Repairing my EMU 1820

1 or 2 months ago my EMU 1820 soundcard has started to play noise instead of music when I switched the output sampling rate above 44.1kHz. Plus the volume randomly changed for 10-20 minutes after I booted up my computer.

I disassembled the external box and found 2 faulty capacitors. After replacing them (and reinstalling the drivers…) everything works fine. I also replaced a few other caps of the same brand, just to be sure nothing goes wrong in the near future.

jim 2011-12-21 07:09:57

How did you find out that exactly these capacitors were faulty, and not other ones or an entirely different part?
How did you know which ones to order for replacement? Do you have a service manual?
(Please send me an email with your response)

Thank you and have a good time!

Nonoo 2011-12-21 07:33:20

After opening the case it was obvious, because these capacitors were bulged. I simply went to an electronics store and bought two low ESR caps with the same values (voltage, capacity) and replaced them. I don’t have the service manual.

Rodney thompson 2011-12-28 22:43:03

I have a 1820 as well and it just stop working period, any subjections? the card work fine or atleast the firewire.

Nonoo 2011-12-28 22:46:51

Did you try it in another computer? What happens when you turn on the computer and the OS boots? Do the lights turn on on the external box?

Rodney thompson 2011-12-29 02:24:03

No juice what so ever. I tried it on another computer.

Nonoo 2011-12-29 09:11:04

You should open it and search for bad capacitors.

Rodney thompson 2011-12-29 16:39:12

How will I know they are bad? What capacitors control or link to power? Can I use any ethernet chord?

Nonoo 2011-12-29 16:52:43

Bad caps are bulged or leaked. Inspect the board. You can use any straight ethernet cable (it’s important that the cable must be straight).

Rodney 2011-12-30 03:20:38

One cap looks as though the bottoms is busted. Will that cause power failure? How do are change it correctly?

Nonoo 2011-12-30 10:36:58

It can cause the power failure. You have to desolder it with a soldering iron and replace with a cap with the same voltage and capacity values.

Manolis 2012-11-28 22:00:57

do you know where can i find drivers for this card but for windows 7 64bit ?
thank you!

Nonoo 2012-11-29 10:22:15
marc 2013-02-08 22:37:12

Hey, cheers for putting this page up, ive had the same problems an thru a process of elimination have worked out that its the caps. Could you please advise what voltage and capacity values the capacitors you used are. Cant find a system schematic or a components list for love nor money, many thanks

Nonoo 2013-02-08 23:33:02

Sadly I can’t remember the values, but you can look at your caps for them. :)

marc 2013-02-13 18:34:10

thanks for the reply mate, can you remember if all the caps are identcal?

Nonoo 2013-02-14 10:05:35

Sorry, can’t remember

marc 2013-02-14 19:08:36

I swapped the same two you circled in the pic above and it works a treat now, no reinstalling drivers or anything, thanks again,

the caps I used were
panasonic 105C 10V 680uF Panasonic EEUFM1A681

I bought then from radio supplies in the uk

good luck to anyone else with this problem,

Nonoo 2013-02-14 19:15:55

Wow, great!

vlas 2013-09-09 23:36:32

My audio dock flashes like a cristmas tree when i open my pc all lights light up …is it the capacitors?(they are dead i checked it ) or is it another problem??????

Nonoo 2013-09-10 08:58:17

Pull it’s plug out and then in again to reset the dock. If it won’t help then you should open it up and search for bad caps.

Carmelo 2013-11-09 18:57:54

Hi, I just started having the lights on problem, but I’m sure it’s not a Dock problem because I fortunately have 2 different working docks and both of them are not working. I changed the cable and I reinstalled, changed the PCI slots and electricity supply of the card. Do you think that these bad caps problems could afford on the PCI card? I’m sure it’s not a software problem (it starts lightning before the drivers boot). Hope to have any answer because I had an important job to finish these days :(

Nonoo 2013-11-09 19:30:30

Try to look for bad caps in your docks and on the PCI card. Try to polish the connectors of the PCI card with some paper.

Stelios 2013-12-08 23:47:26

Hi Nonoo,

I’ve had this problem with my 1820M for the longest time…

It was working great for a few years until it started leaking some static noise into the audio for a few months. This kept up for some time until it released this extremely loud pop through the speakers during mix down…from then on, I was unable to get the audio dock to power back up (tried everything). the pci card continues to work but as a result of not having the audio dock functioning, I get no audio playback.

I have opened the thing up numerous times and there are no bulges to any of the caps, nor have they blown their lids. I suppose spending a few dollars on some new caps and giving it a go might be worth a shot.

