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Hypex module reliability (UCD)
Hypex module reliability (UCD)
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Old 26th May 2019, 08:42 PM   #1
gregbny is offline gregbny  France
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Default Hypex module reliability (UCD)

Hi guys,

I would like to have your feedbacks regarding Hypex amps longevity / reliability / lifespan (especially UCD). Many people have encountered broke or burnt units and it seems these modules could be delicate. At this point Iím wondering if I should still stick to Hypex amps...

My own experience:
Iím using an UCD180HxR based amp since 2015 with 3 ways tower speakers (88db, 8ohms (but 3ohms minimum )). Itís a pre-assembled kit with a SMPS300R and I think everything was nicely set and wired but the supplier. Iím totally fine with this amp, sounds great, black background, plenty of power.

But I had to replace the Hypex modules two years ago, they were starting to produce more and more weird noises to a point they were not safe to use anymore. At that time, I was suspecting the amp was probably running too hot and the modules were cooked. The enclosure is not that big but I optimized the setup, found a cooler space in my rack and used better thermal paste when I replaced the modules.

2 years later, AGAIN, Iím starting to ear some weird noisy blinks when I stick my ear right on the tweeters...
I know this sound, it sounds trivial currently but it will be louder and the amp will probably be good to trash in 6 months.

UCD180 modules arenít too expensive but if you have to change them every two years itís still a considerable expense. Recently I was thinking about moving to UCD400 or NCore but donít know if I can trust these modules anymore.

I have many theories in my head:
1- The load is killing my amp (3 ohms tower with probably difficult cross overs, also a sub connected in parallel). An UCD 400 could be more appropriate
2- I donít take care of the amp properly. No fancy softstart, no heavy heatsinks, I let the amp turned on for hours even if thereís nothing playing
3- I have some king of ground loop or static in my hifi rack slowly killing the amp...
4- UCD are just fragile modules that degrade and die after 2/3 years ?

Let me know what you think
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Old 27th May 2019, 12:02 AM   #2
5th element is offline 5th element  United Kingdom
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I've got UCD400s. I'm not impressed. They've died from accidentally shorting the outputs... something they should definitely not do and something strange happened to another one.

As I deliberately went with them for the slew of protection features I'm pretty annoyed about it to be honest.
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Old 27th May 2019, 01:05 AM   #3
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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Finding out which component(s) is/are failing is probably the first thing to do.
That will give you a clue as to how to stop the problems.

Maybe the amps have some shoot through which is cooking them ?
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Old 27th May 2019, 06:55 AM   #4
5th element is offline 5th element  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelwright7557 View Post
Finding out which component(s) is/are failing is probably the first thing to do.
That will give you a clue as to how to stop the problems.

Maybe the amps have some shoot through which is cooking them ?
I'm relatively sure that the problem on mine is the protection circuitry not functioning quickly enough when the amplifier is run very close to its maximum operating voltage. Still this is the safe operating range so it should still work flawlessly, especially Vs a short. They are very generously heat sinked too so that isn't exactly a problem.
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Old 27th May 2019, 04:28 PM   #5
gregbny is offline gregbny  France
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Yes, I will probably check the modules or somehow try to repair them but I’m not really comfortable with this idea. I have neither the skills nor the tools (no scope) to do this properly.

Many years ago I’ve repaired a Class T amp (TA3020). I took some time, did my best and replaced few components. I was very proud of me. 2 months later there was a burning smell in my living room, my left tweeter was literally melting. I put everything to trash and bought an Hypex amp.

A part of me wants to avoid problems, get rid of the UCD unit and buy a brand new NCore hoping it will be more reliable and last longer. But even on Hypex website, UCD is described as “known for its reliability and ease of use“ whereas NCore is supposed to be designed for ”extreme High-End applications”. I’m not so sure in the end
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Old 1st June 2019, 06:38 PM   #6
heinz1964 is offline heinz1964  Denmark
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Hi

If all the amps you have in your house sooner or later stopsworking, maybe you have too high voltage in your electric system.'

Just a thought.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 03:54 PM   #7
gregbny is offline gregbny  France
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heinz1964 View Post
Hi

If all the amps you have in your house sooner or later stopsworking, maybe you have too high voltage in your electric system.'

Just a thought.
I changed house 3 years ago and the same way most of my hardware has changed recently (dac and music server). My gut feeling is that I just donít take care properly of this hardware. I have two kids and I already had xlr and usb cables accidentally disconnected. Thereís cable hanging around frequently. Finally thereís nothing between my dac and the amp that could protect the amp, no preamplifier, not even a potentiometer, the volume control is purely digital.

I had no major incident but itís not a perfect environment neitherÖand thatís my point!

I also have a backup Rotel A/B amp from 1992 (RB-980BX). Sure it doesnít sounds as good but it endured all sort of abuses over the years and still working fine. The same way I have never broke any Dac.
In the end I'm totally convinced by class D amps whether regarding the sound or the efficiency but I still think itís a most vulnerable hardware in my audio system. I would be worried if I had to use them as professional or mobile equipment.

Now while I'm preparing for a future purchase (or repair) Iím wondering how much I should invest into this. Again Iím not the only one with broken UCD modules...
Could I consider any class D amp as a long term investment?
Has the reliability improved over the years (Maybe the lastest Ncore MP serie) ?
Or am I just wrong and Class D amps are just as robust as old heavy A/B amps ?
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Old 3rd June 2019, 06:27 PM   #8
NMOS is offline NMOS  Germany
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Interesting news about class D , old Vintage class A/B PA working 40 years
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Old 3rd June 2019, 06:57 PM   #9
bwaslo is offline bwaslo  United States
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Hypex module reliability (UCD)
I've had a set of UCD180 modules with Hypex switching supplies, have been powered up for around 10 years almost continuously now. Never a problem. I don't often run them very loud, if that matters. I had a solidly built class AB mono amp (AudioSource 5.1) about the same time frame that got used about twice a year, died the first time its outputs got accidentally shorted through a slipped cliplead! I also had a cheap class D board (Chinese off-brand), died from failing electrolytic caps within 6 months use.

So, not really as simple as just class A/B/D.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 07:14 PM   #10
805amp is offline 805amp  United Kingdom
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I have a 4 channel UCD180HxR based amp that's been running for many years without any problems whatsoever.
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