Electromotion ESL panels fading issue.

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AuBrisbane

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Got my ESL pair in 2014, and very excited with them so much so that I have decided to go and get few more from ML range ( 2 X Dynamo 700 Subs, 2 X Motion FX surrounds and ElectroMotion C2 centre).
Sounds produced by ESL started fading badly and ESL Panels were replaced in 2018, under warranty cover.
Same case again, another four years in use and panels are losing intensity and high frequency spectrum again.
Called Australian dealer to get a price for a pair of ESL Panels and got price of $3,070.00 AUS Dollars (close to 2,065.00 US Dollars)?
Not a happy ElectroMotion ESL user, at all.
The rest of dynamic/ribbon ML speakers are all working fine.
Despite what ML is saying about Electrostatics and humidity, I think humidity is playing big part in panels life expectancy, as in this case they can not keep up quality of the sound produced for a longer than four years.

What is the price of the Panels purchased in USA for ElectroMotion ESL and what place is offering them?
A few days ago, somebody posted site details of the guys in Germany doing ESL refurbishment with different kind of foil, coating and glue stipes. Contacted them and got their price of 1,110.oo EUR which is not so bad compared to price quoted by Australian Dealer for a new pair of ESL Panels.

Very kin to hear your suggestion.

Cheers from Australia.
Zoran
 
Wow, 4 years is not long at all. My Prodigy panels needed to be replaced when I got them used. By that time they were about 15 years old. Most guys report them being good for between 15 and 20 years.

Something is definitely going on with the environment the speakers are used in. Are you an indoor smoker? Is the home air conditioned and dehumidified?

My replacement Prodigy panels were about $2800 here in the US, but those are much bigger panels. We have at least one very experienced Australian member here. He will be able to offer good advice.
 
Is it just one speaker or both that's experiencing this issue? 4 years on a set of pa els.is absolutely nothing, I think mine are going on 20 and still have zero issues.

I'd be tempted to dig into electrical troubleshooting, assuming you're capable.
 
Wow, 4 years is not long at all. My Prodigy panels needed to be replaced when I got them used. By that time they were about 15 years old. Most guys report them being good for between 15 and 20 years.

Something is definitely going on with the environment the speakers are used in. Are you an indoor smoker? Is the home air conditioned and dehumidified?

My replacement Prodigy panels were about $2800 here in the US, but those are much bigger panels. We have at least one very experienced Australian member here. He will be able to offer good advice.
Thanks Robert,

Non- smokers environment, no pets, no small kids. Home is air-conditioned and air-con is used just a few days a year during high humidity days (when humidity level is 70% and above).
Speaker set is not exposed to any direct or indirect UV rays.
Room is well ventilated all year around
When ESL panels were replaced for the first time it was "Wow" effect, nice crisp and louder sound were coming out of the ESL panels.
Today it is muffled and amp has too be turned up to get some sound volume out of them with bass being more present than it should be.

Yes, Prodigy panels are massive compared to ElectroMotion ESL (baby in comparison to Prodigy).

Thanks again for your kind input.

Cheers from Australia
Zoran
 
Is it just one speaker or both that's experiencing this issue? 4 years on a set of pa els.is absolutely nothing, I think mine are going on 20 and still have zero issues.

I'd be tempted to dig into electrical troubleshooting, assuming you're capable.
Hi Brandon,

Both are having same issue and not for the first time.
I just posted reply to Robert about first replacement and instant improvement in ESL panels sound reproduction which normally rules out any electrical issue.
I have taken image of the new panels at the time of replacement ( done by the Dealer) and here is sticker saying ESL panels are made on 15 June 2016.

I might use UMIK-1 Microphone and run REW program to get some idea what is going on.

Not keen doing ESL Panels washing as it will damage glue holding segments in place.

Thanks for your suggestion.
Cheers
Zoran
 

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Thanks Robert,

Non- smokers environment, no pets, no small kids. Home is air-conditioned and air-con is used just a few days a year during high humidity days (when humidity level is 70% and above).
Speaker set is not exposed to any direct or indirect UV rays.
Room is well ventilated all year around
When ESL panels were replaced for the first time it was "Wow" effect, nice crisp and louder sound were coming out of the ESL panels.
Today it is muffled and amp has too be turned up to get some sound volume out of them with bass being more present than it should be.

Yes, Prodigy panels are massive compared to ElectroMotion ESL (baby in comparison to Prodigy).

Thanks again for your kind input.

Cheers from Australia
Zoran
The symptoms you describe are identical to how my Prodigies sounded when the panels were wore out. I used Audyssey and it made them sound much better. It must have cut the bass output from the woofers and raised high frequency output to compensate. I use a subwoofer and so it took on a greater role. New panels now corrected all of that.
 
My only guess would be it's humidity being too high. Have you tried just leaving on the air conditioner all spring, summer, and fall? That's how we do it here in Ohio. The thermostat regulates everything
 
I would think you would need some wild humidity to consistently kill panels like this, that's very strange.

Have you contacted Martin Logan about this? If they do one thing very well it's technical support.
 
I would think you would need some wild humidity to consistently kill panels like this, that's very strange.

Have you contacted Martin Logan about this? If they do one thing very well it's technical support.
I think we have a member here that lives in India that had problems with humidity, not 100% on the country.
 
My only guess would be it's humidity being too high. Have you tried just leaving on the air conditioner all spring, summer, and fall? That's how we do it here in Ohio. The thermostat regulates everything
Thanks Robert.

Here is what ML is saying about Electrostatics and Humidity on their Q&A support site:
1670588667889.jpeg

So, ML thinks ESL panels have no issue with humidity. Hmmmm....?

