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 Post subject: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Sun 08, 2019 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8585
Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
So some years back I built my first Heathkit AA-121 amplifier. It's great! But just one stereo amp of only 40 watts/channel wasn't enough.
Along came the internet and ebay. I found two more! Yipee! But then the prices for those things went through the roof. So I built one from scratch and made it so that you can't tell it from the real thing. Inside and out.
So at that point I had four huge JBL MR-838 pro audio speakers.
That was nineteen years ago.
I hooked it up to the TV to get more use out of this system. I had four AA-121's and each one was set up for mono - 80 watts to each speaker. Great for bass!!!
Yes, I know, lots of people think that's way under powered. Well, it's clear bass and it shakes the house and the dishes rattle in the cupboards. It's good enough for me.

But as time went on I've had less and les time to use those amps. I could only run them when my wife wasn't around and she's around most of the time.

One night I was using it for a movie while the wife was gone. I suddenly noticed one speaker wasn't making any sound. It was the very first AA-121 that I bought as a kit and built it up. Easy to do. All the tubes were lit up, no smoke, but no sound either.
I took it off line. I set the last one I built from scratch to run two speakers in stereo.
I brought it downstairs with the idea of fixing it. I still had no time, or maybe just don't have the desire, to go into it and make it go again.
The other two amps sat, unused for a few years. A week ago I decided to fire them up. Sounded great, but then one dropped out. Blown' fuse !. I set the mate to that one to mono to run the two speakers. Great! Just not as great as all four amps though. It was playing and than all of a sudden that last one didn't sound so great. I looked at it and noticed the right side of the amp had no lit filaments. Tubes were dark. That's the one that scares me because if that half lost all its filaments it can only be the transformer. I don't know anymore where to find a transformer of the right spec's. Might be able to find a little transformer just to run that one side.

I'm amazed they all went down so quickly one after the other, all with different ailments. The last one built is still working fine. But it just isn't enough to rattle the windows and shake the floors like the all four used to do. :-(

One of these days I'll get one of them going. But when? Every time I think I should get into one I realize that I still have this crappy radio that the brother of a friend of mine dropped off for me to make it work. I can make it work, but my heart isn't in it. I just can't bring myself to finish it. When I got it, it was a basket case. Someone had dug into it and it's a mess. Yes, I have the Riders for it, it's not that. It's the same for my own amplifiers. Just can't get interested enough to dig into at least one of them.
I think it's old age for both the amplifiers and me too.

Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Sun 08, 2019 11:45 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 26, 2011 5:58 am
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Location: Capon Bridge, WV
I built a pair of Magnavox based amps not too long ago. PPP6V6, yadda yadda. Put together an "audiophile grade" pre-amp as well complete with DC powered filament string and such. I don't even remember where I got the design from. I do know that the 2 tower speakers I built to pair with the amps sounded fabulous at most levels but bass was lacking. Still is to this day.... but.... theres an Altec 1570 sitting down in the bowels of the shop that whispers my name at night. It'll need some adjustments and such to get the sound right (these were PA amps) but it'll pump out 150 clean watts from PP811 triodes. Could possibly be paired with the right woofer/subwoofer. Would add a bit of bass to the system :wink: .

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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 1:14 am 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Make sure you build your subwoofer cabinets out of solid concrete block. Better yet, reinforced concrete!! Not the magnetic kind though ...... ;-)

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Preserving the hist. of electronics, one boat anchor at a time! :)
https://www.bbtvtestequipment.com


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 1:22 am 
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Location: Ft Worth TX
Is there such thing as oxygen-free rebar?

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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 1:28 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
Hey Mark, I know the feeling.

Best to just walk away from them, and then maybe revisit after a few months. Perhaps when the weather outside keeps you indoors long enough with not much to do, you might then develop the gumption to get back to the bench. Maybe work on your own equipment first, then piddle with the friends' brothers' radio that you'll probably have to re-wire.

Or just give the damn thing back to him, explaining that it's been worked on and you just haven't got the time to re-wire the entire circuit.

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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 2:00 am 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 5223
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Quote:
explaining that it's been worked on and you just haven't got the time to re-wire the entire circuit.


Try this for next time:

Labor rate: $45/hr
If You Watch: $75/hr
If You Help: $125/hr
If Someone Messed It Up Previously: $235 annoyance fee PLUS $45/hr

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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 2:10 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8585
Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
I never meant this post to go to the vintage audio equipment. It wasn't about audio, it was about ME not able to bring myself to do anything anymore. I have a car out in my shop that needs an engine and I have everything I need except the gumption to do it. It's been sitting there for two years!
Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 2:22 am 
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Joined: Jul Tue 15, 2008 6:13 pm
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Location: Gretna, Nebraska
Mark, pick and choose your battles.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment, then take a breath and wait a while.
When you are ready, pick just one project, and work on it to completion, if possible. One small success will feel great and give you the motivation to move on to the next one. :D

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Paul
...... how hard can it be?


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 9:19 am 
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Location: Lincoln City, OR 97367
Greetings to Mark and the Forum:

From the "Ziggy" comic strip: "By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me." :D

Regards,

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KB6GM


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Mon 09, 2019 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 20677
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Mark D wrote:
I never meant this post to go to the vintage audio equipment. It wasn't about audio, it was about ME not able to bring myself to do anything anymore.
The title of your thread screamed "old amplifiers" so that's why a moderator probably moved it here.

I can sympathize with you about the motivation thing.

Advice to all members: It is important to include as much information about the subject of your topic as possible in the title that describes what it is about.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Tue 10, 2019 1:53 am 
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Joined: May Sun 13, 2012 8:12 pm
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Location: Central PA 16801
Mark D wrote:
I never meant this post to go to the vintage audio equipment. It wasn't about audio, it was about ME not able to bring myself to do anything anymore. I have a car out in my shop that needs an engine and I have everything I need except the gumption to do it. It's been sitting there for two years!
Mark D.


don't feel bad. i am the same way with this radio stuff now. i have my room built, everything is displayed, I'm kicking back and enjoying it, and could care less if i ever go back to the bench.

I've messed with electronics since i used to hook raw speakers up to transistor radios via the "earphone jack" when i was 3 years old. i became very serious in the repair and learning tube radio/amp when i was 10.

i will always have the interest, but to sit at the bench, I'd rather sit on the porch swing, at PNG Field with my season tickets to Altoona Curve Baseball, or sit on the easy chair in my audio/radio room.

for something to come home, it must push me nearly into a heart attack or a mini-stroke with excitement. not saying that won't ever happen, but with the stuff i see and mostly don't see anymore around here, i don't have to start taking blood thinners or have a heart cath done, believe me.

other than my test equipment up on the shelf, all others are empty, the bench is clean, and that's fine.

the hobby has run its course for me.

steve

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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Tue 10, 2019 2:20 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 20677
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Dutch Rabbit wrote:
...the hobby has run its course for me.
Sorry to hear that. But your knowledge and experience is still a valuable asset here.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Tue 10, 2019 2:36 am 
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Location: Central PA 16801
thanks

i'm not going anywhere, just away from the bench to enjoy the collection and to a lot of other things.

steve

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You have enemies ? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Tue 10, 2019 10:25 pm 
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Posts: 4884
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
You could just sell the amps and buy one that's working. But selling can be hard work and you have to deal with knuckleheads. I can feel your pain.

Pick one that won't take forever to repair, and then, divide and conquer, finish one step at a time. Leave notes, 'still needs ...." :lol:

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Tue 10, 2019 10:33 pm 
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Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
It's too bad that you are not closer; I repair vintage amps all the time.

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Tim KA3JRT


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Wed 11, 2019 10:07 pm 
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Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
Tim Tress wrote:
It's too bad that you are not closer; I repair vintage amps all the time.

So do I ...

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Don


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 Post subject: Re: Amplifiers, amplifers, amplifiers...Old Age
PostPosted: Sep Thu 12, 2019 3:45 am 
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Location: Long Beach, CA 90808
Maybe a long ride on an old train would make you feel better...

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