Was your issue a similar experience? Are those caps that you replaced responsible for powering the board? Here’s another question, that blue foam inside the case, does it show yellow discoloring in certain spots? Im wondering if this would be an indication that some sort of gas/chemical released as a sign that something went wrong. Mine has it. Although, I have no visibly blown caps, that “COEV” thing next to your caps that you replaced does have a little bit of yellowish tinge on the tape that wraps around it, causing me to question it as well.

How is your interface performing now a days? Hope its still going strong. Perhaps there is hope yet…

Thanks in advance,


Nonoo 2013-12-09 08:38:00

Hello, I think you should replace all the caps on the board. They could be dried out.

athan 2014-01-26 23:00:15

Greetings to everybody !!!
I have a problem with my Emu1820m. The audio dock doesn’t show. I think it’s probably an edi cable problem. Some friends suggested to use a simple internet cable. Any ideas ?
Thanks in advance.


Nonoo 2014-01-26 23:18:09

Hello, use a simple shielded, straight ethernet cable. Maybe you can try it with an unshielded one, but make sure it’s a straight cable, not a cross one.

Joshua 2014-02-04 03:52:01

Thank you so much for putting up this site. I need to change my capacitors. I am having the exact same problems you initially said. I thought my 1820m was done for until i read this. The only difference with the 1820m and 1820 is the sync card with midi time clock, smpte clock in and outs, and a midi remote i believe. Was it fairly simple soldering yourself? I am willing to do it, but scared cus I am no soldering expert.

Nonoo 2014-02-04 07:57:30

It’s very simple even if you are not an expert, because the caps are not surface mounted.

mike 2014-03-07 10:41:44

Hello and thanks for all the great info.
My 1820 has the following problems :Sometimes when i boot my pc the patchmix dsp cant load and i get a message of insufficient hardware.It takes a lot of restarts in order for the card to work.But when it works its fairly ok (except for some random 15” static metallic noises).I dont have a single problem when i leave my Pc always on , but when i shut it down for the night ,the 1820 gives me hell in the morning.
Maybe i have bad caps also?I dont know any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ,Thanks.

helika 2014-12-17 18:21:54

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this wonderful post! I found a link to it on some Creative forum I think, and by reading this AND the comments, I became sure my E-Mu 1820m was having some faulty capacitors!
My problems included external card not being recognized (“no needed hardware” message) but sometimes started working after few restarts and being turned on for a while. Also, randomly, it started emitting weird static noise instead or along music.
Since I don’t know how to repair electronics, I gave it to an acquaintance who is a professional computer repairman. He opened it up and immediately noticed that 2 capacitors were bulged so of course he put in the new ones.
Now, I wasn’t there when he did it, so I don’t know exactly which ones he changed, but when I got it back and plugged it in, it just worked immediately. Tried all the basic functions and everything seems to be great!

Nonoo 2014-12-17 20:14:41

Great, happy to hear that! :)

Andy Swindell 2015-02-11 18:25:11

Having the popping noise in my 1820m. Just bought another on ebay from someone who’s already replaced the caps, but I plan to fix the one I already have. Haven’t opened it yet, and have no electronics knowledge. Just curious. Are all of the caps in the 1820m the same?

Nonoo 2015-02-11 18:51:58

You’ll see when you open the case. :)

Steven 2015-02-15 22:03:01

Looks like our 1820m is also suffering from the same issue. It appears these boards are plagued with the same bad caps in the the 680uf 10V area.

Atleast its a relatively simple fix. Thanks for the post!

Andy Foreman 2015-10-13 06:04:49

I just lost my 1020 as all of you did. I’ll use a Huntron Tracker to check my caps but suspect they also dried out (the bulge is the sure sign). This deck is over 10 years old and that is the usual age that cheep electrolytic caps start to go. I have many vintage audio components from the seventies and eighties that this same fix has proven to work every time.

Clà 2016-01-28 09:58:51

I changed the same (2) bulged capacitors on the external box of my 1820m, everything works fine.

SONS 2016-08-23 04:22:13

OK thanks 4 the info? Any ideas on the 1616 laptop setup as far as software installation? Or a replacement cardbus?

badtheba 2016-04-04 16:45:35

Just want to say thank you. This post and related forum posts and videos helped me recover a crazy acting Creative/E-mu 1616 PCI. Although there are many differences is layout, that section of the PCB with those two capacitors is laid out identically to the dock you have shown.

After soldering on two new Rubycon ZL 10V 1000uF capacitors I had in stock and the thing works great now. Even the 48V phantom power that was really acting up is now perfect.

