diyAudio (
-   Solid State (
-   -   Adcom GFA-565 Driver Board Cancer (

Numbdiver 7th October 2008 07:04 PM

Adcom GFA-565 Driver Board Cancer
Hi all,
I'm a new member to DIY, but a member in good standing at AK.

I have a pair of Adcom GFA-565s I recently aquired and after reading many strings I have determined my +7 to +50v dc offset is being caused by the leaky caps & contaminated driver board that anatech and other have talked about.

Sadly, I didn't check for DC before hooking my new amps to the low-end of my IRS Gammas, and I literally burned/smoked/melted my unobtanium woofers :bawling:, but that is another part of the story. Shame on me for not checking first!:headbash: I am working will the seller of the amps, and he's being a stand up guy and wants to help me get them repaired.

This is a callout for anatech. Could you email/pm me? As a new member I am not allowed to email yet. You can also get me with the same name at AK. Echowars (Glenn) on AK speaks very highly of you guys over here.

I see the leaking electrolyte. Is is possible to send you both of the driver boards for you to work your magic? I understand how difficult it is to do without having the amps, but shipping the monos to Canada is not in the cards.

I was hoping someone (anatech or another member that had experience/luck with removing the electrolyte) would be willing to replace Opamps, caps & zeners (shotgun) and clean like crazy. Maybe someone has a 565 that could be used as a verifying amp?

I have the skills to R&R the components, but with the sourcing & ordering parts, and correct cleaning procedures, I would prefer to have someone else do it, that has had success.

I apologize if I have crossed any forum etiquette by asking for a specific member contact. I think I'm ok, but hate newbies on my other forums that come in and expect things to be handed to them.

Thanks to all for any suggestions. I'm in MN, if there are any members in the area that want to give it a stab. I will drive the amps where I need. If someone were willing to put together a parts package for both boards, I would also be willing to buy it, and give it a shot myself.

EchoWars 8th October 2008 11:46 AM

Ohhh....that sucks about the woofers.

What does Bobby Shred say about replacing them (or having the coils rewound)?

Numbdiver 8th October 2008 07:43 PM

Thanks for feeling my pain about the IRS woofers. My audio karma must be pretty good, as this is where I am at so far:

The control woofer ohms out at around 1.2 ohm. I need to pull the other control woofer, but I think the VC is ok. It just trashed the surround (I hope). I talked to Bill Watkins and he is willing to refoam it, and can leave the accelerometer & servo board in place because he doesn't remove the dust cap to refoam. Instead of shimming the VC to center it, he feeds a LF signal to it when he attaches the surround.

The other woofer is trashed. You couldn't rewind the VC if you wanted to. I was hoping the entire VC could be removed and a new one attached to the carbon cone. Every speaker guy I talked to says no. BUT (shhhh, don't tell ANYONE this) they are still available from Harmon Group. They look slightly different if I remember correctly (a friend with Betas ordered one), but are OEM part number & spec'd. I think the dust cover is a different color or something. I'm ordering one today.

Glenn, I didn't email you about the Adcom boards for two reasons; You are the busiest man in show business, and you recommended the DIY guys to someone else that questioned you on Adcom issues. If you have time sooner than later, and would be willing to try what I've listed about (having me send just the driver boards), lets talk (PM).

Hopefully I get some responses but I think I may end up tackling this myself, which I don't really want to do. I'm out the repair costs on the Gammas, and would rather have the seller of the amps take care of fixing them (although he only has $250 to help me fix them). I'm afraid since no one has taken up the offer to pull the components and ultrasonic clean the board, I'll be getting the toothbrush & Simple Green out. I can't afford to bring them to a local shop right now since the extra $250 won't go very far, and I still need to cover the other repairs as well. Hopefully the worlds most convoluted crossover is ok (you should see it), but I won't know that till I replace the drivers. I think the entire xover is bypassed on the LF, when in biamp mode using the servo.

