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-   -   JL Audio Fathom f113 repair (https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=43298)

jdandy 07-02-2018 11:02 PM

JL Audio Fathom f113 repair
 
My Fathom f113 failed to turn on about two months ago. It has been sitting on its Sound Anchor stand in the living room looking nice but doing nothing. I have procrastinated packing this 130 lbs. beast, 147 lbs. in its shipping carton, because it is more than I can physically handle these days. In addition, my living room is upstairs. This means that after I get it in the shipping carton I then must get it to ground level and to the garage for freight pickup. Ugh!

I talked to Randy Wagner, JL Audio's tech support guy, and asked about just shipping the amp to JL Audio. He said that could be done. He also gave me a great tip for getting the amp broken away from the cabinet seal by using 2" machine thread screws slightly larger than the counter sunk holes in the aluminum heat sink. They self tap in the aluminum and as they are screwed in they draw the amp heat sink out of the cabinet recess. It worked like a charm, and after disconnecting several quick connect plug sockets the amplifier came right out. I checked the weight, 33 lbs. Now, if I decide to ship the amplifier to JL Audio it will be a much easier and less expensive proposition than having to freight the entire subwoofer.

I have done a fair amount of research on the f113 amplifier failures and discovered quite a few people experiencing all sorts of issues, not turning on at all, loud hum even when off, pulsing hum, and high frequency squeal before dying. Several people have made repairs themselves and I found some useful information that I am going to take advantage of in an attempt to repair my failure to turn on problem. I am relatively confident it is a capacitor issue in the stand-by power supply. Tonight I ordered 2 different capacitors from Mouser Electronics with a higher temperature rating than the two capacitors I suspect are the culprits. When they arrive I will install them in place of the ones currently installed on the board. Hopefully this will solve my turn on problem and get my Fathom f113 back in service. If not, then the amp will get shipped to JL Audio.

Here are a few photos of the amplifier out of the subwoofer.


https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1830/...e08cdbc4_o.jpg



https://farm1.staticflickr.com/845/4...9035241b_o.jpg



https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1804/...4088df35_o.jpg



https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1804/...72fcdbe1_o.jpg

sircharles 07-02-2018 11:44 PM

JL Audio Fathom f113 repair
 
ing
Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921519)
My Fathom f113 failed to turn on about two months ago. It has been sitting on its Sound Anchor stand in the living room looking nice but doing nothing. I have procrastinated packing this 130 lbs. beast, 147 lbs. in its shipping carton, because it is more than I can physically handle these days. In addition, my living room is upstairs. This means that after I get it in the shipping carton I then must get it to ground level and to the garage for freight pickup. Ugg!

I talked to Randy Wagner, JL Audio's tech support guy, and asked about just shipping the amp to JL Audio. He said that could be done. He also gave me a great tip for getting the amp broken from the cabinet seal by using 2" machine thread screws slightly larger than the counter sunk holes in the aluminum heat sink. They self tap in the aluminum and as they are screwed in they draw the amp heat sink out of the cabinet recess. It worked like a charm, and after disconnecting several quick connect plug sockets the amplifier came right out. I checked the weight, 33 lbs. Now, if I decide to ship the amplifier to JL Audio it will be a much easier and less expensive proposition than having to freight the entire subwoofer.

I have done a fair amount of research on the f113 amplifier failures and discovered quite a few people experiencing all sorts of issues, not turning on at all, loud hum even when off, pulsing hum, and high frequency squeal before dying. Several people have made repairs themselves and I found some useful information that I am going to take advantage of in an attempt to repair my failure to turn on problem. I am relatively confident it is a capacitor issue in the stand-by power supply. Tonight I ordered 2 different capacitors from Mouser Electronics with a higher temperature rating than the two capacitors I suspect are the culprits. When they arrive I will install them in place of the ones currently installed on the board. Hopefully this will solve my turn on problem and get my Fathom f113 back in service. If not, then the amp will get shipped to JL Audio.



Jdandy, good to know you finally tackled the job!

My F113v2 amp arrives back from JL Audio tomorrow. It took a total of 3 weeks for the turn around (including shipping). Not bad.

Cohibaman 07-03-2018 12:16 AM

Bad caps cause a host of issues! Crossing my fingers for you Dan.

jdandy 07-03-2018 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cohibaman (Post 921528)
Bad caps cause a host of issues! Crossing my fingers for you Dan.

