Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« on: June 05, 2020, 01:57:48 PM »
Ok so this is my first post on GroupDIY, So please let me first say hello to everyone who reads and participates, and thank everyone for making this place what it is. Amazing!, this place is an indispensable resource for all,  you should all be proud of the help you have given, and for those who have been helped, I’m sure everyone of them is truly thankful. Well done to you all  :D

So after lurking in the shadows for quite some time now, reading with interest. Iv finally taken on a project and now it’s my turn to ask for some help I’m afraid....

I was recently given a Phoenix Audio Nicerizer 8 from an old friend. It had been sitting in a box  for over 5 years because of the problems it had.  I believe from searching around it’s one of the first 10 pre production models which were given out for evaluation purposes. Serial #00005, although this could be wrong? Anyway 5 channels are almost silent. Audio dose pass through the channels but the gain knob has very little impact on the sound, the other 3 channels are gloriously warm and I love it’s sound. I’d love to restore it back to its former glory, but my technical knowledge is in short supply. I am an absolute wiz with an iron, I worked for some years on  a PCB production line, reworking more board population errors than I care to remember lol. So working the board will be a piece of cake, however probing around and making sense of my findings  is definitely not something I’d be truly comfortable with without some guidance first.

Im hopefull someone here could advise if the problem  was down to the OpAmps or not, also if switching them around to see if indeed they were the issue would be a good idea?

Finally I believe the DSOP-2 OpAmp from the early models from Phoenix Audio had a tendency to burn out by all accounts. I’m wondering if the OpAmps ever got updated to remove this issue?

Any help you guys can give to get this old gem singing again would be truly appreciated.

Thanks all, for reading  😁

« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 02:01:54 PM by LostFocus »


moamps

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 03:38:18 AM »
I have serviced one of the first dual preamplifiers of that company in the past on several occasions, the problem has always been in the burnt out and  overheated DOAs and the only solution was to replace them. The next problem was that the holes on the PCB for the DOA pins were a little too small and the DOA was crammed into them. Therefore, it was very difficult to remove the DOA without damaging the PCB.
I believe you have a similar problem. I advise you to remove all the DOAs in the faulty channels and one in the working one, and to test all in the channel that worked. During testing, solder the DOA using short auxiliary wires into the PCB pins so you don't have to solder the DOA you're testing directly into the PCB.
Good luck.

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 08:19:20 AM »
Hi MoAmps,

Thank you for your advice, especially for the heads up on the under sized holes 👍, I know all to well how much of a pain they can be lol....  So, I’m going to follow your suggestions today and report back my findings once I’m done. If the suspicion, the DSOP2 blocks have failed is correct, do you have any advice as to where I could get replacements in the UK? Also I’d like to ask if your aware of any changes made to the original design of the dsop2 addressing  the problem of them burning out?

One more question, I see that the OpAmp module has been potted... so my best guess is the repair of them is almost out of the question, but I’d like to ask anyway. Has anyone here on GroupDIY  had any experience of repairing potted circuits and would be able  to give some advice? Lastly  could it be that the heat trapped in the potting material is one of the reasons this OpAmp fails so frequently?

Thanks again all 😁




Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 05:57:25 PM »
Update... So after following MoAmps advice all the DOA’s were removed.... And  you weren’t wrong! they were definitely punched in their with a hammer that’s for sure!... solution was to de-solder as much as I could from the bottom then add some low temp solder onto the joints to try to minimise heat buildup when heating. Then using plastic wedge from the top of the board to apply some upwards pressure, start working the joints, moving around the DOA until I was finally able to free them. Unfortunately I lifted one pad in the process, but I can live with that considering how tightly they were jammed in..

So I soldered up all the DOA’s with some wire and proceded to test each one. It soon became apparent that MoAmps was correct. These things are burnt up!... so on to replacements I guess...

Dose anyone know if this issue was ever addressed by Phoenix Audio. I’d hate to replace them only to have to go through the joy of having to rip them out again, and yes I do say joy in the most sarcastic tone I can lol, their not much fun at all if anyone else needs to replace them... then again,  after all that wiggling and jiggling  I may have opened the holes up slightly making it easier next time!... perhaps...

