AVR 300 Powers up, 8 seconds, powers off

My AVR 300 is 4 years old and has developed a problem.

It will power up and begin it's self check, then shuts off.

I opened it up, and there is a large capacitor (3300Uf) on
what looks like the Digital Analog board (the big board that
lays flat along the bottom of the chassis under the add-on
cards, which is bulging. It also has a darkening of the
board under that capacitor like it has been heating and cooling there.

I can't see any other caps that are bulging, including the
The diodes around that cap are larger than the others on
that board.

Someone mentioned that they had a PDF file for this model, which was a schematic?

It was expressly for finding the problem diodes. But Id
be curious if anyone has any thoughts on this
The bulging cap is most likely the reason for shutting down. Try replacing it if you feel comfortable with doing so. The discoloration is from it getting too hot. I would also stop trying to power it up before any additional damage could be done if the cap does actually blow.
I used to be the tech for an Arcam Service Center, and let me tell you the entire line of AVR's (2XX-3XX)apart from the AVR200, had overheating motherboards and the new (then)lead-free solder and the rectifier diodes failed like mad.

The problem was that all rectification (AC to DC conversion) and regulation (keeping 12 volts 12 volts) was on the motherboard with almost no cooling from the fan that was located under the power amps' heatsinks. The AVP700 was even worse since it didn't even have cooling vents in the top cover. I also felt they under spec'd the regulator IC's since they got hot enough to burn skin.

Their first warranty solution was for us to remove the motherboard, replace 24 rectifier diodes with beefier, and now stood-off the board for heat dissipation, 3A diodes and be done with it, but there were hundreds of now overheated solder joints (that the Distributor refused to compensate the labor for but I reworked anyway since the board was out).

After they realized that the first solution was simply prolonging the inevitable, they began to replace the motherboards with now much larger heat sink'd regulators and the beefier diodes installed. I love Arcam and their dedication to great sound, but this series of receivers must have nearly put them down with what could have easily been 100% failure rates. Between the then new lead free solder (which was a learning curve for everyone a few years ago) to the poor cooling, these units were putting my kid thru school.

That 3300uF cap will need replacing, but wait til you see all the bad solder joints under every diode and regulator.
Oh, I have the documentation you need to fix this, but there are no instructions on removing the motherboard and that alone is daunting; you need to remove the dozens of philips screws on the back so the back panel can be pulled away allowing the vertical daughterboards to be pulled STRAIGHT UP. If you try to pull the daughterboards without releasing the rear panel you will bend the hell out of the connectors of the motherboard.

Send me an email and I will locate the repair Bulletins for that unit.

Is there a way to buy or otherwise obtain a replacement motherboard? I have no problem replacing the Cap. Thats easy. But the heating of the board? don't care for that
at all!

I'd love to get some service guide for pulling the board. It LOOKS Daunting, but Ive serviced some ugly jobs in the past and I have some stamina for this job.
As with MOST brands, including McIntosh and nearly all others, there are almost never disassembly instructions. (My other employer dCS Ltd., now their Service Manuals are totally comprehensive and written with everything you need, but this is rare.). Most often you get an exploded view that has to suffice.

Most "service manuals" are simply schematics.

I can send you an AVR300 Service Manual/schematics/ and 3 or 4 service bulletins regarding overheating. Just send me an email.


I too have an AVR 300 with the similar problem. This first happened to me 2 months after I bought one used here on Audiogon. I called ASL, the former distributor for Arcam, and they had ne send the unit to Audiowright in Columbus, OH. In June of 2006 the software was updated and all diodes were replaced. 2 weeks ago the same problem occurred. I spoke with Audiowright in late December and they indicated this was a widespread issue, and in all likelihood all the capacitors and the board for the power supply would likely have to be replaced. If you are not technically savvy enough to do it yourself, the repairs would likely be $400 or more, provided they could get the parts. Since I have never had a problem with equipment failures like this (I still have a working 26 year old Nakamichi tape deck), I wrote to Arcam expressing my displeasure with their product. Earlier this week I heard from Michael Marko, the senior Arcam product manager with American Audio and Video, the current Arcam distributor. Mr. Marko had been with ASL and moved to AAV when Arcam changed distibutors 3 years ago in 2008. In his email to me Mr. Marko admitted there were problems with the AVR 300 power supply (not a smart move from a legal perspective), stated Arcam was working on a repair kit but they were no longer manufacturing complete replacement boards. Moreover he could not guarantee that the repair kit, whenever available, would actualy cure the problem once and for all. Mr. Marko did offer me a discount on buying one of their current products, or the new AVR 400 due out in February or March. Via phone he indicated the discount would be 20% which is "what is in line for what we have done with other customers who have had similar issues."

What Arcam is doing is analagous to a car manufacturer who knows they have a faulty design or part that causes a product to fail, but who refuses to issue a recall or extend warranty coverage due to the faulty design (can you say Ford Pinto anyone). Moreover they will not manufacture replacement parts to repair the isssue, but they will offer you a discount to buy a newer, more expensive version of their product. Does that sound reasonable to anyone with a ounce of functioning grey matter in their cranium?

And lest anyone think the new Arcams are better, the initial AVR 600 and AVR 500 were also made in China. I have spoken to 2 dealers who could not keep working versions of demos in their stores until Arcam switched production from China to Britain 4 months ago. And the new AVR 400 will also be made in China. Good luck with that.

Since the price of the AVR 300 for resale has nosedived since it lacks HDMI and people are aware of the power supply issues, the cost of fixing these may be more that what the receivers are worth. As a physician, I am naturally inclined to avoid lawyers at almost all costs, but I wonder whether a class action suit may not be the only way to get Arcam to actually do the right thing and back up their very expensive products. Your comments or suggestions are welcome.
So if not the Arcam AVR then what, NAD models? If so what is equivelant in an NAD to the AVR 400?
This is an old post, but I'll chime in anyway. The Arcam AVR 400 is super dependable. I'm a dealer, and have not had an issue with any I've sold. The 360 is the same. The 600's that have the updates are dependable as well. They and the 500's had issues in the beginning. I've used a 600 for the better part of a year, at home. It never missed a beat. Not anything like the early models mentioned. FWIW, I have an entire system at home and love it. (Amp, pre/pro, DVD/CD player)
Thanks for this folks! Was considering a used 350, but now ... not.