Monday, 23 April 2012

Marantz 2215b LED Conversion

I have a Marantz 2215b receiver that has appeared in few pics here lately as it has been my temporary hookup to some of the turntables I have been refurbishing. It has been living on my dining room table while I eat at the coffee table.

It's a great little receiver and works well. However it had one issue that always surfaces in old audio gear, burnt out panel lamps. They run on 8 Volts AC or something similar depending on model and brand, but they burn hot and burn out. They are cheap to replace at $1 or $2 each but often they are not easy to get at when you want to replace them. Plus they burn out again, light bulbs being light bulbs.

LEDs, however, almost never burn out. They are efficient, low energy devices that don't get hot (unless they are the very high power ones) and last a long time. They also can be made to emit different colours of light easily or operate on a range of voltages. With resistors in series they will work on AC.
Marantz and many others use what are called fuse lamps. They are shaped just like a fuse that you would see in the power supply or speaker protection circuits of the amplifier so are easy to plug in, with no soldering required.

On ebay and some other places you can find sellers of LED fuse lamps and I did buy a couple some time ago that went into my Marantz 140 power amplifier. I've also experimented with making my own. I have made a couple, but its a PITA to do in my opinion. Yes I could get better at it, but it's barely worth it. I have bought some of the appropriate LEDs and resistors and proof of concept is enough for me when I found that I can buy they cheaper.

The problem with ebay and the original source I used was the cost of shipping was not at all discounted for multiple items. So a $6 lamp had about $6 shipping, and 2 had $12 shipping. I bought the ones for the 140 amp, but decided not to do that again. However I recently discovered Northridge Electronics and their ebay store.

They are on ebay as well, but I emailed them and asked about multiple unit postage fees and we took it out of the auction site. The shipping became $5 for the entire package of 11 LEDs, so way better than the last time. I ended up buying enough LED fuse lamps for both my 2215b receiver and my Marantz 112 tuner. I just installed them in the 2215b and they look great.

Marantz 2215b 2
(lights off in the room)

Marantz 2215b
(lights on in the room)

Before putting the LEDs in this display was dimmer, less uniform and not blue. It was not a bad colour but was more of a cyan green.  Not a bad colour exactly but not what it should be. The cyan colour comes from the fact that the panel display is backed with vellum paper that filters and diffuses the light, but with age the paper yellows and affects the display colour. The vellum can be replaced but the LED conversion negates the need for that as the LED's that actual appear whitish when observed directly are throwing blue light through the paper. 

I tried to take a picture that would highlight the green colour of the display with the original incandescent fuse lamps, but the camera still wanted to interpret it as blue. Suffice it to say, the display is brighter, very even and uniform, and even more importantly it's BLUE! 

Thanks Northridge!

I'll soon be installing them in the Marantz tuner. When I do I will take some interior shots. 


  1. Thanks for posting this. I'll check out Northridge. I have a 2215B on the shelf in my office that has been dark for too long. I replaced the lamps years ago, but it didn't last. LED looks like the way to go.

  2. You are welcome! Tell them I sent you...I might need some more LED lamps myself soon.

  3. Great article. I need lamps for the VU meters in my marantz 140 amp. Do these bulbs work for all marantz fuse type or do you need different ones for different models?

  4. Thanks. Yes they should work fine in the 140 and I think every Marantz that uses fuse lamps. They all are rated at 8 volts as far as I know. The ones I used in my own 140 were not from the same vendor and a bit different design. They ended up with slightly different effect but I think was unavoidable due to the meter design.

    This photo shows it with my tuner, but the difference is not as exaggerated as this photo suggests.

  5. Just scored a 2215 for 15 bucks, with most if the lights off. Was tge LED upgrade a pain in the ass?

    1. It's not that difficult. You have to remove the cabinet cover and take out a couple of screws that hold the lamp holder panel in place, finagling a bit under the tuner string. The most risky part is that you might break the white plastic tabs the screws go through as it has become brittle from age and heat. Don't overtighten.