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what breaks in amps???

Old 05-04-2006, 09:22 PM
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500 Watt CAFz'r
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what breaks in amps???

Just curious what the usualy breaks in amps. I know it probly varries from make to make, but generaly? Ive seen afew with the mosfets gone. power supplies. and how hard are the normal things to replace?


thanks!!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:45 PM
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In my experiences it's always the power supply or the transistors.
But once this break it can cause other things to go at the same time, resistors etc..
I know transistors are a sinch to replace, I'm not sure if it's even worth it to replace the power supply.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:35 AM
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Normally, nothing should break if the amp is used properly. If something does blow, it can be many things:
1: drop a srew in it or other metal object and all bets are off. I have seen amps with circuit boards turned to charcoal because of this.
2: Water dammage. I have seen amps in trunks with rust holes that allow winter salt water to get it. All the insides of the amp get corroded. Throw it out.
3: Overloading/overheating. It depends here on how the amp is built. Some amps have very good overcurrent and overtemperature senseing that will shut the amp down before damage is done. But when something does blow it usually the output power transistors or the power supply power transistors. Depending on the design of the amp they are cheap to replace. It depends on the mechanical construction. How much do you have to take apart in order to get to the transistor? It varies from amp to amp. Some amps like RF are hard to replace by DIY because the transistor are soldered directly to a special ceramic plate called MEHSA that is then screwed to the heatsink. You have to remove the entire ceramic plate from the heatsink, and then carefully heat up he ceramic plate under the specific transistor to replace it. I have done it. I do not know what the normal field repair procedure for RF is; do they replace the entire MEHSA ceramic plate or do they replace individual transistors? Answer anyone?
On older amps you have to take alot out, but then individual transistor are easy to replace. Newer amps are all on one PC board and sometimes you have to remove every transistor from the heat sink in order to get the whole PC board out to get acces to the bottom to desolder!
This is not necessarily bad. In general; fewer parts= more reliable. One also cannot generalize between high volume manufacturers like Pioneer and low volume specialty ones. High volume manufacturs can adopt more sophistocated manufactureing and design techniques that result in higher reliability and lower cost compared to low volume manufacturers. So that very expensive high end amp is not always more reliable than the cheaper one! Toyota is cheaper and more reliable than a Ferary, at one tenth the cost!

4: Any weakest link... Good amps use beafy components that can take alot of over current and temperature. Cheap amps cut things very close. The weakest link will go first.
5: Any component because of bad luck. Even though electronics are reliable, components do die on their own. Its all about probabiliy.
6: Mechanical: I have seen many amps that have intermittent connections and switches because of poor installation. RCA wire connections should be properly tied down, and the amp as well. Nothing should move. I have seen crap DIY installs where nothing is tied down in the trunk! Then the guy thows in his hockey bag and wonder's why the RCA connector is riped off!
7: Mechanical breakage because of stupid owners. I have seen many amps with broken speaker and power connections because the owner was too cheap or lazy to buy the right screwdriver or allen wrench!

8: Amps blown because speakers where overdriven, causing shorted voice coil cusing amp to blow.


So, Right choice of amp and speakers. Proper installation, care by owner, correct use and not overdriving= many many years of enjoyment.

All this with only a few years experience in the business. I am sure those with a few decades can come up with a mess of horrific install and abuse stories.
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:19 AM
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The most common being a bad ground. A ground with a sky high resistance on the ground return is a license to replace the amp. Always meter the resistance of the ground return.
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