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 Post subject: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan mod
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 08:39 
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So for sometime now I have been having a couple of minor issues w/ my Sony, SDP-E800. I did get both issues resolved recently (or so I assumed) and thought this might be useful information for anyone else who owns this component. So let's start....

About seven months ago, I had been getting an occasional loud "digital" bang followed by a loss of sound and assumed it was a problem related to overheating since it would happen after I had been running the processor for several hours. However, about six weeks ago, the issues were getting more frequent and occurring regardless how much time the unit was left on. In addition, I would also get new symptoms like a high pitch ultra sonic noise coming out of all the speakers and then I would have to shut it off.

I took the unit apart to see if I could see any sign of something going bad and my first inclination was to look for cold solder joints since I assumed the problem seemed to be related to something coming loose since it would work again after I shut it down. However, I found nothing odd but did go ahead and re-solder parts in the unit that I knew were constantly stressed with heat. Hence, my focus was the power supply section as it produced the most heat. The unit seemed to perform better for awhile but then it started having the same symptoms again. I dwelled on the issues some more and researched on the web to find similar descriptions of my issue and my conclusion was that the processing circuits were not the issue and everything had to be related to the power supply. However, I wasn't sure where to start. I assumed that maybe it could be the power inverters going bad since they were always producing a lot of heat. I also considered the capacitors near the power supply being bad but any sign of damage was not there (e.g.: bulging, leakage, etc.).

So in the end, I did what a lot us have done on this site; I asked Kurtis for help. :lol: :roll:

Thus, let me first say a big thanks to Kurtis because your advice was right on target. He recommended that I start w/ the power supply capacitors and then look at the bridge and regulators if that did not work. Anyway, long story short, the issue was related to the capacitors and here are the parts that I worked on (circled in red).....

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I had all twelve caps replaced. Here are some pics of the progress I was making....

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I had the legs nipped after I had replaced all them to ensure I didn't miss any of them.
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The completed job.
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I put the unit back together and crossed my fingers. Initially the unit did nothing and I assumed it was because the caps needed to get a charge before kicking on and I was right about it. I tested the unit now for about two weeks and only had one glitch that was new (just a loss of sound while streaming something through it) and assumed that maybe it was the source causing a problem. Otherwise, that was it and the unit has been otherwise perfect. :thumbup: In the end, this was probably a good example of the caps going dry after so many years (it is a 25 year old processor) and being stressed constantly w/ heat and power going through it. Hopefully I can get another 20 years out of it now.



Addendum as of 2/25/20 >>>> So now it has been about two weeks after completing this repair and it appears similar symptoms of the audio issues has appeared again and in many cases it's somewhat worse as I will lose the sound within 10 min or less in many cases. It’s obvious the new caps did make a difference for at least two weeks as it performed really well during that time so it was obviously part of the problem. Anyway, now it’s time to check those power regulators next. Will update on what I find by mid March since I’ll be really busy.



Addendum as of 3/28/20 >>>> So I have spent the last month or so trying to figure out the issue and it appears that I am getting closer to a resolution. For now, I have diagnosed part of the problem down to two more capacitors that were located in the System Control / Dolby Digital / DSP section of the unit. Here is a pic of the two troublesome caps....

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I installed the new one's yesterday as pictured below....

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.....and have been running the unit really hard (up to five to six hours straight w/ the top cover in place) to ensure it really heats up. Not one time during the first 24 hours did I have the audio glitch but I did have a loss of audio after that (but once again it is better as the unit was just completely failing prior to replacing the caps so I know these had something to do w/ the issue).

In the meantime, I'm sure some of you might be wondering how I came to the conclusion that it was possibly these two caps (and I did this without any cap tester to actually verify it). Thus, here is sort of a mini guide to using logic to determine where to find an issue.

Below is a pic of the main board and you'll notice that I have the sections of the board marked off based on what function they serve (you may need to blow up the pic to see my labeling) ......

