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Unread 11-03-2012, 09:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Three amps, same problem.

I now have THREE, count 'em: THREE amps (1968 Fender Bassman, 1979 Park 1207, 2004 Soldano Avenger) that don't work and have the exact same problem (low-to-non-existent output).

It is HIGHLY suspicious that all three amps would have the EXACT same problem at the same time.

I've tried running through different speaker cabinets, I've tried switching pre-amp tubes, I've tried switching IEC cables, I've tried switching speaker cables, I've tried switching instrument cables, I've tried switching fuses, I've tried switching outlets.

Is the power in my house killing the amps? That's the only thing I can think of.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Did you try moving to a different supply circuit in your home or wherever?
Is there a common surge protector or power conditioner involved?
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Unread 11-04-2012, 03:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

This is probably a dumb question, but did you try switching guitars?
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Unread 11-04-2012, 05:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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This is probably a dumb question, but did you try switching guitars?
this.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 09:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Are the amps in need or repair, i.e. there is a fried component, or do they just stop working in a particular outlet or group of outlets in your house. Did you try an outlet on a diffent fuse/circuit breaker? Does anything else work in the outlet, like a stereo or lamp? Can you measure your wall voltage without killing yourself?

When 3 different amps all die the same way, it's not the amps independently. You need to find out what's wrong with the amps and maybe call a qualified electrician to check out your house if the amps are indeed damaged.

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Unread 11-04-2012, 09:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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Can you measure your wall voltage without killing yourself?
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Unread 11-04-2012, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Yes, I tried different guitars. In most cases, not even getting any amp hum through the speakers.

I tested all of the outlets in the basement with a multimeter, this is what I came up with:

One outlet is steadily oscillating between 116-124.
One outlet holding steady at 120.
One outlet bouncing back and forth anywhere between 114-128.
One outlet that reads a somewhat steady 119, but has spikes up to 400 and will occasionally drop down to zero.

Obviously I need to get an electrician down there, but knowing my landlords, that could take several months. It took them nearly three years to get them to re-shingle the roof!

Might lug the heads and a cabinet upstairs to test on a different circuit, but not looking forward to it.

Thanks all.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

[QUOTE=J. Burns;734716]
One outlet that reads a somewhat steady 119, but has spikes up to 400 and will occasionally drop down to zero.

QUOTE]

as in 400v ac???

that sounds like your problem right there.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

I am going to discontinue use of that particular outlet until I have an electrician check out the basement.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with these amps. "Take it to a tech" is the simple answer, but most techs in Seattle will charge an arm and a leg for spotty work that they'll make you wait several months for.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

an old tv/radio repairman w/ the right schematics might be able to help you.
there's always the old acoustic guitar.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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there's always the old acoustic guitar.


NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 11-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

I'd also check those cabs impedances to make sure they're running within range. you may well be runing an open ground or something and frying your OT's. i don't KNOW that obviously but something's clearly not right here.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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Originally Posted by J. Burns View Post
I am going to discontinue use of that particular outlet until I have an electrician check out the basement.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with these amps. "Take it to a tech" is the simple answer, but most techs in Seattle will charge an arm and a leg for spotty work that they'll make you wait several months for.
you can get a coltage tester for $10 at your local hardware store. it plus in like any device and just shows you a light that will indicate wether it's an open ground or not.

i have ONE outlet in my WHOLE house that's an open ground. i only plug window fans in that one and that's only when i'm in the room.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 06:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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you can get a coltage tester for $10 at your local hardware store. it plus in like any device and just shows you a light that will indicate wether it's an open ground or not.

i have ONE outlet in my WHOLE house that's an open ground. i only plug window fans in that one and that's only when i'm in the room.
time to ground that thing.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 07:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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Might lug the heads and a cabinet upstairs to test on a different circuit, but not looking forward to it.

.
extention cords are your friends.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 03:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

I've heard that running one's amplifier off of an excessively long extension cord is bad news. Anyone confirm/deny?
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Unread 11-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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I've heard that running one's amplifier off of an excessively long extension cord is bad news. Anyone confirm/deny?
You have to use good quality cords if you run long distances. I have the orange outdoor types that are rated for heavy duty use. I've never had a problem.

You can use a regular lamp type indoor cord just fine, but I wouldn't connect a bunch together...although I'd think it would be okay if it's just one amp on the other end. Most can carry lots more amps than you need.

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Unread 11-09-2012, 04:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

I've run orange outdoor cords with no probs in the past but as we all know, the more copper cable the more resistance, the less juice at the end where you need it.

Higher gauge, longer length = more resistance. Something to take note.

JMHO.
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Unread 11-09-2012, 04:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

So is it a fact that these amps stopped working correctly When/During/After you drew power from the outlet that peaked at 400V?

N R
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Unread 11-09-2012, 11:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

If you're gonna use extension cords of 200' or more, make sure you're using one rated at 12AWG or lower.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 12:14 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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So is it a fact that these amps stopped working correctly When/During/After you drew power from the outlet that peaked at 400V?

