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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / I blow a tube almost every time I take my amp on the road

Previous 20 Messages  
Hammond101
Contributing Member
*

So. Cal. USA

Feb 14th, 2012 01:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You might check the voltages and bias in those amps. It could be the longer run times of gigs that is hurting the tubes if all is not up to par.

I'm not getting the tube life I used to but I'm still getting years of service. I have casters on my Pro Reverb and Super Reverb so they clatter along on pavement, over rough tile & grout floors etc. I put them in the bed of the pickup for transport. No issues and all this is not exactly smooth transportation.

I did frag V2 in the Pro not long ago but it had been in there since the late 80s. A GT that became microphonic and lost gain. I also found a disconnected speaker lead! Yikes, band members are not carefull when they yank the power cord out of the back of the amp I guess.

blues74

EU

"...gonna be a magic boy..."
Feb 14th, 2012 02:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Never happened to me - yet...

Follow all standard procedures:
- Don't turn it on until the amp is around room temperature.
- Don't load it in the car until it's cooled down.
- Have the amp stand on something soft, like a couple of layers of rug, in the car.
- Check the amps, like Hammond says.
- If nothing helps, take the tubes out of the amp for transport.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*

So. Cal. USA

Feb 14th, 2012 03:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"If nothing helps, take the tubes out of the amp for transport."

I wouldn't do that. Why create more problems by wearing out your tube sockets. Just my opinion.



MacManUS
Contributing Member
*********

Windy City

"the power to crush the other kids"
Feb 14th, 2012 04:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have none of these problems with multiple old Fender amps. I carry them with respect, I use a blanket in the transport vehicle, and I do NOT bump any of them with any impact.

I live in the Windy city, and I treat them for the temp difference when it is required by letting them warm up/cool down when appropriate.

I also make sure that the chassis has all of the maintenance done with electrolytic and coupling caps, to keep my surprises to a minimum.

2 pesos

(This message was last edited by MacManUS at 05:08 PM, Feb 14th, 2012)

jhawkr
Contributing Member
**********
*********

USA

Someday, I'll get serious about playing!
Feb 15th, 2012 04:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The tubes in my 1973 Bandmaster Reverb are all original except 1 PI. Tubes should last awhile.

lox

Columbus, Ohio

Docofrock
Feb 15th, 2012 10:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have carried my Deluxe Rev., a Princeton Rev., and a Vibrolux Rev. to and fro and have never had any problems. They are all silverface Fenders. Very durable and reliable I find.

Liquid Smoke

USA

Feb 15th, 2012 12:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hmm, I think I know what it is. Your amps are getting car sick in the back seat. Let them ride up front and leave the window down a crack :)

Sorry...just joking around.
I think there is probably something else going on with your amps. I've never had any problems like that and like the other guys above: I've loaded, transported, gigged my vintage babies all over the place.

benyamin5

USA

Feb 15th, 2012 05:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wow, this is strange. I guess it could just be coincidence that I seem to often have tube failures very close to the time of out of town gigs.

But both of these amps are well-serviced and I treat them at least as gingerly, probably more so than Hammond101.

An average gig has my amp on for about 3-4 hrs.

Admittedly, I have gotten some tubes from ebay and other less reputable sources, but I thought the time association of failures with the transportation was more than just coincidence. And one or two of the tubes I have lost were purchased from very reputable websites.

I'm just thinking about purchasing another nice set of NOS power tubes but want to figure out if I have a real problem here before sinking the dough... thanks guys!

amphead4

Cincinnati, USA

Feb 16th, 2012 07:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What's failing in these tubes? Filament opening up? Internals shorting?

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*

So. Cal. USA

Feb 16th, 2012 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I thought about this a bit more and understand your statement about the amps being well serviced.

Just to be sure I would clean and retension the tube sockets. An intermitant loss of ground or bias could take out your tube(s) and the condition may be agrivated by transport. But again, I don't intentionally slam my nice vintage amps around but don't take any special precautions to prevent shock and vibration.

BbendFender
Contributing Member
*****

Texas

Throw in a pick and you've got a deal!
Feb 19th, 2012 07:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Never happened to me. I think it's more than just a few bumps in the road.
Hammond101 has some good ideas for you.

Roly
Contributing Member
**********
****

Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Feb 20th, 2012 01:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Every year I drive a 5 ton up the Demster highway to Inuvik.
750 klicks of that road is gravel with plenty of pot holes.
Never had a tube fail.
Reverb tanks are a different story.

benyamin5

USA

Feb 22nd, 2012 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the advice Hammond101 and all!

I'll try your suggestions and assume that I either have a problem with the voltage/bias/tube sockets as mentioned or it is merely coincidence that I've had tube failures close to the time of travel.

