BIC Acoustech H-100 Subwoofer Dead - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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You've head it before... The BIC Acoustech H-100 is a wonderful low budget solution for powerful base with decent fidelity. There have been numerous reviews over the years and most, if not all, have been favorable. It was on this forum about 3 and a half years ago where I read a nice review and ordered the H100.

My Paypal payment was sent on February 23, 2007 and I received the package the following week. I remember saying "WOW, this sub sounds great!"

Fast forward 3 years, 4 months, 10 days. I power my home theater and nothing is coming out of the sub. I check the power connection, still nothing. Pull the fuse and find out it's blown. The next day I come home with a pocket full of fuses and the sub just eats them for dinner. Every fuse I try blows once the AC cord is attached. What to do now? Do some online research and I've heard good things about BIC customer service, so I'll call tech support in the morning.

The next day I called BIC and spoke to the tech support person. He said I'm well out of their two year warranty period, which was a given. I asked what options there were. He proceeded to tell me all subs will go bad, all manufacturers have this problem, and that some last 10 years while others last one year. I then mentioned I had read in my online research that BIC had built H100 units with bad boards in their amps. He verbally confirmed there were board issues with H100's and suggested it was around the time I purchased mine. His quote... "It effects about 1 in 100 units." I mentioned I read of occasions where BIC fixed customer products out of warranty, and if seeing how this seems to be a common problem, and that there may be a problem with the design or construction of the board, if he could make an exception and take a look at my H100?

He said "No".

So what are my options? The gentlemen proceeded to tell me I would pay for shipping both ways to the repair facility in CA, plus a $100 repair fee, so approximately $140 to get my H100 repaired. He mentioned the warranty for a repaired amp is one year. So if my fuses start blowing again in 366 days, I'm screwed. I think I'll take my $140 and put it somewhere else.

Was I happy with my H100? Yes. Do I think BIC should have fixed my unit? Maybe. Will I pay $140 to get it fixed? Hellz no, considering a new one can be found for a little over $200, with a two year warranty.

So now I ask the forum: What to do now?

Should I fix it myself? Does anyone have a good guide to troubleshooting power supplies/amps?

Should I buy an amp kit and stuff in the box with the driver? I'm looking for something less than $140 obviously. Any ideas?

Is this really a problem with all subs? Will they all start a diet of 1.6amp fuses one day? Thoughts?
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post #2 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Subs are like any other machine. They will all break down eventually. In this case the H-100 is a cheaper, entry level sub. I hate to say it but by today's manufacturing standards you got a decent life out of it at 3 years. It would be foolish to waste money and time repairing it when there are much better subs out there in the used markeT and more powerful subs in the new market for $350 or below.

In short, don't waste your time fixing an entry level subwoofer. The repair and shipping costs alone would exceed what it was worth new. In my opinion this is the one advantage of having a cheap, bang for buck sub. If it dies you can always purchase another budget sub to replace it for spend a few hundred bucks more to upgrade. But if you save and save for one high end monster sub and it dies. Well you might be screwed for a while performance wise. This is why I have shyed away from the more expensive ED subs at this time such as the A7s-450 that I am obsessed with. I could save enough to get one. But if the amp dies on it, I'd be screwed without the money to get out of it, replace it, or repair it.
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 02:40 PM
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Since you paid with Paypal you probably bought it through Acoustic Sound Designs on eBay or the sister company Sound Distributors. If so, you might be in luck because the following was (and still is) on their auctions for the H-100:
"* * WARRANTY INFORMATION * *
THE 5 YEAR FACTORY WARRANTY IS VALID
Our WARRANTY is the superior or equal to any you'll find on the web"

The text describing the H-100 says two years but I would try for the five years.

Check it out yourself, read down the left margin:
http://cgi.ebay.com/BIC-Acouste-H-10...item3357560a35

I remember reading in the PA-120 thread that Sound Distributors was also honoring the same warranty, they just had not updated their auctions.

I would call them up and explain....if either of these companies were your source. Worth a shot, they might send you a new amp.