Mike.......Thanks. A bit of positive energy never hurts.

My research has turned up several people's f113's that have been successfully restored by replacing the 100uf/35volt/85C cap (red arrow) with a 100uf/35volt/105C cap. I may also replace the 33uf/400volt/85c cap (yellow arrow) with a 33uf/400volt/105C cap. I should have the two capacitors by Friday. I hope this solves my issue of the subwoofer not powering up. If not then the amp will get shipped to JL Audio for repair. I did find a fuse on the circuit board. It checked good. Shipping a 33 lb amp will be much easier and cheaper than shipping a 147 lb factory carton by freight.


https://farm1.staticflickr.com/840/2...49690609_o.jpg

jdandy 07-03-2018 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sircharles (Post 921525)
Jdandy, good to know you finally tackled the job!

My F113v2 amp arrives back from JL Audio tomorrow. It took a total of 3 weeks for the turn around (including shipping). Not bad.

sircharles.......What failed with your Fathom f113V2?

Pyro 07-03-2018 03:54 AM

Good luck with the repairs Dan. :yes::yes::yes:

Mr. Big 07-03-2018 04:31 AM

Good to know the amps can be removed for shipping. I have two f110 V1s and I understand that JL even admits the capacitors are prone to failure.

nicoff 07-03-2018 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921530)
Mike.......Thanks. A bit of positive energy never hurts.

My research has turned up several people's f113's that have been successfully restored by replacing the 100uf/35volt/85C cap (red arrow) with a 100uf/35volt/105C cap. I may also replace the 33uf/400volt/85c cap (yellow arrow) with a 33uf/400volt/105C cap. I should have the two capacitors by Friday. I hope this solves my issue of the subwoofer not powering up. If not then the amp will get shipped to JL Audio for repair. I did find a fuse on the circuit board. It checked good. Shipping a 33 lb amp will be much easier and cheaper than shipping a 147 lb factory carton by freight.


https://farm1.staticflickr.com/840/2...49690609_o.jpg



Valuable information here. Will keep for future reference as I might need it! Thanks!!

tweet 07-03-2018 09:02 AM

Dan,
Ugh, indeed. I'm sure you'll have a lot people following your journey. There's certainly a lot of discussion about this issue. Hope your F113 is back in your system making music in short order. Good luck!

sircharles 07-03-2018 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921531)
sircharles.......What failed with your Fathom f113V2?

When i received word that the Amp was fixed via email, I called JL Audio to ask for specifics but they haven't gotten back to me. i can let you know as soon as i hear back from them.

Btw... if you get to the point of shipping to JL audio and need a box with padding/foam i can send you the one i received from JL Audio. The shape of the amp plate is odd making it awkward to pack. JL Audio sent back the repaired amp in a box that protects the amp quite well.

Kal Rubinson 07-03-2018 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sircharles (Post 921697)
When i received word that the Amp was fixed via email..............

Wow. I wish they could fix mine by email.

jdandy 07-03-2018 06:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sircharles (Post 921697)
Btw... if you get to the point of shipping to JL audio and need a box with padding/foam i can send you the one i received from JL Audio. The shape of the amp plate is odd making it awkward to pack. JL Audio sent back the repaired amp in a box that protects the amp quite well.

sircharles.......I appreciate that offer. I will take you up on it should I need to send the amp to JL Audio, and of course pay the shipping to me and to return the box to you. I am hoping I won't need to ship the amp.

mtroo 07-03-2018 06:41 PM

Seems to be quite a few threads on JL Audio subwoofers having problems. For the money one pays of these, it seems "odd". Not feeling warm and fuzzy about my 2 f113 v2's. If Dan's subwoofer is a version 2, it can't be more than a couple of years old.

sircharles 07-03-2018 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921703)
sircharles.......I appreciate that offer. I will take you up on it should I need to send the amp to JL Audio, and of course pay the shipping to me and to return the box to you. I am hoping I won't need to ship the amp.

hopefully you will not need to. PM if you do.