I just can't believe I was so STUPID to hook used amps up to my perfectly good, working IRS system without doing a checkout first. I was already biamping with a Yamaha B-2x pushing the lows, and was really just experimenting to see if the Adcoms made any difference in damping. Lesson learned.

unclejed613 9th October 2008 12:45 AM

2 Attachment(s)
hot soapy water will safely remove the electrolyte, at least the water soluble portions of it, and alcohol will remove the oils. if any small caps exploded look for any bits of aluminum that might have wedged themselves between component leads. there may be pieces of the cover as well as pieces of the aluminum coiled plates fom the innards of the cap. if its just the big caps, replace the caps, and clean the board. the big caps usually vent without much collateral damage. if you know what caused the caps to fail, make sure its completely fixed. i'd be willing to look at the amp, but i'm in colorado.

btw, for anybody who needs a "quick and dirty" method of checking for offset, here's a device i built from a few spare parts, and use on a daily basis. it indicates polarity and the brightness gives a rough estimate of voltage. it turns on at about 4V and i've tested up to 65V rails without burning it out yet. it lights up red for positive and blue for negative. if you're expecting higher rail voltages (like 100V), increase the resistor to 47k-75k. i got the LED from spares that come with Klipsch sub amps when i replace the amp module.

anatech 9th October 2008 02:00 AM

Hi Numbdiver,
I'm really sorry to hear about your woofers. I guess this is a lesson learned for all time.

I always check for DC offset, even with a new amp. Some systems (Krell for one) will go DC if the preamp has DC offset too. Check always.

I can clean the boards for you, but the border sucks. If you can find someone in the USA, it might be easier.

I'll have to disagree with unclejed613 here (sorry). This electrolyte is tenacious stuff. Hot soapy water will not cut it. You need an ultrasonic cleaner and a water based degreaser. The stuff is not visible either, so it will look clean. It will probably take a few cycles through the ultrasonic cleaner.

First, dismount all the capacitors, the op amp and trimmer controls. Also remove any resistors or other components that were in the area where the fluid went. Check for corrosion on the leads. You will need to clean these parts separately, then use a toothbrush and clean more. The way you can tell if the board or parts are clean is to smell them. Heat the leads (or pads) up with a soldering iron. You will smell this stuff if it's there. Clean until you can't smell once the soldering iron heats the parts up.

The main trick is - clean until you are sure it's clean. Like cleaning a gun until the patch comes out clean.

I'm pretty sure you can do this. I use "Simple Green".


EchoWars 9th October 2008 04:15 AM

I do not see many Adcom's, or maybe I might have gone shopping for an ultrasonic cleaner (but it might be nice for cleaning receiver knobs & stuff).

Shipping across the border is a little bit of a pain, but USPS and Canada Post is reasonably priced for a small board, and border fees ought to be small.

I am not hurt that you didn't contact me. About all I could offer for months in the future would be words of solace. Things are busy around here indeed.

unclejed613 9th October 2008 11:11 AM

anatech, you reminded me of a way to neutralize corrosive salts.......

some rifle ammo contains corrosive salts, and the way to neutralize it is to spray ammonia inside the barrel. i used to keep a bottle of ammonia (without any addtives like scents or colorants) in my shooting bag. soaking the inside of the barrel and then running an ammonia soaked patch through it would neutralize the corrosive salts and make it easier to clean later.

some electrolytic caps have electrolytes made with fish oil, which is what gives their electrolyte the characteristic smell of burnt fish when they smoke, and that's why i suggested alcohol as part of the cleaning. the hot soapy water thing actually was a process used at a shop i worked at before ultrasonic cleaning was invented. the board was cleaned in a bath of hot soapy water, then rinsed in a bath of hot water, then dried under hot forced air. this was in a city on the east coast where the "creeping green crud" was a common occurrence just from the salt and moisture in the air.

EchoWars 9th October 2008 12:56 PM

Hmmm...ultrasonic bath with Parson's Sudsy Ammonia...

Numbdiver 9th October 2008 12:56 PM

I very much appreciate all the tips everyone is giving me.

It looks like I may decide to tackle this on my own. I do have an aqauintence that works in a very high tech environment. In fact, he designs caps (Phd) for a living. He should be able to remove the stuff. He said they would use de-ionized hot ultrasonic with no detergents.

Multiple baths? How long as to not destroy the board integrety? He has the correct drying oven, so it won't get wrecked in there. he hasn't done a wet bath to a board before so any other tips would be great.

