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160XT, leaky capacitor(s)?
Old 20th August 2005
Gear Maniac
SoulSpace's Avatar

160XT, leaky capacitor(s)?

I just popped the top on a 160XT I bought off of sleazebay, and I see a dark brown film that seems to be coming from the area around the capacitors.

Actually, the unit still seems to function and is compressing and all, but with some scratchiness in the pots. What is up with this film? I'm assuming leaky capacitors? Is this worth fixing? Should I even care if it is seems to be functioning properly? I bought the unit for about $200.

I feel pretty screwed, but I don't THINK the selling party knew of this. And it has been a while since I bought it so a return is probably out of the question.

Welcome to "VINTAGE" gear. This is why I tend to buy new stuff...
Attached Thumbnails
160XT, leaky capacitor(s)?-sucky-160xt.jpg  

Last edited by SoulSpace; 20th August 2005 at 06:56 AM.. Reason: add picture
Old 20th August 2005
Tim Farrant's Avatar

Your photo is a bit blurred, but it may be leakage of electrolytic from the capacitors or it may be glue they have used to hold them to the PCB. Is the substance sticky and wet? Wash your hands after touching it, if it is electrolytic, it's rather poisonous!

My advise would be to replace them anyway, as they are probably getting a bit tired if they are original. Clean up the spill with iso if you can to prevent corrosion of the PCB. It looks like they are the power supply filtering caps.

Old 20th August 2005
Gear Maniac
SoulSpace's Avatar

Thanks Tim!

The material is not sticky and definitely not wet. It has been there a while...It is HARD stuck to the PCB. I just tried to flake a bit off with the edge of an exacto knife, and it is stuck hard.

Thanks for the hint on the cap function, they do seem to be close to the power supply.

What is iso? Do you mean isopropyl(sp) alcohol? That won't damage the PCB? At this point, I would just like to get the stuff off the PCB board.
Old 20th August 2005
Lives for gear
brianroth's Avatar

As Tim mentioned, the photo is pretty fuzzy. It the goop you mention that streak of brown which runs "up" in the picture from the cluster of capacitors (at around "11:00")?

If so, then it's probably NOT glue. Some manufacturers put hot glue at the base of the capacitors to hold them securely to the circuit board.

The trick is determining what solvent will degunk the board. Isopropyl alchohol is a pretty benign solvent for circuit boards; most defluxing products contain it. In fact, you could try using a defluxing solvent to see if it loosens the crud. Tech Spray is a common brand, and sold at both local electronics suppliers (not Radio Shack!) and by Mouser, etc.

Old 20th August 2005
It's brown glue to hold the filter caps down. Replace C3, C4,C5,C6 with 1000 uf 35 v panasonic FM series. Replace C7, C8 with 220 uf 25v panasonic FM series. Enjoy the improved low end punch.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 21st August 2005
Gear Maniac
SoulSpace's Avatar

Thanks Tim, Brian and Jim,

And Jim...sounds like you are describing (at least part of) the "Jim Williams Audio Upgrade to the 160XT" that we discused a couple of weeks ago. Is what you described the nuts and bolts of that upgrade or is there more? Don't worry, there's NO WAY I am doing it myself. I am just curious.

I understand if you don't want to divulge your magic on-line.

Thanks again guys.
Old 21st August 2005
It's part of it, the power supply re-do. The rest incorporates VCA, opamp, coupling cap replacement with some bandwidth extension.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
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