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Thread: Hot Rod Deville burnt smell/blown fuse

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    Hot Rod Deville burnt smell/blown fuse

    Hey all,

    At a gig last night my amp started sounding a bit off, then there was a burning smell and then the fuse blew. Today I removed all of the tubes, turned it on and there was no burning smell or blown fuse. I then put the tubes in, turned it on and no problem. Then I plugged a guitar in and played for awhile with no problems. This would be a lot easier to troubleshoot if the problem would present itself again. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Something is wrong because something burned. You should absolutely open it up and inspect it. Do you use the amp differently in any way at home than you do at a show? What's the difference? You could try to recreate the problem, but I would open it up instead.

    Three things... Those amps are notorious for blowing filter caps. You may not notice the difference right away. If the bias supply went kaput your tubes would be running too hot and you may not notice right away. If a power tube blew the amp may still operate somewhat normally at lower volumes and you wouldn't notice right away.

    I'm sure there are a host of other things that you may not notice right away. But if you smelled something burning, and a fuse blew, something inside blew up or burned up. You have to open it up. For the sake of safety if not for your own satisfaction.
    "I should have been born sooner. Of course, if I had been, I might be dead now." trem

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    I opened it up expecting to find something burnt, but everything looks good. I used the amp for about two hours today with no problems. I verified a bunch of voltage test points from the schematic. I'm stumped.

  4. #4
    don't forget the joker g-one's Avatar
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    It's possible that a power tube went bad and fried it's screen resistor. You would think that would make a noticeable sound difference, but in my experience it sometimes goes unnoticed, especially if played at higher gain and lower volume settings. After the screen resistor goes, the bad tube may no longer cause a problem as it can't do any work.
    Quick test would be to remove one power tube, play, see if it makes a difference. Then put it back in and remove the other one and play. If one of them makes no difference to the sound when removed, replace it and it's screen resistor. The screen resistors are R61 & R62, 470ohm 1watt.
    "Thank you. Now on this next one , ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to pay attention to my tone - not so much my singing or the band... " - JP Lepage

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    Thanks, I'll give that a shot and see what happens.

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    I checked those screen resistors(R61 and R62) and measured both at 470 ohms. Could these values drift while the amp is running hot and then return to normal after it cools.I also checked 330 ohm 5W resistors(R78 and R79). There was some discoloration of the copper trace in the pcb but both resistors measured around 330 ohms. At this point I can only assume that bad solder joints are to blame. Any idea why these would cause the amp to blow the fuse and smell burnt. I can't find any significant burnt areas on the pcb which is surprising because it really stunk.

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Look VERY closely at the solder on the power tube socket pins. I automatically resolder those whenever I am in anay of that series of amp. Little cracks can form, and that will lose continuity with some part of the circuit, causing troube. MAy or not be your problem here, but worth checking.


    No, your 470 ohm screen resistors are not hopping around in value.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I suppose it's possible that there was a temporary loss of bias due to something like a bad solder joint or a dirty pin contact that caused excess current and blew the fuses. This USUALLY take at least one power tube with it.

    Have you tried removing each power tube one at a time and ear testing as prescribed?

    I also mentioned earlier that you may have a bias issue. That IS something you may not notice playing for a little while with the amp down low. Do you have any way to check the bias???

    Also, it occurs to me that usually when something burns the smell lingers in the amp chassis and you can detect that something has burned just taking a chassis out of the amp within a week of the failure. Is it possible that it was something else at the gig that burned up? Like crappy club wiring. And that sent the wrong voltage to your amp causing a rotten operating condition that popped the fuse.?. I've never tried running a 120V wired amp on 60V or 240V. I can guess what would happen though.
    "I should have been born sooner. Of course, if I had been, I might be dead now." trem

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    don't forget the joker g-one's Avatar
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    You are looking around for something that looks burnt, but if it was an electrolytic cap that went it won't necessarily explode or look burnt. But it will stink. Any sign of anything liquid-like around any of the caps?
    "Thank you. Now on this next one , ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to pay attention to my tone - not so much my singing or the band... " - JP Lepage

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    Thanks for the help guys, this is what happened and what I've done so far to troubleshoot:
    1. After playing for about two hours my tone started to lack highs.
    2. Within 5-10 minutes I noticed a significant volume loss.
    3. Seconds later there was no sound, and as I approached the amp there was a strong burnt odor.
    4. I unplugged the amp and finished with my back-up amp.
    5. The next day I opened up the amp expecting to find something obviously burnt inside, but all I found was a bad fuse.
    6. I used two different sets of tubes (including the pair in at the time of failure) and both sounded great, however I didn't try them one at a time. I played for about an hour, then left it ion for an hour to see if anything would happen. Nothing.....
    7. I checked the bias voltage and it was at 65mV which is where I had set it.
    8. I've checked the values of every resistor on the board, all are ok.
    9. I've checked voltages from the schematic and all values seem reasonable.
    10. I looked at the solder joints under magnification and I noticed a couple of pins had tiny cracks in the joint and all had little solder on the pins.
    11. The trace under the two 330 ohm 5W power resistors(R78, R79) appears darker, as if it got hot. There is a similar spot on the trace under R97, but all three resistor values are ok.
    12. Two of the filter caps(C35, C36) have a small amount of crusty white ooze on the + side and the voltages match what is indicated on the schematic. I've already ordered new filter caps to replace these, though I don't think they are the culprit.

