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  • Repair My Powered Subwoofer

    Hello All

    I have a powered subwoofer made by Cambridge Sound Works(model FPS2000) FPS meaning Four Point Surround Sound. I have had it for about four years and have been extremely pleased unfortunately the wired remote control has failed. After contacting Cambridge and Creative (Its parent company) multiple times I have not been able to get a replacement cord or help of any kind from either company on repairing it. They claim they don't have the schematics or parts or wiring etc etc.

    There is a variable resistor in the volume control head that has failed and without it the the speaker can not be powered up, volume adjusted or balance between left right speakers changed. I paid a good amount for this system four years ago as it was touted as THE BEST PC/Media system around...I agree, but I don't agree with Cambridge's/Creative's lousy customer service which effectively said to just throw away the system and buy a new one; neither do I accepts its claim to not having the schematics or parts to the system. A quick check on Google showed that many tens of thousands of these system were sold and the VOLUME CORD ON ALL OF THEM FAILED!!!!

    My question is "is it possible to retro fit this system with a new volume control cord or a knob type control so that it can work again? By the way, the connection point between the end of the volume control cord and the amplifier plate on the subwoofer is a DIN connection (to make matters even more of a problem). I would try and find a new variable resister, but I have no idea what the specs are on the broken variable resistor, because Cambridge claims they no longer have this info ...even though they were the company that manufactured the entire speaker system, with all parts being customized to their system. I opened the volume head casing to reveal the circuit board and resistor, but there is no information detailing anything that would allow me to. Anyone familiar with the Cambridge Sound Works FPS2000 system?

    Hercules2x

  • #2
    Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

    Is it possible to repair and/or retrofit. Yes, absolutely.
    That variable resistor is most certainly a potentiometer, also called a "pot."
    All you really need to do is find a suitable replacement, same ohms. Do you know how to solder? Can you take the remote control apart without breaking it? Remove the pot and take some pictures of it.

    Originally posted by HERCULES2X View Post
    Hello All

    I have a powered subwoofer made by Cambridge Sound Works(model FPS2000) FPS meaning Four Point Surround Sound. I have had it for about four years and have been extremely pleased unfortunately the wired remote control has failed. After contacting Cambridge and Creative (Its parent company) multiple times I have not been able to get a replacement cord or help of any kind from either company on repairing it. They claim they don't have the schematics or parts or wiring etc etc.

    There is a variable resistor in the volume control head that has failed and without it the the speaker can not be powered up, volume adjusted or balance between left right speakers changed. I paid a good amount for this system four years ago as it was touted as THE BEST PC/Media system around...I agree, but I don't agree with Cambridge's/Creative's lousy customer service which effectively said to just throw away the system and buy a new one; neither do I accepts its claim to not having the schematics or parts to the system. A quick check on Google showed that many tens of thousands of these system were sold and the VOLUME CORD ON ALL OF THEM FAILED!!!!

    My question is "is it possible to retro fit this system with a new volume control cord or a knob type control so that it can work again? By the way, the connection point between the end of the volume control cord and the amplifier plate on the subwoofer is a DIN connection (to make matters even more of a problem). I would try and find a new variable resister, but I have no idea what the specs are on the broken variable resistor, because Cambridge claims they no longer have this info ...even though they were the company that manufactured the entire speaker system, with all parts being customized to their system. I opened the volume head casing to reveal the circuit board and resistor, but there is no information detailing anything that would allow me to. Anyone familiar with the Cambridge Sound Works FPS2000 system?

    Hercules2x

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

      I have the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 system and its volume pot also fails pretty consistently. I managed to get a replacement from http://www.mouser.com/ for under $3. Fixed it right up. It requires minimal soldering skills to install, but if you don't have the know how or equipment you can probably get somebody to do it for you, it only takes a couple of minutes.

      Just measure the volume pot with a caliper if you have one, get the dimensions, then find out the resistance of it, mine was stamped on the outside, then search mouser for a suitable replacement. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

        Thanks EVILSKILLIT and AE for the responses they seem like they will be very helpful in resolving this volume cord issue that has plagued me for a year.

