What are vibration pumps?
Vibration pumps are used in many appliances including coffee machines. Coffee machines use vibration pumps for tank-filled machines and rotary vane pumps for plumbed machines.
The most common ULKA pumps are ULKA Vibration Pump EX5 230V and ULKA Vibration Pump EP5 230V and are found in Rancilio, Delonghi, Gaggia, Ascaso, Lelit, Francis, Bezzera and many other household espresso machines.
How do vibration pumps work?
Inside the vibration pump, there is a metal coil, and inside the coil is the pump piston, which sits on a spring. When the coffee button is turned on, the coil is energized and it becomes magnetic, which makes the piston move back and forth very quickly. The piston moves so quickly it causes the pump to vibrate - hence the name Vibration pump. When this happens, the pressure pulsates water through the espresso machine at approximately 60 pushes a second.
Are vibration pumps better?
Vibration pumps are smaller than rotary pumps and are cheaper and easier to replace, so are found mainly in-home or prosumer coffee machines.
They have a few limitations:
- Vibration pumps are louder than rotary pumps, ( a vibration pump silence Quickmill Vibration Pump pulsor can be retrofitted)
- They cannot be plumbed to the water mains, so are tank fed.
- Vibration pumps cannot control the pressure but you can retrofit a OPV VBM Vibration Pump Opv Kit
When should I change my vibration coffee pump?
Vibration pumps typically have a 5-7 year life span - depending on use, before they start losing pressure.
- If you are losing coffee cream - This is because not enough pressure is being generated - you should replace the vibration pump.
- If the coffee cream is bubbly or inconsistent.
- If the vibration pump pumps dry when water is in the tank - sounds noisy - you should replace the vibration pump.
How do I replace a vibration coffee pump?
Espresso coffee vibration pumps are easy to replace, approx. 15 minutes - all our Ulka pumps come with simple instructions
- Plug out machine
- Open up the lid of the coffee machine
- The pump will be attached to the rubber dampers and the silicon tubing.
- Remove the ULKA Silicon Water Inlet Pipe 20cm and ULKA Elbow Fitting For Pump that lead to the water reservoir
- Next, remove the Teflon pipe that leads to the boiler, by unscrewing the nut that holds the Ascaso Ptfe Teflon Pipe 4X6mm.
- Finally, remove the pump.
- To remove the pump fittings dip the stem in boiling water for 10 min - this will loosen the thread glue and the fitting should unscrew off.
- Replace the fitting back onto the pump using PTFE amalgamating tape/plumbers tape or thread locker to seal any threading.
- Screw on the Teflon piping and silicon tubing.
- Turn off the coffee machine and activate the coffee button - check for leaks - make sure that no water escapes from the thread or that the silicon tube does not fall off.
- If ok - you are done - Make a coffee you deserve it!