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  #1  
Old 01-17-2008, 09:30 PM
Nolatone Ampworks Nolatone Ampworks is offline
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AB165 Bassman Bias Pot

Hey folks,

It's my understanding that full sized pot that connects off the bias board is the bias pot. However, the schematic has a note that says:

"* 4. When installing new 6L6's, reset hum baalance for min hum."

Can someone please clarify what this thing is really for?

Thanks,

Paul
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2008, 09:59 PM
teleamp teleamp is offline
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I guess that was the low tech way to bias an amp back then. Its definitely the bias pot. I guess if the amp hummed after installing new tubes it was biased too hot. Makes some sense, to prove it out, set the bias on an amp by ear then measure, chances are that you got it really close by ear.

MikeY
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2008, 10:17 PM
Nolatone Ampworks Nolatone Ampworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teleamp View Post
I guess that was the low tech way to bias an amp back then. Its definitely the bias pot. I guess if the amp hummed after installing new tubes it was biased too hot. Makes some sense, to prove it out, set the bias on an amp by ear then measure, chances are that you got it really close by ear.

MikeY
I just read about how this bias circuit works. It's a matching bias circuit in that you adjust the current on one tube to match the other non-adjustable tube.

If this is true, what happens if you don't get the current level you want through the non adjustable tube?
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:01 AM
Blue Strat Blue Strat is offline
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165's used a bias balance circuit, not "true bias". Best thing to do is convert the circuit to "true bias". Check the AA864 Bassman schematic for how this is wired.
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2008, 07:30 AM
sickboy79 sickboy79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Strat View Post
165's used a bias balance circuit, not "true bias". Best thing to do is convert the circuit to "true bias". Check the AA864 Bassman schematic for how this is wired.
Agree 100%. This will allow you to properly bias the amp - as well as it improves the tone, IMO.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2008, 07:49 AM
Swarty Swarty is offline
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It's just a matter of moving a few wires.
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  #7  
Old 01-20-2008, 04:19 PM
Nolatone Ampworks Nolatone Ampworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Strat View Post
165's used a bias balance circuit, not "true bias". Best thing to do is convert the circuit to "true bias". Check the AA864 Bassman schematic for how this is wired.
Which circuit is newer? Is the AB165 older than the AA864?

Trying to understand why Fender would do the Bias circuit that way in the AB165.

Also, does a mod like this hurt the value of the amp?

Thanks,

Paul
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  #8  
Old 01-20-2008, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftys-bbq View Post
Trying to understand why Fender would do the Bias circuit that way in the AB165.
I think maybe I just figured out the benefit of this particular bias circuit. Here's my SWAG:

It allows you to balance unmatched powr tubes, which back then, suppliers matching tubes probably wasn't as big a thing as it is now, so they needed a convenient way to balance the current flow through the power tubes.

Am I right?
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2008, 06:04 PM
John Phillips John Phillips is offline
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Back then, tubes were much closer to the designed spec, but not usually sold as matched sets - and Fender certainly didn't buy them as such - so a bias matching control was more useful. Now, it's easier to get matched sets, but tube performance is all over the place, so an overall bias adjustment is more useful.

In fact, the AB165's bias scheme is poorly thought-out anyway, and even if you wanted a bias matching (AKA bias balance), there are better ways of doing it, like the one Fender introduced with the next generation of amps where the arrangement is symetrical and adjusts one tube down as the other goes up, rather than keeping one fixed and adjusting the other. Why they did it like this I don't know - but they made several mistakes around this time... not all of which can be blamed on CBS, including this one - the circuit was finalised in January '65, the same month CBS bought Fender, so it must have been done by the existing design team.

You want to fix it in any case...

Modding this part of the circuit does not affect the value in any way, if anything it's regarded (rightly) as an upgrade.


