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Synesso Espresso Machine Troubleshooting

Espresso machine pouring two shots into cups - Synesso Espresso Machine Troubleshooting

Having issues with your espresso machine? We want to make sure you know these Synesso espresso machine troubleshooting tips to help you get your unit back up and running like new. Learn more below. These instructions are for the S-Series, MVP and MVP Hydra models.

Common Issues

Every machine needs preventative maintenance and regular upkeep. If you don’t follow the manual’s cleaning and care tips, you could find yourself having some of the following issues:

  • Beeping Machine - Your espresso machine will beep if the low level alarm probe isn’t grounding out. Make sure to fill the tank and power cycle the machine. Watch the water flow to make sure it’s working.
  • Portafilter Stopping Point is Off - If off, check that the standard gaskets are being used and that they are properly sealed. Should this occur after the normal point, inspect the “ears” of the portafilter for damage.
  • Pump/Motor is Making an Unusual Sound - Check the filter for clogs and check the lines for kinks. You may need to replace the filters. The issue could also come from a worn pump.
  • High-Pitched Whistling Noise When Groups are Active - This typically happens when there’s water leaking out of the brew system. This means a VMUF0# error is showing up. A certified service technician will need to inspect the expansion valve and brew valve.

Brewing Problems

When your Synesso espresso machine is having issues with brewing, there could be a number of reasons why. Here are a few of the problems that your machine could be having and the issues that cause them:

  • Shot is Pouring Too Slowly - This can be caused by having too firm of tamper pressure, too much coffee in the basket, clogged diffusion screens, too fine of a grind, the pump pressure is too low or the brew jet is clogged.
  • Shot is Pouring Too Quickly - The causes of this include the tamp pressure being too light, not enough coffee in the basket, too coarse of a grind, worn or cracked portafilter baskets or if the brew temperature is too cold.
  • Crema is Thin with Large Bubbles and Tastes Astringent - This will happen if the coffee is old, the grinder burrs are dull or the brew temperature is set too low.
  • Diffuser is Loose - If the diffuser is loose, this can cause the expanding coffee puck to push up against the diffuser and bend the screen. This is most likely caused by over-filling the basket.
  • No Pump Pressure When Water Flows from the Group - This happens when the preinfusion time hasn’t been programmed or completed. It can also be caused by a failing pump relay. If this is the case, you’ll need a service technician to diagnose the issue. For MVP or MVP Hydra models, check the brew stage the group is in. if the machine is in M mode, it will take several shifts left to reach the full pump pressure. When in M or VP mode, pre-infusion or ramp up time may be running for too long.
  • The Pump Comes On, Gauge Reads Full Pressure, but No Water Comes Out - When no water comes out, this can be caused by a clogged jet, leftover soap residue that hasn’t been fully flushed out and is gluing the valve closed or a failed brew solenoid.

Brew Gauge Problems

It’s important to keep an eye on your Synesso espresso machine’s brew gauge. Should there be an issue with this, you may need a technician’s help. Here are some of the problems you can have with a brew gauge as well as what may cause them:

  • Brew Pressure Gauge Needle Value Changes Often - This is normal. Typically the lowest number reflects the incoming pressure in the lines.
  • Brew Gauge Needle Flutters or Vibrates - There are a few reasons this can happen. They include a failing pump, a failing gauge or the presence of water in the gauge or tubes.
  • Brew Pressure is Low - You may notice low pressure when the expansion valve is set too loose, the pump pressure isn’t set correctly, the water supply hose is kinked, the water filter is plugged or the brew valves are worn.
  • Brew Pressure is High (above 12 bar) While Machine is Idle - In this case, you’ll need to have the expansion valve adjusted or recalibrate the gauge.
  • No Brew Pressure; Pump/Motor is Running - A loss in pressure can be caused by a brew solenoid being stuck or failing, a collapsed or kinked water supply line, a plugged water filter, inadequate water supply, a failed pump or even a timed out brew valve.
  • No Brew Pressure; Pump/Motor is NOT Running - If the pump is not running, this can be caused by a pump relay failure, a locked or failing pump or a failed motor.

Brew Temperature Problems

If your Synesso espresso machine is having brew temperature issues like the ones below, we can help you determine where the problem is coming from. Take a look:

  • Readout for Brew Water Temperature Varies by a Few Degrees - Since the control must detect temperatures in one increment above the set point to signal a heating element to turn off, you’ll need to adjust the temperature controls. Though it may read slightly higher than your set point, the brew water is at the actual set point.
  • Brew Temperature Reads Low (error BRUT0#) - First check that the set point hasn’t been changed, then allow 20-40 minutes for the machine to stabilize the temperature. Check the handheld controller to ensure the brew elements are set to ACTIVE. If you’re having issues beyond this, be sure to contact an authorized service technician.
  • Brew Temperature Reads High (error BROT0#) - As the hot water from the steam tank goes into the brew tank, the display temperature will rise. This is normal since the water will be at your set point and not the displayed temperature. Be sure to check that the set point hasn’t been changed before consulting with a service technician.

