Page 4 of 7
#121
Also, about electrocuting yourself to death:

You can only be electrocuted if you form an electrical connection with your body. As in, if you are touching the chassis -0v- with one hand and the HT supply -300v+- with the other, then you form a connection with your arms with your heart in between. Rough estimate I did said from my left hand to right hand there's a resistance of about 2Mega ohms. So 300v/2,000,000R is 0.00015A or 0.15mA. Hence it hasn't killed me yet.

See how birds don't die by hanging on the wires on the poles? That's cuz they're not forming any connection with their bodies. One leg has 300kv, other leg has the same 300kv. Which means the current through their legs is 0mA!
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#122
Quote by CECamps
If there is something you'd like to understand better, but weren't able to fully grasp in the original post, let me know. I'll try to clarify further.

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#123
Quote by ECistheBest
Also, about electrocuting yourself to death:

You can only be electrocuted if you form an electrical connection with your body. As in, if you are touching the chassis -0v- with one hand and the HT supply -300v+- with the other, then you form a connection with your arms with your heart in between. Rough estimate I did said from my left hand to right hand there's a resistance of about 2Mega ohms. So 300v/2,000,000R is 0.00015A or 0.15mA. Hence it hasn't killed me yet.

See how birds don't die by hanging on the wires on the poles? That's cuz they're not forming any connection with their bodies. One leg has 300kv, other leg has the same 300kv. Which means the current through their legs is 0mA!


I'll be honest, that makes sense to me, but I think I'm gonna stick with my previous philosophy of "don't touch anything that could shock the shit out of me". It's worked so far. Hell, I didn't realize why everything metal on my rig was shocking me a few weeks ago, and it came down to a lack of shoes (in addition to a grounding problem in the house).

I'm guessing the main issue with being a human is that we're usually grounded when we deal with anything that has current.

As for the Transformers being Magic, I pretty much consider the entire system to be magic. I am completely perplexed about how a passive system involving metal strings, some magnets, and a bunch of copper windings that is run into a system of a bunch of shit beyond my current understanding (unintended pun) which is connected to a box with giant magnets connected to really thick paper can turn me touching said metal strings into a specific sound that is loud enough to deafen you. I just don't get it. I assume there is a convention of microscopic wizards that are only able to live in a vacuum living inside each tube in my amp. Their magic creates the glow, and their sole purpose is to aid musicians in making people pay them to become deaf. When a tube dies, the wizards have died. Solid State amps attempted to replace the wizards with crystal lettuce, which clearly is no replacement for wizards. This is the explanation I'm sticking with until I actually understand what the hell is going on inside my amp.

For real, though, if Dumble can get away with that Crystal Lattice shit and make the amps he did, I seriously doubt a full understanding of amps is necessary for most applications.
Last edited by Blktiger0 at Nov 7, 2012,
#124
If you are grounded when working on live high voltage equipment you have no business working on it. You need to go back to playing tiddly winks and leave electronics to somebody else that isn't a dumbass.
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#125
Quote by Cathbard
If you are grounded when working on live high voltage equipment you have no business working on it. You need to go back to playing tiddly winks and leave electronics to somebody else that isn't a dumbass.


Cath, calm down, most of that post was a joke. I know I'm not any good with electronics, although I do know more than I indicated with that post (which, again, was meant as a joke).
#126
Just wanted to drum it into your head that you should be insulated from earth if ever poking around inside your amp, esp while it's on. Wear shoes, sleeves, long pants - and gloves if you're a noob. And keep one hand in your pocket if you don't have gloves.
With any luck you'll remember this now.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 7, 2012,
#127
Quote by Cathbard
Just wanted to drum it into your head that you should be insulated from earth if ever poking around inside your amp, esp while it's on. Wear shoes, sleeves, long pants - and gloves if you're a noob. And keep one hand in your pocket if you don't have gloves.
With any luck you'll remember this now.


If I ever go poking around inside my amp, I'll be wearing a set of footed pajamas made of rubber that's a quarter of an inch thick

I'll probably opt for the set that has gloves built in, too. You can't be too sure.

Then again, I think I'll just avoid poking around in there until I know what I'm poking and why I'm poking it. Until then, I have no business attempting to ruin my amp and/or electrocute myself.

That would make an interesting headline, though. "Metal guitarist killed by his own Vengeance"

I could deal with that. It's better than OD'ing on the toilet like Elvis.
#128
Or drowning in your own vomit.


And it's always the pinky finger that cops it. It has a habit of sticking out and touching things it shouldn't. I'm surprised I still have one.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 7, 2012,
#129
Quote by Cathbard
Or drowning in your own vomit.


