I may go there & post about my recently "fried" (according to C-J) PFR pre-amp :-(. Oh well. But thanks for the tip; I'll check out that site.
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"There is a "troubleshooting" topic area on conradjohnsonowners.com so that may be a good place to post your issue. Maybe somebody can give some advise about repairing it."
Well, I'd do that if I could find out from C-J repair what exactly is wrong with it. It's been there since June 14. Other than a couple of conversations with Ed a few weeks ago that it was "fried" (he couldn't tell me why, or a specific diagnosis), that's all I know.
Oh, & he promised to call me back, but never did, & now doesn't respond to phone messages. I know he's there, b/c sometimes a secretary answers, & says she'll put me thru, but then he's always "on another call, & will call me back", (but doesn't).
Only way to get thru to him now is if he happens to P/U the phone himself, but he can't or won't tell me anything, promises to call me back, but never does.....
08-22-12: Steveaudiothis does not sound good at all & very un-becoming of C-J. this could mean 2 things: (1) that C-J themselves do not understand what the issue is & (2) they understand the issue very well & are embarrassed to share that info w/ you as it might be a very basic error that they did not catch during their own QC.
I bought an ET3-SE +phono and took delivery two days before Christmas, 2011. Every light on the front panel lit up like my christmas tree. Nothing worked right. I spoke with Ed personally 1/3/12 and it took irate phone calls to the salesman to get any kind of response, 7/12. Six months. During this time, I would consistently lose volume. It finally shamed cj enough to respond to my concerns. Here is one of Eds replies: " There are a couple of causes for odd behavior by a remote controllable preamp. One is a voltage fluctuation
of the AC coming out of the wall socket. This is most likely after a power interruption. Another is static electricity, especially in cold weather.
The cure for both is to unplug the unit from the AC for 90 seconds or so, which will let the affected microprocessor to reset. To prevent the problems, for the AC fluctuation, if at all possible, unplug the preamp from the wall socket when there is a power outage. For the static, the best way is to discharge yourself on something not connected to your system. One thing to try is running a piece of generic speaker wire to the screw holding the wall plate on the AC outlet (make sure that the screw is not painted over, as then it would not conduct). If you have wool or synthetic carpet in your listening room, spritz the carpet with Sta-Puff laundry treatment (this actually works). Or, if it is visually acceptable, put bamboo mats over the carpet near your equipment stand. What we find more and more to be a cause of erratic preamp behavior these days is having a Wi-Fi device or a laptop with a remote port on the same room as the preamp. These can "talk" to the preamp and make it do odd things. If you have either or both, remove it/them from the room (if possible) and note if the preamp still has a problem. If that is not practical, move the preamp to another room, and observe it there. The problems you describe are almost certainly caused by one of the above factors."
I sent the preamp back to cj, they've had it two weeks and not a word. CJ is certainly aware of this problem so buyer beware!
08-22-12: Bogeybuster49: "Every light on the front panel lit up like my christmas tree."..."a voltage fluctuation
of the AC coming out of the wall socket. This is most likely after a power interruption."
The "Every light on the front panel lit up like my christmas tree" is what happened to my PF-R. During a sudden rainstorm. I didn't see any lightening, but there could have been a brownout, or who knows. (I was rushing around the house unplugging electronics as fast as I could).
I suspect certain C-J components are easily damaged by any kind of power interruption. (I have a couple of other examples, but I'd rather not go into it).
I've kind of just "written off" the PF-R. Whether they ever send it back to me after 9 weeks & counting, I don't know. Whether it's really "fried" like Ed said during one of the rare times I could speak to him, I could totally believe, if they actually told me a specific diagnosis.
I've owned ET3, ET5 and GAT preamps. They all use the identical front panel logic/control board. (I've changed firmware in them, so I can confirm this first hand)
The units are susceptible to static electricity, but no more than any other device, and as far as voltage fluctuations, well again, they are no more susceptible than any other device micro-controller controlled device. There's nothing special in there. They are also susceptible to remote codes from other devices causing the CJ to get a bit flaky
I've never experienced the Christmas-Tree on any of the 3 preamps.I have zapped them or one way or the other caused them to stop functioning properly. Worst case took a power removal to cure and all was fine after.
