Repair of Pink Triangle Da Capo DAC

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Hi William C,

Sorry to hear about your Dacapo problems - they seem to be dropping like fly’s ATM - in 90% of cases the Capacitors are leaking.

I'm currently based in HK / China about to release the next generation Dacapo & a smaller DAC unit – the Mephisto.

While the Dacapo is still a very good DAC, the new Mephisto is far superior - and will retail for about GBP389.

However if you still wish your Dacapo repaired then I can take a look - you will have to send to HK (I recommend only sending the PCB's so the casework cannot be damaged during shipping - and also befit from cheaper shipping costs) - or wait till I'm back in Europe for the summer break.

However I really recommend the Mephisto - that offers:-

USB to 96 KHz / 24Bits

SPDIF to 192 KHz via Optical, Coax or AES.

Balanced and Singled- Ended outputs

27 regulated supplies

Discrete Class A outputs

HQ Discrete Class A Headphone output

Very Low Phase Noise Master clock

Organic Low ESR capacitors

Remote Control & LCD display

4 layer PCB

Pls. don’t feel that I’m trying to promote the Mephisto, I would probably make more money repairing your Dacapo then we would by selling a Mephisto – however the Mephisto is extremely good. The unit retails at such a budget price as it’s sold via direct Internet sales and benefits by being manufactured in China where component cost can be an order of magnitude cheaper then can be found in US or Europe.

another DaCapo bites the dust

Well me beloved 22-bit DaCapo died this morning. I can only assume it was a vicitm of the leaky capacitors reported on this forum. It was sitting there in standby when it went - tripping the mains breaker at the same time. The power transformers look fried to me - I can't see any other damange on the circuit board. Has this happened to anyone else?

Anyway - it looks like it won't be worth repairing - :-(

I have had this DaCapo for 14 years and I have loved using it. I haven't heard a CD replay system to touch it. I am really sad right now - almost inconsolable!

If anyone needs it for spares I would be interested in donating it - I'd like to know that it would live on in some way, I simply can't bring myself to bin it!

So - the big question. When will John's new "Mephisto" be ready to ship? I don't want to waste money on anything that sounds worse than the DaCapo so I am therefore very interested in what John has been saying regarding the "MkII"

I am currently trying to repair my DaCapo & need some help / advice.

It died and after investigating I noticed that leaky caps had eaten through a couple of tracks. All now replaced with ZLHs and track repaired ~ however unit does not work.

I now have oscilloscope but need some help ~ are there any circuit diagrams / schematics available? Alternatively does anyone know what should be present at the onboard TPs?

From a quick look it seems that the output of the transistor on the right hand side of the board (mounted flush on the board and marked "8.2V on Tab") is being dragged down.

Thanks in advance for any insights
Joined 2007
Paid Member
Never worked on ( or seen a DaCapo ) but working in the TV repair trade have come across countless damaged PCB's caused by everything from spillage to leaky caps.
You have to clean the board, any slight residue and it will eat into components and PCB tracks. If it has got under components they all have to be replaced. It may be to far gone anyway to be viable.
Don't be afraid to wash the PCB with a soft brush and warm water/detergent. Foam cleaner is good. Work it in well with brush and rinse properly. Place in warm < 60 deg C oven for a couple of hours.
Thank you for the tips.

I have made some progress:- now discovered that the digital side LM317T transistor with "8.2V on tag" label is running hot and showing an ~5V output that is being dragged down. The other LM317T transistor is running cold (despite large heat sink) and shows no significant output.

Without any insight into the circuit via schematic ~ my understanding is that the working LM317T is supplying the DAC, filter and shielded circuits and the non-working LM317T is supplying the input cards and circuits. So next step is to replace the heat sink LM317T and hope everything starts working again ~ if it doesn't then I'm not sure what to do next.
Dear John W & JonHarrison

Seasons greetings and many thanks for your replies which I'm afraid I missed at the time :-(

John W

Since my last post ~ I have replaced the LM317 (with the heatsink) ~ however the DaCapo did not spring back to life. The unit is now with a work colleague who is more proficient than me but also busy ~ as soon as I am back at work after New Year I shall check with the input cards removed as you suggest.

FYI ~ the damage from the leaking electrolyte was on the audio side ~ and there was some damage to the audio leads.

Many thanks once again for your help and just to say that you have my respect and admiration for your wonderful creation which has given me such pleasure over the years. (So much so that I bought two ~ I lost my first one in 1994 due to divorce ~ the second helped revive my spirits after the trauma ~ now I'm struggling without it.)
Repair Da Capo

Hi John,

I have left my Da Capo untouched for the last 6-7 years and naturally a few things went haywire

I googled and found alas! Someone repairs Pink Triangle! I am wondering if I could send my Da Capo for you to have a look and also repair? :)

It is probably yesterday's technology now but Da Capo was the closest my CD sounded like Vinyl.

Nelly from Oz
Sorry to drag this thread up again, but is there any chance someone has a circuit for this unit?

I have one in for repair which has very distorted output. A lot of the caps have leaked and the board is quite damaged but i do think it is resurrectable if only i had a 'Map'!!

Any help appreciated,

Turn out that mine was beyond economical repair. In the end it was too hard to get it up and running again.

Contacted someone from the old Pink Triangle but he claimed he has lost all the schematics. Technology has moved on since then and I have to accept that it is no longer viable to fix the old Da Capo DAC. I auditioned some new DACs recently that sounded nice with balance input/outputs.
Hi John. I've sent you an email but thought I'd try this forum thingy. I was looking at picking up a DaCapo, but with my ham fisted soldering the capacitor repair may not be a good idea. Where are these new Dac's of yours? (A Frenchie has pinched the name Mephisto, BTW). Takes me nostalgically back to the days of Pink - awesome design ideas that never make it to production. Does the "Pop" still fry eggs? (And what happened to the 22 bit filter - you don't seem to include it on your list of favourites, and I'm assuming I'm not confusing it with the 24-22 bit which I have never seen, because the 22 was contemporary with the 1307 - and yours and my favourite at the time). (The "old Pink Triangle" would be AK presumably - and any claim of his to have lost something is entirely credible)
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