How to Troubleshoot Common Issues With Your Ice Cream Machine

How to Troubleshoot Common Issues With Your Ice Cream Machine

Soft serve machines are great. They’re versatile, they provide us with one of the world’s favorite guilty pleasures, they’re profitable for businesses – the list goes on. There’s no doubt that a soft serve machine could be a good investment, but when you run into mechanical issues, it may have you second-guessing your purchase. We’re here to go over some problems you may encounter while operating your Spaceman soft serve machine, and the simple ways to solve them.

The Ice Cream Consistency Is Too Soft or Runny

It’s a fact that nobody wants runny soft serve. In the summertime, soft serve already melts quicker than usual, so we don’t want our product coming out runny before it even reaches our customer’s hands. Assuming you are using a pre-packaged mix that has a perfect brix level, the issue is probably your viscosity. If your product was originally good texture, and is now soft it is likely that the product has been sitting in the freezing cylinder too long- this happens with all products and all soft serve freezer manufacturers.  You can try pulling some product out to “fluff it” and then check in a couple minutes to see if the constancy improved.  Another reason that your soft serve may come out too soft is if your air tube is not clean or installed properly. The air tube is what gives your soft serve its fluffy texture by adding overrun to it, so without the proper airflow, your soft serve will not dispense with the right consistency. If it is the first time running a new product in the cylinder, and you have tried the above steps, then you can try to increase your viscosity which will make the product come out thicker. If you need help adjusting your viscosity, please check out this video.

The Machine Becomes Frozen

While we want to prevent our soft serve machines from freezing up, it’s inevitable sometimes. This can be due to several issues, such as a starved cylinder. When your product gets too low and your low-level indicator light comes on, if you do not add more product quickly enough, you will starve the cylinder and cause a freeze-up. Another reason your machine may become frozen is due to product issues. Make sure that your product is already completely mixed and chilled before adding it to your machine. (i.e.: do not add powder mix and then water to your machine, it must be mixed in a bucket beforehand). As we’ve mentioned before, improper cleaning can also lead to machine issues, including freeze-ups.  If you do not regularly disassemble your machine and thoroughly rinse and sanitize each part, your machine is more at risk of freezing up and potentially breaking. For more information on your machine freezing up, click here.

The Machine Is Experiencing Leaks

It is not normal for a soft serve machine to leak into the drip tray excessively. If this is happening, one cause may be that the machine was not lubricated properly. Make sure that your drive shaft gasket is completely lubricated with Spaceman’s food-grade lubricant, which you can find here. If lubrication is not the issue, your machine parts may have been assembled improperly. All pieces should lock into place without using any significant force. If you are still experiencing leakage after checking that your parts are lubricated and in the correct place, please check out this article. Also keep in mind that we suggest replacing all your machine’s wearable parts (such as gaskets, O-rings, scraper blades) every 3 months or so. This is because these parts get worn down over time and therefore do not work as efficiently as they did when they were brand new. To purchase a tune-up kit please visit this link.

The Hopper Is Either Too Warm or Too Cold

Spaceman machines are not designed to hold or refrigerate hot liquids. Any liquid that is added to a Spaceman machine, whether it is soft serve, water, or sanitizer, should always be pre-chilled. Although all Spaceman soft serve machines have refrigerated hoppers that will keep the product cold, you should never add warm mix to the machine. If you have warm mix, refrigerate it before pouring it into your hopper. This will help your machine conserve energy, produce frozen product faster, and prevent other potential issues. Keep in mind that you should also never add frozen mix/ product chunks to your hopper. Doing so will throw off the temperature in your hopper and/or clog the air tubes and cause further issues. Another reason your hopper may be too warm or cold could be due to the temperature it is set at. To adjust your hopper temperature, check out this article, and for some best practice tips, check out this article.

The Auger Fails to Run

The auger is the metal piece inside of your freezing cylinder that is constantly spinning to keep

your ice cream fluffy and soft. If your auger is failing to work properly, it is probably because you did not lock it into place correctly. If your auger is properly installed, it should not keep spinning if you try to move it with your hands. When your auger is placed into the drive shaft, it should lock in the slot in the back. You may need to turn and push it a few times until it locks in place.

There Is Insufficient Overrun

Overrun is the term for when air is added to your soft serve, giving it a fluffy and creamy texture. If your machine is producing insufficient overrun, the airflow is probably restricted. Make sure that your air tube was placed in the inlet hole in the hopper properly. The small hole on the side of your air tube should be faced down and placed in the inlet hole. If placed upside down, air will not be able to get through. Also make sure that your air tube is not clogged or dirty, which will also prevent air from reaching your soft serve. If your product is still not fluffy and your soft serve seems to be falling over on the cone, it may be a viscosity issue. Try to increase your viscosity to see if that helps. Make sure that you allow your machine enough time to freeze and that you are not pulling product every second without giving the machine a chance to catch up.

The Machine Is Not Functioning or Operating Correctly

If your machine is not working or functioning at all, please head over to our knowledge base where we go more in-depth on the most common issues with our machines. If you still need extra help and cannot find your answer online, please feel free to submit a ticket at this link with your inquiry and we will gladly assist you!