Mike
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I may be a rookie but I'm the expert at what sounds good to me.
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Mike, Thanks for that info. Yes, I did purchase it from Acoustic Sound Design. I will contact them and post what I learn.
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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So I called Mike at Acoustic Sound Design just before they closed and he confirmed the warranty on the amp portion of the H-100 is only 2 years (5 years on the driver).

So now what to do? I have a nice looking box that doesn't work. I know, let's tear the thing apart and have a go...

DISCLAIMER: Do not open your electronic devices unless you know what you are doing. Serious bodily harm, including death, may occur.

OK, so I removed the amp and pulled out my oscilloscope and handheld DVM. I began probing the usual suspects and happened to notice one MOSFET had all three leads shorted and another had two leads shorted. So I pulled them and learned they were IRF730's. I accidentally pulled a thin trace when removing, so I had to hand solder a jumper to fix the trace I deleted. All I had on hand were similar rated P4NB80's with slightly different specs, but should work for now. I soldered the new parts in and mounted them where I can get to them easily if I need to swap them later. Plugged in the power cord and voila, lights! Cross your fingers I'll not need fuses soon.

Thanks to those who spent the time to read this. Cheers, James
LL
LL
LL
LL
LL
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post #6 of 25 Old 07-08-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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last couple of pics...
LL
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-09-2010, 04:22 AM
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James. You might consider giving a somewhat more detailed description of your fix and posting it on one of the BIC forums. I suspect that even if only 1% of the BIC H100 owners have a similar problem, your description would be very useful to them.

In April, I went the much easier route of replacing a 9+ year old amp on a 15" subwoofer with a 500w PE BASH amp (that plays louder and more clearly).
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post #8 of 25 Old 07-09-2010, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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So I was super excited to get the repaired amp home and try it out. Everything was working fine and at low volumes it was back to life as usual. Then after a few minutes I wanted to increase the volume to see how it performed at higher dB levels. I started to hit the volume up button. Poof, the fuse blows again. Reduced volume and inserted a new fuse... back in business. Increase the volume slowly and poof, another fuse. It was about 11PM, so I called it quits. I think I've spent enough time on this unit for now, so I may either buy a new sub and work on this one more as time permits, or eventually buy a new amp for it. I might try replacing the MOSFETs with IRF730's, since that is what it was designed for.

Thanks for the suggestion wwinkler. If I do eventually get this one to work, I'll try to write up something more substantial and post on a BIC forum. If nothing else, it was fun to dust off the DVM and soldering iron.

Cheers.

Now onto the next project...
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-10-2010, 05:54 AM
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James. You might also look at the main (electrolytic) power capacitor. If you have a way to download a service manual, then that can also help.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-10-2010, 01:11 PM
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Please post a link if you find the service manual. My H100 is doing the same thing as your's was. In the meantime, what's the best place to start looking for faults on the amp? I'd obviously like to get it working again, but don't want to spend the money to get it repaired either.
Do you think the amp from Jack Hindley would be enough to power this sub? If it's close enough, I'd probably be willing to spend that much if I can't repair the stock amp myself.
http://home.comcast.net/~jhidley/
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post #11 of 25 Old 07-19-2010, 03:05 PM
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Anyone have advice on this?
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post #12 of 25 Old 07-20-2010, 02:46 AM
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" Please post a link if you find the service manual." Do Google searches. Many sites charge $15-25 for the service manual. With much searching, you may find a site that offers a free download. I was able to find free service manuals for some of my subwoofers but it took awhile.

The Hidley amp is well regarded but may not have sufficient power for your application. Also, I believe that the shipping cost is very high.

You might look into Parts Express for an amp.
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post #13 of 25 Old 02-26-2011, 10:12 PM
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Bumping an old thread but just wondering if anyone came up with a solution for this, or perhaps manage to further diagnose the problem to other components that may have failed? I have some spare IRF640 MOSFETs laying around and was wondering if the old IRF730's could be replaced with these.

Datasheet here for the IRF730 (stock):
http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/data...ild/IRF730.pdf

Datasheet here for the IRF640:
http://www.ee.ctu.edu.tw/material/da...eet/IRF640.pdf
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post #14 of 25 Old 02-28-2011, 11:32 PM
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Would like to revive an old thread.. .Maybe jp28 can tell me how he removed the amplifier from the subwoofer. And what to check for...