Cheers.
Zoran
 
I would think you would need some wild humidity to consistently kill panels like this, that's very strange.

Have you contacted Martin Logan about this? If they do one thing very well it's technical support.
Thanks Brandon,

I think it will be a bit more complicated as this is the Customer from outside of USA and Dealership is involved.
But, I have taken your advice and sent direct request to ML USA Technical support and got confirmation that person dealing with overseas claims will contact me soon.

Hope for the best.

Cheers
Zoran
 
The symptoms you describe are identical to how my Prodigies sounded when the panels were wore out. I used Audyssey and it made them sound much better. It must have cut the bass output from the woofers and raised high frequency output to compensate. I use a subwoofer and so it took on a greater role. New panels now corrected all of that.
Most likely new Panels made you going and discovering well known music tracks to be sounding much more richer in music presentation, putting smile on your face again.

Cheers.
Zoran
 
Thanks Robert.

Here is what ML is saying about Electrostatics and Humidity on their Q&A support site:
View attachment 23619
So, ML thinks ESL panels have no issue with humidity. Hmmmm....?

Cheers.
Zoran
Strange. It's generally accepted, on here I thought, that humidity does affect panels. I think some have even mentioned arching.

What ML says there contradicts that for sure. I'd contact Ron at ML and ask directly. Email these days is easiest.
 
Most likely new Panels made you going and discovering well known music tracks to be sounding much more richer in music presentation, putting smile on your face again.

Cheers.
Zoran
That it did! Ironically, one of the big improvements was bass. Bass was better because Audyssey no longer had to neuter the woofers to match panel output.
 
Strange. It's generally accepted, on here I thought, that humidity does affect panels. I think some have even mentioned arching.

What ML says there contradicts that for sure. I'd contact Ron at ML and ask directly. Email these days is easiest.
Hi Robert and the rest of ML Owner community.

Does anyone have Electromotion ESL Power Supply board replacement instruction, please?

Got two brand new panels and two Power supplies boards without any instructions for Power supplies replacement.

Much appreciated.

Zoran from Australia
 
Hi Robert and the rest of ML Owner community.

Does anyone have Electromotion ESL Power Supply board replacement instruction, please?

Got two brand new panels and two Power supplies boards without any instructions for Power supplies replacement.

Much appreciated.

Zoran from Australia
Have you tried emailing Ron at Martin Logan service? Usually he comes up with those documents pretty fast. If you just use their service email, he should be the one that helps you. Ron seems to handle most things in service. He's great.
 
Hi Robert and the rest of ML Owner community.

Does anyone have Electromotion ESL Power Supply board replacement instruction, please?

Got two brand new panels and two Power supplies boards without any instructions for Power supplies replacement.

Much appreciated.

Zoran from Australia

Hi Zoran,

Humidity may or may not contribute to deterioration of the diaphragm's conductive coating. ML says no-- but it's fair to question that, given ML's vested interest and the number of owners posting about their panels fading.

The coating is vapor-deposited indium tin oxide, which is insoluble in water but I don't know if that rules out corrosion from humidity.

Humidity significantly reduces the dielectric break-down voltage of air, which increases the risk of arcing and also increases the rate of charge dissipation from the diaphragm to surrounding air.

Logically, the bias supply should replenish charge faster than it's dissipated away, so humidity would have to be really high (as in no AC on a hot rainy day) before it's a problem.

A greater concern would be conduction paths (diaphragm-to-stator) due to humidity moistened dust built up along the edges of the spars and edge spacers. This can drain charge off the diaphragm faster than the bias supply can replenish it, resulting in partial to complete volume loss and/or destructive arcing.

I absolutely cringe at the thought of washing a panel with water, but I suppose if the panel is dying, there's nothing to lose. In cases where this actually restores volume, it could only have done so by washing away the aformentioned conduction paths.

That reminds me:
If anyone does wash a panel with water + dishwashing liquid, it's imperative that all soap residue is thoroughly rinsed off, because it's conductive!

Dish soap makes an effective DIY diaphragm coating, which gives excellent volume and it's cheap (attracts dust, though).

Water intrusion from panel washing would tend to corrode the copper foil charge strip. So; I would only advise washing a panel as a last resort.

Since I build ESLs as a hobby, I would just rebuild both panels if I had one fading (it's not rocket science).

Speaking of...
Now that you have new panels for your speakers, I would vacuum them quite often. And you might consider having some acoustically transparent sock covers sewn up.

All of my DIY ESLs have cloth grills front & back.

And BTW...
I would hang on to those old panels if I were you. You might want to rebuild them someday.

You might even get lucky and successfully separate the stators without damaging the diaphragms-- in which case; you could solvent clean and re-coat the original diaphragms with Licron Crystal ESD spray-coat, re-assemble the panels, and enjoy the music.

FYI:
On some ML models, the stators are only bonded at the top and bottom edges, with the side edges un-bonded and held together by the speaker frame.

In all models, the diaphragm is bonded to the rear stator.
At panel top/bottom edges, the component stack-up [rear to front] is:

Rear stator
Rear urethane foam tape spacer/adhesive
Diaphragm
Front urethane foam tape spacer/adhesive
<<<<< (separate panel here) >>>>>
Front Stator

1. Attempt to pry apart and separate the front stator at the forward stator/spacer bond line.
2. If it doesn't want to come apart easily, then use a box knife to cut thru the front urethane foam spacer (close the the front stator to avoid damaging the diaphragm).

Here's a post that goes into more detail about ESL panel construction:
https://www.martinloganowners.com/threads/panel-rebuild-guide.19749/#post-210111
 
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