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Hammond M3 to 5E3 conversion

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  • Hammond M3 to 5E3 conversion

    I was hoping to build a Fender Concert next, but my wife is telling me the budget can't take that right now, so I'm looking around at what I've got... I've got a Hammond M3 and I'm thinking of turning into a 5E3...

    The M3's PT is 380VAC vs. the normal 355VAC. It's only 25V over, which might actually be a good thing. I was planning on adding an NFB switch to it anyway so that it would clean up nice. I would think the extra 25V would give me a little more clean headroom as well.

    Does anyone see any issues with building a 5E3 with an extra 25V? I suppose I could always do the Zener on the CT to bring it down if it is, but wanted to see what you guys think.

    That said, what might be another issue is the OT. The M3 has 305V on the plates vs. a 5E3 which has about 360V on the plates, so I'm guessing the OT is 6.6K primary impedance. A normal 5E3 I believe uses an 8K primary. That said, I have 2 transformers from a Hammond H100 which had pairs of 6BQ5s running at 355V on the plates, so I'm guessing those are probably 8K? I could use one of those, right?

  • #2
    Given that Fender schems all have a "+/-20%" qualifier anyway, just go it as simply as possible to start. Then start mucking it up. You might end up with something that kicks add AND doesn't sound exactly like every other 5E3 clone out there. Just use what ya got as it is, IMHO.

    I wouldn't worry so much about the tranny specs to that level of detail. What you can probably safely assume is that it will work well and reliably at those voltages with those tubes, and sound decent at it. It doesn't have to be perfectly spec'd. The originals weren't.

    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -


    • #3
      Thanks, Justin. That was kinda my thinking, at least in terms of the, "You might end up with something that kicks ass..." I was thinking, it probably won't sound exactly like a regular 5E3, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, the one thing I would want from a 5E3 is more clean headroom and the extra voltage (and the NFB) ought to achieve that. So obviously a stock 5E3 isn't really my goal anyway.

      I just wanted to make sure I'm not deviating too much. I'll probably use a JJ 16/16 can plus a 16uF axial. Those will be rated 500V so that should cover any voltage rating issues the extra 25V might cause.


      • #4
        When they were being made, 5E3s didn't even sound like one another. If you went to buy one, you generally tried as many of them as you could to find a "good one." The wide variations in parts resulted in each amp having its own characteristics.
        Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


        • #5
          Your plate voltage is going to be a lot higher than you think. Also, when you turn it on, the voltage across the caps will be over 500v or more , (i have seen it many times but none blew up yet) until the rest of the tubes warm up and start conducting. Your best bet is to wire up the power transformer, basically build the power supply in a mock up, and see what voltages you will have.


          • #6
            If I build the PS like a normal 5E3, I don't see why my voltage would be much more than ~35V over that of a normal 5E3, given that the unrectified voltage is only 25V higher. 5E3 schematic calls for 450V caps. 500V caps will give me an extra 50V rating with only about 35V or so increased DC.

            Am I missing something?


            • #7
              Your 380v will be over 400v, times 1.414 and you are over 500v easy. Even loaded with 4k you are gonna have very high plate voltage. Just build the mock up and you will see.


              • #8
                The only thing that's throwing me here is this: I see your point with the math, and even including voltage drop for a 5Y3, I'm thinking you'd end up with about 440-450? But, would the M3 have been running that high? I know the M3 has about 6 more preamp tubes than a 5E3, but I don't see preamp tubes drawing enough current to drop that theoretical 440 down to the 305 on the schematic... unless they were using a straight-up choke input filter maybe? I don't have an M3 schematic in front of me...

                My friend had an M3; I don't remember it having the 30 12AU7s that some of the others had...


                Edit: is 380 a typo and supposed to be 280?
                "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
                "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
                "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -


                • #9
                  According to this, it would be 475V off the first node without a choke (I calculated with 375VAC and then added 7V to their result. Close enough.) So yeah, I think you're right. That's too high for 500V caps.

                  But here's what's got me confused. Classictone's transformer for a 5E3 is 355-0-355. But now that I'm looking around at other transformers, most of the others look like they're 330-0-330. That gives 413V on the first node.

                  What's adding to my confusion is that Rob Robinette's page has the voltages he got with his Weber 5E3 and it's only 362V on the plates and you know it didn't lose 50V in the transformer... And even more confusion: on Rob's page, at the top, if you scroll down to the first layout titled, "The Unmodified 5E3 Deluxe", it shows a 355-0-355 power transformer....

                  I think I trust that calculator the most...


