Microelectronics | Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100

Synopsis

I decided to replace the junk Fujicon electrolytic capacitors in this digital to analog converter. The operation should be insanely easy given the low electrolytic capacitor count. Problem is that most of them have at least one pin soldered to either a ground or a power plane. This requires a very powerful soldering iron since the planes sink a lot of heat. I used a 360 degrees Celsius thermoregulated soldering iron for the job.

I used Nichicon PWM series capacitors for the supply filters and Nichicon Muse BP for the outputs.

I absolutely hate working on cheap China PCBs soldered with RoHS solder. While this PCB quality is acceptable, the solder used on this one is no exception. I always use eutectic solder for my DIY projects and things go well. However I had to use strong 99% acetone to clean the flux on the PCB. The original assembly was a very dirty job and I feel that some parts were hand soldered as there were soldermask scratches and solder blobs all over the place. The old flux is the worst I've ever seen. Smells bad and responds little to 99.99% isopropyl alcohol. Thus... acetone is the name of the game. Stinks but gets the job done in a timely manner.

How about the sound? A little bit more open on the higher end of the spectrum. But I suspect the MUSE BP parts for this improvement. Don't get me wrong, this DAC was sounding OK before the capacitor replacement. But I feel it's better now. Construction-wise at least.

Pictures

Here are some pictures that I took during this operation.

Hopefully this DAC will hold forever as I am very happy with how it performs.


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