Troubleshooting

"It says I need to empty the grounds tray, but I’ve checked and it already is empty!"
The grounds tray works on a counter, and a timer, it asks you to empty it 16 coffees after it last thinks it was emptied, and it thinks you’ve emptied it if when asking you to do so, you remove the drip tray for more than 10 seconds.
If you take it out, see that it’s empty and put it right back in, it won’t have been long enough, so it assumes you haven’t emptied it. You can trick it by taking out the drip tray, leaving it 10 seconds, then putting it back in
(Also, please don’t do this if there are ANY pucks in there at all. 3 pucks plus 16 more is enough to make a serious mess of this thing’s insides. Just throw it in the bin if you couldn’t be bothered going out to the garden, but don’t put it back with pucks still inside)

"It’s making loud noises and asking me to fill the water circuit, wat do?"
Either it’s run dry (it shouldn’t have, it has a water level sensor in the tank), or it’s dried out from lack of use. Either way, the pump needs priming.
Plug in the spout sitting on the top of the machine (It is still on the top of the machine, right?) and hit okay a bunch of times. If the spouts gone missing, you can depress one of the microswitches on the spout coupling and do the same, but prepared to be sprayed with boiling water.

No power?
The main power button on the back right side of the machine appears to be getting stuck on the case a little, but you can squeeze the back panel forwards and it will work fine.
There’s no reason to use this button though, the software shutdown/standbye one on the top right, just above the control panel, works just fine and is sufficient.

"It says grounds too fine and doesn’t put water out!"
This is the default error if it can’t pump water through after it’s started up. It either can be because the grounds ARE too fine, and water’s not getting through, there’s a block elsewhere, or if the pump’s ran dry. Try to avoid adjusting the grounds, at least before reading the troubleshooting guide on “MOAR BEANZ” below, as it can be a nightmare not worth going to if you can avoid it.
Try running a manual rinse. If it still says “Grounds too fine” (Remember, this is it’s only error message here, so any blockage or lack of water will default to it) then you know it has nothing to do with the grounds. Try putting in the water spout and making some hot water (By tapping the “:sweat_drops:/Ok” button from the default screen) to prime the pump. If it can’t prime (And is noisy), there may be a blockage. If it primes fine, the infuser may be blocked. Take it out and clean it.
If you’ve done everything else, and water goes through with a rinse, but not when making coffee, you may actually need to adjust the grounds a bit. If so, read EVERYTHING in the following segment to become an expert on adjusting the grounds, then turn the knob clockwise a bit until it makes coffee.

"Coffee’s not strong enuf, I WANT MORE BEANZ!"
Use the settings to up the coffee strength
"STILL NOT STRONG ENUF, MOAR BEANZ!"
Fine, set the amount of water to minimum, using the top left button, and just make espresso after espresso until you’ve got enough coffee.
"MOaR BEEEEAEAAANNNNNZNZZZ!!!11!!"
Alright alright, but this isn’t gonna be easy.
If setting bean strength to max, and water to minimum, and it’s still not strong enough, the grinder might have worn out slightly, or the machine might have incorrectly learned something (Yes, it learns, no, it’s not gonna go sentient. Well, let’s just be glad it’s not one of the newer models with wifi.)

First, grinds. Take out the last puck made from the grounds tray (It should be hot, try not to burn yourself.)
If you’re not sure which is the newest, empty the tray, make a coffee, congrats, the puck now in the tray is nice and fresh.
Wait for it to cool down, and take it out. If it’s crumbly, and the individual grains are large, bigger than a grain of sand, and feel rough, the grinder isn’t grinding fine enough. If it’s soft, squishy, is firmly holding itself together, and the individual grounds are smaller than a grain of sand, or white sugar, then go on to the next step
Lift the bean door, take off the clear cover, and look at the small knob. There is a small arrow on the back of the case, behind the knob, and it points to the currently selected setting. The default is 3, which I have set it to and tested it with. Rotating it clockwise, towards 7, will produce a coarser grain, whereas counterclockwise, towards 1, will produce a finer grain.
If someone’s set it to 7, or anything above three, rotate it one click towards three, make two coffees, then repeat until you’re back at three.
At this point, make a further two coffees, and see what the strength is like. If it’s acceptable, all good. If not, and the pucks are still grainy and fall apart, continue one click two coffees until the pucks are fine, or you are at 1. If you get to 1, and the pucks are still coarse and crumbly, the grinder needs internal calibration (Probably a job for yours truly, if I’m still around). If the grinds are fine, but the coffee isn’t strong enough, continue to the next step.
If the grinds are fine, but the coffee is still too weak, don’t be tempted to turn the grinder further. This will just block up the machine and wear out the grinder. There’s a reason they’re set to 3.5 from the factory.