tdelahanty 07-03-2018 09:08 PM

Dan you can remove the cap and check it with an ohm meter for a dead short or low resistance. If working properly the meter will show zero for an instant then steadily rise to an open reading. There is the possibility of this correct reading but the cap will break down when voltage is applied (by the circuit). I would be inclined to replace with a higher voltage cap as opposed to higher temp ratings.

tdelahanty 07-03-2018 09:20 PM

I forgot to mention the X or cross on top of the cap is a blow-off valve of sorts. If a cap overheats due to excess voltage or reversed polarity the X will open up to let off pressure avoiding an explosion. Check the caps, visually, for signs of deformation and heat. They could also be leaking.

jdandy 07-03-2018 09:34 PM

Tom.......Thank you for the tips. Fortunately I have had some experience trouble shooting electronics. The last item I repaired was two bad caps in a Samsung power supply on a friend's 23" monitor that would not turn on. One cap was bulging at the top and the second one was leaking at the bottom. Two new caps brought the monitor back to life.

The two caps in question for me do not show signs of bulging tops, overheating, or leaking, but JL Audio's tech told me they are paper caps that tend to dry out internally, thus lowering capacitance and raising resistance with no external signs of failure. We will find out. I have a new ESR meter arriving Friday that can test caps in or out of circuit, so this should be a big help in zeroing in on the errant caps. My new caps shipped today, so hopefully by Friday I will have an idea if my attempt to do it myself will prove successful.

jdandy 07-03-2018 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtroo (Post 921710)
Seems to be quite a few threads on JL Audio subwoofers having problems. For the money one pays of these, it seems "odd". Not feeling warm and fuzzy about my 2 f113 v2's. If Dan's subwoofer is a version 2, it can't be more than a couple of years old.

Tim.......My Fathom f113 is the V1 model. I bought it May 29, 2009. Nine years of good service, so I really can't complain. My issue is with the weight and the chore of packing and shipping the whole subwoofer to Miramar, FL. If I can repair the issue myself, that's my first choice. If I cannot repair the amp, then shipping just the amp section makes the most sense for me.

With the issues that have come to light with the V1 models, hopefully JL Audio has made the necessary corrections to internal parts that will improve the mean time between failures of their V2 models.

mtroo 07-03-2018 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921722)
Tim.......My Fathom f113 is the V1 model. I bought it May 29, 2009. Nine years of good service, so I really can't complain. My issue is with the weight and the chore of packing and shipping the whole subwoofer to Miramar, FL. If I can repair the issue myself, that's my first choice. If I cannot repair the amp, then shipping just the amp section makes the most sense for me.

With the issues that have come to light with the V1 models, hopefully JL Audio has made the necessary corrections to internal parts that will improve the mean time between failures of their V2 models.

I am now feeling somewhat warmer and fuzzier. Good luck. I lack your skill set vis a vis electronics, or fixing much of anything really.

tdelahanty 07-04-2018 09:14 AM

Dan you have all the items necessary to build a capacitor in your Kitchen. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on each side of a sheet of waxed paper (keep the foil sheets from touching at the edges) and roll them up, there you have it. Electrolitic caps have some magic goop inside that augments capacitive action and over time the goop can dry up or leak out.

For The Love of Music 07-04-2018 07:49 PM

JL Audio Fathom f113 repair
 
Why not just making the drive if you cannot square away it yourself, I would guess you are around 5 hours - may even get them to repair while you wait?

jdandy 07-04-2018 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by For The Love of Music (Post 921853)
Why not just making the drive if you cannot square away it yourself, I would guess you are around 5 hours - may even get them to repair while you wait?

Ed.......The drive to Miramar is about six hours from my home. That's six hours down and six hours back. I would prefer to use UPS to ship the amp if necessary. The UPS store is only 20 miles from my home. I can be there, do the shipping and payment, and be back home in about an hour. I haven't had the Fathom f113 working for nearly two months so I am not in any rush. Frankly, my PMC EB1i speakers with transmission line loading of the woofers have such a wonderful low end response I haven't felt deprived of bass performance. Even without the Fathom subwoofer my living room system still sounds very good. Just one more reason why I have procrastinated so long about this repair.

I already have the f113 amp on my work bench in the shop. I have the metal plate behind the circuit board removed so accessing the individual parts that I plan to replace will be easy. My new ESR meter and replacement caps should arrive Friday.