        I opened the volume casing and the variable resistor (POT) is labeled ALPHA and TAIWAN on the back and on the top it says B50K. At first I said there was no indication of what type of resistor(POT) it is, because the B50K was so faded I thought it said BECK. In any case I went to the mouser website to look for the POT and I could not find the one I am looking for. While I found the B50K model, the one I have has a dual post/shaft (one inside the other) which allows the turning of the two knobs independently that control power/volume and the second knob that controls right/left balance with the speakers. The resistor is lime(ish) green and the dimensions are 3/4 inch long x 7/16 inch high x 3/8 inch wide. The pots I saw (from ALPHA/TAIWAN) were of different sizes and shapes and none had the double shaft (one inside the other) that allowed two independently rotating knobs on what appears like one shaft. There is a section of the ALPHA POTS that are discontinued (I hope this is not the case with mine) as well as a large number where there isn't a picture or dimensions of the POT.

        I have included some pics of the resistor/POT I am dealing with. Hope either of you or even someone else if the two of you are unable to figure out the solution. A couple of the pics are a little blurry (I still don't have a good handle on this digital camera I have. It acts very funny when focusing...sometimes the pics are incredibly sharp, other times they are off.

        Anyway i hope the pics help you guys, so that you can help me.

        Thanks
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

          It looks like this might be along the lines of what you need...

          http://www.alphapotentiometers.net/h...switch_10.html

          The question is actually sourcing the thing. I'll see what I can find, but you can also look over this, see if it seems right and dig yourself. Maybe put in a call to Alpha ask for an "engineering sample"

          Actually if you go here, http://www.alphapotentiometers.net/h...selection.html they have those in a bunch of different sizes. If you could post the dimesions in MM, including shaft shape and length I can tell you exactly what part number you need.

          Amusingly the one in my Klipsch that failed was also an Alpha B50k, tho it was a single adjustment pot instead of dual adjustment. Seems like these things like to crap out, but it did last 7 years and it was used pretty heavily, I guess I can't complain too much.

          Edit:
          Looks like you'll have to desolder these 8 points. We have liquid flux and a solder sucking machine at work that makes this stuff cake. Hopefully you know someone who does too. If not hopefully you have a bit of patience.
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

            You need to (learn) use your camera in "MACRO" mode for close ups. Spend a little bit of time reading up on macro photography, it will be worth it.

            50K is 50,000 ohms.

            In some circumstances you might actually have to buy the independent sections and rebuild the pot yourself. I've done it. Not too difficult to do, but requires patience. Sometimes you just have to, you are left with no choice. After you have desoldered the original pot, you then use a multimeter (in ohms) to check the sections, etc.

            Originally posted by HERCULES2X View Post
            Thanks EVILSKILLIT and AE for the responses they seem like they will be very helpful in resolving this volume cord issue that has plagued me for a year.

            I opened the volume casing and the variable resistor (POT) is labeled ALPHA and TAIWAN on the back and on the top it says B50K. At first I said there was no indication of what type of resistor(POT) it is, because the B50K was so faded I thought it said BECK. In any case I went to the mouser website to look for the POT and I could not find the one I am looking for. While I found the B50K model, the one I have has a dual post/shaft (one inside the other) which allows the turning of the two knobs independently that control power/volume and the second knob that controls right/left balance with the speakers. The resistor is lime(ish) green and the dimensions are 3/4 inch long x 7/16 inch high x 3/8 inch wide. The pots I saw (from ALPHA/TAIWAN) were of different sizes and shapes and none had the double shaft (one inside the other) that allowed two independently rotating knobs on what appears like one shaft. There is a section of the ALPHA POTS that are discontinued (I hope this is not the case with mine) as well as a large number where there isn't a picture or dimensions of the POT.

            I have included some pics of the resistor/POT I am dealing with. Hope either of you or even someone else if the two of you are unable to figure out the solution. A couple of the pics are a little blurry (I still don't have a good handle on this digital camera I have. It acts very funny when focusing...sometimes the pics are incredibly sharp, other times they are off.

            Anyway i hope the pics help you guys, so that you can help me.