And it's always the pinky finger that cops it. It has a habit of sticking out and touching things it shouldn't. I'm surprised I still have one.


Poor, poor Jimi and Bon. That's an unpleasant way to go.

I would probably just fashion some kind of pinky glove to keep mine insulated. Either that or tape it down. I can't trust myself to be respobsible for the location of all of my fingers when I'm working on things of this nature. Now that you mention it, I think it's almost always my pinkies that end up getting hurt. That and my middle knuckles on all fingers. That's more of when I'm woodworking or doing mechanic work, though. Although, I have scraped them on the chassis of a few computers, iirc. I'm pretty sure when I pulled my amp apart I actually walked away with no injuries, which is a rarity. Then again, I was making damn sure I knew where my hands and fingers were and what they were doing. I wasn't about to let curiosity kill this cat.
#130
Quote by Blktiger0
For real, though, if Dumble can get away with that Crystal Lattice shit and make the amps he did, I seriously doubt a full understanding of amps is necessary for most applications.


You know the crystal lattice is a real thing in semiconductor device physics, right?
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#131
Quote by Cathbard
And it's always the pinky finger that cops it. It has a habit of sticking out and touching things it shouldn't. I'm surprised I still have one.

I would be a terrible amp tech. Due to mountain biking injury my right pinky doesn't bend past the first knuckle... It's always getting into things it shouldn't.
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#132
I'm just going to randomly throw this in here for Cath and the other people: why no use of switching power supplies in tubes amps? are there any companies even using them? maybe just for rack guitar preamps?

Other than design and development being a total bitch, in large series they're bound to be a cheaper solution than 10 pounds of iron and copper for your typical 50watt. They've pretty much taken over in literally all other mass produced electronic devices.
#133
Quote by seljer
I'm just going to randomly throw this in here for Cath and the other people: why no use of switching power supplies in tubes amps? are there any companies even using them? maybe just for rack guitar preamps?

Other than design and development being a total bitch, in large series they're bound to be a cheaper solution than 10 pounds of iron and copper for your typical 50watt. They've pretty much taken over in literally all other mass produced electronic devices.


Bear in mind that non-tube electronic devices run on significantly lower DC voltages than tube amps. We're talking 5v-24v DC.

The typical tube amp is running on over 400v DC at the first B+ node.
#134
Not only that, switch mode power supplies are the most unreliable piece of kit on the planet. Even on low voltage pc supplies they are always the first thing to fail. Weight can be counteracted by simply buying a trolley but the power supply will fail when you are at a gig miles from home with no backup amp in the truck. Murphy works overtime in the music business.
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#135
Quote by CECamps
Bear in mind that non-tube electronic devices run on significantly lower DC voltages than tube amps. We're talking 5v-24v DC.

The typical tube amp is running on over 400v DC at the first B+ node.


On your typical flyback/forward/bridge converter the actual switching transistors are running from (rectified) line voltage anyway, so the voltage is not an issue there.

The secondary side just needs the appropriate winding ratio and high speed diodes that can handle the voltage, plenty of these exist as well (e.g. every old CRT)

If its well designed, the engineers probably didn't use cheap chinese electrolytics with piss poor ESR values so that only a problem if you let it be.


edit: and you've got the reliability of vacuum tubes to contend with in the first place
Last edited by seljer at Nov 7, 2012,
#136
If a transformer is required to get ~700v from mains voltage, then the point is moot. You were talking about removing 10 lbs of iron...
#137
Quote by CECamps
If a transformer is required to get ~700v from mains voltage, then the point is moot. You were talking about removing 10 lbs of iron...


High switching frequency = way smaller transfomer

that and you still need galvanic isolation
Last edited by seljer at Nov 7, 2012,
#138
I guess the question is how much smaller. Another being what kind of noise/oscillation issues may arise.

I'm sure, especially with other experiments in DC regulation that have been done in tube amps, that this has been considered at some point. What it probably boils down to is what are the real gains? And what are the drawbacks?

Or it may just be inertia. Who knows. I do know that regardless, you'll still have the OT weight to deal with.
#139
Quote by CECamps
I guess the question is how much smaller. Another being what kind of noise/oscillation issues may arise.

I'm sure, especially with other experiments in DC regulation that have been done in tube amps, that this has been considered at some point. What it probably boils down to is what are the real gains? And what are the drawbacks?

Or it may just be inertia. Who knows. I do know that regardless, you'll still have the OT weight to deal with.