Can I ask if anyone know where I could get replacements here in the UK and the apx. Price of them?

Thank all for any help given!

« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 06:01:40 PM by LostFocus »

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 06:02:12 PM »
Hello we had 2 Nicerizer units on the old studio I worked. They were 16 channels.

Unfortunately, I had to service the units quite a few times.
The problems were always the encapsulated (EPOXY or similar) OPAMPS.

You should contact Phoenix Audio, they are quite aware of the problems and they sent me replacement Opamps for free.
Really great company to deal with and great support.

There were overheating problems in the first OPAMPS versions, that hopefully was solved in the latter versions.

I also had to replace the OPAMP in one channel of the Nice DI (same problem), they also sent it for free
I never had the schematic for the unit, just desoldered the old opamps and soldered the new ones back on.

Like Moamps said, be very careful when desoldering as it's really easy to damage the pcb tracks on these units, I learned the hard way.
A good desoldering gun should be the best.
 

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 06:37:12 PM »
Hi Whoops, thank you for the advice,  I also owe you a beer or two as well I believe ..., I’m sure I talked to you about the roll your own sound grid concept a few months ago, It took a while to get around to doing it but thanks to the file you sent me it worked like a charm. You are the man! 🍻 .... I will, as you requested back then, post a what I did to GroupDIY. It honestly was so simple tho, thank you!.... Ok, so I’ll get in touch with Phoenix Audio and report back with what happens... Fingers crossed,they help me out with some replacements... now that would be amazing if they did it for free!!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 06:43:16 PM by LostFocus »

moamps

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 06:38:55 PM »
...So I soldered up all the DOA’s with some wire and proceded to test each one. ...These things are burnt up!... so on to replacements I guess...

Good work. IIRC owner from my story got as Whoops said replacement DOAs for free from Phoenix Audio.
You should try also to contact them. I hope they have made improvements on new DOA versions.

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 06:46:21 PM »
Hi Whoops, thank you for the advice,  I also owe you a beer or two as well I believe ...,

I'm glad I was of help. Beer is always a favorite

I will, as you requested back then, post a what I did to GroupDIY. It honestly was so simple tho, thank you!....

Please do, it will help a lot of people, including myself
thanks

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2020, 06:51:04 PM »
I hope they have made improvements on new DOA versions.

As far as I'm aware the replacement opamps are still working until this day,
so thats a good sign.

I remember I was in the middle of the mixing of  an important record (the biggest one I have done at that time) and using the Nicerizer 16 channel summing when the first unit started to be problematic, it was an horrendous time , trying to finish the record and the mixes revisions with the unit working intermittently, ohhh god, it was really hard.

I think that horrible feeling is one of the reasons I stopped using an analog console or summing mixer for good.
I really haven't missed it a bit

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 05:43:38 PM »

I think that horrible feeling is one of the reasons I stopped using an analog console or summing mixer for good.
I really haven't missed it a bit

  I had a feeling like that once, it was on a friends boat. It started taking on water and as fast as we pumped it out it just carried on sinking!....

I never went sailing again.... and I really haven't missed it a bit either 👍


Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2020, 05:56:55 PM »
Ok so just to update you all, I got in touch with Phoenix Audio. They were super quick to respond. However the news is not so good.. they recommend if I want to repair the Nicerizer I should replace the input buffers as well? They want to charge me $50 per board, 2boards per channel.  Also they recommend I replace all channels so I have continuity of sound.... Yikes $$$ 😱 !!

From a financial perspective this unit should  be scrapped I guess. But its such an early serial number that it seems a shame not to preserve it?... ahhh... what to do?..

Guess I’m going to have to have a ponder and scratch my head while I sip a few glasses of whisky 🥃 😁
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 06:13:06 PM by LostFocus »

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2020, 09:37:07 PM »
However the news is not so good.. they recommend if I want to repair the Nicerizer I should replace the input buffers as well?
They want to charge me $50 per board, 2boards per channel.

