Coffee machine broken? Repair Café fixes!

Coffee machines are undeniably the most popular product on offer in the Repair Café. In almost all Repair Cafés you will find them regularly. In more than 60 percent of the cases they also go home fixed with their owners, as proven by the RepairMonitor in which Repair Cafés register their repair data.

Philips Senseo
As the picture below shows, almost half of the broken coffee machines in this database are from the Philips brand. The vast majority of these are of the Senseo type. The Senseo is a real phenomenon in the Repair Café, which is why in this article we will go into the repair of this kind of coffee machine in more detail.

Millions of Senseo machines sold
According to repairers of Repair Café Delft, the high number of Senseo’s in Repair Cafés is due to the fact that millions of people in the Netherlands have such a machine and to the fact that the device is not very durable. Repairers notice that some parts often break down. This can also be seen in the top 5 of solutions for Senseo coffee machines indicated in the RepairMonitor (see below).

Worth repairing
At first glance, Senseos are sometimes difficult to disassemble. But the Senseo repair manual that was written by Repair Café repairers (in Dutch) clearly explains how to do it. Online you can also find all kinds of disassembly videos that Repair Cafés use. “Searching for the brand name and model number + ‘disassembly’ often gives good results”, says Paul, repairer of Repair Café Zaandijk in the Netherlands.

If a part cannot be repaired, then (unofficial) parts are readily available (e.g. via OnderdelenSenseo.nl, ReplaceDirect of Philips). With the help of an experienced repairer, you can usually easily replace the broken part.

Top 5
The RepairMonitor shows the following top 5 solutions for Senseo repairs:
1. Replacing the magnet in the float
2. Cleaning/descaling
3. Replacing the capacitor
4. Replacing the three-way valve
5. Properly tuning it

Rusted magnets
Harmen Meijer, repairer from Delft, has a great deal of experience with the first solution. He explains that the float floating on the water serves the regulator of the water level. The device receives a signal if the water level is too high or too low. “When the magnet stops working, the machine will not know whether there is enough water in it, so that it will no longer make coffee.”

The Senseo’s magnet is not stainless, but it is mounted in water. The repairers in Delft call this a production error because the magnet will inevitably have to be replaced in the long run. There are also rubber or plastic coated magnets.

The Senseo magnets are easily attained on the internet at Onderdelensenseo.nl and on cheap Chinese websites. On the left image below you can see an example of a (rusty) magnet in the float, in the middle image a new magnet.


Stronger capacitors
Besides this magnet the capacitor (see photo above on the right) quite often also stops working over time. Harmen has already been able to replace it in many Senseos with a stronger version. “The capacitor breaks down because it will no longer be able to handle the voltage peaks properly in the long run. Ideally, Philips should supply its Senseos with stronger capacitors.”

Repairer’s user tips
Harmen has several tips to extend the Senseo’s life. He considers Senseos to be vulnerable coffee machines and recommends that they be treated with care. This can be done by removing the plug from the socket after use due to the voltage peaks.

According to Harmen, the interior should not be overburdened either and should be descaled regularly. This can be done with special descaling agent or citric acid. Be careful using descaling agents with mineral acids such as sulphamic acid, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid or acetic acid. These can damage the machine.

Come to the Repair Café!
Need help repairing your broken coffee machine? Come to a Repair Café near you!

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4 Comments

  • derick 15.09.2018

    whats your success rate on fixing stuff?

    • Repair Café International 17.09.2018

      That depends on the product category. Over all success rate is 65 percent, for coffee machines in general it’s 62 percent.

  • David G Rogers 14.09.2018

    What about Gaggia Classic models?

    • Repair Café International 17.09.2018

      It’s always worth giving it a try!

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