I know to get acceptable real world perfomance, you do actually have to spend 3 or 4 months just developing it. If figure the big manufacturers that are stamping out hundreds of amps per day, it'd turn out to be the cheaper option in the long run

and I'm pretty sure the multi-hundred-watt rack power amps (...so, solid state electornics...but still) have gone to switching supplies to the delight of roadies everywhere.
Last edited by seljer at Nov 7, 2012,
#140
Quote by seljer
I know to get acceptable real world perfomance, you do actually have to spend 3 or 4 months just developing it. If figure the big manufacturers that are stamping out hundreds of amps per day, it'd turn out to be the cheaper option in the long run


That may or may not be true though if you take a look at the bigger picture of the business of making amps.

It is very easy to design a "traditional" power supply that is rock solid and very quiet using a very small amount of components. These power supplies are generally very reliable, and when issues arise, very easy to troubleshoot and cheap to repair.

The same may not be true of a switched mode power supply built for use in a tube guitar amp. Well, except for the cheap to repair part. But the service & support side of the house is a factor to consider.

And with noise reduction being the most critical aspect of power supply design in an amp, going to SMPS may be a step in the wrong direction just to save some weight. As I mentioned, it's incredibly easy to design a really quiet "traditional" tube amp power supply. Tough to move away from the tried & true without significant gains guaranteed. That's probably why CCS's haven't taken off.
Last edited by CECamps at Nov 7, 2012,
#141
Quote by CECamps
I guess the question is how much smaller. Another being what kind of noise/oscillation issues may arise.

I'm sure, especially with other experiments in DC regulation that have been done in tube amps, that this has been considered at some point. What it probably boils down to is what are the real gains? And what are the drawbacks?

Or it may just be inertia. Who knows. I do know that regardless, you'll still have the OT weight to deal with.


I dunno, he might be on to something here. An LOPT is vastly lighter than anything in current (no pun intended...) use, is designed to store energy which might be valuable during peak demand sections, can operate at a frequency that cannot be heard which might make it easy to reduce noise, since even if the PS is dirty, no one can hear it, can be easily reduced to pretty much any voltage necessary for a tube amp with very small transformers etc etc...

I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but it has potential (again, NOT a pun... ).
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#142
Quote by Arby911
I dunno, he might be on to something here. An LOPT is vastly lighter than anything in current (no pun intended...) use, is designed to store energy which might be valuable during peak demand sections, can operate at a frequency that cannot be heard which might make it easy to reduce noise, since even if the PS is dirty, no one can hear it, can be easily reduced to pretty much any voltage necessary for a tube amp with very small transformers etc etc...

I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but it has potential (again, NOT a pun... ).


As far as noise though, there are very peculiar artifacts that can arise in an amp which can be caused by inaudible frequencies. You're not hearing the frequencies themselves, but rather what they are doing as they interact within the circuit. They are a bitch to troubleshoot too. The very last place you'd want their origin to be is the power supply.
#143
yeah, you sometimes get wierd intermodulation distortion

higher frequency also neabs much more susceptible for interference to travel through parastic capacitances. You do however get the benefit of smaller filter capacitors requirements.


Like I mentioned, the development time is awful. For a regular transformer supply you what....look up hammond's catalog, slap on a bridge rectifier and some big caps and you're done
I figure that the reason why all the consumer electronics you purchase these days, from your cellphone charger to your tv to your laptop have switching supplies is the price benefit (and efficiency too maybe...if you want to get all green about it).

I've noticed a lot of DIYers messing around with tube overdrive pedals/preamps/etc... have turned to switching supplies to get a high voltage (and them nixie tube clock folk too). Though in both situations the power requirments aren't so high.
Last edited by seljer at Nov 7, 2012,
#144
Quote by seljer
I know to get acceptable real world perfomance, you do actually have to spend 3 or 4 months just developing it. If figure the big manufacturers that are stamping out hundreds of amps per day, it'd turn out to be the cheaper option in the long run

and I'm pretty sure the multi-hundred-watt rack power amps (...so, solid state electornics...but still) have gone to switching supplies to the delight of roadies everywhere.


solid sate rack power amps don't have output transformers.

a good well regulated, low noise switch mode supply capable of tube amp voltages wouldn't be significantly cheaper.
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#145
Quote by TNfootballfan62
You know the crystal lattice is a real thing in semiconductor device physics, right?


