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Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

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mariodawg

Newbie

Posts: 25

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Location: Choctaw, OK

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:49 pm

Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Dear Carver Gurus, I have a pair of original ALS's with the Platinum Upgrades (new x-overs and 60" ribbons). They still retain the original silver honeycombed subwoofers. I had just moved them into my new temp-controlled garage and had been listening to them---loudly---for several days while I was fixing up the garge. Everything was fine. BTW, I am driving them with a pair of Carver Silver 7t's and they are controlled by a Carver Classic Tube preamp.
Then suddenly yesterday I went to the garage to do more work, powered up my system, and noticed my right channel ALS ribbon was NOT playing anywhere near it's normal volume level. It IS working, but at a MUCH reduced volume level. There is NO distortion or static coming from the ribbon. Just sweet, sweet---albeit at a MUCH reduced volume---music. Here is what I know:

1. It's not the preamp. I swapped outputs and the right speaker still exibited the same problems on the (now) left channel. Right channel worked great (on left speaker).
2. It's not the power amps. I swapped speaker wires on the amps, and again, it was only the right speaker with the problem.
3. It's not the speaker wire. I am running really fat wires that are in good condition, and I re-wired and doublechecked the connections, correct channel hook-up, etc.
4. The subs (all 4) appear to be in good working order. They sound to be at the proper volume compared to the left speaker.
5. I checked over the right speaker's crossover very carefully (but I'm no electrician). Nothing appears to be burned or out of the ordinary. No smells. Played with wires, solder joints, etc, and nothing hints as a cause.
6. The fuse looked fine. I replaced it anyway. No change.
7. The volume of the right ribbon DOES follow the volume level selected at the preamp, so when you "crank it", the right channel ribbon volume does go up...but it's like its only getting 10% of the energy from the power amp that its supposed to get.
8. I gently tightened the 3 screws at the top and bottom of the ribbons. No change.
9. As soon as my wife gets up, we're gonna see if we can't find a crack in the ribbon wire (advice from Dave S). Stayed tuned...

Any way to tell if my crossover is bad versus my ribbon if I find no crack?

Thanks!

Mariodawg
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BillD

User avatar

(pair of) SILVER-7 TUBE AMPs

Posts: 7295

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:29 pm

Location: The west's most mid-western town, Scottsdale, Arizona

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:16 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

I'd check the ribbon impedance with an ohm meter first.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
Sunfire:Theater Grand III processor, Ultimate Receiver, Cinema Grand Signature 400 ~ seven, True Subwoofer Mk. II, D-10 Subwoofer
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mariodawg

Newbie

Posts: 25

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Location: Choctaw, OK

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:30 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Update. My (beautiful...she is watching me) wife held my ALS ribbon while I held a flashlight behind it (felt removed) to look for cracks. This is what I found: there are a total of four vertical silver stripes extending in two pairs from the top to the bottom of the 60" ribbon. With a powerful marine flashlight providing the light from behind, I found on one of the four vertical "silver ribbons" a small defect that allowed light to pass through it. The defect did NOT extend all the way across the silver material. It was like some of the silver material within the two edges had been "rubbed off", allowing light to pass through an area in the shape of a half moon say (just guessing) 2mm wide by 4 mm long. In comparison to the size of the silver ribbon, I'd say 40% of the silver was missing horizonally from this small section.

Could this be my problem? But there is no way this defect "suddenly" appeared with the speakers just standing there after a few days of heavy use. At least its hard to believe.

How do I fix it if it's a suspect? (or can I, being a layman)

Finally, is there a way to figure out if it's NOT the crossover, other than using a set of test speakers.

Thanks!

Desperate in Oklahoma!
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engtaz

User avatar

"TAZ"

Posts: 5210

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:43 pm

Location: Tampa, FL

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:44 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Welcome mariodawg. Sorry to hear of your problem. Great speakers and audio gear.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
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Toy Maker

User avatar

Puppet Master

Posts: 6449

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:26 am

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:00 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

This is something I do not reccomend very often for others to do... but it WILL find the break in the reaces if there is one.

BE VERY VERY VERY CAREFULL IF YOU TRY THIS.

Find comething brass or stailness steel (non-magnetic), like the head of a retractable ballpoint pen (not the pen point)
and very softley touch it to the fromt side of the aluminum traces where you see the bad spot...
If you connect the crack, or (jump the trace) you will hear sound coming from the ribbon right away.
If that is not the problem, you may have to try other places on the ribbon, to see where the break is.
If you are very carefull, you can slide the tool down each trace till you hear the ribbon kick in. Then you will know where the break is.
It is basicly a printed circuit, and if you dump too much power into, you can stress the materials.
(trust me... I've done it 5 or so times) :lol:

Once and if you find that is the problem, you might be able to do the quick fix of using a trace pen, or then again, you may be looking at rebuilding the ribbon..
That's DaveS's departmeny.
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it... because nobody else will.

‎~You think Einstein walked around thinkin' everyone was a bunch of dumb shits?~

SHUT UP AND ENJOY THE MUSIC!
╭∩╮(︶︿︶)╭∩╮
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mariodawg

Newbie

Posts: 25

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Location: Choctaw, OK

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:39 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Wow! Thanks for the prompt responses!

I got off the phone with DaveS, and have already ordered a "CAIG CircuitWriter CW100P" pen (two, actually). I called Radio Shack, but they are telling me they don't carry it anymore (at least that's what I was told by a local Radio Shack guy). Its the only circuitwriter pen I could find on the web after a quick search. I figure even if this "mar" on my ribbon isn't the cause of my problem, at least its a chance for a quick and easy fix, and it may actually improve my overall sound even if its not the culprit.

