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Old 4th August 2009, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default Quad esl 63 problem

One of my ESL 63s has just developed a problem as follows:
When I switch it on, after a few seconds it crackles like an old fashioned radio warming up, then develops a regular (approx twice-per-second) clicking noise.
I've had two of the panels repaired several years ago and recall clearly the noise they made when they were going. It was much softer than this, a kind of background fizzing. I can't see any arcing when I remove the cloth.
Coincidentally or not, the channel on that side of my Quad 34 preamp has blown at the same time.
Also, perhaps coincidentally, we had one of the worst electrical storms in living memory last week, and this was the first time I had switched on the equipment since then.

I'd appreciate any tips on how to isolate the problem and if (hopefully) it's not one of the panels, how to go about fixing it. If it's a panel problem I know the route to go, but I've never taken on anything in the base of these speakers. Oh, and I have only rudimentary equipment - your basic multitester and a soldering gun, so if we can stay away from oscilloscopes and the like, that would be great.

Many thanks.
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Old 5th August 2009, 12:08 AM   #2
Few is offline Few  United States
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Do you have another speaker you can use to verify the power amp is working properly (once the preamp is back in order)? It'd be worthwhile narrowing down the problem to one side or the other of the speaker wire. If the preamp only has one channel working, you could always change the wiring and use the other channel to drive the troubled power amp channel and/or speaker. It's a pretty modest start, but there's no point in gutting the wrong part of the signal chain.

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Old 9th August 2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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The speaker problem isn't generated by the amp. Loud clicking noises happen whether or not the speaker wires are connected. Just firing up the speaker causes the initial crackling then regular clicking. I stripped down the speaker to bare panels to watch what happens and you can see the mylar of the top two panels vibrating to produce the noise. Simultaneously there's a burbling coming from the speaker base. I'd go straight to dismantling the panels, since this is a route I've been before and I recognize that most of the issues with these speakers stem from mylar deterioration. But the noise is nothing like what I've heard previously from panel breakdown.
When I put the preamp in for servicing I asked whether coincidental speaker and preamp problems could indicate a single cause, but I got nothing useful there.
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Old 10th August 2009, 01:53 AM   #4
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Opened up the base, supplied power and observed. Regular ticking sound manifesting itself where the HT wire joins the second top panel. Now here's where my astounding ignorance comes in. There's a square board at right angles to the printed circuit board where the HT wire connects inside the base. I've arrowed it in the accompanying photo. Between the two yellow wires forming a loop in the photo is the glass bottom of what looks almost like a tiny valve, and it flashes in synch with the clicking noise in the speaker. Which is cause and which is effect, I've no idea but I'm sure it's all as plain as day to someone looking at this thread. Your indulgence and help would be endlessly appreciated. I have pics from other angles if this one doesn't do it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg esl 63 detail 2.jpg (74.7 KB, 398 views)
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Old 10th August 2009, 08:41 AM   #5
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That's a neon bulb and it's function is to serve as a HT leakage indicator. You already know you have a leak (the ticking) but for a normal operating speaker it can be used as a health indicator. Normally it should blink perhaps once every ten seconds or so (depending on air humidity). Once a minute would be even nicer.
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Old 10th August 2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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Location: Silicon Valley, California
Have you seen this?
There are factory service manuals on the web as well. I even found one for free (consisting of 25 separate jpegs) a couple of years ago. PM me, and I'll email it to you.
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Old 10th August 2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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Thanks, arend-jan, I think you've answered my question. So if that's an indication of a leak rather than the leak itself, does that point to a leakage in the panel, e.g. a tear in the diaphragm, or is it still possible that I have a leak somewhere among the base components?
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Old 11th August 2009, 01:14 PM   #8
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Going by the original description of the problem I'd say it's a bad panel. If you remove the cloth, grills and dustcovers you might be able to see one of the diaphragms oscillating or perhaps a spark/glowing in the dark on one of the panels.
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Old 11th August 2009, 03:35 PM   #9
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I did see it, Tosh, thanks. I've also found a full Quad ESL 63 service manual. Only problem is they're calling for equipment I don't have. If I can verify whether the leakage indicator is pointing to a leak at the panel or somewhere amongst the base components, at least I'll be 50% of the way there.
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Old 11th August 2009, 07:26 PM   #10
orjan is offline orjan  Sweden
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I have repaired 2 els 63s. The problem was that the glue holding the circuit board had failed and the boards had curled inwards against the film.

To check you can cut the ht on both sides and make new connection for ht for the other panels. If the clicks dissapairs you probable have a bad panel.

New ones can be bought from Quad.

Just remember to let the charge away before you touch any ht wire.

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