            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

              Originally posted by evilskillit View Post
              It looks like this might be along the lines of what you need...

              http://www.alphapotentiometers.net/h...switch_10.html

              The question is actually sourcing the thing. I'll see what I can find, but you can also look over this, see if it seems right and dig yourself. Maybe put in a call to Alpha ask for an "engineering sample"

              Actually if you go here, http://www.alphapotentiometers.net/h...selection.html they have those in a bunch of different sizes. If you could post the dimesions in MM, including shaft shape and length I can tell you exactly what part number you need.

              Amusingly the one in my Klipsch that failed was also an Alpha B50k, tho it was a single adjustment pot instead of dual adjustment. Seems like these things like to crap out, but it did last 7 years and it was used pretty heavily, I guess I can't complain too much.

              Edit:
              Looks like you'll have to desolder these 8 points. We have liquid flux and a solder sucking machine at work that makes this stuff cake. Hopefully you know someone who does too. If not hopefully you have a bit of patience.
              EVILSKILLIT

              Looks like you hit the nail square on the head. The first POT you put up http://www.alphapotentiometers.net/h...switch_10.html
              seems to be exactly what I need. The only difference between the one I have and the one pictured on the Alpha products website is the one I have is green and the pictured one is blue. All of the dimensions are exactly the same on the schematic as the POT I have. The only problem I have is the two knobs on my pot are either glued on or heat treated on and I can not get them off it seems without breaking them...also I can not get the shaft size or type without removing them. Any hint to how I can get them off without destroying them just in case I have to reuse them? Also if I can not get them off without breaking them does this pot come with knobs or can knobs be purchased where one knob nestles inside the other like the POT I have? (You can see in the picture of my POT the two knobs together, which looks kinda like a funny hat).

              There is a question about RESISTANCE TAPER on the Alpha site and the selection is A, B, C how do I find out which I should select? Does the B in the B50K, represent the resistance taper or does that represent something else? I already know that the Ohms is 50K?

              So far as having patience I have plenty... I am wondering though of the soldering though. This isn't just a pin or two to try and remove..it is eight pins on this POT and precariously close to one another... if all else fails I may send this dang thing to you for soldering...what's your rates??

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                Heh, if you paid shipping both ways I'd do it for free. Tho I make no money back guarantees, but I did fix the one on my Klipsch no problem. Then again shipping to me and back is probably as much as replacing the whole thing...

                As for getting the little knob off, hrm try hitting it with a hair dryer and pulling and wiggling. If it is glued hopefully the heat will soften and it'll give. The ones on my Klipsch were press fit on and came off very easily so I can't give much advice there.

                As for the taper the B on your part probably denotes B taper. B is audio IIRC, so most likely thats what you want anyways. Mine was linear and I changed it to audio and I like the way the volume works a lot better now. Once again, totally different piece of gear tho.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                  Hello Evilskillit

                  I have practically pulled all of my hair out trying to find a POT for this subwoofer and no luck so far. I have found a couple of companies that have the part, but require a 1000 piece purchase minimum. I have come across a couple of companies that have other minimums the least minimum being 500 is still ridiculous. I have chatted with people on other message/forum boards all of whom have the same problem. One guy in Germany has been trying for some time to find the same part by ALPHA or a company that makes a similar product. I have shot off a couple of e-mails to the headquarters of ALPHA of Taiwan and ALPHA Products of america (both companies unrelated) as well as a few others in hopes of getting the part or at least having them direct me to some distributor who sells the product singularly or a couple at a time. So far I found what seems to be another match from Alpha http://www.taiwanalpha.com/english/p_e_66.htm (Last one on page RD912DSF -20) but again it requires a big purchase to get.

                  Here is another from another company..again 1000 piece minimum
                  http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/22...ntiometer.html

                  I have found about six other companies with the POT from Alpha or from other companies, but they are ALL IN CHINA and the hassle and cost to get even one POT shipped is almost as ridiculous as the 500 to 1000 piece minimum

                  In any case I will keep ya up to date just in case I HIT THE JACKPOT and get a company to sell one or a couple. As well as hopefully get a response from one of the companies I forwarded a e-mail to.

                  This has become a real pain in the ***...
                  Last edited by HERCULES2X; 09-13-2010, 12:28 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                    There is another option, the center thing is just the on off switch or something right? Thats what I'm getting from looking at the solder pads since it looks like a standard stereo pot and then a switch sharing the same housing.

