Question about AOpen AX4B-533 Tube (91.8A210.102) Motherboard

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Blown capacitor I LOVED this board but after being in cold storage that was not as dry as I thought it was for more than a year I brought it in a after acclimatizing for a couple weeks I turned it on to be greeted by a loud POP. The Capacitor that is beside what I assume top be the voltage regulator is bulged. This is a very rare board that I would like to get repaired. Where?????

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  • luz_en_la_ca Jan 04, 2009

    If you had ever owned and listened to the audio of this board you would know why I want to pay for repair rather than toss it! There never has been an equal to it. Yes, it is "old tech" and seriously outdated computer hardware technology, but, if you prefer listening to serious music, which doesn't require massive computing power, that sounds natural, liquid and ambient rather than canned and colored like sound blaster ... These were a specialty "audiophile" piece and worth every penny.

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The part that blew is called an Electrolytic Capacitor. Many malfunctions can p--- them off. It's probably best to find someone who solders (or has) for a living. I have one of these boards too and understand your loyalty to it! Too bad Aopen went t--s up. As previously stated, the basic repair itself is not at all difficult - for someone who can make a soldering iron dance. Try to find a Mom & Pop TV/stereo shop with an onsite repair department, that is sympathetic to your cause and see if they have a tech that's willing to take it on (antistatic bag please...). Honestly, it's a 5 minute repair including cleaning the board and bringing it back out front.

Some of the problems with THIS repair are:
1) ESD procedures MUST be followed. If this were just another board and it got zapped, oh well - step on it and get on with life. Not so in this case. Many people have been LUCKY... I'm trained and certified to ISO900x in ESD procedures and have experianced the results of the lack of over the decades.
2) This is a multi layer board. Using anything other than a temp controlled soldering iron is just begging for trouble. The inner layers are so fine that simply overheating the pads a little could break the layers' connection to the hole. If this happens, BRICK. Personaly if I were doing the repair, I'd opt my trusty ESD safe solder ****** or a cool product called ChipQuick (follow the directions to the T). I won't detail further how to do the repair, because if you don't know how to solder you most likely will fry it. That would s--k. No disrespect intended in any way.
3) Radio Shack's great in a pinch and even cheap electrolytics have gotten better over years. Of course if you just want to "try it", maybe. Less handled, less broken... What I'd do though, and it's kinda expensive (shipping's what kills it), is buy a higher temp rated replacement (same voltage or higher that is the same physical size) cap from Mouser or the like. The Panasonic line comes to mind, but it's been a while and things do change. To make it worth it, I'd personaly order same high grade caps for the rest of the regulator section in their respective values. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING NEAR THE TUBE SCTION!!!!!!!!!!! Some of those caps may be special and if you replace the wrong one(s), it will never sound the same.
4) This one hurts... You don't know if the cap blew due to age/storage conditions or if the board was some other way damaged during storage and caused the cap to blow. Really stinks, but that's the way of the (electronics) world.

5) As for the board itself, Less is better. If any of the other caps are bulging diameter wise or leaking from thier vents (on top, funny 'X' pattern) replace them too. Otherwise, keep the spares as that. Don't fix what aint broken.

You get the general idea, and this board is basicly gone forever. Until about a year ago, they used to pop up on eBay NOS! [Too broke to buy a "spare", even at 70 clams w/ shipping]

I wish you well, I've had a lot of equipment of many types (air cooled VWs?) that I wish hadn't been obsoleted for any of a hundred reasons...

Pickin' the fly **** out of the pepper? You betcha - that's what REAL audio eqipment is all about.
Peace, Bob

Posted on Jan 29, 2009

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Look locally but unless you do it yourself it is going to cost you more than the board is worth, that's the way all electronics are these days.Go to Radio Shack and get a cap, buy yourself solder remover ribbon, and put it in, it isn't a big deal.

Posted on Jan 04, 2009

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