Until then, I will test the impedence of the ribbon with an ohmeter (and compare it to the other speaker) as suggested, and as for jumping the bad trace with a piece of metal...its a great idea, but i think I'll play conservative and wait a few days for this circuitwriter pen to come in. I'd hate to accidentally remove more material...

I'll keep everyone updated! BTW, I feel better knowing I have outside help if I need it! Thanks DaveS and everyone else chiming in so far! :)

Respectfully,
Mariodawg
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BillD

User avatar

(pair of) SILVER-7 TUBE AMPs

Posts: 7295

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:29 pm

Location: The west's most mid-western town, Scottsdale, Arizona

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:08 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

I was going to mention Caig Circuitwriter pens, but felt you should get it from the master. Fortunately, I have a Fry's electronics in town, so I can get them straight away. They cost about $15 at Parts Express, and ship for only a couple of bucks if you choose U.S. Postal Service.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
Sunfire:Theater Grand III processor, Ultimate Receiver, Cinema Grand Signature 400 ~ seven, True Subwoofer Mk. II, D-10 Subwoofer
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engtaz

User avatar

"TAZ"

Posts: 5210

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:43 pm

Location: Tampa, FL

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Toy Maker and DaveS are the most knowledgeable on Carver ribbons.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
<<

Toy Maker

User avatar

Puppet Master

Posts: 6449

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:26 am

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:27 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

RatShack are stupid ass sales kids... Mine told me they didn't have the pen too...
Knowing what idiots they are, I went and looked anyway....
Of course they had it...

It wouldn't hurt to go and look yourself.. you may be able to be up and running tonight.
"If you want something done right, do it yourself"
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it... because nobody else will.

‎~You think Einstein walked around thinkin' everyone was a bunch of dumb shits?~

SHUT UP AND ENJOY THE MUSIC!
╭∩╮(︶︿︶)╭∩╮
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snarffydoggy

User avatar

SILVER-7t

Posts: 1114

Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:29 pm

Location: Fairhope, Alabama

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:05 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

You can look it up on Radio shacks web site, get the item # and then go to your local radio shack with the item number and they might be able to find it. By the way welcome to the forum
snarffydoggy
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BillD

User avatar

(pair of) SILVER-7 TUBE AMPs

Posts: 7295

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:29 pm

Location: The west's most mid-western town, Scottsdale, Arizona

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:04 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

I go to radioshack.com and look for stuff and then use the find it at a store near you button. So far, it has been right on.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
Sunfire:Theater Grand III processor, Ultimate Receiver, Cinema Grand Signature 400 ~ seven, True Subwoofer Mk. II, D-10 Subwoofer
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docadillac

TFM-25

Posts: 357

Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:09 pm

Location: The wet coast of Canada

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:23 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Welcome to the forum. Dave S. is the shit when it comes to the ribbons. He is a first rate person to deal with as well.
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mariodawg

Newbie

Posts: 25

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Location: Choctaw, OK

Post Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:08 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Guys, I'm depressed. Got my circuit writer in today, and followed the instructions. No more light shining through ribbon where once there was. However, the problem was not fixed. The ribbon is behaving exactly the same.
So, I did what I had to: I cut the red and black wires leading to the ribbon, and did an ohm test on the ribbon circuit. The right speaker read 4.75 ohms. It's an old not-used-very-often multi-meter, but I put a fresh battery in it, zeroed out the ohm reading by shorting the leads together first (following it's instruction manual), and it tested OK.
Then I repeated the wire cutting and ohm test on the good ribbon (ouch!) on my left speaker, and what do you know---it read 4.75 ohms also!

Now what do I do? Does this mean that my ribbons are good? Or are they both bad (I thought I read in one of the hundreds of posts on this forum that 10-12 ohms was normal). Or did I dick something up in my test? Or maybe my ohm meter is "beyond its days"?

Please help... :(

Depressed In Oklahoma
(READ: Mariodawg)
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docadillac

TFM-25

Posts: 357

Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:09 pm

Location: The wet coast of Canada

Post Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:19 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

There might be a problem with the crossover. Also, high humidity in the environment will also make your ribbons go wonky. That's all I can think of right away.
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mariodawg

Newbie

Posts: 25

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:52 pm

Location: Choctaw, OK

Post Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Help! New Member Has ALS Ribbon Problem!

Hello docadillac!
As for the humidity, I will say "doubtful". While Oklahoma is no Arizona, it's a lot drier here than say the Southeast. Also, the building its in is climate controlled, so humidity shouldn't be much of a factor.
What's your knowledge on ohm impedance of ALS ribbbons? Not being an electrical engineer (my major is History---very useful when one needs to determine if one's speakers are "history"!), I'm not sure if 4.75 is even good. However, the fact that both speakers are the same, I think that bodes well for my ribbons. BTW, I tested the "battery tester" portion of my Sperry multimeter, and it seemed to work good testing 9v and 1.5 volt batteries---increasing my confidence in the meter's operability.

Thanks for your time. Any feedback is much appreciated.

ALSO BTW for anyone else, I did try that pen end cap test on my ribbon before I cut the wires for the ohm test (see above), and the "suspected" bad silver circuit revealed no defects. However, after I looked back on the ribbon before moving on to the next 3 lines, I saw I left a minor indention in the silver circuit I so lightly ran the pen cap tip across (the pen cap was magneticallly pulled to the ribbon it seemed, but it was very light contact), so I decided to quit. God i hope THAT doesn't affect the sonic characteristics of the ribbon! Desperate times, I guess...
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