Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

I recently overhauled and restored this stunning Accuphase E-202 integrated amplifier. Read on for all the details.

Firstly, my apologies for the delay in bringing new content like this article on the Accuphase E-202 to my site. My hi-fi repair and restoration business here in Perth has been incredibly busy, I barely have time to even respond to inquiries at the moment!

I’ll be writing more content, by organising a more time for it. I have literally dozens of repairs and restorations ready to write about, hopefully they will be of interest. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see.

On to the Accuphase E-202. The E-202 was Accuphase’s first integrated amplifier, and it’s become a true hi-fi classic. With superlative build quality and stunning sound, the Accuphase E-202 is all that most people need at the heart of a really serious hi-fi system.

Specifications, courtesy of the Hi-Fi Engine:

Power output: 100 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%
Damping factor: 50
Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 160mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio: 74dB (MM), 80dB (line)
Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω
Semiconductors: 53 x transistors, 4 x FETs, 44 x diodes, 2 x thermistors
Dimensions: 455 x 152 x 355mm
Weight: 19.5kg

Lots more excellent information and documents can be found at the HiFi Engine page for the E-202.

Problems

This gorgeous E-202 has been in her original owner’s hands since new. She came to needing some serious TLC – bits didn’t work, crackling and popping noises, scratchy controls, etc.

In situations like this, I opt for a conservative, reliability and performance-enhancement approach. How this all comes together in the equipment is documented below.

You can also watch a short video I made about this Accuphase E-202 and setting her up, on my YouTube channel.

img_8248 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

Let’s start with a few images of the amplifier as it looked when it came in. The unit was stored in a garage for a long time, not turned on for many years.

img_8250 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Note the typically well laid out Accuphase front panel. A couple of large (and dark with their blown lamps) power output level meters are a very nice touch.
img_8251 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Fairly grubby-looking old girl at this point, but these amplifiers always come up well after a really good clean.

Chassis

I began as I always do, by stripping the E-202’s chassis and removing the modules in preparation for a thorough wash.

img_8252 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Pulling the lid reveals lots of dirt and a completely original unit. This amp had NEVER been worked on.
img_8253-e1520235431590 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Kind of Accuphase to provide primary and secondary transformer tap information, handy when troubleshooting without a schematic. Looks ravaged by time…
img_8256 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
This E-202 has developed a quite lovely ‘patina’ in fact. Amazing how the sands of time slowly change the appearance of materials. As you’ll see though, it looks very different afterwards.
img_8254-e1520235471467 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
A light coating of dirt and dust might seem benign in electronics but actually it isn’t. The extra insulating properties of the dirt can lead to components running hotter than they should. Also, in high-impedance circuits like phono stages, the dust and dirt can create significant electrical leakage paths.
img_8255-e1520236562982 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Dirt quietly covers everything…
img_8262-e1520235926430 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
An overview, of dirt…
img_8265-e1520236059932 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
So let’s get rid of some of it, starting with knobs…
img_8277 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
That’s better
img_8266 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
This is also a great time to tackle the faceplate…
img_8269 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Using, of course, my favourite foaming cleanser.

After carefully washing the chassis, I set it aside to dry and focus my attention on the modules themselves.

Boards

The modules are all original, untouched and pretty crusty. I replaced a few small capacitors that didn’t measure well and addressed the large number of dry joints. The boards were also very fluxey, so I carefully re-worked each of them until I was happy to reinstall and test them in the finished, clean chassis.

img_8258-e1520235573944 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Here we have the phono board, top left, and two amplifier boards, as found. Most of the caps test perfect. Accuphase were (and are still) careful to use the best parts when building these amps. For this reason, it’s common to only need to change a few of the smaller caps, subject to the greatest thermal cycling and having the shortest lifespan.
img_8259-e1520235662938 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
This is secondary power supply board. I changed a couple of the smaller caps on this board.
img_8260-e1520235848304 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Areas of heat stress and lots of flux are visible here. The card edge connectors also need attention. I clean these and then gently abrade them with a glass-fibre pen, before applying contact enhancer to them.
img_8264-e1520236023283 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
A close up of the dry joints in this thermally degraded section of board on the secondary power supply module.
img_8261-e1520235890274 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Here are the small filter boards.
img_8263-e1520235964615 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
I start by washing everything including the boards. People are sometimes surprised by this, assuming that electronics and water should never be mixed. In reality, they should only not be mixed when energised – very important! Washing is part of the production processing of most boards and most electronic parts are sealed and safe to wash.
img_8274 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Washed boards drying in the Perth summer heat.

img_8276 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

The Finished Amplifier

So, with everything cleaned and the re-work done, time to put her back together for some performance testing. Let’s have a look at the results.

Don’t forget to also check out my video about this E-202.

img_8279-e1520236112977 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Overview of the now much cleaner chassis. I can’t stress how important all this hard work is, when restoring or overhauling equipment. I’ve found that it makes a big difference to long-term reliability, performance and owner enjoyment of their equipment. It also improves the resale value.
img_8280-e1520236176873 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Check out the before pics to see the difference, the chassis is shining once again.
img_8289 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Boards and components are now much cleaner and this contributes to improved performance when combined with edge connector reliability enhancement as described earlier.

img_8291 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

img_8290 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Filter capacitors look great. One of these had suffered minor leakage but tested very well. The owner understood that she would need to come back for stage two but preferred that I do that work in a separate stage, later in the year.
img_8281-e1520236230601 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Overall, it’s not hard to see the dramatic improvement in the entire chassis and boards.
img_8288 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
This image demonstrates that well I think.

After some testing, setting of power supply parameters, bias current and DC symmetry, and meter operation, this E-202 is working perfectly again. Her owner is extremely happy with the result and I now have yet another E-202 to overhaul in much the same way I did with this one.

If your Accuphase or other quality stereo amplifier needs some TLC, and you live in Perth, Western Australia, feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements. As always, thanks for reading and enjoy the last few images.

img_8311 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Doesn’t she look a million bucks!
img_8304 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
Everything now operates, quietly, reliably.

img_8296 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

img_8300 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

img_8301 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration
New lamps for the meters have a warm tone, as they should. Lots of folks like to replace incandescent lamps with LEDs in older equipment, but I prefer the warmth of these original incandescent lamps.

img_8309 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

img_8310 Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration

3 thoughts on “Accuphase E-202 Integrated Amplifier Restoration”

  1. Good job, I bought a second hand two years ago in Perth, very nice.
    But the balance has some cracking sounds occasionally. Would like to get this done soon. I have used more than 10 ampliers Hi end,
    Including Audio Research 600W tube, Usually I kept Accusphase E202 as it is good qualitly and friendly to use, very liable. I left one to my sister 30 years ago , and I am using one myself. Matching KEF speakers, very nice for classsic music.

    1. Hi James, thanks and yes I specialize in this sort of work. I’d be very happy to assist with servicing your E-202, give me a call to discuss, anytime from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts!