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AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« on: January 09, 2017, 01:43:35 PM »
Hi all,

I bought a 8816 from a guy for cheap, knowing that there was a problem with it not turning on. It would only blink and the VU needles would pin rhythmically as the lights flashed. I had my tech guy look at it and he swapped a burnt transistor and it worked decently for a while, but only on channel 9-16. After a couple of months the same thing happened with the needles pinning and the blinking light, so I sent it to the Norwegian dealer of AMS Neve. They couldn't figure out what's wrong with it and shipped it to AMS Neve in England. They tell me that capacitors have dried out on all channels and that it will be too expensive to swap them out, so it needs a new motherboard, which will cost me around 800 GBP excl. vat. Which is way more than I hoped to invest in getting this up and running.

Doesn't it seem strange that the caps should dry out on a box that was released around 10 years ago?  I don't have any gut shots here seeing that my box is in England at the moment, but I found some online. Do you think that it would be possible for me to recap it somehow, or does it not use off-the-shelf components?

The insides looks like this. Sorry about the picture being upside down, but it makes it easier to read the component values at the very least. Edit: more pictures at http://pvdesign.ucoz.com/photo/devices/neve_8816_summator/7



What do you guys reckon are my alternatives? Sell it and cut my losses? Try to wrangle a replacement out of the kindness of AMS Neve's hearts? Recap it myself on cosy winter nights?


Gareth Connor

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 04:32:50 PM »
Dried caps is a fair possibility, however it is disappointing that this has hapenned in a 10 year old product. From the manufacturer's point of view, 10 years for rackmount gear is a reasonable lifespan. The user's POV is naturally a bit different.....

With regard to DIY re-capping, with the right equipment you could re-cap it yourself, but the investment in the correct tools, unless you were going to make a habit or business out of surface-mount re-capping, will be expensive. I would not use this as a "my first surface-mount re-cap" project.... just a friendly word of advice.

The caps that have been used look to be standard surface-mount electrolytics.

GBP800 for a new mainboard does not seem unreasonable.

The cost of AMS Neve re-capping would be heading towards GBP800 as I expect that they are going to charge something in the GBP80-GBP90 per hour mark for labour, then there's test & alignment, then there's possible repairs. From the manufacturer's POV, board replacement is the most efficient and cost-effective solution, plus, the customer gets a brand new main board that has new-build reliability.

Gareth.

pucho812

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 06:17:57 PM »
the upside to a new motherboard is it's new and not a factory referb.  So it would be like having a new unit. Not sure what you paid for it and not sure if the new motherboard cost would put you over a new one.
Every mic has a purpose it might be a door stop or a hammer, but every mic has a purpose.

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 04:11:29 PM »
I got the 8816 for disgustingly cheap (around 200 GBP), so I'm really in no position to complain. I think that I'm just going to go through with having them replace it and try it out for a good six months and see if it's a worthy addition to my mix room, and if it gets deemed unworthy I'll probably sell it and still make a tiny profit from the whole thing all in all, that I'll put towards building something useful. It's been too long since I've built any gear myself.

Thank you for your input, much appreciated. :)


Gareth Connor

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 04:20:56 PM »
Thanks for the reply, a pleasure to help.

Cheers,
G.
Gareth.

Whoops

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 09:39:41 PM »
They tell me that capacitors have dried out on all channels and that it will be too expensive to swap them out, so it needs a new motherboard, which will cost me around 800 GBP excl. vat. Which is way more than I hoped to invest in getting this up and running.

Doesn't it seem strange that the caps should dry out on a box that was released around 10 years ago?  I don't have any gut shots here seeing that my box is in England at the moment, but I found some online. Do you think that it would be possible for me to recap it somehow, or does it not use off-the-shelf components?

Yes it's strange, but it happens in a lot of products with those type of SMD capacitors.
Electrolytic capacitors failed really often, nowadays you can have reliable and longer lasting life capacitors, but now what then the companies started to use all SMD, so it even got worse than before.

Also Big companies and their "Local support techs" don't repair anything they replace boards only, it's normally too expensive and people then buy a new unit, the Big Company wins. Nothing is made to last any more unfortunately.

You can repair your board, if it was 4 or 5 caps only , you didnt even need to buy SMD equipment, you coud use a small tip soldering iron to de-solder the old ones and install new SMD capacitors or Standard size capacitors, thats what I do.
But has you have so many caps, it's better to buy an SMD station. You can buy some that can do that job for around 150gbp, maybe less.
The capacitors will not be expensive.
So then it will just depend on your patience and time. And you really have to take your time and be patient with SMD, but as you have so many caps after replacing the first 10 you will be a master of SMD cap replacement.
watch this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8N9O3a9jiM


Just one note, I can guarantee you that not all caps dried out, if AMS UK really did some troubleshooting in your unit and if it's true that the fault is from electrolytic capacitors then not all them went wrong, but it's better to replace them all anyway.
But saying capacitors dried out in all channels could be also an excuse to not wanting to have the trouble to troubleshoot a pcb, and you just say "capacitors are bad you need a new board", so it can happen that you replace all the caps and the problem is not solved.

If I had that unit I would replace the caps anyway.



Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 04:26:12 PM »

Just one note, I can guarantee you that not all caps dried out, if AMS UK really did some troubleshooting in your unit and if it's true that the fault is from electrolytic capacitors then not all them went wrong, but it's better to replace them all anyway.
But saying capacitors dried out in all channels could be also an excuse to not wanting to have the trouble to troubleshoot a pcb, and you just say "capacitors are bad you need a new board", so it can happen that you replace all the caps and the problem is not solved.


Yeah, that's the root of my annoyance with the whole thing (oh, and the money too, of course). Why couldn't they just have said "We have a policy of not exchanging parts on our motherboards, but will gladly put in a new motherboard for 800 GBP", instead of serving me that half or possibly whole lie of "every capacitor is dried out, we need to swap the entire motherboard out for a new one.

Oh well, that's just the economic system we've voted for, I guess.

Whoops

Re: AMS Neve 8816 dried out capacitors??
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 05:35:54 PM »
Yes, and you would pay 800gpb for a board that would exibit the same problems in the future. It would probably work during the warranty period and then would fail again.

If the problem is only about the caps better to change them yourself for quality parts.

You have also nothing to loose...