    Thanks again guys your help is much appreciated. Here is the schematic for reference http://support.fender.com/schematics..._schematic.pdf

  11. #11
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    In case you don't normally use them, check to see if your reverb and effects loop are working correctly. I'm thinking you may have a bad component in the power supply for the silicooties or one of the transistors may be shorted. Do replace the caps with crust on them. This particular series of amps has a bad rep for power supply caps.

    The symptoms leading up to the initial failure sure sound like the power tubes lost bias. I would definitely scrutinize the bias supply as well.

    This is a tough one. It's hard to fix something that isn't broken anymore. Good research and info so far. I wouldn't give up searcing for a problem though. That's a pretty major failure you had so I don't think I would trust the amp out until I found something I knew to be responsible.
    "I should have been born sooner. Of course, if I had been, I might be dead now." trem

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    If you have cracks, resolder all those pins.


    Note: "bias voltage" is the DC voltage on pin 5 of each power tube. The 60mv you measure at the test point is an analog for the tube idle current. Yes, it is the voltage you monitor when adjusting the bias, but it is not the bias voltage per se. SO when we say you might be losing bias voltage, what we mean is that at some point you may be losing the voltage fed to pin 5 on one or both of the power tubes. That would have the effect of causing the test point voltage to go substantially higher. But it seems to be imtermittent, so unless you check it WHEN the burning is happening, it may appear normal.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    don't forget the joker g-one's Avatar
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    Any sign of discoloration on the power tubes? The paint used on JJ & GT tubes (maybe other brands too) shows quite well if a tube has been overheated.
    "Thank you. Now on this next one , ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to pay attention to my tone - not so much my singing or the band... " - JP Lepage

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    That's a good point, the tubes may have gone into thermal runaway as we discussed in that other thread. The symptoms match up. Maybe it doesn't happen on the bench but only after several hours cranked up on a hot stage.

    If the power tubes are old and heavily used, that's quite a likely scenario, and the solution is a new set of tubes.

    The burning smell may have come from the tube bases (have a sniff, does it smell the same?) or from the amp's power supply section if it was overloaded by the runaway.
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Good point. Experienced techs know the different smells of burnt parts. Burnt transistors smell different from burnt resistors, which smell different from burnt pc board or socket.

    And absolutely NOTHING else smells like burnt selenium rectifers.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Supporting Member jmaf's Avatar
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    IME new tube paint always gets fried even in normal operation. Would you say I've been biasing them too hot ?

    Curiously I thought the same thing Steve Conner did, I'd smell and visually inspect the tube sockets. No shame in closely sniffing like a dog in the amp, the smell remains near the trouble section for days no matter if it's open.

    You may also want to shake the amp around because that's something else you've got on stage that isn't in your bench: vibration. Combo amps are tube killers especially on stage.
    "Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa's last words
    For Portuguese speakers: Compreenda seu Amplificador Valvulado

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    Oddball suggestion...

    Here's an oddball suggestion...

    Depending on the club environment, is it possible you had a temporary infestation? Insect/bug of some sort crawls into the nice warm cabinet, get itself zapped to smithereens. I've seen all kinds of crap inside electrical equipment - I think insects have an affinity for the electromagnetic fields and/or warmth. If it was something small, you might not even find much evidence. Heck, I've even found a small snake in a copy machine one time...crawled up in there and electrocuted itself, killed the copier. And clubs aren't well-known for clean and sanitary conditions....

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    Supporting Member jmaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zipslack View Post
    Here's an oddball suggestion...

    Depending on the club environment, is it possible you had a temporary infestation? Insect/bug of some sort crawls into the nice warm cabinet, get itself zapped to smithereens. I've seen all kinds of crap inside electrical equipment - I think insects have an affinity for the electromagnetic fields and/or warmth. If it was something small, you might not even find much evidence. Heck, I've even found a small snake in a copy machine one time...crawled up in there and electrocuted itself, killed the copier. And clubs aren't well-known for clean and sanitary conditions....
    It used to be very common on my former bench. The fluorescent light at night and those flying ants(whatever they are) would fall into my work. One time I had a high wattage EL34-based amp on for tests and one flying thing zapped itself on 700VDC. Never seen snakes though.
    "Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa's last words
    For Portuguese speakers: Compreenda seu Amplificador Valvulado

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    Thanks for all of the help guys, it is very much appreciated. I have new filter caps on order, which won't be here until Friday, so I'm going to install them and touch up all of the solder joints when they get here. I'm playing the same place that night so I'll let you all know how I make out. Thanks again.

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    Smile Funny story --no reall technical value but this thread reminded me of something

    I might not have all the facts right.. but it went something like this.. The crowd was mainly blues and country fans. The band was smoking hot..all the sudden their was a bang and then some fire... The lead guitarist amp was on fire. He took it in stride, grabbed his drink and said "well thats the first time Ive seen a amp a fire. Smile it will do you good. :

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    So I changed the filter caps, mounted those power resistors off the board with a bit of silicon, touched up all of the solder joints on the power tube sockets and put in a new pair of JJ 6l6's. Just finished playing a gig with it and had no problems whatsoever. I also did a couple of simple mods from Justin Holton's site which have considerably improved the sound of this amp. Thanks again for all the help.

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