Studio Story Book

Acapulco Gold

A studio purchased a second hand MCI JH-500 console from Acapulco and also brought back some Canadian kid who claimed to know a bit about electronics as the studio technician.

One day, this kid decided to have a look at their Studer A80.  He thought that some chips in the central processor looked a bit burnt, so he threw them away.  The problem was that these chips were the main EPROMS and funnily enough the local Dick Smith and Tandy stores down the road didn't have any in stock.

Getting back to the MCI, apparently one of the power supplies was blowing fuses.  The kid had a look at this and decided that the problem must have been the crowbar over-voltage protection circuit.  The solution?  Remove it and go out to lunch for a couple of hours, leaving the console switched on!

This particular power supply section was a five volt supply which powered all of the on-channel logic and interfacing between the channel and automation section.  With the unit still defective and the protection circuit removed, the unit sat there pumping out fourteen volts.  Logic chips really don't like this!  Over the next few hours, some resistors got very hot.  Not hot enough to burn out, just hot enough to start burning a hole in the main PCB of every module in the console.  Imagine the horror on their faces when they finally returned to the smoke-filled control room!

I was called in to clean up the mess.  The major damage was to most of the automation interface chips but surprisingly, most of the standard TTL logic chips actually survived.

During the course of working on the console, I crawled over nearly every square inch of the guts of the console.  Trapped deep inside the metalwork I stumbled across some seeds.  Remember we're talking about a console that has just come straight from Acapulco here.  I made the mistake of showing the studio owner who said "Yes, we have found lots of those but I have been throwing them away.  I don't tolerate drugs of any kind in this studio." Yeah, right.