Ways to preserve an amp's tube life?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by omfg51, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    I'm having new power tubes put into my favorite combo amp, and this has recently got me thinking about tube life. What are the best ways to preserve your tubes to keep them fresher and longer? I know there are lots of tricks, but what are the best ways? What do TGPers do?
     
  2. ripoffriffs

    ripoffriffs Supporting Member

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    Don't use an attenuator with it.
     
  3. dmarkj22

    dmarkj22 Member

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    Always put your amp in standby mode for 5 minutes before shutting the power off.
     
  4. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Never turn it on.
    Sorry, couldn't resist.:crazyguy

    Make sure they are not biased too hot.
     
  5. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Yeah, pretty much. They're made to be played...
     
  6. Distorque

    Distorque Member

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    Don't crank it or leave it on when you don't need to, and make sure it's properly biased.

    What's the point of that? The voltage on the plates won't hurt the tubes if the heaters are off. If anything, this will reduce tube life because you're leaving the heaters on unnecessarily.

    On a side note, and at the risk of starting an argument, you don't really need to "warm up" the amp before turning the standby on. The voltages on the plates aren't nearly high enough to cause cathode stripping. It's still not a bad idea because sometimes the filter caps are only rated for the B+ voltages present after the tubes start drawing current, but warming up an amp won't help tube life. In a well-designed amp, you don't need to do it at all.

    http://www.freewebs.com/valvewizard1/standby.html
     
  7. simbot

    simbot Member

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    Don't bang on the tubes when they are hot. Meaning, moving the amp, physically banging into it when tubes are hot.
     
  8. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    set a reasonable bias.
     
  9. RAILhead

    RAILhead (real name is Maury, BTW) Gold Supporting Member

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    - Standby
    - Keep them CLEAN! Dust them puppies off from time to time! :aok
     
  10. dughaze

    dughaze Member

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    I always figured it couldn't hurt to wipe the fingerprint oils off of them after handling or changing tubes like you're supposed to with light bulbs.
     
  11. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    1. Practice with a solid state amp.
    2. Buy a second tube amp and split the time you spend on each.
    3. Install a fan or additional vents to keep the tubes as cool as possible.
    4. Avoid excessive powering up and down. It's better to leave the amp on for hours than to power up and down three or more times during an evening.
    5. Practice with a SS amp.

    I do all of the above and it really helps. I'm currently using a tube powered Randall RT2/50 with my Axe FX but I'm getting a SS Matrix GT800FX that I'll use for practice and daily use. I'll turn it on when I get home from work and leave it on all evening so I can play off and on whenever I want. As a result the tubes in my tube amps will last for years instead of months.
     
  12. zenas

    zenas Member

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    omfg What kind of amp and what kind of tubes ?

    I mean some tubes don't last long and some amps eat tubes.
     
  13. 19181911

    19181911 Senior Member

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    Don't believe everything your read.

    Keeping the power tubes properly biased (if fixed bias).
    Not moving amp while the tubes are still hot.

    These are the two best answers in this thread.
     
  14. ian c

    ian c Supporting Member

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    I replaced mine with some low energy lightbulbs I got in ikea
    No problems Upto now.
     
  15. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    Play your acoustic until such time as you need to be louder than an acoustic because you are playing in an ensemble.
     
  16. Seakayak

    Seakayak Supporting Member

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    No matter how road-worthy and tough the amp may look, try not to bump it into things when moving it, weather the tubes are hot or cold. Handle it gently, always.
     
  17. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Don't move/rattle the amp right after turning it off/while the tubes are hot. I.e. throw your amp into the trunk and drive off immediately.
     
  18. snouter

    snouter Member

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    Get a silent little fan in there to keep the air circulating. My Genz Benz Black Pearls have the little fans built in which is cool. ;) It keeps them cool especially since EL84 design is warmer than most.
     
  19. cap'n'crunch

    cap'n'crunch Member

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    I have just fallen off the truck a few days ago so, I was wondering how does keeping the tubes glass cooler by using a fan help with tube life. Since the moving air cannot get to the inside of the tube wouldn't the inside temperature remain unchanged and just the outer surface of the glass cooler?

    Thanks
     
  20. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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