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So my first inclination to find a problem was a general test for "cold solder joints" which can be tricky to identify. I did what most techs would do and waited for the unit to lose audio. Once it did, I simply tapped everything on the board w/ the end of a plastic dowel as well as my fingers to apply pressure to anything I suspected could bring the unit back to life if I moved or hit a part a certain way. Unfortunatey, nothing would get affected by what I did.

Moving on, I eliminated the possibility of cold solder since I also noticed that everytime I switch inputs after the unit lost sound, it would return which did not make sense because it should always stay dead regardless of whatever button I pressed. Thus, I made the assumption that I must have some electrolytic capactor going bad instead. So now the trick would be to find the bad cap(s) but as you can see there are at least 100 caps to go through (literally I counted them all and it is about 100 but not counting the power supply one's which I already replaced).

So going back to the above pic, I used logic to get it down to what is not affecting the unit. Following is my break down of what is "not" the issue....

Power Supply: I did re-check the power regulators during this diagnosis to see if any of them were losing power the moment the audio issue occurred. They all had the same readings so I assumed it's not the power supply.

AC3-RF Demodulator Section: Definitely not this simply because if it was then I would only lose sound when playing AC3 laserdiscs but my issue happened regardless what input I was using.

Input Switching Section: This was a bit tricky in that it could be the issue since maybe I might have a chip losing power due to a voltage regulator / capacitor combo that could be failing. However, I decided to dismiss this for now since I did a simple test w/ a portable speaker and outboard DA converter on the units optical output and still heard sound coming out of when the unit lost it on the six channel output (doesn't quite prove anything but it gave me more confidence it was not the issue even though that may not be the case now).

A/D Converter For Analog Input: This circuit block is dedicated to the one analog input on this unit. It was also losing audio just like the digital inputs so I assumed it could not be this section since it would only be this input losing audio and that was not the case.

Pre Amplifier Output Stage and Six Channel D/A Converter Section: These two sections together are responsible for the sound coming out of the six channel analog outputs. I felt that nothing in this section could be the source of the issue since the problem I have is that "every channel" is lost whenever the issue pops up. Thus, if there was a problem somewhere in this section, I could assume that it would only affect one or two channels of audio since everything is grouped into three independent sections for the six channels.

So at this point, the issue has to be something between the input switching stage (or not) and the six channel DA converter section. The only thing left is the.....

DSP, Dolby Digital, & System Control Stage: This makes the most sense since everything is basically decoded here before the information is sent to the DA Converters. And since there are only two capacitors in this section that I could suspect would be the culprit, it was easy to just focus on them for the fix. After doing a voltmeter check to see where these caps connect to the different chips on this section, I found that both caps connect to about five to ten different legs on both the DSP and Dolby Digital chip and thus I could make the assumption that they were losing power as the unit heated up.

So that's it for now. It's still not a 100% fix just yet but I'll update this again after I research the input switching section.




Addendum as of 4/13/20 >>>> So I am hoping this is the last entry I need to make regarding this particular repair in that I believe I have 99% nipped it in the bud. On 4/6, I went ahead and replaced two more caps (see pic below and circled in "red") located in the input switching section that I mentioned previously.

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These two caps appear to store or smooth out the power for the voltage regulator located right behind it and both power the associated chips that have been circled in "yellow" (C236 appears to provide power to IC108 and IC109 while C235 provides power to IC203). It doesn't appear that I needed to replace C235 since it runs the power for the A/D converter chip but I figured it might go bad later and it was the same value cap for C236.

In any case, I have been running this processor hard now for the past 7 days and it has been perfect so far (I'll feel it is a 100% fixed after giving it one more week). If I had to make an early evaluation of the issue, the problem was simply dried caps located mainly in power related situations that have just aged due to excess heat and simple age. The caps located in the other sections appear to be fine for I think they are just used for filtering purposes and thus don't get worked as hard as the others I replaced.

So that's it unless the problem occurs again. In the meantime, I ordered up a new fan for the cooling project and will update this posting in a new entry when I am ready. Stay tuned.... :)




So moving on to my 2nd issue, this problem had been a sporadic issue since I acquired this unit about 18 months ago.....

