Arcam Alpha 10 constant pops/clicks from right channel - diyAudio
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Old 1st March 2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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Default Arcam Alpha 10 constant pops/clicks from right channel

Hi folks,

I took my Alpha 10 integrated out of storage (3 years) last week. When I first connected it there was horrendous pops and clicks noise from the right channel, alarming movement from the speaker cones, I'm just glad they are well matched otherwise I think I'd be looking for new speakers now too.

It's settled down, I've run it for about 48 hours now, but there is still occasional pops and clicks from the right channel. The output volume doesn't affect the magnitude of the 'noise' so it's more noticeable at low volume. Absolutely nothing on the other channel, so I'm thinking its a single component.

I've done a quick visual inspection of the main board and can't see anything obvious. The top of the plastic sheath of the right channel 10000uF cap is a bit creased up but I think it was always like that if memory serves.

My other theory, based off some small bits of rust on the case screws, is that it got a little damp at some point and might be 'drying out'. Is that a possibility?

Anyone had experience similar? Or know what might be causing this?

Whiles we're on the subject, are there any 'recommended' upgrades for the Alpha10?

Thank you
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Old 1st March 2015, 12:40 PM   #2
Mooly is online now Mooly  United Kingdom
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It would have to be very damp for moisture to be causing a problem. Whatever is happening doesn't sound good because faults like this can destroy speakers if high DC voltage appears on the output. Look for signs of mould or any white furry deposits on the top and bottom of the PCB.

It could be one of several things. Capacitors can fail (I'm thinking more small ceramic types rather than electrolytics), transistors (and semiconductors in general) don't deteriorate thorough not being used. Resistors are the same.

So its hard to say, but it needs investigating.
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Old Yesterday, 01:15 PM   #3
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It was very dusty inside so I went over the board with a soft-tipped brush and the vacuum. Then wiped the underside down with some IPA. It seems to have made a difference, perhaps some carbon-rich dust on the board made worse by a bit of damp?

Who knows, but it's been running for several hours now without issue.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old Yesterday, 01:22 PM   #4
Mooly is online now Mooly  United Kingdom
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Hmmm... well you could be lucky

Keep an eye (or ear) on it. If it makes any further noises then it needs investigating.

(You can actually wash PCB's in warm water and detergent but it needs care and an understanding of parts not to wet. It does work though and boards sparkle as new. See how it goes)
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Old Today, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebbelcher View Post
....I went over the board with a soft-tipped brush and the vacuum. Then wiped the underside down with some IPA. It seems to have made a difference, perhaps some carbon-rich dust on the board made worse by a bit of damp?....
I've noticed with repairs on old treasures that have been unused for years, that they often become noisy, with random bursts of all kinds of static, pops and bangs etc.

I'm sure dust in urban environments can be conductive, though whether it is a predictable problem at the impedance levels of the power amplifier, I couldn't say. Removing dust hasn't been too successful for me whether I lived in the big city or in a rural environment, anyway. Removing old flux residues from PCBs has been helpful on a few occasions where sloppy build or repair techniques were obvious.

I suspect that problem is caused by the de-forming of the electrolytic caps over time and this can be reversed somewhat by leaving the amplifier on for a few hours, turning off maybe overnight and repeating. Eventually, the amplifier begins to sound acceptable, perhaps as you found in your experience with the Alpha 10. The best solution for the long term then, would be to replace those electrolytics, probably all of them. Reforming Electrolytic Capacitors

Many amplifiers run quite hot inside and this reduces the life span of electros, whatever their nominal temperature rating. An electo's guaranteed lifetime may only be 2,000 hours and fanatics who leave their amps on 24/7 will easily exceed that guarantee in less than a year. After that, it's a matter of careful use and good fortune, like most of us seem to rely on .
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