Gentle Warning - Arcam Repair Service

shug4476

Active Member
Just a word to the wise on this.

I have two Arcam P7s and one of them I recently sent to Arcam for a service.

The amp is getting long in the tooth now - I don't think it's even been in production for about 12 years so it is probably older again than that. From memory it came into production in 2003. So it's likely anywhere between 12 and 17 years old.

Arcam were quite vague in correspondence about what exactly they offer - they said they do not "service" amps, they instead "repair" them for a flat fee. The fee, I was told, if no fault was found, was £105. However, assuming a fault were found, the flat repair fee is £380 plus carriage. I think I paid £425.

I do have an engineering background and the amp had begun to sound dynamically flat and had a 'hum'. The very obvious candidate, especially given the pedigree of the amp, would be that it needs a recap and this is what I expected Arcam to do.

However, their "Repair" consisted of adjusting the bias and changing some pots and relays. The total value of the hardware put in was probably £20-30. Obviously this meant they charged the full whack £425. The caps were left untouched.

The amp came back and the hum is still there. I wrote to Arcam to express my surprise that not a single capacitor needed replacing in such an aged multichannel amp. I got a fairly shirty reply that they do not "service" amps they merely bench test them to see if they are performing to the published spec (it was not clear whether they tested it on arrival or not).

So my advice is, if you genuinely have a broken P7 or another Arcam amp and it needs repair then the flat fee structure might make sense.

However if what you want is all components to be checked and the defective ones replaced, I have found Arcam extremely vague about what they offer and then defensive when questioned.

The position I am at now is I am going to have the amp independently checked and see where to go from there.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
After having a arcam alpha 9 with the noisy input problem I wouldn't buy another arcam product.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
I had a P7 some years ago that had issues on several channels. I passed it onto one of my local dealers who forwarded it to Arcam. They assessed it and replaced any components that needed replacing and gave it another full test afterwards. This was also for a flat charge and it worked out really well for me.
Was all done in a reasonable amount of time well.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Ask Kevin green what that £400 will get you.

Our family has electronics repair and we wouldn't charge £400 for bias adjustment and running it through oscilloscope.
 

shug4476

Active Member
I had a P7 some years ago that had issues on several channels. I passed it onto one of my local dealers who forwarded it to Arcam. They assessed it and replaced any components that needed replacing and gave it another full test afterwards. This was also for a flat charge and it worked out really well for me.
Was all done in a reasonable amount of time well.

For some people it will undoubtedly be good value but it seems unless a capacitor has failed, Arcam will not replace it.

As an amp designer will tell you, you shouldn't leave capacitors in until they fail!
 

shug4476

Active Member

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
My understanding, although I am not resident in UK and the conditions there may be different, is that you get a 6 month warranty on the product as part of that servicing. Since you sent the P7 in for resolution of a hum and "The amp came back and the hum is still there", you should be able to return the P7 for resolution of the problem under warranty. Even if you don't have a warranty in UK, you should be entitled to a repair, having paid for one, under consumer protection laws.

Your mail implies that you asked Arcam about capacitor replacement, rather than simply playing ignorant and asking about the course of action to take given that the P7 has been returned but was still not operating correctly.

I had a similar issue (inadequate repair) with my Arcam CD82 many years ago having intermittent tracking issues. The first "repair" (no replacement of the laser tracking) did not resolve the issue, the CD82 went back to have the fault resolved, and this time the player was repaired, at no additional charge to me (but of course the dealer had shipping costs). I still have the player.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
If we put the lack of fix aside, as that is definitely an issue that needs dealing with, what’s the problem here?
You knew what the service offered was. Knew the cost whether a twist of a screwdriver or full rebuild and agreed to that service. The time to disagree was before booking in. Not now.
 

shug4476

Active Member
If we put the lack of fix aside, as that is definitely an issue that needs dealing with, what’s the problem here?
You knew what the service offered was. Knew the cost whether a twist of a screwdriver or full rebuild and agreed to that service. The time to disagree was before booking in. Not now.

I wrote to them before explaining the problem and the advice was that they offer a flat repair which would cover whatever it was they unearthed.

They did not say "we will not replace any capacitors unless they have clearly failed". It never even occurred to me that such an old amplifier would not be recapped by the manufacturer. This would be standard for other manufacturers.
 

shug4476

Active Member
My understanding, although I am not resident in UK and the conditions there may be different, is that you get a 6 month warranty on the product as part of that servicing. Since you sent the P7 in for resolution of a hum and "The amp came back and the hum is still there", you should be able to return the P7 for resolution of the problem under warranty. Even if you don't have a warranty in UK, you should be entitled to a repair, having paid for one, under consumer protection laws.