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Essentially, this is the unit resetting and clearing out its memory. This can be implemented manually by forcing a set of button pushes to clear it out but in this case it's a simple issue of the memory back-up going bad and thus losing its settings. Thus, I went ahead and replaced a "super capacitor" as located on the display board...

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I couldn't find the exact 5.5v capacitor so I went w/ a slightly higher capacitance (0.22F to 0.33F)

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Anyway, it worked out fine and now I haven't had the "all clear!" now for over three weeks (used to sporadically reset about once every week).


Lastly, I am currently still finishing up an "exhaust fan" mod for this unit to help keep it cooler and will update this posting when I am done. Hope everyone found this a tad educational.


Last edited by ldfan on 05 Dec 2022, 09:02, edited 42 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony, SDP-E800 issues and solutions
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 10:24 
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Thanks for the post. I have the same unit and no issues yet (fingers crossed) but yeah the sucker puts out a lot of heat. I have it at the top of a stack of gear with nothing above it. Do you stack gear on top of yours or have shelves above it? A fan mod sounds like a great idea. Although it may be noisy?
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony, SDP-E800 issues and solutions
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 16:13 
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I couldn't find the exact 5.5v capacitor so I went w/ a slightly higher capacitance (0.22F to 0.33F)


I thought you could change the voltage by going higher but not the capacitance?
Its been a while since I've done any electronics this complicated.
At least you got it working, gratz.

If anything does go wrong in the future you will know what to tackle first.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony, SDP-E800 issues and solutions
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2020, 22:44 
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forper wrote:
Do you stack gear on top of yours or have shelves above it?


I have the processor on top of my LD player and it's wide open all around it. I also live in a fairly cool basement apartment so heat in the home is rarely an issue. This unit simply needs more vents which I find odd that Sony didn’t think of it since their SDP-EP9ES has a good number of slits open on the back side.


forper wrote:
A fan mod sounds like a great idea. Although it may be noisy?


Here is the progress I have made so far....

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As you can see, the fan is a fairly small unit and I'm hoping I can get it to run on less than the 5V to get the fan speed lower and quieter (just need enough air movement to move the hot air out). I have had issues with this fan for some reason and I possibly might have damaged it w/ static when I was using it to create a template for the openings I was making on the back panel. I'll be ordering a new fan soon and see how it goes afterwards.


rein-o wrote:
LDFan wrote:
I couldn't find the exact 5.5v capacitor so I went w/ a slightly higher capacitance (0.22F to 0.33F)



I thought you could change the voltage by going higher but not the capacitance?
Its been a while since I've done any electronics this complicated.
At least you got it working, gratz.

If anything does go wrong in the future you will know what to tackle first.



I went back and forth figuring this one out so it was basically a guess in the end. Since a "super capacitor" is not a true capactor and it's also not a true battery, I decided the latter seemed more reasonable since it functioned more like that so I felt keeping the voltage the same was more important. I looked @ it from the perspective of a rechargeable battery having the same 1.25 vdc but the MaH capacity can differ.


Last edited by ldfan on 06 Dec 2022, 08:14, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony, SDP-E800 issues and solutions
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 02:49 
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All really cool, good luck with it. Actually I have an EP9ES, not the E800, for some reason they were the same thing in my head after about 8 beers before I read your post. Yeah there are some small vents on the back panel of the EP9ES but it still has heat issues of its own. It clearly needs a vented top panel, just like any other amp.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues and solutions
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2020, 05:37 
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Well... I guess that changes my answer regarding if I stacked my processor. :roll:

I also have an SDP-EP9ES on another set-up and it is a bit buried in my AV rack....

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I'm not concerned about it overheating in this set-up since it's a open rack system that provides plenty of side ventilation and the top is not a concern since there are no top vents (as you mentioned).

In regards to heat, I never really noticed my EP9 running too hot (at least not as hot as the E800) but I guess I'll have to check it again one day. It gets used sporadically now since it's now utilzed more as an AC3-RF Demodulator instead of a full blown processor since my newer AV Receiver took over most of those duties.


