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> Weird Problem With My Tube Amp ..., concerning tubes
Mister_Riff
post Apr 4 2010, 05:54 PM
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Hello GMC

Yesterday I had a strange problem with my ENGL Ritchie Blackmore: One of my tubes (the big ones powering the poweramp) lit up way brighter than it usually does. Also strange was that I could smell nothing wrong (no burning smell, it just smells hot but that must be the tubes) and there also wasn't a drop in volume or anything like that. And even stranger was when I put the amp in standby the tube went back to normal and when I turned standby off, it didn't return.

I'm completely puzzled by this ... huh.gif

Also the amp is brand new, hasn't been moved around (only the transport by UPS) and hasn't been subjected to extreme volume or anything like that. The only recent thing is that I have bought a TC G major 2 and that that has been inserted into the Effects loop (input and output is completely normal)

Any ideas what this might be or what I have to do now?

Here is a picture showing the bright tube (just happened to have my camera nearby smile.gif ):
Attached Image


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MickeM
post Apr 4 2010, 11:03 PM
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In general a too bright glowing tube is a sign it's bad.
That it went back to normal in standby mode could very well be. My bet is that you'll experience it again, with the same tube. Keep your ears open for crackle and pops.


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Mister_Riff
post Apr 5 2010, 08:22 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Apr 5 2010, 12:03 AM) *
In general a too bright glowing tube is a sign it's bad.
That it went back to normal in standby mode could very well be. My bet is that you'll experience it again, with the same tube. Keep your ears open for crackle and pops.


So if I replace the tube ... is it possible to just replace the bad one, or do I have to replace all 4? (I've heard power amp tubes aren't exactly cheap dry.gif )

And If I play the amp, with the bad tube in it ... is it possible that I'm damaging the amp or will I just have reduced volume? (because it's a poweramp-tube)


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Guitars:
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ENGL Ritchie Blackmore/Framus Cabinet (V30's)
simple practise amp
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lot's of pedals
TC Electronics G Major 2

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BOSS BR-600
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MickeM
post Apr 5 2010, 12:00 PM
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QUOTE (Mister_Riff @ Apr 5 2010, 09:22 AM) *
So if I replace the tube ... is it possible to just replace the bad one, or do I have to replace all 4? (I've heard power amp tubes aren't exactly cheap dry.gif )

Replace all of them for a matched quad. If you're lucky your poweramp tubes are marked with a number, if you can (from ENGL) get the same kind with the same marking you will have a set that will fit right in without you biasing the amp. Being a german amp, and my H&K has a sticker on the tubes for this purpose, but I'm not sure others does this. My H&K was the first amp with this system.
I'd wait for the crackle and pop or a fuse going before exchanging any tubes.

QUOTE
And If I play the amp, with the bad tube in it ... is it possible that I'm damaging the amp or will I just have reduced volume? (because it's a poweramp-tube)

It will sound baaaaaaaaad and if it dies completely you'll blow a fuse.


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Mister_Riff
post Apr 5 2010, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Apr 5 2010, 01:00 PM) *
Replace all of them for a matched quad. If you're lucky your poweramp tubes are marked with a number, if you can (from ENGL) get the same kind with the same marking you will have a set that will fit right in without you biasing the amp. Being a german amp, and my H&K has a sticker on the tubes for this purpose, but I'm not sure others does this. My H&K was the first amp with this system.
I'd wait for the crackle and pop or a fuse going before exchanging any tubes.


It will sound baaaaaaaaad and if it dies completely you'll blow a fuse.


On the tubes is a number and searching thomann, I can find that tube ... only problem is that most guitar stores work with "a guy" that only works with a certain type of tube and won't put in the tubes of your choice. (one of my friends had that problem: they only want to install high quality tubes, no cheap tubes so they don't get blamed for problems)

So little real luthiers and guitar-techs in my area sad.gif

I think I'll be on the safe side and call as soon as I can to have it replaced ... and maybe let them do a quicky check of my amp

Thx for all the help MickeM wink.gif really appreciate it smile.gif



--------------------
Guitars:
Ibanez RG 1570
Ibanez RGA 121 CDO

Amps:
ENGL Ritchie Blackmore/Framus Cabinet (V30's)
simple practise amp
epiphone valve junior

Effects:

Line 6 POD 2.0
lot's of pedals
TC Electronics G Major 2

Recording and such:
BOSS BR-600
BOSS DR-880
Digitech JamMan
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 5 2010, 03:37 PM
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Tubes that come from factory are usually one of the worst quality tubes, because they are expendable and not cheap, so whatever companies can do to make their amps cheaper, they do it. Cutting corners on tubes is one of them. So, your tubes don't need to be "from the factory" to work properly. Usually when you buy a new tube amp, re-tubing with some good quality tubes is the first thing you will do (depending on the amp and the tubes installed).

It seems to me that your tube will burn out soon. When you decide to get them new, get them as a matched 4 x 5881 set. Sovtek and Tung-Sol are great choices.


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ZakkWylde
post Apr 5 2010, 03:42 PM
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Just continue to play your amp and only think about getting your amp to a tech if you have serious problems (volume drop, smell, loud popping noises...) If you have to replace the tubes, it is the best thing to go for the expensive ones! They sound better and last longer, when you get the same cheapo ones you might get the same problems...


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fkalich
post Apr 5 2010, 03:50 PM
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Looks like it is red plating. Don't play the amp, replace power tubes with a new matched set. You can destroy major components on your amp playing with tube that is red plating.