N R
All three amps failed at different times, but have the same issue. Not sure if the failures are 100% linked to the outlet quite yet, but that's the outlet that's on the right side of the drum kit, so it's the one I've used most often in rehearsals with all three amps.

I left the Park with a tech-savvy friend (he builds amps as a side business) who is going to take a look at it at his leisure. If he can't figure it out, then it's off to the shop, which is a bummer because in nearly 20 years of playing, I've yet to have anything more than a halfway-decent experience with any amp tech in the region.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 12:47 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

J. Bursns
I was wondering if any new information, questions and answers would surface.

Where is your home and basement? Is it in a commercial or industrial building of some sort.
I mean how are you getting 400+ VAC at a residential type outlet? Double check to be sure you actually saw 400VAC.

There is something going on with the utility service types there if that is the case which your landlord is not disclosing, not marking and is responsible for with your interest. You may want to get your own electrician to look things over and give a report with recommendations.

Bottom line is your landlord is responsible for the utilities at the dwelling and I hope you can work things out sensibly with him if it is due to an eletrical supply problem.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 01:34 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

It's a house in a residential area. I definitely was seeing spikes up to 400 and the voltage dipping down to 0, but it may be possible that I wasn't measuring correctly. That said, every other outlet I tested got more predictable results. It's an old house with old wiring, so anomalies are definitely possible. (It's also possible that the house is haunted, but that's another thread for another forum.)

I am going to be sending the landlord a message about this to try to get the power situation resolved. In a perfect world, I would be able to get them to help with the amp tech bill as well.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 06:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

I have seen extreme voltages that did not make sense, but they were due to what I was REFERENCING the Hot side to. In that case I was referencing individual legs of 3 phase 480VAC to Ground. Only problem , was the service company did not have this feed Grounded. Each leg of this 480VAC measured correctly from phase to phase, just not to Ground.

So . . .

I need to ask, how were you measuring your wall voltage?
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Unread 11-12-2012, 06:30 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Two items maybe worth mentioning. The hill billy rule of thumb for extension cords is 100 ft with marginal voltage loss, and the larger the cord wires, the less loss (#12 versus #18).
We had a control transformer go bad on a unit heater at work that drove 292V to ground through the rest of that circuit, burnt up everything. Was a nightmare to figure out. And that was on a standard panel of 208/120 volts.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 11:01 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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I've tried running through different speaker cabinets, I've tried switching pre-amp tubes, I've tried switching IEC cables, I've tried switching speaker cables, I've tried switching instrument cables, I've tried switching fuses, I've tried switching outlets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Burns View Post
Now I just have to figure out what to do with these amps. "Take it to a tech" is the simple answer, but most techs in Seattle will charge an arm and a leg for spotty work that they'll make you wait several months for.
Quick questions regarding the fuses: Do you mean you replaced the fuse on the circuit the outlets are on, or the fuses in the amps? Did you check the fuses with a multimeter for continuity? Your problem sounds like the HT fuses did their job and blew. You will still get power, everything lights up, but you get either no sound at all or maybe a whisper of sound. If you replaced the fuses but used that same circuit, they might have blown again as soon as you took the amps off standby.

I'm not trying to insult your intelligence or anything like that. I just didn't see where you elaborated on the fuses at all and they are the first place I'd look to check for problems. You may only have access to the mains fuse from the outside of the chassis. You may have to open them up to get to the HT fuse depending on the amp.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 09:19 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Yep, the HT fuse is what I was referring to.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 05:00 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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Yes, I tried different guitars. In most cases, not even getting any amp hum through the speakers.

I tested all of the outlets in the basement with a multimeter, this is what I came up with:

One outlet is steadily oscillating between 116-124.
One outlet holding steady at 120.
One outlet bouncing back and forth anywhere between 114-128.
One outlet that reads a somewhat steady 119, but has spikes up to 400 and will occasionally drop down to zero.

Obviously I need to get an electrician down there, but knowing my landlords, that could take several months. It took them nearly three years to get them to re-shingle the roof!

Might lug the heads and a cabinet upstairs to test on a different circuit, but not looking forward to it.

Thanks all.
A UPS would give you a steady supply, no drops or spikes.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 05:05 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

Here in Florida, lightening strikes and power outages are common. I keep everything in my home on either UPS or surge protector. Open up your amps and look for burned components. That would be a good start to solving your problem.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 03:07 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Three amps, same problem.

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A UPS would give you a steady supply, no drops or spikes.
Not unless you paid a shitload of money for it.

Consumer grade UPS's are mostly standby type which means that it just uses the wall power until power goes out and then it quickly switches to the battery. And even on battery the inverter output is probably ugly, more like a saw than a sine wave, not what you would want to run an amp on. But with normal wall power it's no different than a cheap surge protector.

High end UPS's like we use in server rooms are the online double conversion type, which means power always comes from the rectifier-inverter circuit. These have a stable voltage output and probably a cleaner sine wave but they cost more than your amp...
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