Chord Hugo mk1 battery repair woes

I have been enjoying my Chord Hugo ever since I bought it in April 2015. Late 2017 the battery gave out which meant the dac would restart (or shutdown!) intermittedly with ever increasing frequency. It stabilised with minimum gaps of a 4 to 5 hours but sometimes it would shut down in even one hour. The interval seemed did not seem to be related to usage, I would hear the unit resetting when working from home or just watching some tv show.

The whole process of sending the unit to my dealer, having it repaired at Chord and sent back to me took about 6 weeks in total and cost 88 euros. Apart from the batteries dying where they should have lasted indefinitely (as it is always connected to AC) charging 88 euros for two batteries seemed a bit much.

Last year the batteries died again and I was really not willing to sent them back again for repair. Apart from the cost, 6 weeks is just too long.

So I went researching it a bit online and found the battery specification. I took the plunge ordered them for 33 euros and took my Hugo to a local repair shop. It took about 5 minutes to open the unit, solder out the old batteries (the batteries are attached with wires) and voila, a renewed Hugo.

Now I don’t know for how long this is going to last as obviously it was (is) a bit of a gamble. But if anyone is also fed up with having the Hugo repaired every now and again, these batteries seem to do the trick:

Emmerich ICR-18650NQ-SP Speciale oplaadbare batterij 18650 Kabel Li-ion 3.7 V 2600 mAh


As far as I recall when researching before buying my own Hugo 1, connecting it to AC permanently is potentially not great for it. I run mine off the batteries, recharge once the light goes red, and try to remove the charger before the battery reaches 100%. I bought my Hugo second hand, it’s my only streaming source, and have yet to replace the battery, or even notice any degradation.

I’m not certain about the issues of permanently connected AC without going back over my old research, is it convenient for you to run it off batteries and not permanently connect to its power supply?

Or sell it and buy the TT version!? :slight_smile:


Pretty much the same for all manufacturers.
It’s better to cycle batteries than fry them on permanent charge.
Some don’t make this info clear as they like the business. :wink:

@Simon-in-Suffolk has replaced his Hugo’s battery, more than once IIRC. Α forum search for his posts mentioning Hugo and battery should find.

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same with mojo but you can at least disconnect the battery in situ as its on flying leads with a clip on the board

That’s useful to know for those with a Hugo 1. When I had mine chord changed the battery foc twice even though it was out of warranty

So your second battery lasted about 6 years. That doesn’t seem too bad to me.
Chord do recommend that you unplug the Hugo occasionally to fully discharge and recharge the battery. I guess as they designed it as a portable device they wouldn’t have anticipated the number of people who used it as a fixed source in a HiFi system.

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The first batteries lasted about 3 years, the second batch about the same period. It’s not that bad except for the hassle of returning it to Chord and not having a system for 6 weeks.

My new years resolution is to fully discharge every Sunday evening :slight_smile:


My experience similar. I’m now on the second battery. The first lasted five years and Chord charged £110 in 2019 including return shipping. It is an excellent sounding DAC so I thought it was worthwhile.

I always disconnect from the mains when it’s charged though I do remember Chord’s advice originally was to leave it plugged in. I suspect they just did not want people considering the purchase to be put off by the whole business of charging.

Same here. They did me two free repairs but charged me for a third. Decided to sell it on after the third repair.

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A battery reaching end of life isn’t really a fault/repair, but a service replacement of a part that will inevitably reach end of life periodically. Is it really that difficult to change oneself? (As mentioned in an earlier post I’m pretty sure @Simon-in-Suffolk has replaced his himself.)

Thanks so much for the info, I replaced the battery for my Chord Hugo 1 via Chord service support about 4 or 5 years ago, now it is still going strong. But I will take a note of this, and will do it myself the next time.

It wasn’t because of the repairs / replacement that I decided to sell it on… I just decided to upgrade at that point. It also felt like the fairest point to sell it on as well having been recently repaired / checked over by Chord :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m in the same boat, just haven’t decided on a replacement yet. I would prefer to have the streamer & dac in one box. Next to that it should be a real upgrade rather than a side step.

May I ask where you upgraded to?

You’re welcome :smiley:

Interesting, as the DAC is the most critical component and having them separate gives greater flexiblity in choice and, if of interest, upgradeability.

I agree, in theory. But as three potential upgrade candidates have dac and streamer integrated AND given the fact I’ve used the Hugo for about 8 years now I consider it likely the next upgrade will have the two integrated as well.

The three being: Weiss 501, dCS Lina dac, NSS333

Hi @tom-in-amsterdam . I decided to go for the Chord Hugo TT2 which for me was a very worthwhile upgrade over the Chord Hugo MK1. This was further improved when I added the Chord MScaler.

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Hi, yes funnily enough just swapped the batteries over this evening… takes about 15 mins… really straightforward, though recommend a very fine tipped soldering iron, and perhaps a lit magnifier unless you have very good eyes. I just use some fine solder braid to suck up the old solder on the tabs on the Hugo so I can use fresh solder with new batteries. I think these are the third set of batteries… and my Hugo is an old one… one of the first with the larger RCA socket surrounds.

In many ways I still think the Hugo Mk1 is one of the best sounding DACs Chord have ever produced… with the exception only of DAVE, it was and continues to be a milestone product… and even then the mk1 has certain endearing traits over the DAVE.

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Simon, out of curiosity… do you use the same spec batteries as I do?