Last edited by ldfan on 06 Dec 2022, 08:16, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan mod
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2020, 04:40 
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Hey everyone,

It's about time that I completed the exhaust fan project I had for my SDP-E800. It wasn't totally successful (more on that further down this posting) but I'm happy overall w/ the results for the most part. So let's dive in.

Here we have the location I had in mind for the fan.

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I chose this spot mainly because it was the only part of the back panel that was free of any markings that I did not want punched out as well as the fact that it was literally the only free spot since this back panel is chock full of connection jacks.


After that, I needed to trace out of the shape of the fan and decided to just use transparent tape....

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..... and then transfer that out to the back panel.

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Now I needed to cut out some of the back panel because my hole puncher couldn't get around it....

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Next up is getting the holes punched out for the fan mounting screws....

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.... and then the fan openings (definitely wished I did nicer job than this :thumbdown: )....

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.... but it does look a tad better when the processor is put back together and there is no light bleed.....

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Finally, we're on the last leg of this mod in respect to wiring it up. I found a power point on the power transformer that gave me about 4.3 vdc which then dropped to about 3 vdc (the fan is designed for 5 vdc but I actually wanted it to run on lower voltage to keep the fan speed lower and thus quieter).

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I had the GND connected to the GND point of the composite video RCA jack. In addition, this fan has a mini plug of which I simply stuck the extension wires into it instead of soldering (I also decided to do this so I could easily detach it when I needed to work on the main board).

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In any case, I placed double stick tape on the back panel to secure the wiring and then placed electrical tape over it. Hopefully that will hold it all together.

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Anyway, as I was saying earlier in the post, the mod hasn't been totally successful. I was hoping for a significant drop in temperature to expedite the possibility of being able to stack a component on it. However, in testing the external temperature, there was literally no change at all (my temps averaged 78 to 82 degrees Farenheit) although I'm sure the internal case temp could still be lower simply because of air movement.

So my thought on why this was the case was due to how the air flow was moving as illustrated here.

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Because I placed the fan where it is, it's probably creating an airflow (noted in blue) that is literally pulling air around the perimeter of the casing and basically ignoring the area where the most heat is being produced (noted in red). Thus, I do plan to make one more mod in respect to placing another fan to upper left side of the heat sinks to re-direct the hot air into the air stream of the current fan. Hopefully this will create the kind of air flow to reduce the hot spot but we'll see when I get it done later.

In the meantime, I'll continue to test out the unit since the occasional glitch I reported in the first post continues to occur sporadically (I thought I had it down perfectly after my last update but I guess I was wrong :think: ). Thus, now we'll see if this fan might play a part in preventing the glitch by keeping the unit a tad cooler. :?:


Addendum as of 6/16/20 >>>>

So here is the next update on the installation of a 2nd fan.

I was able to jury rig another fan of the same size and had it mounted to a metal standoff (I used copper wire wound around a screw and applied solder to keep it in place) which was then screwed into a plastic standoff that was then double stick taped to the main board. Here are a couple of pics of the placement I chose.

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The height is about the same as the other fan as noted in this pic...

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My intent was to get it as high as possible to ensure that the airflow would travel at the same level to the other fan for maximum efficiency as well as to make sure that the hot air trapped on top of the casing would get moved as soon as possible. Here is another pic of the air flow....

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This pic shows how I had the unit wired up. Essentially I used the same points as the other fan.

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I was a tad concerned about the extra load on the power point since the first fan did drop it down about a volt but adding the second one appeared to not cause any further drop. Right now it's running at about 3.6 vdc.

So the final verdict???

Well, it's really no better than before with the exception that the fans appear to delay the heating up of the cabinet (my unofficial observation is that it now takes about 120 min to reach 81 degrees Fahrenheit and I think it used to take 30 to 40 min w/o the fan). The reason that there is no significant cooling that I can detect from "outside" the unit probably has a lot to do w/ the heat sinks being so close to the top that it's going to heat up the top of the casing regardless if a fan is removing the heat or not. Thus, I can make an assumption that it's still keeping the overall unit cooler but I probably won't know for sure unless I put a thermostat inside of it to get a reading with and without the fans running (I think I definitely want to do that just so I know).