The control board takes about 2 minutes to change out, so, it could be confirmed instantly if it's at fault. It would not be impossible in any way for there to be an intermittent solder connection or such on the control board that could cause an intermittent "Xmas Tree".
Did you issue with the bad unit every get resolved. Very unusual situation as the people at CJ have alway been super responsive to any issue or problem that I have ever called them about. I had some tube issues with my PV12 and they dealt with the issue in a few days. Hope your ET3 is back in operation!
I had a problem with my PV-12, and I troubleshot it down to a shorted winding in the secondary of the transformer. While a short in the primary would blow a fuse, not so in the secondary. This could cause all the lights to come on and other strange problems.
Since this wire was very fine, and now people mention other problems that could be caused by the same problem, I believe it's a design flaw in all CJ's. Why they used wire that was so fine in the transformer is beyond me. I was considering another CJ preamp, but not now.
"Did you do something that caused your PFR to fry or did it do it all by itself?"(Tomcy6)
It happened during a sudden thunderstorm. I didn't see any lightning. I immediately rushed around the house unplugging everything, but got to the PFR too late.
I talked to Ed several times over the 3 months, he was very apologetic about the delay, & gave me a big break on the diagnosis cost. I now have it FS for faceplate or whatever parts still work. Oh yes, diagnosis was: "All digital IC's are blown, not worth repairing".
More than the money lost, I think it's just that I loved that pre-amp so much that's "bumming me out". To add insult to injury, instead of the pr-f & a mf2250, I'm now using temporarily a Krell KAV300i (that I only bought b/c a friend was selling it so cheap).
If only I'd had "that Krell thing", as I refer to it, plugged in that day, instead of the C-J gear.....Oh well....
Sorry to hear that there will be no repairs made to the unit. Sometimes when high cost damage is done to a component it's cheaper just to buy a used replacement. PFR's do pop up on audiogon and ebay so if you have your heart set on that particular model I'm sure it will become available.
I had a similar experience with my desire to get the CJ D/A-2b Vacuum-Tube Digital Processor and after a long search I was able to get it at a reasonable price. Moral of the story is, don't give up! :)
...and unplug your equipment when not in use! :)
I bought a Conrad Johnson D/A-2b Processor recently. I really love the sound. I was wondering if anybody had experience with this unit as I would like to possibly try some different tube combinations to tweak the sound. Once again, nothing wrong with the unit (I actually love the sound), but I am always looking to experiment. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.
Perhaps this is a thread CJ wouldn't want bumped, but I just want the record to reflect that for me CJ and Ed have provided the products and services commensurate of their prices. I'm a fan. If a surge made it past my power conditioner and did permanent damage to my equipment I wouldn't hold it against the manufacturer.
The one and only time my ET3 did the xmas tree thing that Bogeybuster49 described was before I solved my static issue. When I tried discharging against the surface of the DAC my ET3 lit up and stopped responding. Pulling the power plug reset the ET3.
My home has admittedly BAD wiring (open grounds in every outlet, exposed romex runs that would never pass inspection, etc). I also have wall2wall carpeting in my audio loft. The static shock issues I had here were comical. Every combination of people, cats, and metal were zapping each other. And often you could zap 2 or 3 times in succession. I even got small zaps from glass and wood. I didn't have anything to discharge against before touching my stereo so I would opt to touch something that was turned off, yet it made no difference. Every time I zapped my stereo my DAC would momentarily drop it's S/PDIF connection. Basically anything I touched (on or off) that ultimately plugged into [what I'd later determine to be] this one offending outlet would interrupt my music. I tried wiring a metal table to the baseboard heater for discharging, and even though I'd get a zap out of it, my stereo would zap me all the same. I then discovered if I discharged against the amp (which I had on a dedicated air conditioner line) this zap wouldn't reach my DAC, which was good. On a hunch I decided to move my electronics (and the Tripplite power conditioner they plug into) to a different outlet on the other side of the floor using an extension cord (though leaving the amp on the AC line). That eliminated my static issue all together.
I live north of Boston, and I noticed that static has significantly lessened in my room over the past month or so. The air dryness in the winter time generates a significant amount of static and I find that I have to discharge myself on my power conditioner housing if I don't want to cause a "zap" every time I adjust the volume on my Conrad Johnson PV12. Now that the temperature is warmer I have not had to many of those, although I still go through the extra step of discharging any possible electric charge prior to touching my components.