Right now I have no led light, no power to the subwoofer... even though the fuse is in tact... and subwoofer looks fine. No sign of shipping damage... a little peanut foam went into the woofer though.

A
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-01-2011, 04:14 AM
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Dboy00. You need a service manual, volt/ohm meter, and suitable soldering equipment. There are sites were you can download the service manual for $15-$25.

If you take the subwoofer to a repair location, they will charge $200-$400+ (because of the labor involved in locating the problems) and usually only guarantee their repairs for 30-90 days. If you send to a remote location for repairs, you also pay to-and-from shipping.
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-01-2011, 07:19 AM
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My honest suggestion would be to see if you can buy the AMP only from BIC directly and if you can buy that and swap it out. The new AMP should have a new 2 year warranty and you could save yourself a lot of hassle. You should probably be able to pick it up at a decent price compared to purchasing a new sub.
I have not looked into this myself, but if you have not already, it may be worth it. Installing the amp should also be really easy. Just unscrew the old one, remove the power connectors connected to the woofer and put the new one in place the exact same way.
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post #17 of 25 Old 03-01-2011, 08:03 AM
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Dboy00. You can use a nine volt battery to test whether your driver is still ok. Positive to positive, negative to negative, if it moves, probably ok.

You can also check the sizes (and wattage) of replacement plate amps from Parts Express and OAudio (but OAudio is much more expensive than PE and possibly the cost of a new H100 or F12). You might be able to jury rig something so that you can connect the new plate amp to the enclosure.
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-01-2011, 08:04 AM
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I could not even find the service manual online for purchase. The actual amp repair would take some time. I have access to meters and an oscilloscope at school but I'd think the time involved in fixing it would be great.

I've contacted bic but not sure what they would say. I wish I had a receipt but the seller didn't have one, the VK12 model is less than 2 years old... so essentially it "should" be still under the 2 year amp warranty.
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post #19 of 25 Old 03-02-2011, 05:12 PM
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Anyone tried taking the guts out of an old stereo amplifier, bridging the two channels and making it into a higher quality sub amplifier?

It seems sub amplification is never as "sound sensitive" as the tube amps and expensive ss amps people use for headphones/front speakers. I guess this is because low frequencies just need a lot of juice?
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post #20 of 25 Old 03-02-2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp28 View Post

last couple of pics...

Do you have any pics of H100 box inside? if not, can you share your impressions?
I was curious about manufacturing quality of BIC subs as I'm considering purchase of pl200.


thanks!
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-26-2011, 12:01 PM
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I called customer support and ordered new amp for 125 dollars no tax or shipping. I had my amp for over 4 years and had a power outage and next day amp would not power on, no lights, checked fuse and it was good so ordered the new amp.
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-22-2012, 08:39 AM
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I have the same BIC Acoustech subwoofer. One day, it just made some noise with no signal, i.e. receiver was off. I knew that something was wrong, sound did not seem to be right. I am wondering if I can fix it or just trash it. Frankly, I hate to spend good money after a bad product.
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 04:06 AM
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BIC subwoofers have generally been reliable. If you got 3-5 years out of it (or many other brands), then that is reasonable.

It can cost $200-300+ to get a subwoofer repaired and it is returned with a 30-90 day guarantee.

Buy a new subwoofer. The BIC PL-200 is well regarded in the under $300 range; the Hsu STF-2 is well regarded in the under $400 range.
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post #24 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 10:59 AM
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I can tell you I had a Bic 100 and really liked it, but I recently jumped to the HSU-stf2 and that price difference was SOOO worth it. Different planet of tight, clean and musical.
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-14-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus View Post

I called customer support and ordered new amp for 125 dollars no tax or shipping. I had my amp for over 4 years and had a power outage and next day amp would not power on, no lights, checked fuse and it was good so ordered the new amp.

OK, I did as you suggested. The new amp is working fine for me. Hope it will last a bit longer. There is a 2 year warranty on it although I am not sure what to do to claim it if it ever goes bad again.
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