SONS 2016-08-21 23:39:36

Hey appreciate the info guys am really new to the E-mu, recently purchased the 1616 laptop setup it came without the software? Does anyone have any leads on obtaining the correct software for it as well as the cardbus? Also purchased the 1820m am currently trying to find the correct cables for it not sure if there balanced or unbalanced? Have the setup software for it. really would like to see both units operate properly BIG THANKS.

badtheba 2016-08-22 05:18:32

For drivers, the Vista x86 and Vista x64 are still listed on the Emu support site. I have had the 64 bit Vista version working great in Windows 7 64 bit and Windows 10 64 bit. This includes the virtual mixer/console called Patchmix, which works pretty well for adjusting the physical and virtual I/Os. As far as included software, most of the included software that came with my 1616 PCI is extremely obsolete, and you are better off finding alternate software anyway. None of that was ever available as a separate download, included CD install only.

badtheba 2016-08-22 05:20:19

For cabling on the PCE card version of these consoles, they included a stout shielded straight cable. I never got it working with another ethernet cable, even of a shorter length, so I assume it has to be shielded (and yes I only used straight thru cables not crossover).

SONS 2016-08-23 04:20:47

OK thanks 4 the info? Any ideas on the 1616 laptop setup as far as software installation? Or a replacement cardbus?

badtheba 2016-08-23 06:02:31

No idea about the cardbus, but I believe the 1616/1616M dock will work with the 1212M PCI or PCIe card and a shielded ethernet cable. Does it have to be on a laptop?

SONS 2016-08-21 23:40:57
François Martins 2016-09-25 05:02:34

i checked my condensers, they are ok

my problem is when i try to install the driver, unsuccessfully
I received a message ” unable to detect a supported product on your system ”

in device manager is detected “Multimidia audio controler” can you help me please,?

thanks in advance

François Martins 2016-09-25 05:10:44

I try to be more explicit, i repeat the message, i hope to be more clearly.

I can not instal the drives of my sound card Emu 1820M.

It is detected in the system as a multimidea hardware, but during the installation procedure the setup close giving this error to me:


I did everything I could. (Bios, win XP, change slot, remove ram)

can you bright an issue the this big problem,

thanks in advance.

François Pinheiro Martins

SONS 2016-10-04 15:51:36

SONS recheck the circuit capacitors, when there blown the don’t store charge energy after shut down? Which results in having to reload software at start up.

bogdan 2018-03-24 19:12:01

Nice to see this being useful after so many years… Just fixed my 1820m using the suggestions on this page. And it works again :) It was also nice to solder something for the first time after 30 years of doing just software…

Ais Arza 2018-11-09 07:41:26

I have an Emu 1820m problem with the emu chipset, I installed it in PCI, but the dock lights do not turn on like it turns off, even though the cable is connected, try uninstalling the driver and strange when I install it, the words “SETUP IS UNABLE” can help? I love the 1820m for 10 years accompanying me in making music. thank you greetings from indonesia. Please help if there is a solution

Nonoo 2018-11-09 07:48:17

I think you should try using another well shielded straight Ethernet cable to connect the dock to the PCI card. Also try cleaning the PCI card’s contacts.

TchikiSteph 2019-12-16 21:50:15

Man ! I would never thank you enough for the way your page helped me !
My EMU 1820M is the heart of my home studio and those random static bursts were driving me mad.
Now my system is like new and my life restarted…for a couple of euros and less than 1 hour of work :-D


leandro 2020-05-03 05:59:34

Hello, I have an 1820, you have problems. The inputs appear red intermittently. Sometimes I get it to reproduce sound well and sometimes it doesn’t. Some noise or signal is inserted through the entrances and the noise meters move. It also makes noises. I took her to a technician, she has checked all the capacitors and welds and they are fine. Even measuring them with a tester and analyzing them with other devices they measure well. Should we combine them the same? Can you think of something else? Could it be the A / D converter? the port where the EDI cable goes?

SONS 2021-01-09 03:11:24

Most likely it’s the cable and needs a good dust clean

Alex 2022-03-13 12:33:07

Everything went as you showed in the video. I just turned off the device and that’s it. But the error remained in the patch session, only the map itself is shown. All lights on the microdoc are red. In the patch session, by default 44p,1, the physical inputs are also lit red. It’s a pity that I can’t attach screenshots from the patchmix. You have no experience in problem solving! Thanks!

János 2022-04-25 17:24:55


Én is budapesti vagyok, a gond ugyanaz, mint a többieknek, viszont kondenzátorokat kerestem a Conrad-nál, és egyéb helyen, (ahol személyesen is át lehet venni, mert nem csak az értékek számítanak, de a méret is) sajnos nem találtam.
Meg tudnád mondani, hogy Te hol vetted az alkatrészeket?

köszönöm szépen, és minden jót!


Nonoo 2022-04-25 22:23:03

Szia! Nem emlekszem mar, de meretre sokkal nagyobb kondikat raktam be, mint amik belevalok voltak, a labakat meghajlitottam, hogy beferjen a dobozba. Tokeletesen mukodott utana meg evekig.

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