Vibro-Champ Help

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Rick1114, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

    Messages:
    555
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    Jun 20, 2007
    I just purchased a 1966 BF Vibro-Champ off ebay for $400. It was advertised as working condition and original. I received it today and the power light does not turn on and generally there is no sound, but if I bring the volume up to 10, I can hear a little bit of sound but it's all distorted and the volume pot sounds all scratchy as well. I tried swapping tubes (except for the SY3, I didn't have on of those), but it's the same, no power light, barely any sound. I'm just hoping it's not the transformer, because that will affect the value too much. I've already e-mailed the seller requesting refund if there is a real problem here.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
     
  2. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I once got an eBay amp reported to be issue-free as well, a cheapo but all tube 60's amp. Of course it arrived DOA and the seller disappeared and I had to pay in repairs what I paid to get the amp for in the first place...but then the amp came alive and still ended up being a comparative bargain.

    What I'd do with your blackface Vibro Champ is take it to your trusted amp guy and have him give you an estimate on repairs. Then scan it and send it to the seller and ask him to reimburse for repair costs - even if he's honest and something just happened during shipping, no seller wants to get back a broken amp, pay for that shipping, and have to pay to repair it as well, and try to sell it again. Your alternative will perk the ears of an honest seller.

    That said, if the seller screws you, you can still spend up to $350 on that amp and still come away with a profit if you want to sell it once it's up to speed. $400 was a very good price.
     
  3. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

    Messages:
    555
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    Jun 20, 2007
    I got the light to turn on (i guess it was just loose), but it still sounds like ass. I don't mind getting my hands dirty, I just want to rule out any major repairs (especially things that will affect re-sale later).

    Thanks,

    Rick
     
  4. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    The first thing to check is the speaker and wires.Make sure the speaker is good by crossing it over to a good speaker. Those RCA jacks are known to have intermittent connections,so check the solder connections on it.The second thing would be the power supply resistor. Check for burn marks or cracks.
     
  5. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Can you take a picture of the inside and post it?

    I agree with slider: check the speaker jack/connection. Also check the input jack for that matter. Try both of them (if you haven't already). Make sure the tubes are seated nicely. Pull the 5Y3 and plug it back in again, making sure it makes good contact in the socket. If you're handy with a volt meter and know enough not to touch volts with one hand and ground with the other, you could open it up and check voltages per the schematic.

    I bought an early 1965 BF Deluxe Reverb and it sounded horrible although the seller said it was fine. It turned out to be a toasted resistor on one of the power tube grids. I also found the metal tip of a guitar cable jack rolling around inside the chassis (yikes!).

    I have to disagree with Jahn: you'd unlikely make any money on the amp putting $350 into it, unless you wait a few years and hope prices continue to climb. If it's all original and working perfectly and near mint, then you'd start (maybe) seeing $750 in resale at this point in time.

    But, it's very likely something simple that's wrong. :)
     
  6. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

    Messages:
    555
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    Okay - here's somes pics of the inside. It looks pretty original to me - even the tubes! It is far from mint though - The amp needs a good wipe down and has some minor imperfections. I'll post pics of it later if I can get it working. Here's inside of the chassis - any ideas where to start? All the connection look really solid....nothing really going on until you hit 8 or so on the volume, and then it just low volume & distorted.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

    Messages:
    555
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    I GOT IT!!
    It was loose connection on the speaker itself. A quick dab of solder fixed that. I just checked and the 12AX7's are original mullards :).

    The amp sounds great actually. It needs a bit of a clean up & volume pots a bit scratchy but that's to be expected I guess. I'll look for some high end upoholstery cleaner I think.

    I'll post pics tomorrow.

    Thanks,

    Rick
     
  8. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    my advice cost $350. you can paypal to my ID!
     
  9. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Definitely a nice looking amp there Rick. Glad it was something simple. :)
     

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