The ECAM Red Triangle of Doom – Infuser issues- how to fix it!

Delong Red Triangle of DoomWhat follows is a real life story of Trouble Shooting a Delonghi Perfecta ECAM 23.210 B – suffering from the Red Triangle of Doom. Infuser in the wrong position. It also includes the real world case of an ECAM 22.110.SB.

If you are currently experiencing this error, well you know its annoying. And like me you probably went to the manual and noted that the Triangle is the dreaded “Delonghi General Alarm”, which according to the manual for this model means the machine is very dirty, if it were flashing it means the infuser is missing. Both of these explanations are BS. As I have posted before the General Alarm is very General, in fact it’s so general it often means something other than stipulated in the manual.

The fault in this case presented itself as follows. A punter turns the machine on and all goes well, the machine does its thing and is ready to make coffee. He/she then makes a coffee, this is ok but the machine stops and the Red Triangle of Doom appears. This is when you waste a lot of time reading the manual and trying to remove some imaginary dirt that Delonghi claims is the cause. Even if you phone them they give you the same story, obviously they read the manual as well.

If our punter then turn the machine on and off they get a single coffee, sometimes two and then back to the Red Triangle of Doom. This gets annoying.

Ok, the first thing I noted was that every time the Triangle showed itself, the brew unit had not homed correctly, the levers on infuser are in the incorrect position.

Well that’s easy then one of the switches had failed. In this model there are 3 inputs the micro can utilize to detect the brew units position A micro-switch at the top of the transmission, indicating the brew unit is in position to make a coffee, a micro switch at the bottom to indicate the brew unit is at the bottom of the transmission (not the home position) and it has a reed switch or counter that detects the passing of embedded magnets in the main drive wheel, see the photo. So I am assuming the micro counts the rotations after a micro switch activation, so it knows where the brew unit is at. Delonghi do not appear to have any ability to monitor the current draw on the motor on this model. I could be wrong about this, but I have tested the theory and if a micro switch fails the motor keeps trucking with horrible noisy consequences. So a failed switch could be obvious.
Perhaps the brew unit position is what Delonghi use to detect that you have not cleaned the bottom of the machine, dirt could result in a micro switch not always being activated within a set number of rotations, hence their explanation for the triangle, possibly! I’m guessing. I will find out how all this works and post it. Anyway I tested the switches and reed switch on my scope and they appeared to be working ok. I also cleaned and greased the transmission, serviced the brew unit, no difference at all, well actually there was, it was worse. Before I could sometimes make 2 coffee’s in a row. This had wasted an hour at least. So last resort, I ordered a new board and once installed, I made twenty coffee’s and no Red Triangle of Doom. Conclusion, the micro was not getting the signals from the reed switch or for some other reason lost its mind.

magnets delonghi infuser

magnets in the drive cog

Case closed. Almost, If you are reading this you will annoyed as boards can be an expensive item and delivery can take weeks. So when I work out what component on the board has failed I’ll post it. But the boards look poorly constructed and full of tiny surface mount components, so probably they are a throw away item. Instead I guess the best advice is to check the switches carefully and try and be certain where the fault lies before your order a board.

Update:
since I wrote this article I have received a few Magnifica ECAM 22.110.sb machines in with this issue. The fault again the infuser levers in the wrong position. As a few people (Russians) have left comments stating its not the board its the reed switch that counts rotations of the drive shaft. I thought Id experiment as I had 2 Magnifica SB’s ( Son of Bitches) on the bench, one had the fault and the other in perfect working order. So I was swapped the boards over. Guess what?
They now both had fault?, yep both presented the red triangle and were parking the infuser in the incorrect position, the fault with levers out of whack. See pic. had followed the board to the good machine. The dud machine with the good board was now driving the motor hard up against the top micro switch and not stopping.
What the hell. So I rapidly came to the conclusion the fault was not only on the board but also on the machine as some issue, probably the reed counter. So the Russians and are right.
So I replaced the reed switch on the original faulty machine, that now had the good board. No improvement, it still had the issue of driving the infuser hard up and not stopping. So I replaced the complete transmission. I now had a functional machine.
Now I swapped the boards back and the original machine with its original board was functional again. The dud machine with the new transmission was again parking the infuser incorrectly, levers out of whack.
The only conclusion is that the fault is an issue with board and the transmission.

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