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BeoLab 5 blues

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Doonesbury
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Landisville, PA, USA
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Doonesbury posted on Sun, Jul 6 2014 2:33 PM

I received my brand new BL 5 speakers.  I had some trouble with the darn PIN codes but got them working.  I was not able to "turn off" the pin codes as noted in the manual, but I chalked that up to user error.

A few days ago, we had thunder storms.  As I usually do, I unplugged the stereo, computers, speakers, etc.  To start the speakers again, I had to input the PIN codes.  One did not accept the code.  When inputting the 4th digit, instead of a single "chime,", I'd get the "ding dong" sound (3) times which means that there was an error.  This happened multiple times.  I waited the three hours to try again to no avail.

The dealer helped me over the phone to no avail and contacted B & O US.  I also talked with them.  I got the master 5-digit code for the speaker and that didn't work.  I was told that that master code would overrule any mistakes I made with entering the PIN codes.  It was deemed that the circuit board controlling the PIN codes was bad.  The dealer seemed relieved that I didn't want a new speaker but simply a replacement board.

The dealer thinks that the on-site repair will happen this week, within 7 days of the problem occurring.  I asked that a second replacement board be available for the repair technician if the PIN codes can't be turned off on the other speaker.  I said given that the speakers have successive serial numbers that they might be made with the same batch of parts that all might have defects.

My wife is surprised that I don't want totally new speakers.  I said that its only a small part that doesn't work, it's going to be repaired and checked on-site under warranty, and i don't want to have to get these monsters out of the basement and package them up.

Has anyone else every experienced this problem?  Does anyone have thoughts about handling this issue?  Both my dealer, who answered phone calls and e-mails out of normal business hours, and B & O US have been very helpful and wanting to fix the problem.

D

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Luke
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Basel, Switzerland
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Luke replied on Sun, Jul 6 2014 6:27 PM

It would be a waste to get an entirely new speaker.... and probably faster to have them repair the part. I hope they fix it for you quickly and you can just enjoy your speakers, they truly are amazing ! I have 4 of them.

 

 

markiedee
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Wow four of them what do they sound like with all of them playing?? It must sound euphoric.

Beoplay A2

Playdrv4me
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Fortunately, the BL5 was designed from the outset to be a very modular design for specifically this reason, and to prevent the customer having to go through the headache of having entire speakers replaced what with each one of them weighing 130lb. 

The technician arrives at your residence with a "suitcase" with just about every possible part that might need replacing and all the tools necessary to code the parts in and such. So while for some brands of speakers and certain types of defects I'd demand a new unit, if not an entirely different PAIR (some B&W guy got mismatched 802D Serials once and finally got B&W to replace them both with a new pair of successive S/Ns even though there was nothing wrong with the ones he had), I don't fault you for being ok with just having the board replaced. That is how it should be done.

Now, unfortunately where this breaks down, is for those of us who do not HAVE a B&O dealer representative in our particular town or city. I don't know WHAT B&O do then. Fortunately, mine arrived with the pin codes disabled (which I thought was the way any brand new pair is supposed to show up). 

It's also worth noting that if you ever find a pair of "broken" BL5s at a bargain, just buy them almost no matter what, as the individual parts and labor costs due to this very modular repair system are unlikely to get you anywhere NEAR their true value almost no matter what they need. I was doing a Google search for BL5s once and came across a thread from a guy who had bought a non working pair from a gentleman who had received them as payment, or partial payment for work he had done for a customer. He sold them to the poster for 2500.00. I guarantee you there was nothing wrong with those 1000.00 would not have fixed. If anything at all (since both speakers exhibited the same behavior, whatever it was, and the guy probably didn't have a Beo4). 

Doonesbury
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Landisville, PA, USA
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I'm happy to read your comment about the BL5's being modular and therefore easy to replace parts.

Given the challenges and complexity of this speaker, I thought I should buy it new from my closest dealer (about 1 1/2 hours away) rather buy a new or used pair online.  Fortunately, I happened to be right (so far) with that philosophy.

I know what you mean about believing that the speakers not having the PIN activated when buying the speakers new.  The manual basically says it's up to the user if the PIN codes will be used.  However, I had to get PINs for my speakers from the dealer for them to work.  They were categorized by the speakers' serial number.  I think the BL5 manual needs to be updated regarding this, not to mention that the Beo4 remote has had some changes as well that don't correspond to directions in the manual.

I'm looking forward to having the repair person over to fix the speakers, not only so they'll be working but also to see what they look like inside.  While I have carefully investigated the exterior of the speakers, there is no way I'm going to try to look inside myself!  (And I'm someone who ALWAYS likes to see how things work).

I will keep in mind your suggestion about buying supposedly non-working BL5 speakers.  It reminds me of a record dealer who was invited to a home to buy a record collection from a person's estate.  While there, he was asked if we wanted to take (for free or next to nothing) what sounds like an original Mini Moog (mono) synthesizer that supposedly didn't work.  If I remember correctly, it was a matter of flipping some switches and/or rerouting some wires, and it worked fine.

D

Roger
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Roger replied on Tue, Jul 8 2014 7:37 AM

The darn pin codes - yes, I've been there a couple of times with the BL5's. After replacing the chassi (for the 2nd time) on one, I finally deactivated the PIN on this speaker as it drove me nuts trying the enter the PIN after every 20+ min power disconnect.

I'm not sure if the IR-receiver is to blame or what, but in general I found that I have to form a tube with my hand in front of the Beo4 - placing it directly in front of the Beo4 while, at the same time, touching the BL5. This works for entering digits only - a bit difficult to shift the grip with one hand in order to access the arrows without timing out.

If I do not block IR-leakage, the other speaker will pick up some (but never all) of the digits being entered.

Replacing parts in the BL5 is a straight forward DIY job (at least for BeoWorlders) as long as you have the service manual, so buying a supposedly non-working BL5 should be fairly low risk. If you need to replace drivers, you will need access to a service tool as the serial numbers will have to be matched.

There is a transportation PIN activated for the BL5 - for obvious reasons. This should/could be deactived by the dealer before installation if requested.

Roger

Playdrv4me
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Roger:

 

There is a transportation PIN activated for the BL5 - for obvious reasons. This should/could be deactived by the dealer before installation if requested.

Roger

Ahh, that explains it. 

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