Is my '66 Deluxe Reverb a deathtrap?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by TGF, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. TGF

    TGF Member

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    Hi! I just recieved my BFDR from '66 and it sounds so supremely awesome that its hard to really put into words. HOWEVER, when I decided to crank the beast I had a strange experience.

    The DR is standing inside my room on a wooden floor. It's run through a step-down transformer (US Amp running in Denmark/Europe) which in turn is placed on my old Blues Deluxe Reissue. The power socket is, as far as I know, without ground. The amp itself has had its power cord replaced to a 3-wire-3-prong cord at one point in time.
    I basically crank the amp and go outside the room and have the door half-open with the jackcord going under the door. This room has a stone-tiled floor.
    When I get ready to dig in, I put my hands on the strings and I most probably get a shock from them. It felt like the strings or the pickup was physically hot, but it might "just" have been a shock.
    Just what might this have been? The amp has not been serviced since I bought it, since my amp guy is booked until next week.

    I put up the same question on our local danish guitar forum, and a very knowledgable guy couldn't diagnose the problem completely, but told me that if the so-called "Death Cap" was still inside, that I should have it removed.

    He also told me that, and forgive me here, because I do not know how to translate Danish electrics-lingo into English electrics-lingo, that when the death cap is removed, one might also want to file away the Ground-switcher and install [insert name for what I percieve to be a high-voltage safety-thingie]

    Needless to say, I'm not very smart concerning electronics-issues, so I'm just wondering whether or not I should leave the amp alone until it can get a thorough checking done?
     
  2. pbass2go

    pbass2go Member

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    If you are at all unsure of what you are doing, then I would say yes, take it to a tech and explain everything to him. The volatge/current that runs through the amp can kill.

    Be safe and live to enjoy that sweet amp
     
  3. sdgvintage

    sdgvintage Member

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    You should have someone replace out the power transformer for you with one that is made for your voltage. Then you can also use the 3 prong cord.
     
  4. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    Anytime you run an amp without a grounded cord you run the risk of becoming the ground.

    And remember, electricity will always take the shortest path to ground (aka "earth" in the UK). That path could be through you.

    That's what's happening here--through the guitar (via the cable->jack->pickups->strings) you are becoming the ground connection for the amp.

    Take it to a tech for a grounded plug, as well as to get the "death cap" removed.


    cheers,
    wade
     
  5. MarcJ

    MarcJ Member

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    Could someone please explain what a "death cap" is?
     
  6. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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  7. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    A cap that can cause death if it fails...



    :hide
     
  8. TGF

    TGF Member

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    I weren't going to fool around inside it obviously - I was wondering whether or not to leave it by itself until its been checked out, or if I can gently turn it on and play on it, til then?

    Many thanks for the responses thus far!
     
  9. pitner

    pitner Member

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    You should consider sending the amp to me in the USA where the amp is from. I play through a 1959 Guild all the time and can take the shock.
     
  10. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    Your amp is very dangerous - send it to me immediately for your own safety!

    But seriously, if the power cord on the amp was replaced with a 3 prong cord, the death cap may already have been removed, but since you seem to be unsure, you should bring it to a tech to check on it. Then he can also check to see why you might have gottne the shock.

    Are you using an external voltage converter? If so, bring it to the tech as well.

    And I'd suggest not playing it any more until you get it fixed.
     
  11. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    If your bypassing the three prong with a two prong somewhere in your line, your better off having the death cap in there. Same as having a power outlet without a ground.
     
  12. TGF

    TGF Member

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    So basically its my step-down transformer that's the dangerous piece in the puzzle? Question is; Will I "wreck" my BFDR by installing a EU-voltage transformer inplace of the US one?
     
  13. duckbunny

    duckbunny Member

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    [​IMG]

    Amanita phalloides

    (Sorry, couldn't resist - Carry on...)
     
  14. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Does the stepdown transformer outlet accept a three prong plug? I would have the amp checked out before using it for long periods of time. Try to keep the original power transformer in place and use the stepdown tranny,after making sure everything is working correctly.
     
  15. sonhenry

    sonhenry Member

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    If the amp is safe, the step down tranny is safe. FWIW I've run my amps off of one for years and I've had everything PAT tested (portable appliance testing in the UK, like UL certification in the US) and both the amp and step down tranny pass. *BUT*, I did swap out the original power chords so the amp was safe, step down transformer or not.
     
  16. TGF

    TGF Member

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    Yes, the step-down transformer accepts the 3 prong plug from the amp, but the transformer itself uses a 2 prong which goes into the socket which also only accepts 2 prong (which then means no ground?)

    Either way, thanks a bunch for all the answers. We'll see what the tech says!
     
  17. Prodigy

    Prodigy Senior Member

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    Why are these amps allowed to be sold if they are so dangerous?
     
  18. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    They are not dangerous if they are serviced and updated;which is what any vintage amp owner should do. If the amp was a new model and you defeat the ground with a three to two prong adapter, your asking for the same grounding problem.
     

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