                    You could just use a standard stereo potentiometer and then solder wires into the last 2 solder pads and put a switch between the two, or just short them so the thing is always on.

                    If you use a switch land wires on those pads, cut a small hole in the housing and poke the switch out the side, attach it there and land the wires.

                    Seeing if this will work will require a small amount of trial and error but it is a possible alternative.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                      It looks like a standard ALPS RK097 would fit.

                      http://tangentsoft.net/shop/ or http://www.amb.org/shop/ or several of the larger vendors.

                      I can't imagine that there should be any problems with a 10k pot instead of the 50k pot.

                      Are you sure it's the pot that's faulty and not the cord that's broken, or any other fault. If the problem is that it wont power on, you can try to short the two pins furthermost to the left (of those marked with circles on the pictures above). It's the same as turning it on with the pot/switch.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                        You don't just remove a 50K pot and arbitrarily replace it with a 10K pot. The circuitry was designed by engineers and they choose 50K for a reason. Besides, 50K is a common value and easy to obtain.

                        Originally posted by nelsonvandal View Post
                        It looks like a standard ALPS RK097 would fit.

                        http://tangentsoft.net/shop/ or http://www.amb.org/shop/ or several of the larger vendors.

                        I can't imagine that there should be any problems with a 10k pot instead of the 50k pot.

                        Are you sure it's the pot that's faulty and not the cord that's broken, or any other fault. If the problem is that it wont power on, you can try to short the two pins furthermost to the left (of those marked with circles on the pictures above). It's the same as turning it on with the pot/switch.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                          You might not ever find an exact replacement. But if you can find 50K pots made by ALPHA, then you've got a working chance. Stereo pots are made by ganging up single pots. If you can find singular 50K pots, you can disassemble the sections and use them to rebuild the original.


                          Originally posted by HERCULES2X View Post
                          Hello Evilskillit

                          I have practically pulled all of my hair out trying to find a POT for this subwoofer and no luck so far. I have found a couple of companies that have the part, but require a 1000 piece purchase minimum. I have come across a couple of companies that have other minimums the least minimum being 500 is still ridiculous. I have chatted with people on other message/forum boards all of whom have the same problem. One guy in Germany has been trying for some time to find the same part by ALPHA or a company that makes a similar product. I have shot off a couple of e-mails to the headquarters of ALPHA of Taiwan and ALPHA Products of america (both companies unrelated) as well as a few others in hopes of getting the part or at least having them direct me to some distributor who sells the product singularly or a couple at a time. So far I found what seems to be another match from Alpha http://www.taiwanalpha.com/english/p_e_66.htm (Last one on page RD912DSF -20) but again it requires a big purchase to get.

                          Here is another from another company..again 1000 piece minimum
                          http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/22...ntiometer.html

                          I have found about six other companies with the POT from Alpha or from other companies, but they are ALL IN CHINA and the hassle and cost to get even one POT shipped is almost as ridiculous as the 500 to 1000 piece minimum

                          In any case I will keep ya up to date just in case I HIT THE JACKPOT and get a company to sell one or a couple. As well as hopefully get a response from one of the companies I forwarded a e-mail to.

                          This has become a real pain in the ***...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                            You might not ever find an exact replacement. But if you can find 50K pots made by ALPHA, then you've got a working chance. Stereo pots are made by ganging up single pots. If you can find singular 50K pots, you can disassemble the sections and use them to rebuild the original.
                            Double gang audio trim pots in that form factor at 50k are actually pretty easy to come by. Thats what my Klipsch needed. Its the extra swtich that is going to kill him. If he decides to go with a regular volume pot and move the volume switch elsewhere I can show him what pot to get in about 2 seconds.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Repair My Powered Subwoofer

                              Originally posted by evilskillit View Post
                              Double gang audio trim pots in that form factor at 50k are actually pretty easy to come by. Thats what my Klipsch needed. Its the extra swtich that is going to kill him. If he decides to go with a regular volume pot and move the volume switch elsewhere I can show him what pot to get in about 2 seconds.
                              Still though, if he wants to repair it to original specs, he still might have to do what I suggested. Does the switch still function properly? Or of course mount an altogether separate switch.

                              Comment

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