For The Love of Music 07-05-2018 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdandy (Post 921857)
Ed.......The drive to Miramar is about six hours from my home. That's six hours down and six hours back. I would prefer to use UPS to ship the amp if necessary. The UPS store is only 20 miles from my home. I can be there, do the shipping and payment, and be back home in about an hour. I haven't had the Fathom f113 working for nearly two months so I am not in any rush. Frankly, my PMC EB1i speakers with transmission line loading of the woofers have such a wonderful low end response I haven't felt deprived of bass performance. Even without the Fathom subwoofer my living room system still sounds very good. Just one more reason why I have procrastinated so long about this repair.

I already have the f113 amp on my work bench in the shop. I have the metal plate behind the circuit board removed so accessing the individual parts that I plan to replace will be easy. My new ESR meter and replacement caps should arrive Friday.



Yes your right, time is precious!

Seconds add to minutes, minutes hours, hours days, days weeks, weeks months, months years, years decades and so on.

PMCH 07-05-2018 10:12 AM

Dan, hope you get your F113 repaired quickly. I have a F113 in my HT system and I am now getting nervous that it may develop the same problem.

nicoff 07-05-2018 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PMCH (Post 921903)
Dan, hope you get your F113 repaired quickly. I have a F113 in my HT system and I am now getting nervous that it may develop the same problem.



Me too. If this is a common occurrence and the culprit is well known, how come JL keeps using the same parts? I had One of muy JLs fail. It was repaired under warranty, but It still cost me money (shipping), aggravation (hurling the heavy unit) and time. [emoji53]

GaryProtein 07-05-2018 12:36 PM

One of my f113 v 1 subs died a few months ago after owning it for about five years. Randy Wagner was terrific about it. He said it needed to be re-capped. I hope my other doesn't have the same problem.

Anyway, the most annoying part of the repair was the shipping. I was told to use Fedex, but my local Fedex was a royal pain in the ass, so I shipped it UPS.

JLAudio shipped it back to me Fedex freight strapped to a pallet. When I asked how much it would cost to ship it freight strapped to a pallet, the cost was astronomical, so it was shipped regular UPS because it was only 147 pounds. 150 would require freight. I am certain JLAudio paid much less shipping it freight than I paid UPS or the quote that I got from Fedex. Having a large commercial account evidently gives them a BIG price discount on shipping costs.

Dan, Thanks for the internal photos. When the other one goes, I may follow your guide and just ship the amp.

mtroo 07-05-2018 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PMCH (Post 921903)
Dan, hope you get your F113 repaired quickly. I have a F113 in my HT system and I am now getting nervous that it may develop the same problem.

Not really sure what a cap is, but there seems to be lots of solid state amps that work for decades without a problem. Can’t JL Audio use a higher quality component? These are not exactly sold as budget subs. If I had read all of this before purchasing two, I probably would have looked elsewhere.

When shipping these to me, one of the subwoofers was damaged and had to be sent back. Return postage was on me as I had waited for my room to be completed before opening the box which was outside of the 30 day window. I sent it back to them, they sent a new subwoofer out and the replacement was also damaged. When I spoke with Barry, he implied it was my fault. Ultimately, the third subwoofer was in great shape. The thought of going through this headache in the next few years gives me heartburn.

Mr. Big 07-05-2018 09:54 PM

I have two f110 v1s and I first heard of the issue with the caps a couple of years ago. I've been waiting for them to crap out and when one goes bad I'll extract both amps and do them at the same time.

thex748 07-06-2018 12:16 AM

I'm hoping this doesn't happen in Version 2 subs.

jdandy 07-06-2018 12:17 AM

Gentlemen.......I would not let this issue dampen your enthusiasm for JL Audio subwoofers. They represent some of the best subs available today from any manufacturer. My Fathom f113 gave me 9 years of daily service without an issue before this problem popped up. If the new capacitors bring it back to life I will most likely get another decade or more of service from it without issue. It is not worth the stress worrying about a failure that hasn't happened yet.

You know how it is with news, only the bad stuff makes it to print. If one considers just how many JL Audio subwoofers have been sold and are still in service without issues, the small number we hear about, mine included, represent a very small percentage of the total JL Audio subwoofers in use. No reason to fret.