The next step:
Alright, assuming the pucks are solid and the grounds in them are nice and fine, the next thing you need to do is set the coffee strength to normal, empty the grounds tray, and make a coffee.
Now we’re looking at the puck’s thickness.
The machine automatically adjusts how long it grinds for depending on the thickness of the last 10-50 or so coffees it’s made, all averaged out. Don’t ask how it knows, or how it works out averages, it just does.
With the weakest coffee, the puck that comes out should be no smaller tham 5-7mm. On normal, it’s 10-12mm, and on the strongest setting, it’s 3/4 to 1 inch.
If even on the strongest setting, the pucks are less than 10mm thick, the machine has leaned bad settings. This can happen if it runs out of beans half way through a coffee, and is resupplied with beans immediately after (If you try to make a coffee and there’s no beans, it will realise it ran out half way through the last one and ignore that from its averages)
IF YOU RUN OUT OF BEANS, MAKE THE NEXT COFFEE WITHOUT REFILLING THE BEANS, JUST LET IT RUN AND REALISE YOU’RE OUT
This is why I asked you to make two coffees after each grinder adjustment, it gives the machine a bit of time to learn. The manual recommends 10 coffees between each step, but we don’t have time for that.
It may still take 10 coffees after you’ve got the settings right till it’s adjusted properly, but if you make two coffees between each adjustment you won’t make a puck too big or too small that the machine rejects it and refuses to learn.
Honestly, if pucks are too small, the best thing to do is set the grounds amount to minimum, and make 10 coffees. See if it thickens up.
If it’s producing so little grounds that it tells you “Beans empty” then adjust it to the minimum amount of beans it will still function with, make 10 coffees, then try to lower the bean amount.
IF NOTHING ELSE WORKS and the pucks are still thin, there is a way I am not at liberty to discuss that will restore all of it’s learned thickness values to default, however the magic words are “etam36.365.* encoder reset”. Do that, turn it on, run a rinse, turn it off, unplug it, repeat, set the grounds to 3.5, make 10 coffees and you should be good.
(Note, this is NOT going in to the menu and hitting reset like in This Video, doing so does NOT reset the learned thickness settings),
Some times they refuse to reset, they maybe you’ve got a bad SPI flash chip and that’s where your problems are coming from. Who knows. Maybe I do?
Fingers crossed this never happens, but I WILL say that I have replaced all the electronics in one of these with an arduino, pi, and made the worlds first coffee machine that ran Siri natively. It’s possible, and cheaper than a consumer buying a $200 board (Well, if you enjoy having fun, that is).

Repairs

I’ll start off by saying what WAS wrong, and what I did.
The machine has three heater elements, two are bundled together and are for heating water to ~80c for making coffee, and one is alone for heating water to ~120c to make steam, for milk products.
The Steam element, henceforth the “Vaporiser”, had failed. Internally, there could have been a leak which caused it to short power, or its resistance could have gone to zero ohms.
The proper fix would be removing it and replacing it with a new vaporiser, however that costs money, and milk frother+hackerspace=biohazard (moreso than Lepht Anonym’s bedroom/kitchen), so it was decided to go for a “Ryan Special™” hotwire instead.
Old machines would start by heating the two coffee elements, then once they were at temp throwing you to the user interface, letting you make black coffee while the vaporiser heated up, asking you to “Please wait” if you selected steam or a milk beverage. If this was the case with the ETAM36.365.*, I could have just unplugged the vaporiser and called it a day. This was not the case, and this machine does not let you make ANY coffee until all elements are at temperature.
In this case, I have unplugged the vaporiser’s power (So there is no short even if it does leak), and replaced the thermal probe previously attached to it, a NTC thermistor, with a resistor at 4.7k.
The original was around 120k at 20c, and 20k at 60c, I think it’s happy with it as is. If you go too low, it shuts down because thermal protection, too high and it tries to heat up forever and won’t let you make coffee.
NTC’s are non-linear, but if anyone ever does need to change the resistor, if you could work out what ~128c is on whatever was in there (Maybe 100k?) then be my guest.
You can find the part by searching “ETAM36.365.m NTC”, and delonghi’s internal part number is 5213216071, but I couldn’t find specs on it.

I have left the vaporiser inside as it is required for the plumbing, however it is not energised, only grounded.

All in all, the machine will still work as before, it may even attempt to make milk drinks, but all that will come out is hot water.

If anyone wanted to restore the machine to full functionality, you’d need to order a vaporiser, the NTC mentioned above as I butchered this one, and two TCO’s for the vape.
Call a delonghi service provider and ask for these things, they’ll sort you out.

To open the machine, This Video is pretty accurate, just be weary of the service door on the side, the two loose power cables for the vaporiser (I’ve heat shrunk them, and they already had plastic covers, but still) and the NTC cable now attached to a resistor tucked away somewhere.

Any questions just ask, but I think that’s everything.