Audio Research Reference 250 capacitor issue

One of my reference 250amp fuse blown and found that the capacitor is bad and audio research has upgrade kit to replace Teflon capacitors with latest ones. The also have new wiring in the upgrade kit. Has anyone experienced this ? I see they discontinued Teflon capacitors a year or two back.
Veerapaneni, how can you tell if the amp has old or new capacitors? I have a fairly new ARC 250 so wondering what capacitors I have.

Probably a dumb question but is the upgrade kit free? Similar to a recall if Teflon caps are defective ...
The old Teflon capacitors are white ones and the new ones are gold color and small size. The kit for both Amps is around 1200-1300 as I my warranty expired.
1200-1300 is reasonable. How do they sound compare to originals? Did ARC perform the fix?
Just sent an e mail to Kal at ARC. I own a Ref 5 SE pre and Ref 150 amp. Both amps have white Teflon caps. His answer may be relevant to the OP's Qs.
This very point has been discussed elsewhere,

"Well,whilst I have no doubt that the recent ARC models IE; Ref75 ,Ref10, which appear to have never been supplied, and Pertinently, advertised with the ( 40 anniversary development ) White Teflon capacitors, will no doubt continue to impress and delight with superb sonics, those models were never Promoted and Marketed as supplied with Teflon capacitors, therefore all is well.

For my part what rather upsets me about this situation Is the Fact that ARC made a great deal of advertised promotional positive out of the Ref150 being supplied with said capacitors, as an integral part of the enhanced design of this model and It is the Ref150 With Teflon CC's that I spent no little time demo-ing in order to be completely sure in my mind of said purchase.

Having spent way too much time (than any sane person should) A/B ing most of the high quality PolyP, Film/ Foil and Teflon ( V-Cap, AuraT ) in my own re-build and DIY equipment, this point of component inclusion in the Ref150 formed an integral part in my considered selection of that model,when in reality I could probably have been well enough served, power output wise, by the Ref 75, at some cost saving to myself.

Had ARC, as per the fine print escape clause, supplied my Ref 150 with an like for like substitution of Teflon coupling capacitors then IMHO,

A, ARC would have complied with their duty of care toward their customer and B, I would have been content !

My sincere apologies to all fellow members exposed to this minor personal rant"
1200 for a few caps and some wire that you have to solder your self seems steep to me. How many caps are they giving you, what is the value and what are they made of? This is something they should sell you a cost. Seems like they are making a profit off the back of a defect.
Raymonda, first ... let's see what Kal comes back with. Second, there are 4 caps in each of my Ref 5 SE pre and Ref 150 amp. If each cap costs $300, that's $1200.
Hi Veerapaneni - can you tell us how old the amps are. thanks.
This is something they should sell you a cost.
How can ARC stay in business if sell at cost?

Seems like they are making a profit off the back of a defect.
It appears to me Veerapaneni had a cap failure and not all white caps are defective. Nothing is perfect. Since his amps are out of warranty, he has to pay for the repair.

I checked my Ref250 and it has a combination of white and gold caps. There are many reasons companies change parts and not only for SQ.
My Amps are with Technician at this time and I will get them back Tomorrow. I have to burn the Amps again for couple of hundred hours. I guess the reason ARC not using teflon caps anymore is because if failure rate is high. I only had 650 hrs on my Amp and they are 3 years old .
Agree that that repair fee is a rip for an amp that is essentially new…really ARC?
Gents, I hope I do not get a corroborating report from Kal at ARC. I would be .... extremely disappointed.
So we all thought those big fat white Teflon caps were the audio cat's meow only to discover they are kitty litter??
I don't mind paying for the parts but only hope the current ones last longer, and premium equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars should have a better warranty IMHO .
How many caps failed? I've own tens of thousands dollars not ARC equipment and components fails too. Shot happens.

Are your statements on the white caps based on facts from ARC? My Ref250 is months old and has a combination of white and gold caps so if white caps are known to be problematic, I doubt ARC will continue using them.

According to your system page, you bought Ref250 used with 200 hrs so you put 450 hrs in 3 years. I thought ARC warranty is not transferable and only valid for orig owner.
Upgrade kit to replace the teflon caps that failed...... if you are counting on in field failure rate and repair to keep your business floating.....well....

Sutherland, MSB and Classe are examples of business that did repairs for me at no cost. As well as Sutherland and MSB both did upgrades without charging me or me even asking. These are companies I have done repeat business and recommended to others. That is how you make a profit and stay in business. I'm not saying they shouldn't charge for parts but rather at least they should be at cost.
Kal has been out on vacation. Let's see what he has to say.
There are 2 white caps infront of 8 Tubes in each Amp and one of them failed. But I have to replace all 4 . Also part of upgrade ARC has sent new cables which are connected to the Balanced outpu (The cables which are running from front of the board to outputs)
I was looking at buying an used Ref 150. I got the serial number from the seller and asked ARC tech when it was manufactured. It was in 2011.