Also, since I'm limited on equipment (& skills), I will be shotgunning parts. I was planning on replacing OpAmps, caps (to high-temp Panny), and zeners. Anything else I should order at the same time? I'll probably order everything over the 'net from Newark as they probably have everything.

Lastly, someone talked on one of the forums about a couple of resistors that keep the input ground floating above chassis ground. And these can also cause offset issuses if they open. Where are they? If it is as simple as checking resistance between input ground and the ground pin on the plug, one amp reads about 110ohms, and one shows to be open (infinite).

Thanks once again for all the help! Once these are back together, I would still like to be hand-held through the biasing/offset adjustments if that is ok. I will try and purchase a schematic from Adcom as well.

Have a great day!

anatech 9th October 2008 03:03 PM

Hi unclejed613,

some rifle ammo contains corrosive salts, and the way to neutralize it is to spray ammonia inside the barrel.
Yes! and Yes again!

My my, that is some old ammo! Are the primers still good? Hangfire heaven, here we come! All my stuff is from the late 80's. Hmm, they're getting on in years too. Mostly 7.62 with some .303 Brit mixed in.

Hey Glenn!,
You really ought to pick one of these up. Ultrasonic cleaners are magic on knobs, screws and other small parts. I wish I had a bigger one as well. My wife and three daughters have clean jewelery, so they can't complain. Anita even has a mini one for her contacts. Guess she liked the idea. ;)

Hi Numbdiver,

He said they would use de-ionized hot ultrasonic with no detergents.
Too high tech. This electrolyte was a defective batch that every industry suffered from. This approach is too nice and may not get the job done. Understand that this stuff gets into the PCB material itself, under the solder mask too. You need more aggressive cleaning solutions here. Cleaning as per MIL-whatever, or Hewlitt-Packard methods are not intended for this situation.

Multiple baths? How long as to not destroy the board integrety?
Not at all. These are epoxy boards. The time in the cleaner will probably be a couple 5 minute sessions, or more. The PCB will be fine. Any electrolytic caps will not (doesn't matter, remove them), trimmer controls will not like this either, remove and label first.

He has the correct drying oven, so it won't get wrecked in there.
First, rinse with clean water, the final rinse can be pure H2O. Shake the excess water off first, and follow that with a hair dryer set to low heat. Keep moving the dryer around and angle across the PCB to blow any other water out from small spaces. Finish up by air drying a day, you will be fine. I normally test for electrolyte after the second clean cycle and continue after each until the stuff is gone.

Also, since I'm limited on equipment (& skills), I will be shotgunning parts
Okay, fine. Then take some pictures first with a digital camera. Then, depopulate the PCB. Keep the op amp and the TO-92 zeners, clean them by hand. If the leads are rotten, you can replace those parts. Be aware that those are specifically selected types. You can not replace them with normal zener diodes or a normal range op amp. Hint: the current draw on that op amp is very low. So is the DC offset and it need not be a fast one.


Lastly, someone talked on one of the forums about a couple of resistors that keep the input ground floating above chassis ground.
The 10 (or 100) ohm resistors break a possible ground loop. They can be burned out. Just test them, replace if you want.

If it is as simple as checking resistance between input ground and the ground pin on the plug, one amp reads about 110ohms, and one shows to be open (infinite).
If memory serves, you will read 200 ohms between the RCA grounds and 100 ohms to chassis ground from each. It is that simple.

I will try and purchase a schematic from Adcom as well.
If you buy the entire service manual (recommended), the entire procedure will be laid out for you. Setting the bias takes some time and you will need an oscillator (source of a tone about 1 KHz) and a pair of dummy loads close to 8 ohms. You may be able to buy 225 watt, 7.5 ohm power resistors with a pair of clamps. My 250 watt, 8 ohm Dale resistors cost me $50 each about 20 years ago. Add to that the large heat sinks they needed and the milling to make the other side flat. Get the tubular 7.5 ohm resistors, they are close enough.

Try not to over think this. You have a abnormal mess on your hands. Normal PCB cleaning is ineffective. You are capable of doing this if you can get access to an ultrasonic cleaner and some non-flammable degreaser. Your friend is well meaning, but he was taught the proper accepted way of cleaning a PCB. So was I and this is not very effective here.


Edit: Really bad spelling

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:40 AM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2017 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2