In any case, I'm going to keep this mod intact and continue to monitor the unit's performance. I'm most interested to see if the glitch that I still get sporadically will lessen or disappear all together. If it's the latter, I'll be really happy to know that the effort on the fan mod (along with all those new caps) was worth it. ;)


Last edited by ldfan on 06 Dec 2022, 08:41, edited 17 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2020, 09:24 
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I am not really an expert, but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw your pictures was
"why did he choose such a tiny fan?" - maybe you should retry your mod with a slightly larger one
that can move more air.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2020, 16:27 
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Also another thing is you need an in and out for your air, once you pop a hole on the other side somewhere you can get more flow.

Sticking a fan in an without the intake won't do anything.

So larger fan and pop a hole on the right side so you get a cross breeze.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2020, 19:47 
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lons_vex wrote:
I am not really an expert, but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw your pictures was
"why did he choose such a tiny fan?" - maybe you should retry your mod with a slightly larger one
that can move more air.


The reason for such a small fan was based on two reasons...

1) I wanted to minimize the amount of cutting of the back panel as much as possible to keep the processor looking as original as possible
2) I really did not feel a need to have a literal tornado inside the unit as I'm okay with it heating up and letting the processor work as it was designed. However, being able to simply let the hot air escape more easily was my main priority and I think it can still work if I place another fan within the unit to redirect the hottest air toward the one I have already installed.


rein-o wrote:
Also another thing is you need an in and out for your air, once you pop a hole on the other side somewhere you can get more flow.

Sticking a fan in an without the intake won't do anything.

So larger fan and pop a hole on the right side so you get a cross breeze.


The E-800 does have a fairly large opening on the bottom so that should act like an acceptable intake.

Like I stated in my reply to lons_vex, we'll see when I get a 2nd fan installed for just the hot spot if it will help circulate the hotter air toward the other fan and out the unit.


Last edited by ldfan on 24 Feb 2021, 09:58, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2020, 20:12 
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Ah OK.
If there is a hole then it just may be a unit that runs hot unless you have a 3 or 4 inch fan.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 02 Jun 2020, 11:40 
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Congrats on the repair. It does feel gratifying when you can fix something that's not working properly.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 02:38 
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If anyone is interested, I have added an addendum to my exhaust fan mod (adding the 2nd fan). See above. ;)
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 03:31 
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I have the same unit and was wondering if you had considered just leaving the top cover off?
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 04:14 
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Not really. For me, the point of owning any kind of equipment means that it should work fine completely assembled. I did consider cutting vents into the top of the case but I couldn't figure out a way to do it cleanly plus I wanted a mod that minimized the butchering of the case. Hence, the tiny opening I made for the fan was perfect in my opinion.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 14:51 
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Just a thought. Have you tried replacing the thermal paste on the transistors?
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 17:54 
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I never thought of it since I never changed the power inverters but it’s probably a good idea since the unit is 25 years old (amazing we’ve had Dolby Digital for that long now :o ).

I don’t think changing the paste would alter the heat issue but it would help protect the longevity of those inverters. I’ll take your advice and order up some paste and see if it might make a difference. Thanks :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 18:06 
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Some other things that come to mind that I completely forgot about but just remembered.

There was an electronic I had one, can't remember what, and the sites I saw people had added extra metal to the heat sinks making them larger.
While it may not fix any of your issue with the internal getting hot it may help somehow?

I see now a second fan, don't know if that was in the original post but good idea, wonder if you put it further away if that would also help or
make a difference?
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2020, 20:20 
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ldfan wrote:
I never thought of it since I never changed the power inverters but it’s probably a good idea since the unit is 25 years old (amazing we’ve had Dolby Digital for that long now :o ).

I don’t think changing the paste would alter the heat issue but it would help protect the longevity of those inverters. I’ll take your advice and order up some paste and see if it might make a difference. Thanks :thumbup:


No worries. Im not sure how much a difference it would make but it cant hurt.
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 Post subject: Re: More Sony SDP-E800 issues & solutions +added exhaust fan
PostPosted: 18 Jun 2020, 00:45 
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Which outputs are you using, the analog or digital?
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