Did I get Switcherood? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-26-2004, 01:35 PM
I took in my Sony ES 555 receiver to the authorized repair shop, to repair the motorized volume knob which no longer moved via remote control. (first time and it is 4 years old)

Anyway they fixed it under warranty.

When I went to pick it up... I noticed that their was white goop around the power transistors that are screwed to the Heat sink. It was kind of messily applied, and find it hard to believe it was there when I dropped it off.

So I came to one of the 3 conclusions:
1. I am imagining the white stuff not being there before.
2. They applied the white stuff free of charge to improve the performance of the transistors.
3. I have been taken advantage of and they removed my ES quality transistors and replaced them with lower grade parts.

I will post a reply tommorow after I give it a carefull listen.

Have any of you ever heard of part swapping when you or anyone else has taken a unit to be serviced??

02-26-2004, 08:01 PM
If it was a sony authorized repair shop then your probably ok. If your really nervous about it, you could take it to a second authorized repair shop and get their opinion on it. Have you asked them (whoever fixed it) what the white goop is for when all you needed was to have the volume knob fixed? I wouldn't just sit on it, something like that can bug you for a long time

02-27-2004, 03:41 AM
Have any of you ever heard of part swapping when you or anyone else has taken a unit to be serviced??I doubt that this happened. It'd be more trouble than it's worth just for some transistors. An easy way to find out is to see what the part number for the transistors should be. The number should be printed right on the face of each transistor. If that differs from what Sony says should be in place, then yes, you have an issue. A phone call to an authorized service center should get you the "real" part number.

02-27-2004, 08:20 AM
Well hello again...

I went home hooked up the receiver and it definatly does not sound the same. It is brighter and missing some richness in the bass.

Took the lid off the unit and sure enough I can see the old footprint of where the old transistors were and they were bigger the new ones are smaller and I can see fresh solder on the board.

I am getting a little ticked off.

I wrote down the numbers and am calling SONY corporate service center ASAP.

I think I will take digital pics and mail them.

see ya guys

02-27-2004, 09:41 AM
The white goop is heat sink compound and should be there, it helps the transistors to make better thermo contact with the heat sink, you probably just didn't notice it before. Sometimes you get you fingers into some of this when your working around the heat sink and then you end up smearing it all over the place.

02-29-2004, 11:25 AM
There are two apparent outcomes here

1. The power transistors WERE switched, and the unit may then have a valid reason to sound 'different' to ciscokid1970. Then no new light will be shed on "sighted" perceived differences.
a. Someone pulled a 'rip-off' on ciscokid1970 and stole his transistors.......
b. There is/was a silent recall from Sony, perhaps because of safety, and so the power transistors were changed without telling/asking ciscokid1970. Not a best practice.

2. The power transistors WERE NOT switched, and the unit should then have no apparent reason to sound 'different'. ciscokid1970's perceived difference would, of course, seem to be a "sighted" perceived difference as ciscokid1970 believed something WAS changed and now he perceives an audible difference.

Gosh, this is exciting. The Audiopile Cable & Interconnects World awaits the results of ciscokid1970's query to Sony........

02-29-2004, 04:19 PM
I work in a pro audio shop as a service tech and i always touch up solder joints on things like transistors or multipin connectors whenever i am inside of an amp. it's just good practice, i also apply thremal compound where needed. that is something every tech should do just as good practice. the fact they look smaller is something i can't explain, just ask the repair shop and see what they say. i always include a bag full of parts i replace when working on a piece of gear just so the customer can see exactly what was changed. check the part numbers that is the best thing you can do, but i have never heard of anyone changing out parts only to take them. it's too much effort and time. there may have been an issue with one of the transistors and as you should do with any amp you change them all when one goes bad.

03-02-2004, 12:50 PM
Ok here goes.

After the sound test...which was different. I called sony...which was barely helpful...they at first told me to call a 900 number (which is blocked at work, blocked on my personal mobile and did not try at home.

Finally I called sony again and they told me to take it to another service center, So I did.

Took it in and spoke to the tech told him my story, as he opened up the top.

He noticed what I noticed, white goop all over the place and smaller transistors on the heat sink. He looked up the numbers and sure enough they were the transistors for the DB series (which is between the ES and the el cheapo sonys).

The tech offered two scenarios:
1. Swapped my parts out for cheaper parts to fix a out of warranty unit or stock himself up (although the tech thought this is highly unlikely).
2. the original tech damaged one of the transistors when he moved the board to get to the servo motor that needed to be replaced. Did not tell me and did not want to wait for the ES parts to be delivered so he used what he had that almost fits. (This is most likely scenario.

Anyway the new tech will replace all the transistors with REAL ES transistors and replace the board that may have been shorted. It will take another week before the parts are in. Aparently these parts (transistors and board) are worth over $300

After I get it repaired I will write a letter to the first shop...and ask them what really happened.

So moral of the story...before you take your unit in...whatever it is...take some digital pics of the inside to compare before and after.

03-02-2004, 04:19 PM
Not really a pretty conclusion. This scenario sounds disappointing at best........

At lease cisco followed up on his audible concerns, and apparently will get resolution.

I had a Naki deck years ago that had received a massive circuit board kluge job... jumper wires added all over it. I had the board replaced, but ultimately the unit was still less reliable than I expected.

Fortunately I have had very few equipment problems, and most of those were handled in exemplary fashion. Now, excuse me while I visit some wood........

03-04-2004, 06:35 AM
As I've always said, they are OK when they work but when they fail, and they do seem prone to that, fixing them is a problem.

Sometimes stereotypes (no pun intended) came into existence for a reason.

But, just like Bose, they have a lock on name recognition and probably won't feel a thing.

03-09-2004, 10:21 AM
This is pretty much the end.

I picked up my Sony ES receiver yesterday from the second shop. He even opened the top to show me his work.

Bigger transistors are back...actually according to the tech they are much more than transistors (they have 5 leads) and contain some logic and power control parts.

That tech is a big fan of the Sony ES equipment, he likes that the place things in modules and have lots of protective circuits. He compared the insides to a yamaha, and onkyo and you can see the difference (he is less impressed with the newer yamaha and onkyos). He says that the ES line has the same build quality that you see in the top end Denon and Marantz.

We chatted for quite a while (we even talked speakers but we do not have enough time for that)

Any way for a extra $20 he had replaced the power caps with the biggest ones that will fit in the case and replaced some of the caps on the board with polyester film caps. This really helps the dynamics.

Separate note: I changed the caps on my speaker crossovers to polpfilm caps and it made a huge difference (this is how we started talking about speakers).

As I had said before I have been very impressed with this receiver, the only thing that has broken was the volume knob motor.

It was late when I got out of that shop so I did not have enough time to stop at the first shop and give them a piece of my mind. I think I will report them to the BBB and end it at that.

03-12-2004, 12:17 PM
As stated previously, if not resolved, this can bug you for a lifetime. I'm glad that you took the effort to get a second opinion and resolve the issue. As for me, I will definitely look at the inside of mine before I take it in to a repair shop.

03-28-2004, 08:27 PM
I've been hearing alot of nightmare stories lately involving Sony ES gear and their service centers. The ES quality (both build and service) seems to have slipped enough within the past 5 years that many are vowing never to buy from them again. Your story is just the latest. I almost got an ES SACD player. Got the cheaper one instead. If it dies I'm not out that much and can just chuck it. Once the warranty runs out on yours and something goes wrong, I'd seriously give serious thought to either Denon or Marantz for a replacement. Their quality is a touch better.