                  • #10
                    I'm just going to do the diode stacking and drop 50V off the transformer. I can get 5x10V 5W diodes and run them to the HV CT and I'll be right on (actually probably a bit hot anyway because it's a 110V PT). Then I don't have to worry about it.


                    • #11
                      Chances are the M3 tranny has a 110v or 117v primary. So figure at least 5% higher on the secondary with todays 120-125v. Quick test is just wire up the filaments to the 5y3 and see how much higher that is than 6.3vac.

                      I use a old chassis as a mock up, AC in to subject transformer with alligator clips, choice of 5Y3ish wired tube socket or diode bridge rectifier for those trannys with no 5vac. A old 8mf 600v cap, then 2 8k parallel switchable load power resistors, 2 pin sockets for the meter. Almost anything i test, especially old organ transformers, put out more voltage than the days gone past. I have some i can't use for 6v6 pairs because they are too high. I'd post a picture but my homeowners and life insurance companies would drop me.

                      Any more when i pull parts unknown, i write down how much tube current it was used at. Deluxes do sound best at certain plate voltages for the output tubes and preamp tubes, i often tweak the node resistors and 5y3, 5v4 5r4 5ar4 for rectifiers. You could always pull a 5e3 Neil Young and use 6l6's.


                      • #12
                        I would actually prefer a 6L6 or EL34 amp, but then I wouldn't be able to use the OT. I do have a Heyboer Trainwreck OT that I got when I was thinking I wanted to build a TW, but I'm not really that inclined to do a TW anymore, so I'm happy to use it in something else. But if I go that direction, then I probably just won't do a 5E3. I'd build something with an LTP PI.

                        I'm going to need to think on this a bit. Why do there have to be so many options?????


                        • #13
                          I spent a few hours thinking about all this last night and I think I've decided what I'm going to do... I'm going to build a Concert-ish kind of amp, but it's going to be a bit of a departure from the real thing. I've been really wanting to build the Concert, but it's looking like it's going to be at least a year, if not 2 before I'm going to be able to build it with the parts I want, so....

                          1> I discovered that I have 335-0-335 PT. It's a monster from a Baldwin organ. It weighs in at around 8lbs...
                          2> I have the Trainwreck OT
                          3> I have a choke from a Hammond H100 organ that's big enough to handle 24W in power tubes and maybe 8-10 preamp tubes.
                          4> I have a Bandmaster/Concert chassis.

                          I'll have to cut out a bigger hole for the PT and drill some new screw holes, but that's not too bad.

                          There's no bias tap on this PT, but it has 12.6V and 5V taps I don't need. I was thinking I could put them in series for 17.6V, create a voltage quadrupler and then have a pot to make the bias adjustable from there. I'm thinking since it's grid bias it won't need to supply much current, so it shouldn't matter that its' a voltage multiplier as the source. Am I right about this?

                          The chassis I have has a 3rd octal hole, so I'm going to set it up for switchable diode & tube rectification. Between that and the adjustable bias, it should be able to handle a wide range of power tubes (6V6-EL34 and possibly KT88s. Not sure about the power handling of the OT. Sent a question to Heyboer about it) with a good impedance match on the OT.

                          I'll buy the parts that I don't have piece-meal over the next few months, but with the iron in hand and opting for some cheaper parts than I was originally planning, I should be able to keep the price tag within budget.

                          Anyone see a problem with the bias idea or anything else here?


                          • #14
                            Rather than make a quadrupler, you can just tap off the HVAC winding like Marshall and some Princetons... just might be a simpler route with less parts. Besides, if youo use a switchable rectifier, you'll need that 5V winding after all, right?

                            Ir you're doing a Concert, may I recommend the 6G12-A? And yes, the Normal channel <IS> worth having, too. Go all out!

                            Cap brands didn't matter in MY Concert - somebody swapped ALL of my caps out, and it still sounds damn good. If that helps you save any money...

                            "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
                            "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
                            "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -


                            • #15
                              Doh! Of course. As I pointed out, doesn't need a lot of current, so a voltage divider ought to do the trick. Thanks, Justin! Sometimes I overthink it...

                              Yes, the 6G12-A/6G7-A are the target. think they're pretty much the same. In fact, if you overlay the schematics and layouts, they're from the same hand drawings, just with a different label.

                              I'm trying to decide on the caps. My original plan was 7 F&Ts, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe a JJ 40/20/20/20 can and a JJ 16/16 can on top might not be be a better choice. The first node is 2x20uf in parallel, so 40uF, so that works and keeps my e-cap costs to under $25. I was going to buy all nice coupling and tone caps too, but now I'll just use whatever I have handy, which includes some no-names, and buy what I don't have.


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