I was talking about his entire "theory" he had going about it and just referenced the most common name used for it here on UG.
#146
Quote by Blktiger0
I was talking about his entire "theory" he had going about it and just referenced the most common name used for it here on UG.


well his theory was kinda... interesting. but he was right in how he portrayed the signals being passed through the component. vacuum tubes do pass a current through... well, a vacuum. transistors do pass current through a lattice structure.

as far as 'fragile harmonics' sustaining themselves better in a vacuum than through transistors... no idea.

does kinda sound new-age though doesn't it?
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#147
Quote by gumbilicious
well his theory was kinda... interesting. but he was right in how he portrayed the signals being passed through the component. vacuum tubes do pass a current through... well, a vacuum. transistors do pass current through a lattice structure.

as far as 'fragile harmonics' sustaining themselves better in a vacuum than through transistors... no idea.

does kinda sound new-age though doesn't it?


That is some next level philosophy
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#148
Big PA heads use switch mode now? Which ones?
Class D is the future of big sound reinforcement I think. PA heads are crazy stupid heavy once you get beyond 1000W. Class D seems like the obvious solution there. That changes the whole game really.
Class D bass amps are unbelievable. Real, "can such things be?" shit. Analog power amps are going to become eclectic things for guitarists and golden ears hifi nuts before long.
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#149
What do the different classes of power mean?
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#151
Quote by DisarmGoliath

+1 , that is where i started with it.
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#152
Is the efficiency of the signal just volume?
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#153
Quote by Offworld92
Is the efficiency of the signal just volume?


you have taken step one down the rabbit hole.

efficiency is how much energy you invest compared to how much energy you get out. you will never get perfect efficiency (all the power you invest is presented in the output). it's kinda like getting more miles per gallon in a car,

i am a little slow, so it actually took me about a year to figure out/appreciate why class A/B amplifcation was more efficient than class A.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Nov 8, 2012,
#154
In the case of guitar amplification, wouldn't you *want* something inefficient, to keep it low volume?

Or am I misunderstanding the application entirely. Not sure if the energy in question is relevant at all to volume, or if we're talking about actual power consumption.
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#155
If you want less volume, you just design the amp to output less volume. You don't slam it with the same amount of power and make it less efficient.
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#156
I can understand the relevancy as far as PAs and such go, but for individual guitar amps go, does it really matter that much? I was under the impression that they barely drew any power at all.

Or is it just the concept of it all, being the best you can just to be.
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#157
Guitar amps consume quite a bit of power relatively speaking.
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Quote by ibz_bucket
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I mean in Kyle's case, it is in the best interest of mankind that he impregnate anything that looks at him funny...
#158
Quote by Offworld92
In the case of guitar amplification, wouldn't you *want* something inefficient, to keep it low volume?

Or am I misunderstanding the application entirely. Not sure if the energy in question is relevant at all to volume, or if we're talking about actual power consumption.


you have come to the conflict of signal processing vs signal reproduction.

the definition of an amplifier is that it 'amplifies' the signal, or makes it louder than the original signal. if you only want to 'change' the signal with clipping and the such then you are into signal processing.

in hifi world you would want the signal to be reproduce 'perfectly', in the guitar realm amplification is almost synonymous with 'changing' the signal. keep that in mind when you are researching.

Quote by Offworld92
I can understand the relevancy as far as PAs and such go, but for individual guitar amps go, does it really matter that much? I was under the impression that they barely drew any power at all.

Or is it just the concept of it all, being the best you can just to be.


if you are dissapating more power than you are drawing then you are defying thermodynamics. you will always put in more than you take out. that is a law of physics.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Nov 8, 2012,
#159
One of the tech experts here can correct me if I'm incorrect with anything, but I would suggest you think about efficiency like this:

You put ___ power in. Ideally you want as much energy as possible to reach the loudspeakers, and then the air via sound pressure waves. In a valve amp, a lot of energy is wasted by the valves and output transformer (I think) in heat dissipation (in other words, they get hot in operation, so a lot of energy is emitted instead of staying within the circuit, as it is transferred from electrical [potential?] energy into thermal energy - and with valves, light energy too - instead of continuing on its journey along the signal path.

That is probably full of inaccuracies, but it suits me as far as I (think) I know where a lot of the energy is being wasted. If the designs were somehow more efficient (though this is a physical limitation of the 'real' analogue world we live in) you could, I suppose, use less power (good for planet, and your bills) and have lighter equipment (good for your back, and hopeful lack of a hernia).


Edit: Oh, and as was said above - in guitar amps, a side-effect of the poor efficiency of the valves is something we consider audibly-pleasing and so most of us put up with the negative sides of using valves, for the benefits of 'tone'. Most amps are Class A/B now, to utilise the push/pull technique and improving efficiency, while keeping the majority of the perceptually positive impact the valves have on the signal.
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#160
I get the power aspect, no idea how that has anything to do with physical weight though.

These concepts are kind of hard to grasp.

You'd think I'd understand more considering I aced physics the entire year I took it.
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