One question: How long do you all wait for your amps to cool down before transporting them? Could be that I am not waiting long enough? I always wait at least 5-10 minutes, most of the time much longer, but sometimes it seems like it takes longer than that to totally cool off - just wondering how you guys operate. I have moved them before and still felt warmth radiating from the tube section.

amphead4

Cincinnati, USA

Feb 22nd, 2012 11:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"One question: How long do you all wait for your amps to cool down before transporting them? Could be that I am not waiting long enough? I always wait at least 5-10 minutes, most of the time much longer, but sometimes it seems like it takes longer than that to totally cool off - just wondering how you guys operate. I have moved them before and still felt warmth radiating from the tube section."

The tubes don't have much thermal mass and will be cool enough in 10 and probably 5 minutes. The heat you notice is probably from the transformers and the chassis.

JBLTWIN1

usa

you want me to play where?
Feb 22nd, 2012 02:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I bounced my twin all over the country for 30 years and never had any problems other than the waitress sitting an adult beverage on my amp from the back and spilling it down the back of my amp onto the hot tube. Boom. AND I had the OT rattle loose and found it hanging by the wires and it swung around and broke a tube off. Other than that, solid. I agree that tubes todya don't get the life as the "good old days" but I still usually get 2-3 years on my gigging amp between oil changes. The set in there now have benn in for three and THEY came out of my twin when I re-tubed IT! Mike.

6 Cylinder Slim

New England

Shoes for Industry
Feb 23rd, 2012 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It would be great to have more scientific information about durability than just anecdotal stories. I have 2 years of every weekend gigs on my pair of Tung Sol RI 6L6s power tubes and preamp tubes with no failures. Before this amp, I used all JJs in my Princeton for a couple of years. That amp stays home now, but the JJs are still alive and well. The modern tubes haven't been a problem for me. Even the supposedly unreliable JJ 5u4 rectifier is still working just as well as the day I put in in over 4 years ago.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*

So. Cal. USA

Feb 23rd, 2012 11:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"It would be great to have more scientific information about durability than just anecdotal stories."

I enjoyed your stories too 6!

Back in the day when the military used vacuum tube equipment there were mil. specs for vibration and shock. With everying going to solid state this has been lost and I would imagine most manufactures don't pay much attention as more than likely the only mil spec tubes that exist are NOS in todays market.

I would imagine these specs could be dug up somewhere but for what end? I'm sticking with these tube failures are either a coincidence or something in the amp is causing short tube life.

Purchasing old NOS tubes could be a problem as well. I can't see cool down as an issue as long as a few minutes has passed.

intension65
Contributing Member
**

north jersey usa

black faced,with a silver lining
Feb 28th, 2012 02:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I always tell the guys in my band: I will carry my amp in & out of the gig, and place it face to face with another amp, so no tolex damage: no gril cloth damage. but thats how I roll . I respect my 45 year old amps. i65

barry.b
Contributing Member
*

australia

Feb 28th, 2012 09:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I always tell the guys in my band: I will carry my amp in & out of the gig, and place it face to face with another amp, so no tolex damage: no gril cloth damage. but thats how I roll . I respect my 45 year old amps."

which is why I ordered a bunch of DTF heavy-duty padded covers, even for the 6G15 reverb unit and poor old battered (before I got it) 2x12" Bassman cab. My '65 Bandmaster looks almost new. I want to gig with this gear, but with care and respect.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*****

Merrill, Wisconsin

Dangit! Hot weather.
Mar 1st, 2012 08:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've used tube amp on and off (and have many) since I started playing in 1967. I don't think I've ever lost a tube on a gig. But I've repaired countless amps over the years and seen all manner of things.

The first thing I'd consider is the tubes you are losing. Brands, types etc. I've seen lots of premature failures. Sovtek 6L6WXT+ for instance. I've seen many, many screen failures. Other than that I like that tube.

On the bench I've changed more bad Groove Tubes than any other "brand". Just an observation. Since the companies of origin that are rebranded Groove Tubes are many, I have no ideas as to why. Perhaps more GT's are used.

Voltages may be an issue. Line voltages have increased over the years. In the 60's 110-117VAC were common. Now 120-125 are more the norm. That can raise voltages significantly in an old tube amp. The voltages in your amps should be checked.

And, just because the line voltage might not be an issue at home, or on a tech's bench, they might be much higher at a club.

Venues can have other issues. Voltage spikes from large coolers, freezers, air conditioner systems, etc. can cause problems. A line conditioner might be a good idea for you.

It could be a voltage issue, a tube issue, or both, or any of a number of other possible problems. How old are the electrolytic caps in your amps? The working life of these caps is around 15 years, give or take. This is routine maintenance for tube amplifiers. Caps drift up in value over time in a very unstable, sloppy manner. As they drift up in value they drift down in power handling. When they fail, they either open up, or short. Due to the unstable drifting of old caps, intermittent or occasional problems can precede failure. A cap will "form" according to the voltages they regularily "see." Raise those voltages (by higher line voltage in a venue) and they may malfunction.



Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / I blow a tube almost every time I take my amp on the road




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