How often do you turn your heads on?

God of Thunder

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I've got 4 heads but only two cabinets. My understanding is - is that I can't turn the head on unless its connected to a cabinet, even if its not to use the head, but to just keep the circuitry warm. I try to turn all my heads on at least once a week - why?

Well, I collect arcade games and have around 30 arcade machines in my basement. I've learned over the years, that if I turn all the games on once a week, they tend to not fail on me. If I let them sit for a month without turning them on, then almost always one of them will find a way to fail.

As such, I keep the same mindset with my amplifiers that I try to turn them on at least once a week.

Does anyone else do this?
 

pedecamp

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I've got 4 heads but only two cabinets. My understanding is - is that I can't turn the head on unless its connected to a cabinet, even if its not to use the head, but to just keep the circuitry warm. I try to turn all my heads on at least once a week - why?

Well, I collect arcade games and have around 30 arcade machines in my basement. I've learned over the years, that if I turn all the games on once a week, they tend to not fail on me. If I let them sit for a month without turning them on, then almost always one of them will find a way to fail.

As such, I keep the same mindset with my amplifiers that I try to turn them on at least once a week.

Does anyone else do this?
Same problems with pedals, I've had plenty of pedal failures just from sitting!
 

fitz288

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Probably at least once a week, but not for the reason to just turn them on for their own sake.
I have 5 Marshall tube amps, and I usually fire up one or two each day, 'cause that's why I got all this stuff.
If I haven't played one in a few days, I usually fire that one up first, just for something different.
Kinda do the same with the guitars, but some get a lot more use than others.
 

PelliX

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There are a few things to consider here. First of all, you won't harm a head by turning it on without a cab connected provided it's on standby. That allows all the circuitry to warm up, pretty much. You could also just attach a dummy load if you don't have the standby option or want to actually involve the B+ to the output section, output transformer, etc. Some components will benefit from this whole concept, others will wear a little more. Your capacitors might thank you (I'm with @Sapient on doing this perhaps every few weeks/months), but just pointlessly heating a valve and letting it cool down isn't doing it a favour in any way. I do a fair deal of mucking about, especially with electronics that hasn't been used in a while, but I wouldn't worry too much about a valve amp, provided it correctly discharges itself (which will occur over weeks, at the latest).

Same problems with pedals, I've had plenty of pedal failures just from sitting!

Apart from leaky batteries, I'm wondering how that would harm a pedal. Did you ever get to the bottom of what actually failed in any of them?
 

Eric'45

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I have two Heads and one Cab as well as 2 Combo Amps and to be honest, I don't keep track how often I power each one up. It really depends on my mood and what I want to play. I would guess the longest period any of my devices sits unused would be ~2 months. I don't go through the hassle of powering things up if I don't actually play them. Maybe some of the tech guys can correct me here, but I don't think a period of less than a year could do any harm to a device.
 

PelliX

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I have two Heads and one Cab as well as 2 Combo Amps and to be honest, I don't keep track how often I power each one up. It really depends on my mood and what I want to play. I would guess the longest period any of my devices sits unused would be ~2 months. I don't go through the hassle of powering things up if I don't actually play them. Maybe some of the tech guys can correct me here, but I don't think a period of less than a year could do any harm to a device.

I wouldn't worry at all. What one should bear in mind is that it's like a car. If you drive it every day, you will wear bits out. If you don't drive it for 10 years, it might well need some help after that. Whatever you do, there will come a time that you will need to roll up your sleeves or draw your wallet.
 

Eric'45

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It's just like Fitz has said- I have all that Gear because I like to use it. Even my least used Amp- after said 2- 3 month period I fire it up because I want to play it, not because I worry about it. About maintenance costs- Tube Amps need Fresh Tubes occasionally when they are driven. That's part of the deal, I don't think about my next Tube purchase when I crank it :shred2:.
 

Kinkless Tetrode

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I wouldn't worry at all. What one should bear in mind is that it's like a car. If you drive it every day, you will wear bits out. If you don't drive it for 10 years, it might well need some help after that. Whatever you do, there will come a time that you will need to roll up your sleeves or draw your wallet.