It is a 12 month warranty I think.

I am proceeding as I outlined - have an independent repair service examine the amp and see what they find.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member

shug4476

Active Member

 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member

That does t say that as part of a standard fixed priced service they’d recap. If you expected a recap why didn’t you ask. Also expecting that level of work from an OEM for that money is hopeful at best.
I guess what I’m saying is before knocking a companies service manage your expectations properly and realistically.
 

shug4476

Active Member
That does t say that as part of a standard fixed priced service they’d recap. If you expected a recap why didn’t you ask. Also expecting that level of work from an OEM for that money is hopeful at best.
I guess what I’m saying is before knocking a companies service manage your expectations properly and realistically.

People can read the thread and make up their own mind about whether the service is worth using.

On what basis is it "hopeful at best"? What specific knowledge or examples do you have of amplifier servicing costs?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
People can read the thread and make up their own mind about whether the service is worth using.

On what basis is it "hopeful at best"? What specific knowledge or examples do you have of amplifier servicing costs?

None other than knowing the time involved from doing my own. I do know to nail down the cost and scale of works before not after though.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I understand your argument that if you wanted the hum repaired, and it came back still humming, then they haven't repaired it. But what is the issue with the capacitors?
 

shug4476

Active Member

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
FWIW I had a friend rebuild my P7 when a channel failed. He repaired the failed channel first, which was some PCB track that had lifted due to a failed transistor, which he also replaced (might have been more than one) plus some minor resistors and smaller capacitors. Then proceeded to replace the capacitors and bias pots (because they were intermittent) on all the channels and set the bias so it doesn't get hot.

He didn't charge me any labor, as I'd previously given him my failed P1000 which he got working and still uses. :) However, even after lots of shopping around the parts bill was the best part of £300 IIRC. He might have gone for higher spec parts than original, at least on some particular aspect, but I can't remember the details.

However, it was a number of years ago now and the point being that there wouldn't be any profit for Arcam even allowing for that they can buy in bulk, seeing how much the parts cost for my P7. Getting a £3k amp rebuild good as new for £400 seems a little optimistic, though I appreciate £400 isn't chicken feed.

(It'll probably pack up now I've posted that :eek: ).
 
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shug4476

Active Member
FWIW I had a friend rebuild my P7 when a channel failed. He repaired the failed channel first, which was some PCB track that had lifted due to a failed transistor, which he also replaced (might have been more than one) plus some minor resistors and smaller capacitors. Then proceeded to replace the capacitors and bias pots (because they were intermittent) on all the channels and set the bias so it doesn't get hot.

He didn't charge me any labor, as I'd previously given him my failed P1000 which he got working and still uses. :) However, even after lots of shopping around the parts bill was the best part of £300 IIRC. He might have gone for higher spec parts than original, at least on some particular aspect, but I can't remember the details.

However, it was a number of years ago now and the point being that there wouldn't be any profit for Arcam even allowing for that they can buy in bulk, seeing how much the parts cost for my P7. Getting a £3k amp rebuild good as new for £400 seems a little optimistic, though I appreciate £400 isn't chicken feed.

(It'll probably pack up now I've posted that :eek: ).

It depends how much you spend on the components and whether you keep a reserve of them or need to buy ad hoc. Usually a manufacturer would keep a stock of parts or suitable substitutes.

I couldn't find some of the P7 capacitors for sale anywhere. Obviously a higher rated replacement will do fine.

I could easily spend many multiples of the value of the P7 on capacitors alone if I were so inclined!
 

shug4476

Active Member
Also, should add, £2,700 retail but the returns on the retail price need to cover R&D, marketing, distribution, running production etc etc.

Repairs cover parts and labour plus a small uplift for the manufacturer. Obviously part of the bargain is some pieces of kit need more extensive repairs than others and the flat fee structure is a sort of collective insurance product (everybody pays the same and some people draw on that fee more than others).

However... still deeply dubious that not a single cap in there needed replacing after 15 years of heavy usage!
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Fool on you buying arcam twice then!
 

dfdd

Well-known Member
some companies are on a good number servicing amps and re capping etc....but i have read somewhere that it is not necessary unless the amp is exhibiting problems
 

AMCross

Well-known Member
i think the OP has a fair point that one off charge is a disgrace they obviously use it to just swap main boards and no component level repairs are done

but i would definetly go back to arcam as say original hum fault is still evident

lost faith in arcam myself after many repairs on the xeta / delta range and that when they did seem to care
 

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