Electronics Troubleshooting

Typically with electronic issues, we recommend contacting a service technician. However, there are a few issues we can help you troubleshoot including the following:

  • All Tanks Read LOW - First make sure the element breaker is ON. The tanks will read a low temperature until it raises to 175° F.
  • An Individual Tank Reads LOW or An Individual Tank Reads Above the Set Point - In this case, have a certified service technician check the machine.
  • Handheld Controller Display is Blank - If you notice the red power switch is ON but not lit up, then there’s a lack of power. Check the wall plug and circuit breakers. If the power switch is on and lit up, then check if the lid of the electronics box is on tightly. If you’re still experiencing issues, contact a service technician.
  • Shot Timers are Blank; Machine is Powered - This issue requires a diagnostic test by a service technician.
  • Shot Timers are Cycling Through All Possible Indicators - The shock timer is stuck in test mode and requires an inspection of the timer board by a technician.

Steam Wand Problems

Synesso steam wand issues are simple fixes. Here are a few of the issues you could experience and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Drip at the Steam Wand Tip - There may be accumulated water stuck in the wand that needs to be cleared out, the steam valve seal is worn out, the valve is filled with milk residue or the steam actuator needs to be adjusted.
  • Wand is Hard to Move or Sticky - If this is the case, remove the wand and clean the moving parts with a food grade grease.
  • Water Bubbles Out Around Wand Ball Pivot - This means the wand ball o-ring is worn out and needs to be replaced.
  • Weak Steam Pressure from Wand - Causes of this can be from the steam valve not fully opening, if the steam tip is clogged or if the steam valve is clogged.

Steam Pressure Problems

There are two main issues that have been seen with steam pressure in Synesso espresso machines that need troubleshooting. These include:

Sudden Loss of Steam Pressure

  • Typically, a loss of pressure is caused by the machine drawing a large amount of hot water while steaming milk. Give the machine time to recover pressure. Watch the steam gauge. Once the pressure drops, let the heating element heat up the incoming water. When it reads above 1.1, hot water and steam is ready to be dispensed.
  • Check the wired controller, especially in the steam tank, to ensure the set points are correct.
  • Check the element breaker to make sure the heating elements are ON.

Steam Pressure is Set for 1.8 bar or Higher

  • Though the machine can be set for steam pressure over the 2.0 bar, certain issues can arise. If the temperature is too high, then the brew water can be too hot and cause brew temperature spikes.

Steam Tank Problems

In addition to steam pressure issues, you can have steam tank issues that will affect the way your coffee brews. Here are some of the common problems found with the Synesso espresso machines:

  • Steam Tank is Not Filling - Make sure to check for one of the error codes like STFV00, STFP00, and/or LOW H20. Try power cycling the machine first. Check for kinks or pinches in the inlet hose and check that the water filter isn’t clogged.
  • Steam Tank is Overfilling - This can be caused by using water with a high level of minerals, if debris is caught in the fill valve or if there’s an issue with the level probes.
  • The Sight Glass Shows Over or Under Filled Steam Tank - For MVP or MVP Hydra models, this means the machine isn’t set up level with the counter, the water level is too high or there’s debris caught in the fill valve.
  • Steam Has Undesirable Smell; Water from Tank is Discolored and/or Has Debris - The tank has been contaminated. Contact a service technician to properly clean the tank.
  • Steam Valve Stem Seal Leaks - If there’s a leak, you’ll need a technician to rebuild the steam valve.

Hot Water Tap Problems

From water flow issues to temperature spikes, here are the common hot water tap troubleshooting tips:

  • No Water Flows When the Switch is Pressed - This requires a service technician for a diagnosis.
  • Only Cold Water Flows when Switch is On - Turn the mix valve clockwise until it can’t turn anymore to stop the flow of cold water. If no water flows out at all, the issue is with the hot water valve.
  • Only Hot Water Flows when Switch is On - If the cold water mix valve is fully closed, then only hot water will flow out. Turn it counter-clockwise to open it. If it’s still steaming or sputtering then the cold water valve has failed.

Leaking Issues

Leaking is never a good sign. If your machine is leaking, try these tips to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Hot Water Tap - If the tap is dripping cold water, the water control valve on the cold side of the mix valve is leaking. If the water is warm or hot, the water control valve on the hot side is leaking.
  • Brew Groups - If the diffuser is leaking, this could mean the brew valve is not sealed properly. If water is leaking around the portafilter, the gasket needs to be cleaned. If the leak continues, replace the gasket.
  • Vacuum Breaker -  It’s normal for the vacuum breaker to sputter until the steam tank is near full pressure. If you notice the sputtering when the tank is near or at the set pressure, then the vacuum breaker will need to be replaced.
  • Sight Glass - For MVP or MVP Hydra models specifically, this indicates water leaking from around the glass tube of the sight glass. The internal o-rings are worn and need replacing.
  • Other Leaks - The machine leaking brown water is caused by a clogged drain box. Make sure there are no kinks in the drain hoses. You may also notice clear water under the machine. This is caused by an internal leak that a technician will need to diagnose. If there’s a large leak, power down the machine and unplug it. Shut off the main water supply until a service technician can repair it.

Learn more about Synesso espresso machine cleaning, maintenance and more with our team today so you can keep your unit in top working condition for years to come.

Please contact a local authorized service agent who can help with these specific units and all your commercial kitchen equipment needs.

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