Actually, a car should not be left to sit for more than about a month. Cars that sit a lot develop fluid leaks. Also the fuel goes stale. It's hard on the batteries to not be cycled either. Also the caps in the ECUs need to be cycled. Tires need to be no older than 7 years regardless of no or little wear.

I try to play my less used amps at least every six weeks.
 

PelliX

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Actually, a car should not be left to sit for more than about a month. Cars that sit a lot develop fluid leaks. Also the fuel goes stale. It's hard on the batteries to not be cycled either. Also the caps in the ECUs need to be cycled. Tires need to be no older than 7 years regardless of no or little wear.

I try to play my less used amps at least every six weeks.

I don't know that much about cars, honestly, I was using it as a metaphor. But indeed, firing stuff up every now and again is not only perhaps a good idea from time to time, but should also be fun!
 

pedecamp

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There are a few things to consider here. First of all, you won't harm a head by turning it on without a cab connected provided it's on standby. That allows all the circuitry to warm up, pretty much. You could also just attach a dummy load if you don't have the standby option or want to actually involve the B+ to the output section, output transformer, etc. Some components will benefit from this whole concept, others will wear a little more. Your capacitors might thank you (I'm with @Sapient on doing this perhaps every few weeks/months), but just pointlessly heating a valve and letting it cool down isn't doing it a favour in any way. I do a fair deal of mucking about, especially with electronics that hasn't been used in a while, but I wouldn't worry too much about a valve amp, provided it correctly discharges itself (which will occur over weeks, at the latest).



Apart from leaky batteries, I'm wondering how that would harm a pedal. Did you ever get to the bottom of what actually failed in any of them?
Nope no batteries, just mysterious failures from pedals just sitting unused...
 

Old Punker

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I have two Heads and one Cab as well as 2 Combo Amps and to be honest, I don't keep track how often I power each one up. It really depends on my mood and what I want to play. I would guess the longest period any of my devices sits unused would be ~2 months. I don't go through the hassle of powering things up if I don't actually play them. Maybe some of the tech guys can correct me here, but I don't think a period of less than a year could do any harm to a device.

:agreed:

Same here, if I get on a roll with a certain style of music one particular amp might get played every day while another isn't used for a month or more.

Years ago while I was having some health problems my amps went unplayed for approximately 6-9 months at one point. There was no difference in performance when I started using them again. I've had stereo equipment sit in boxes in my garage for maybe 5 years, again no issues at all and they still work the same today.

The only time I've noticed any issues with unused electronics is on devices that have connections that rely on friction for contact, such as computer cables that connect between drives and the motherboard. I believe this is due to surface oxidation, and is cured by unplugging/re-plugging.

Oh yeah, and save yourself unnecessary heart strain by never turning on an amp unless it's connected to a speaker cab. If you have a cab, it's just not worth the risk of connecting to dummy loads, etc. IMO. Hell, I won't even plug an amp into the wall without first checking for a cab connection!

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Wenander

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There are a few things to consider here. First of all, you won't harm a head by turning it on without a cab connected provided it's on standby. That allows all the circuitry to warm up, pretty much. You could also just attach a dummy load if you don't have the standby option or want to actually involve the B+ to the output section, output transformer, etc. Some components will benefit from this whole concept, others will wear a little more. Your capacitors might thank you (I'm with @Sapient on doing this perhaps every few weeks/months), but just pointlessly heating a valve and letting it cool down isn't doing it a favour in any way. I do a fair deal of mucking about, especially with electronics that hasn't been used in a while, but I wouldn't worry too much about a valve amp, provided it correctly discharges itself (which will occur over weeks, at the latest).



Apart from leaky batteries, I'm wondering how that would harm a pedal. Did you ever get to the bottom of what actually failed in any of them?

We are speaking tubeamps right?

they need a cab or a dummyload ! the standby does not do the trick

the output-transformer can very well fry
 


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