In the US, Eurotubes is the place to go for a good set at a good price. I don't know about where you are.

edit: here is their site, they have a lot of great information about amps and amp problems. I have bought from them and find them to have great service. As I said, probably not in Belgium, but the forum is read by others who might find this useful. Although Yngwie endorses them, so maybe they sell where you are.

http://eurotubes.com/


When you get your new tubes, learn how to set the bias. They also explain that on this site. You have to set the bias on most amps when you change power tubes, there are a few that do this automatically.


QUOTE (Mister_Riff @ Apr 4 2010, 11:54 AM) *
Hello GMC

Yesterday I had a strange problem with my ENGL Ritchie Blackmore: One of my tubes (the big ones powering the poweramp) lit up way brighter than it usually does. Also strange was that I could smell nothing wrong (no burning smell, it just smells hot but that must be the tubes) and there also wasn't a drop in volume or anything like that. And even stranger was when I put the amp in standby the tube went back to normal and when I turned standby off, it didn't return.

I'm completely puzzled by this ... huh.gif

Also the amp is brand new, hasn't been moved around (only the transport by UPS) and hasn't been subjected to extreme volume or anything like that. The only recent thing is that I have bought a TC G major 2 and that that has been inserted into the Effects loop (input and output is completely normal)

Any ideas what this might be or what I have to do now?

Here is a picture showing the bright tube (just happened to have my camera nearby smile.gif ):
Attached Image


This post has been edited by fkalich: Apr 5 2010, 04:00 PM
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MickeM
post Apr 5 2010, 04:26 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Apr 5 2010, 04:50 PM) *
Looks like it is red plating. Don't play the amp, replace power tubes with a new matched set. You can destroy major components on your amp playing with tube that is red plating.

That would be a pair of tubes red plating as far as I see it.

To rule that out you can
- start the amp
- play for a couple of minutes (i.e not in standby)
- pull the plug from the wall socket (in order to drain the amp of current)
- wait for the tubes to cool

remove the tube that was glowing and exchange it with one from the other pair.
They sit in one pair of outer tubes, and one pair of middle tubes. So if this is one of the middle tubes glowing you sould sit it in an outer position.

If the tube in the glowing tubes old spot starts glowing there's a problem with your amps power. If the tube that used to glow now glows again it's a tube problem.



QUOTE (fkalich @ Apr 5 2010, 04:50 PM) *
When you get your new tubes, learn how to set the bias.

Yes, it's a good idea to know how to service your tube amp yourself. At least for these reoccuring mainenance matters.


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Mister_Riff
post Apr 6 2010, 05:04 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Apr 5 2010, 04:50 PM) *
Looks like it is red plating. Don't play the amp, replace power tubes with a new matched set. You can destroy major components on your amp playing with tube that is red plating.

In the US, Eurotubes is the place to go for a good set at a good price. I don't know about where you are.


http://eurotubes.com/


When you get your new tubes, learn how to set the bias. They also explain that on this site. You have to set the bias on most amps when you change power tubes, there are a few that do this automatically.


If you think the amp is red plating I do have to say that the red glow is from LED's that are placed behind the tubes (to make it look more evil laugh.gif). Its only the one that is shining bright yellow ....

And about the site: checked that already but I'm probably the most clumsy person alive laugh.gif so I'm gonna leave it to the pro's

Ivan probably is right ... I still cant believe the sound quality I got from a head that's 1200€ tongue.gif cant wait to hear it with more expensive power tubes, I already got my dream tone (al be it with cheap tubes biggrin.gif )


--------------------
Guitars:
Ibanez RG 1570
Ibanez RGA 121 CDO

Amps:
ENGL Ritchie Blackmore/Framus Cabinet (V30's)
simple practise amp
epiphone valve junior

Effects:

Line 6 POD 2.0
lot's of pedals
TC Electronics G Major 2

Recording and such:
BOSS BR-600
BOSS DR-880
Digitech JamMan
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 12 2010, 12:11 AM
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Good thing to do is to carry the amp once for a pro job, and watch while he works. Then you will see that it is not big deal, and you can do it yourself wink.gif


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sted
post Apr 12 2010, 11:38 AM
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Changing tubes is no big deal mate, just be careful and make sure it is completely isolated, just be aware of the operating voltages too, some amps (Mesa) have a fixed bias and only work properly with specific tubes, check what plate voltages your amp has and try and match th tubes a sbest you can, or you may need to bias the amp, you can do this with a volt meter and some electronic knowledge but unless you are qualified dont even try it, get it to a tech.
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Staffy
post Apr 12 2010, 11:48 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Apr 5 2010, 04:37 PM) *
Tubes that come from factory are usually one of the worst quality tubes, because they are expendable and not cheap, so whatever companies can do to make their amps cheaper, they do it. Cutting corners on tubes is one of them. So, your tubes don't need to be "from the factory" to work properly. Usually when you buy a new tube amp, re-tubing with some good quality tubes is the first thing you will do (depending on the amp and the tubes installed).

It seems to me that your tube will burn out soon. When you decide to get them new, get them as a matched 4 x 5881 set. Sovtek and Tung-Sol are great choices.


+1 The amp will sound even better with NOS tubes and the BIAS adjusted. I will also add Philips & Tungsram & RCA old tubes as possible choices.

//Staffay


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Santiago Diaz Ga...
post Apr 12 2010, 04:13 PM
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You should replace them all, because as the guys said, you can break some other componnnents of the amp. Check the fuse also, so you're sure it's not becacuse of the electrical feeding.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Apr 13 2010, 11:57 PM
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If its your first time doing this kind of setup, I recommend taking the amp to the tech and asking to stick around to see how its done. Later on you can tackle the job with more confidence wink.gif


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