BTW, you can work out the chronology very simply - the three digits are the month and year, and the second letter is the circuit revision... so AB165 is the second circuit from Jan '65.
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  #10  
Old 01-20-2008, 07:53 PM
Nolatone Ampworks Nolatone Ampworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Phillips View Post
Back then, tubes were much closer to the designed spec, but not usually sold as matched sets - and Fender certainly didn't buy them as such - so a bias matching control was more useful. Now, it's easier to get matched sets, but tube performance is all over the place, so an overall bias adjustment is more useful.

In fact, the AB165's bias scheme is poorly thought-out anyway, and even if you wanted a bias matching (AKA bias balance), there are better ways of doing it, like the one Fender introduced with the next generation of amps where the arrangement is symetrical and adjusts one tube down as the other goes up, rather than keeping one fixed and adjusting the other. Why they did it like this I don't know - but they made several mistakes around this time... not all of which can be blamed on CBS, including this one - the circuit was finalised in January '65, the same month CBS bought Fender, so it must have been done by the existing design team.

You want to fix it in any case...

Modding this part of the circuit does not affect the value in any way, if anything it's regarded (rightly) as an upgrade.


BTW, you can work out the chronology very simply - the three digits are the month and year, and the second letter is the circuit revision... so AB165 is the second circuit from Jan '65.
Great info John. Thanks. Now, would you indulge me in a little instruction. Here's what I think that circuit is doing, but I'm still not 100% refreshed on my theory that has been dormant since the 80's!

Given the following schematic:

http://www.el34world.com/charts/Sche...SMAN_AB165.pdf

Bias voltage coming off the diode, I presume the cap to the right (tied to ground) is for filtering, correct?

Now, moving on into the 10k POT...
Obviously the upper 6L6 is the adjustable one.

I've been theorizing how the lower tube's bias supply works.

The grid on the lower 6L6 gets it's voltage across the 10k and 220k resistors, but it's not clear to me what the role of the 10k resistor tied to the left side of the 10K pot (which also taps in between the 10k and 220k resistors).

Can you elaborate on that? The AA864 bias circuit is more straight forward to me.

Thanks,

Paul
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2008, 02:21 AM
John Phillips John Phillips is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftys-bbq View Post
The grid on the lower 6L6 gets it's voltage across the 10k and 220k resistors, but it's not clear to me what the role of the 10k resistor tied to the left side of the 10K pot (which also taps in between the 10k and 220k resistors).
What you effectively have with the two 10K resistors is a 20K pot in parallel with the actual 10K pot, permanently set halfway. This lets you adjust the upper power tube either hotter or colder than the lower one.

This is plain bad design - even if it was a good idea to only give control of one tube, the correct resistor values would be 5K, to keep the two sides of the circuit symetrical. OK, the difference on the loading of the power tube grids is very small, but if you're going to do it, do it right... since it doesn't take any more complexity than to do it wrong.

In some ways the best scheme would be to fit another 10K pot and have independent control of the bias for each tube, but in practice it's best to use at least roughly matched tubes, so you don't really need more than a single overall bias.
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2011, 12:06 PM
xtian xtian is offline
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Quote:
165's used a bias balance circuit, not "true bias". Best thing to do is convert the circuit to "true bias". Check the AA864 Bassman schematic for how this is wired.
Can't get my head around this statement, because the 165 and 864 schematics look identical to me. Can anyone point to a Bassman schematic that has a good, if modified, true bias adjustment that I can use to update my Bassman 50?
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2011, 12:31 PM
TweeDLX TweeDLX is offline
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Go here: http://www.el34world.com/charts/bias_conversions.htm . It's a pretty simple mod, really.
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  #14  
Old 06-15-2011, 12:59 PM
zzmoore zzmoore is offline
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Seeing John's name always makes me smile......
Anyway... xtian - are you looking at the schems.? Do you see the extra 10k resistors on the AB165 drawing.?
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  #15  
Old 06-15-2011, 01:35 PM
phsyconoodler phsyconoodler is offline
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Just completely convert the bias supply to AA864 specs.Then check the bias voltage to see if it has a range from about -55v to -35v. If you have that range then you are good to go.
You can also add another pot to convert it to bias adjust AND balance.Useful for some folks.

Too busy building amps and not well versed in Fender's,eh?Good for you!
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