12v Espresso Part 2

In retrospect, now that the thing is working, I can say it was all worth it.

The first thing we noticed when we got the espresso machine shipped from Italy, besides the impressive fee, was that it seemed to be missing the little handle that lets you secure the coffee pod in its little metal basket. No problem, Richard contacted the company and they happily shipped a new one.

While waiting, he wanted to test it out, but it’s not like you can just plug this in somewhere because it only runs on 12v power. Solution: pull the battery out of the car and wire it up.  Good thing we didn’t need that car much.

So….. huh. This may take a while.
Richard started making friends on an electronics forum and we purchased a cable with little holes on one end, for the cord to go into, and clippy things on the other, to grab onto the car battery terminals. Richard got all excited when we hooked it up and the light turned on, but that’s all it did. No pumping of water, no coffee. Sad Sweetie.

Many theories started flying at this point and Richard ultimately decided to open up the machine because now we were committed to it. Oh hey, there’s the missing handle! Great, now we have two.

The Italians tried to troubleshoot this over email and kindly agreed to send us a replacement inverter, switch, and water pump, in case those were defective. The story paused here for four months while the parts sat in customs somewhere. Another set of parts got shipped around March via DHL and we were back in business.


Except not. Richard had the machine fully disassembled and had replaced everything, still, no go. Then he just went for it and started testing everything using a multimeter and this old power supply we had in the garage for God knows why. After poking around systematically, he discovered one of the connections between two wires was loose. It just so happened to be right in the location where that missing handle had been stuck when they shipped the machine. We figure the handle must have jiggled around in transport and knocked the wires loose. On the upside, we have a lot of spare parts now.

Bingo! Beautiful espresso came out in a little perfect stream of coffee goodness, complete with very respectable crema.

Prepackaged ESE coffee pods

The water supply comes from a standard 16 oz bottle

Beautiful steady stream

And there’s the money shot – perfect crema
Our coffee addiction will be well supported on our maiden voyage. We have a dedicated battery and charger just for this trip, but our ultimate plan is to wire an outlet with a higher amp rating than the standard ones in the trailer. Then it should run ok and since we’re not using a regular 120v machine, the power draw is designed to have minimal impact. We will certainly enjoy finding out.

12v Cappuccino

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