Worry is debt paid in advance for something that has not happened yet. It is a waste of time and energy. Crank it up guys. Enjoy your music.

Cohibaman 07-06-2018 12:20 AM

Amen Dan, amen!

Mack 07-06-2018 09:39 AM

Capacitors generally last a long time, but they also fail in other electronic components apart from JL subs. It is the nature of the beast.
Whenever we run into an issue like this, let's consider our glasses half full and not half empty.
We love our music, so enjoy the ride. :music:

ejr1953 07-06-2018 03:16 PM

Good to know the amps can be removed and returned to JL Audio for repair.

I remember very well moving these beasts around! To much for this old guy's frame to handle again!

jdandy 07-06-2018 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ejr1953 (Post 922076)
Good to know the amps can be removed and returned to JL Audio for repair.

I remember very well moving these beasts around! To much for this old guy's frame to handle again!

ejr1953.......Same here. It was all I could do to get the Fathom f113 upstairs and onto the Sound Anchor stand 9 years ago. I don't want to think about trying that again, which is why I sought an alternative. I can handle the 33 lb. amp when it's out of the subwoofer cabinet.

Masterlu 07-06-2018 03:55 PM

If you really want to sober up, try moving a Gotham or two. :eek:

jdandy 07-06-2018 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Masterlu (Post 922115)
If you really want to sober up, try moving a Gotham or two. :eek:

Ivan.......Just reading your post made the lower lumbar region of my back begin to ache. :yes:

Masterlu 07-06-2018 04:10 PM

Dan... 458 lbs each... :yikes:

http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Z...REEHZm4-6l.jpg

-E- 07-06-2018 06:32 PM

Thankfully my V1 is still chugging along, but this thread has my complete attention. Looking forward to your (successful) repairs. Seems like a small/cheap/easy fix that just about any reasonably handy person could accomplish.


Worse-to-worst, at least you've provided a good tutorial on removing the amp section for shipment back to JL - a huge spine-saver!!!!


I'm also not sweating trusting the overall quality of JL... They are beastly and have an overall solid track record (considering how many units are out there versus how many have died).

jdandy 07-06-2018 09:47 PM

Success!


https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1788/...85781f75_o.jpg


My new capacitors and ESR meter arrived late today. UPS didn't show up until nearly 7:00 PM. I immediately got to the task and jumped right on the suspect 100uf/35volt cap in the Stand-by power supply section (red arrow). The ESR meter allows in-circuit testing so I measured the equivalent series resistance while the capacitor was still soldered on the circuit board. I was looking for a value of less than 0.5 ohms for the cap to be considered good. The capacitor read 14.23 ohms, this despite the fact there was no deformity in the top. I measured the new Panasonic capacitor before installing it and got an ESR of 0.288 ohms. Perfect. I removed the failed capacitor and soldered the new one in its place.


https://farm1.staticflickr.com/840/2...49690609_o.jpg


Next I checked the in-circuit ESR of the 33uf/400volt capacitor (yellow arrow). A good reading would be less than 1.2 ohms. The capacitor's equivalent series resistance read 0.564 ohm. Looking good, so I decided to leave this cap in place. I will save the new Nichicon 33uf/400volt capacitor in case I need it in the future. I certainly hope I don't.

I carried the JL Audio Fathom f113 amp back upstairs to the living room, remade all the plug and ground connections, and with the amplifier leaning out of the back of the sub I plugged in the left and right channel inputs and the power cord, then flipped the power switch on the front. Bingo. The Master light came on and the Calibration button illuminated. Next I played Fiona Joy - Signature Synchronicity, "Ceremony", the first track on the CD. It has some excellent synthesized deep bass. Hallelujah, my deep bass is back and the subwoofer is working perfectly. It took another five minutes to get the amp reinstalled in the Fathon's cabinet and screwed down snug. I am back in business. . :yahoo:

So there you have it.The JL Audio f113 Fathom is back in service. Tomorrow I will calibrate the subwoofer again for good measure. The great thing is I never had to move the subwoofer from the Sound Anchor stand, or pack it and ship it to Miramar, Florida. Even better, the entire repair cost less than $10.00 for the capacitors. Color me one happy subwoofer aficionado. . :chillin:

chessman 07-06-2018 10:00 PM

Congrats, Dan! I am envious of your skills. :)


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