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Non-working Dolce Gusto Circolo

I fancied some coffee from the capsule machine the other day, instead of using the brewer. Just wanted a quick cup, so no need to brew a whole litre.

Anyway, found the machine after it had been standing unused for 1.5 years-ish. Plugged it in and fed it water. As soon as I started it, it made a muffled sound instead of the normal ‘brewing-sound’. And no coffee came out. But all the water came out of the underside 😛

First I tried cleaning the injector, but to no avail. Still the same. So I figured it had to be something with the piping somewhere inside it.

Operation fix!

I required a set of torx-drivers, the security-type. Can’t remember the size, sorry.
Removed the backside:

Back cover removed, just 6 torx screws

After that, the front cover was removed – it’s just stuck on, used a plastic tool (the blue one) and slid it between the red and black cover on the front side and took it off. Remember to disconnect the connector for the lights.

So, with the frontside off, the sides. Start on the bottom and work up. Hardest part was to dislodge them from the top. But some force and they were off. Then I could start testing some of the piping in there.

On this side (left side from frontside)

So on the left side here, is the controller board on top, and the water pump beneath it. The water heat element is located on the right side.
Started with blowing air through the pipes and hoses. First from the water tank and to the water pump – worked great. Then from the water pump and to the injector – worked great.
That’s all I needed to guess it was the water pump itself being the problem. Since I could hear it pump, it must be clogged or seized somehow.

ULKA EP5GW vibrator type water pump, 15 bar I think

Disassembled the water pump


So, it turned out the part second from the right, it contains another spring and a rubber “ball”. When I tried to blow through it, nothing got through. Then I stuck a thin screw driver through it, but it stopped halfway in, when it hit the rubber ball. Tried a couple of times, and then it finally let go. I could now push it in, and I could blow through it. I then washed it well in a vinegar solution and reassembled the pump.

Hooked the pump back on, and test drove the machine. Success! Water flowed through and into my cup.

Assembled it all, and tried a cup of coffee. Still working! Awesome. After that I descaled the machine to thoroughly clean it, and now it runs as new again.

Money and environment saved.

10 thoughts on “Non-working Dolce Gusto Circolo

  1. Hi there,
    I have the same machine as you have and i`ve also done what you have done but i did not do the water pump. My machine was actually very silent and i cannot hear any thing when i turned it on. But sometimes there is a little bit water coming out from the machine.
    Hope you can help me.
    Thank you in advance.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hello.
      I guess your machine haven’t been silent all the time since you’ve bought it. The pump is supposed to be a bit loud, so if there’s no sound at all, I would guess the pump is either broken or some wiring might be loose.


  2. Hello,

    I have same machine but automatic
    the water cool only in the first level
    if i put in the 3rd or 4th level the water cool only for first level also
    Thanks in advance

  3. Thanks a lot for this post.

    I had a non-working machine as well and this was the first time I tried to fix anything like this (usually I just fix software bugs).

    Some notes from me:
    1) You have to be careful when opening the plastic sides, I broke a few plastic knobs below. It doesn’t matter much though.
    2) Tried to clean the pump, managed to get it somewhat working, shamefully ended up losing one of the springs and obviously the pump didn’t work correctly without it.
    3) Ordered a new ULKA EP5GW pump from ebay – ~20 euros.
    3) The replacement worked much better than any half assed job I tried to do with the old one.
    4) In fact it was so much better that it was obvious that there was a damage on the pipe connection to the pump and water was coming out of it. Ended up shortening the pipe a little bit.

    In the end I have a working Dolce Gusto Circolo. Maybe it would be better just to spend >60 Euros and buy a new one, but this was fun.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I love my Circolo and sadly haven’t used it for a couple of years because the pods are hard to get where I live. Pulled the machine out tonight and it runs but won’t pump. I was hoping I could at least prone the pump somehow but can’t find any info. I’m not quite up to pulling the whole thing apart, but I’m inspired now and may give it a try!

  5. Thanks all for sharing the way u all did it yourselves. Mine too, is not pumping after more than 1 years not using.
    I will try to repair utk myself too.

  6. I took my Dolce Gusto out of cupboard to have a cuppa an machine started up with a little spray then nothing .. only used it a few times in a year i am a black coffee drinker it was brought for me as a gift so no reciept of purchase have a full box of americano coffee pods

  7. Too my Circolo out from cold storage. Didn t put in the water tank properly. Had it jammed with a capsule in. And blinking error lights.
    Eventually tried to dismantle and see if I could unlatch the. Locking mechanism.
    Got as far as removing the back cover only.
    Found a way though. The mini motor running the lock and needle is run on 5v.
    Decided to connect the motor to a phone charger (also 5v) for it to finish the unlock manually with the motor overidden from the system.
    Just sharing so others may know

  8. Hi guys my machine is proccolo and usually there will be sound when u put hot or cold but for me its not working no sound nothing and its still new i didn’t use for like 6 months idk wats the problem is it the water pump not working or wat idk can someone help me

  9. Morten,
    my machine doesn’t even turn on the light when I press the button to turn it on, do you know what it could be and if it’s easy to repair?

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