Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging samplers?

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Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging samplers?

Postby part12studios » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:36 pm

Hi there,

So I have two Amiga 1200's (one as a backup) and I've known for a little while that bad capacitors are a thing that are pretty inevitable, but i kinda figured it wouldn't hurt.. just use it till they become a problem and get them fixed.. naturally I know it would generally be better to fix before something goes bad, but i figured it was still not a big deal.

I've come to discover that for the Amigas at least.. you don't want that to happen. Bad caps can actually mess other stuff up far worse than the caps themselves.

I have an Akai S612 and my trusty Peavey SPs.. and they are far older than my Amiga.. but I've never heard anyone say "get those capacitors fixed on your old samplers.." so I thought it would be great to discuss this and see if I should be proactive about things that can be done to ignorantly let these devices die a preventable death.

I imagine that bad caps on devices that are not CPU / IC chip driven might be more forgiving. However I can imagine that some parts that could go bad on stuff that old could not be replaced.. resisters / diodes / etc are fairly timeless, but IC chips would be another animal.

Thanks,
Caleb
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:21 pm

I have an Amiga 1200, and an Amiga 3000 that has bad filter caps on the mouse port... so, yes, it should be something to look at.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:27 pm

I know a person here in the US that does the service and I'm going to get both treated in August when he's back in the states.

I mean I guess I don't know for sure that every sampler / most samplers or h**l even any sampler even use capacitors but caps seem to be pretty common components in electronics in general. I guess while I'm talking about caps specifically I do still wonder if there might be common concerns about preventable services that could be done to aging electronics...

The Juno 106 has the voice chip issue.. and they have caps as well.. my DW8000 probably does as well and haven't been serviced. i know batteries are always a risk if left uncared for so that's not so much my question.. though most samplers don't have batteries (except my Peavey SP+, that one does)..
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:36 pm

most aging synths have cap problems, so there's no reason samplers won't as well.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:41 pm

I guess my question is if these cap problems are destructive or more of a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" in most cases and of course if there are known exceptions to this it would be great to know.

now experience would tell me of course fixing it before it becomes a problem is always preferable but not having a lot of spare cash to service every piece of gear I own.. i'm trying to at least prioritize what i might NEED to get service vs what should be.. vs what doesn't need at all.

I'd say the S612 is probably my oldest / most prized instrument so if any S612 experts out there know anything about caps for those I'd love to know if I should get it serviced.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:14 am

well, the thing is, a shorted ccap in your power supply can result in over voltage... which will kill digital chips.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:33 am

gotcha, yea that would be bad. Do you think someone who's a general electronic repair person would be competent enough to take a piece of music gear and do a service like this? I figure capacitors are much like resistors and other devices that have a common language.

There is a local TV repair guy who I've had do a number of less specialized operations before at a reasonable rate compared to some of the specialists in town that likely would have cost 3-4x as much for the same job and I would think.. I could imagine a deice like the S612 that is pretty easy to get into wouldn't be hard to operate on.

I know some gear is not even as much about the electronics as it is just knowing how to open some of these devices without doing harm in the process. The DW-8000 for example's 2032 battery isn't just soldered on, it's sunk deep in the case in a way that makes getting to it difficult without removing boards, etc..
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:51 am

for something like recapping a PSU? maybe. For more complex work? i start getting a little hesitant.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:00 am

well i mean if a capacitor is rated for a certain level.. certain type. wouldn't they be universal or were capacitors of the 80's different then today? in my (somewhat ignorant) mind, would imagine a cap would have a value on it. it would be removed / replaced with a cap of the same rating and all should be ok right?

I am aware that transformers for devices are EXTREMELY picky which boggles my mind some, but i've heard it enough times from enough different people to accept it. This is mostly in referring to some older gear I have with noisy transformers that do the 60hz hum noise..

So like that maybe capacitors are in fact very delicate components that don't just swap out easily.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:05 am

no, they do have ratings/levels on them, but people without audio gear experience aren't going to know how to work on that specific gear, is all i am saying
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:03 am

gotcha yea i can understand having to rewire logic and such.. that could get hair fast. i'm only talking about straight up caps on a motherboard that are easy to see and access.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby PolarAC » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:31 pm

You have a very valid question about the caps. My 21 yr old Ensoniq ASR-10 has been getting a bit wonky when starting it up. It takes a few minutes for the display screen to appear after turning it on. After a 5-hour long disassemble to the bare bones this past weekend, I gave it a deep dusting/cleaning. The caps look to be in good shape with no bulging anywhere, but it still has that issue upon start up.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:53 pm

so to those out there though with some good experience replacing parts, are capacitors something that are really proprietary or easily replaceable like other things like resistors? I'm not going to do this for ever piece of gear I own but some of my favorites I'd like to do what i can within reason to keep things from blowing up.

I know I can't stop time from eventually claiming some part of an instrument that are irreplaceable but when i think about caps and other fairly simply items like that (2 pins to solder, easy to see) and important (dealing with storing and discharging electricity) would be worth investigating.

I know when I had my Juno 106 serviced the guy who fixed the voice chips was kind enough to replace the caps on it while he was in there. Didn't seem like it was a big deal to do (no special parts).
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby Ashe37 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:37 am

naah, caps are an off the shelf item. get the same type rating and grade of caps and you're fine.
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Re: Should we all be worried about capacitors in aging sampl

Postby part12studios » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:44 pm

Cool that's great to know. Thank you for confirming. I'm having a specialist guy service both of my Amiga 1200's in the near future but this is really because I just want someone who really knows these things to look them over.

If only transformers were not so damn picky! Would be so nice to be able to remove that annoying physical hum.. but at least most of the items that do have on/off switches so i can keep them off when not in use.
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