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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been wanting to start this technical thread for a very long time.
As all of you know by now, I am hell bent on bringing back the old school amps and actually competing with the PPI-ART .2 series amps from 1996.
Sounds easy enough right?
Just find really good examples of what I need, buy them, and then install them.
Well, it turns out it is just not that easy.

Over time, it has become very clear that just buying these 15 year old amps isn't enough; they absolutely need maintenance, upgrades, and even worse, repairs.

EVEN IF YOUR AMP IS BRAND NEW IN THE BOX, THE SHELF LIFE FOR CAPACITORS IS ROUGHLY FIVE YEARS REGARDLESS IF THEY AREN'T LEAKING. THEY DO DEGRADE OVER TIME.

Everyone of my amps were completely out of adjustment in many catagories, with leaking caps, bad soldering, poor previous repairs, and even worse, degraded maximum power output (wattage) from the sum total of all these problems and that's if you're lucky.

This thread will address this in great detail with pictures to help clarify all the tech speak.
Now I am not an electrical engineer, but my aerospace schooling and automotive training gave me enough background and understanding to grasp what my repair tech (The Stig) was explaining and I will do my best to translate it all into this thread.

Reconditioning and repairs will take place and be fully documented in this thread for the following amps from 1996:

A100.2
A100.2
A300.2
A404.2
A600.2
Ax606.2
A1200.2

Amplifier wattage output specifications from PPI

Art Series Model: A100.2 A200.2 A300.2 A600.2 A1200.2

4 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Stereo: 25 Watts 50 Watts 75 Watts 150 Watts 300 Watts
2 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Stereo: 50 Watts 100 Watts 150 Watts 300 Watts 600 Watts
4 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Bridged: 100 Watts 200 Watts 300 Watts 600 Watts 1200 Watts
Power Fuse: 20 Amp 20 Amp 30 Amp 40 Amp 100 Amp

4-Channel Model: A204.2 A404.2
4 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Stereo: 25 Watts 50 Watts
2 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Stereo: 50 Watts 100 Watts
4 Ohms, 11-15 VDC, Bridged: 100 Watts 200 Watts
Power Fuse: 20 Amp 50 Amp


Both A100.2 are completed and back in my posession.
The A300.2 still needs some newly found failed transistors.
The A600.2, Ax606.2, and A1200.2 were dropped off Friday and will follow after the A300.2 is completed.
I will add to this post as they come along.

Ok let's start with the 1st A100.2.

Paid $50.00 with two separated power pins from the board.
Repairs and reconditioning costs are classified.


Amp prior to repair


Power pin repair










Leaking Capacitors




Board prior to repairs
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Continuation of the A100.2 #1.

Clean up of the heatsink


New Kapton tape instead of the mica boards






Board cleaned up






Upgraded capacitors
These are higher temp version to help them last a little longer.


Capacitors removed and solder cleaned up


New capacitors installed
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
More new capacitors.


Board work completed, all cleaned up, new Kapton tape, and new grease.
Note the old parts in the background in a baggy.




Proper backing plate installation procedure.
1st, take off the endplates so you can see the contact points all along the edges of the plate.


Bend the backing plate tension tabs down 1/8" and align them with each other prior to re-installation
Tighten the bolts only to the point that the backing plate makes contact with the heatsink at the Kapton tape.
Then another 1/4" but no more.
If you go too far you could strip out the heatsink and/or make contact with an internal component.


Look inside and confirm all tabs on properly contacting the fets and transistors.
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
This one benched at 93.5 watts bridged @ 4ohms after completed tuning and balancing.
Rated power 100watts bridged at 4 ohms.

So this one is all ready to go just like the day it was made.
I will post the 2nd A100.2 shortly.
I will do my best to answer your questions as they come up.
Hope this is as informative as it was for me when I was sponging up everything my tech was educating me on last Friday.

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR

 

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This is great! Thanks for taking the time to post this.
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #6
No problem.
I'd have #2 on here but Photobucket is taking forever to upload tonight.
Might have to post it in the morning.

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR
 

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Thanks for posting. I have been waiting to see this thread.
 

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Fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

What criteria did you analyze in choosing your repair technician?

How were you able to qualify the capabilities of a repair technician?
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

What criteria did you analyze in choosing your repair technician?

How were you able to qualify the capabilities of a repair technician?
Great questions.

I needed the best of the best at old school ppi.
I looked for a full year to find that tech.
In my searches, there are only two maybe three that meet/exceed that bar in the entire USA.

Turns out my tech is also the best of the best for other old school amps and many of today's high end treasures.
Now, I apologize for not explaining further, but The Stig (alias) has asked me not to tell.
Hopefully in the future, I will be able to state the process I used to actually locate my tech but it would give away The Stig's identity. :D

I would like to divulge one more piece of info.
I spent over 2 1/2 hours talking with my tech discussing just the repairs on the A100.2s, it's original construction, and what each component does and why it was chosen by PPI all on his dime.

Now that's passion.
I felt like a padawan listening to Yoda explain the force. :p

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Ok, I am going to now post the repairs and reconditioning performed to the A100.2 #2.
If some of it seems redundant with the above A100.2, I am sorry, but I think it's important to present an a to z post.

This one had some unexpected surprises that required using some old boards I had for parts.
Keep in mind that a number of components are no longer available new including the power supplies.

A100.2 #2
Paid $80.00 with a statement of it being in good operating condition.
Repairs and reconditioning costs are classified.


Amp prior to repairs




Board before repairs






Ceramic boards


Typical overly greased from the PPI factory


Maxi fuse was loose and about to fall out
Had to adjust the crimps on the retaining tabs and grease them to allow the blades to slide in smoothly but firmly
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #11
Really piss poor rca connector repair






RCA connector removed and solder cleaned up




Donor A600.2 board


Replacement rca connector installed






 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Board cleaned up




Heatsink cleaned up


New Kapton tape applied






Repopulated board with all new capacitors


Board reinstalled


Close up of tech's board ground upgrade using a loop connector head cut off from the crimp portion
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Heatsink tabs adjustment
(Before)




(After)




Proper tab tension




Proper grease application
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This one benched at 103.8 watts bridged @ 4ohms after completed tuning and balancing.
Rated power 100watts bridged at 4 ohms.

This one is also all ready to go just like the day it was made.
I will post the A300.2 within the next two weeks.

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR

Green lighted and ready to go


Completed amp


Both A100.2 amps finished
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Question from 2167 on my install thread was the following:

The kapton tape replaced the thermal grease?
If i was going to do that to my Power class amps is their anything i should know?
I looked up some kapton tape and it was in 1 mil and 2 mil?


No, the Kapton tape is designed to replace the mica boards (thin sheet between the fets and the heatsink) but you still need to use the thermal grease. Just remember you don't need to glob it on like PPI did at the factory. Please use the above pics for reference.

The Stig says he uses 1mil but 2mil is fine and makes no difference. He also says the process is the same for the Power Class amps as shown above for my Arts. The hardest part is getting every component and the heatsink thoroughly cleaned prior to tape installation.
Hope that helps.

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR
 

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This is fascinating, Bret.

IMO, its instructive for any future art series owner. subscribed.
 

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the darkside is loud
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Discussion Starter #20
Great info, and got one heck of a tech in "The Stig".
I think so as well. :D
The A300.2 and A600.2 are up next.
Should be within the next two weeks.

Bret
PPI-ART COLLECTOR
 
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