I then asked if there is any difference in terms of innards - components used - in the 2013/2014 Ref 150 versus one manufactured back in 2011. He told me the earlier ones has white Teflon caps, but due to 'no more supply' of those caps, ARC switched to the gold color Teflon caps.

I then asked him if there is any quality (sound quality) difference, and he said "you probably won't hear any difference".

There was no mention of any reliability aspect of that white cap versus the new gold cap.
this mix of white and gold cap got me thinking ...

You were offered the whole kit - which consists of all the caps, for what reason?

Because ARC feels its an 'upgrade' (i.e, better parts, better sound)?

Or because ARC doesn't have the old white cap in stock any longer, and because you cannot have a mix of them in your amp, therefore you had to buy the whole kit and replace all the caps? But then, one of you mentioned that your Ref 250 contains a mix of white and gold foil Teflon caps. So what's the deal then?

If you have one of the more recently manufactured amp with the gold foil Teflon cap, and one cap goes back, does it mean that you only need to buy/pay one cap as replacement?

I am going to call Kalvin at ARC and ask him these questions tomorrow.
Been passing messages with Kal. I asked some follow up Qs that pose the same Qs as posed above. I'll report back.

Btw, Kal mentioned that the G Series should hit the stores soon. He sent me a spec sheet on G Serie gear. The G-150 has almost identical specs to the Ref 150, e.g., wpc, power supply, etc. The wpc spec was a little higher than the Ref 150, but I attribute that to the KT-150 tube.

Kal said the KT-150 are still not approved for the current Ref line. I think this is about marketing.
My understanding from digging was that the white caps were great but that there were problems with some of those caps early on in production. Not to worry, ARC tests the caps to make sure they are free from defects before install and the defective ones were returned to the manufacturer. I was also told that if the caps passed the initial testing and were installed, they were good for as long as any other caps.
ARC was hoping for the longest time that the manufacturer could continue and/or increase production--indeed, ARC's wait for these caps was the main reason for the long delays in upgrading the Ref 5 and the Ref Phono 2 to SE which included an upgrade of the caps.
In the end, the manufacturer either could not come through with enough product in time, ceased production or went under so ARC looked elsewhere for caps. Hence the gold caps. If you have white caps, rest easy
I think you will find that the "New" coupling capacitors are in fact an Film n Foil job as a-posed to the previously employed teflon's.

If you look carefully under the hood on older production units you will also notice that ARC utilised a smaller Teflon bypass capacitor in parallel with the main coupling capacitors, the later units sporting the Gold FnF no longer require this bypass cap as presumably these are wider bandwidth capable.

Personally, I would not be best pleased were ARC to Ship my unit back, post service, sporting a mix of older Teflon's and FnF's.
I think the old Teflon capacitors are not able to handle high voltages and arc replaced them with new gold color capacitors. They are continuing using Teflon capacitors in preamps but discontinued in amplifiers. I have 30 hrs on my capacitors and they sound pretty good. Don't hear any difference. After 100hrs of breakin they should sound better.
Here's an excerpt from some Qs and As between Kal and me re the Teflon caps. Kal's responses are in quotes.

Thanks Kal and welcome back. Gotta a couple of follow up Qs re white Teflon caps.

1. If the teflons are working, do they sound as good as the replacement gold caps? "YES"

2. How would I know if the white teflons are NOT working. Would there be some sound degradation or would it be like an “on and off switch” … the teflons work … or they do not work?? IOW, If defective, would I ... lose a channel. "You would not be able to bias the output tubes."

That's it. Just checked the bias on my Ref 150's KT-120s. All seems ok, so far.


Btw, anyone experience similar issues with the Teflon caps in the Ref 5 SE or Ref Phono 2 SE??
The teflon caps in my Ref 40, Ref 150 and Ref Phono 2SE have not only had no problems, but to my ears are one of the main reasons that the sound of this generation of ARC gear is so much better than the last. I'm not giving mine up.
Gpgr4blu ... My plan is to stick too. Will need a retube in my Ref 150 in a couple of months. There's an authorized ARC tech who lives near my house. I may have him do the retube of my amp and to bias the tubes. At the same time, I'll ask him to check the coupling caps.
Just got a free recap on my Ref Phono 2SE. I upgraded from Phono 2 to Phono 2SE, but after some hundreds of hours break-in the white teflon caps sounded dull and liveless.
Brill ... please clarify. Did ARC simply fold on the white Teflon cap issue and replace for no charge the white caps for the new gold foil caps?? No questions asked??

ARC upgraded my Ref 5 to the SE version in 2013 and used the white Teflon caps. By now the Teflon caps are fully broken in. I think the SE version sounds better than the old Ref 5, but how can one tell if the Teflon caps sound dull and lifeless ... as compared to what???
"Dull and lifeless" sounds like a tube issue, not caps.
"Dull and liveless" compared to the sound just after the upgrade, when the phono played wonderfull. After a long break-in it never reached this level again.
Of course I first changed the tubes (both steering tubes and the power tube), but with no result. So probably one or more caps did broke down. After recap (white teflon again) the Phono 2SE worked fine again.