Is the input buffer encapsulated?
If not, why not sending them 2 boards (1channel), and when it comes back you see what was done and do that yourself to the other channels?

Can you take photos of the input buffer?

Ask also if you can buy the schematic from them


Also they recommend I replace all channels so I have continuity of sound.... Yikes $$$ 😱 !!

Yes it's a lot of money overall. You can build a new summing mixer with good parts and use the same box for that amount.

Anyway I would not do anything to the good channels, even if the sound is slightly different I personally don't care if it sunds good it sounds good.
I actually also prefer to have some channels that sound different from the others, it's just more choices or colors as far as Im concerned.

The only problem I see is that the older channels that still work might die in the future.

So that brings the big question, whats the problem with the input buffer on those units? what is failing in the input buffers?
Can it be easily fixed?

 

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2020, 05:52:16 AM »
Unfortunately the input buffers are encapsulated  also... Is it possible that the input buffers have something to do with the failed output OPAMPS? Hence their recommendation to replace the inputs as well?

Also I agree whoops,  I could find something to replace the Nicerizer8 (buy or build), for the money they want to repair it... it just seams like a waste to me tho,

Perhaps going through the painstaking process of removing the encapsulating bit by bit on one of the bad channels could be an option... Iv got nothing to loose except the time it takes, and if I manage it then I can make as many as I’ll ever need 😀

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2020, 10:41:52 AM »
Unfortunately the input buffers are encapsulated  also... Is it possible that the input buffers have something to do with the failed output OPAMPS? Hence their recommendation to replace the inputs as well?

Are you sure the problem is in the input buffers?
first be sure of that, you have good channels to exchange parts and do the testing


Perhaps going through the painstaking process of removing the encapsulating bit by bit on one of the bad channels could be an option... Iv got nothing to loose except the time it takes, and if I manage it then I can make as many as I’ll ever need 😀

Yes nothing to loose

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2020, 11:59:11 AM »

Yes nothing to loose

Hey all it’s been a few weeks, but here I am with some news....

What do you get if you cross an NPN a PNP, 7 Resistor’s, 6 Caps a Diode and one of the original circuit boards which looks like it was carved out with a utility knife ! 😂 , Correct a fully refurbished and working DSOP2 DOA. My Nicerizer 8 serial 05 is fully functional again. The cost £2.60 a channel. That’s only because I replaced every part. That beats $50 each any day..

Removing the encapsulating material on the first one was tedious and time consuming, I needed to know what was hidden inside, so I tried to preserve all the components as best I could.

After that it was a case of hit it with a heat gun and it all just pulls off in one go! 👍

Result! Thanks for the help. Guess I owe you another beer 🍺 lol

« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 12:42:51 PM by LostFocus »

JohnRoberts

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 12:14:03 PM »
congrats....

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 12:35:39 PM »
Thanks JR 😁 appreciated 👍

If anyone else needs to repair a dsop2 go for it. it’s so simple, just cut out the PNP  located at the edge of the board and replace. A very common part and availability’s not an issue at all..
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 12:44:34 PM by LostFocus »

synthiaks

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 05:10:54 PM »
This is interesting, what was the material used to encapsulating the DOAs? Some Black epoxy? I have an Yamaha synth from the Early 70s that use Yamahas small PCBs potted in Plastic. My horror is that they one day might stop working and i have to find a way of "opening" them.

S
"ex observer in silence"

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2020, 08:01:13 PM »
From searching around iv discovered that their are few types of encapsulating materials available. Their is a good video on YouTube which goes into great detail on the different processes used to rework boards covered in these said materials, I’ll go through my history tomorrow and see if I can find it for you. Chemicals, heat or abrasive action seam to be the 3 main methods sometimes a combination of the 3 are used... heat and abrasions was the answers for my situation.

Hopefully you’ll never have too go through the process of removing it tho ... but if you do YouTube is a great place to start researching how. It was for me 👍

Whoops

Re: Nicerizer 8 restoration serial #00005
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2020, 11:10:06 PM »
This is interesting, what was the material used to encapsulating the DOAs? Some Black epoxy?

The ones I replaced were encapsulated in a white/cream material


 

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