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July 27, 2021, 06:47:10 PM

Author Topic: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues  (Read 144 times)

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Offline plasticon47

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New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« on: July 22, 2021, 07:09:55 AM »
Hello:

I completed my build last night.  Glow tests along the way were fine.  Resistance check at the end passed.  Voltages are not passing, though:

Low Current C4S  (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   IA 150V  /  149V
   OA 60-90V   /  65.6V
   KregA 3-6V    /  6.04V
   bRegA 150V  /  141.7V
   IB 150V  /  141.7V
   OB 60-90V  /  65.2V
   KregB 3-6V  /  16.9V
   bRegB 150V  /  148.9V

High Current C4S (Manual  /  ACTUAL B TUBE  /  ACTUAL D TUBE) 
   IA 190V  /  181.4V  /  144.5V
   OA 150V  /  148.9V  /  140.2V
   bA 0V  /  0V  /  0V 
   IB 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   OB 90-110V  /  91.7V  /  75.1V
   bB 150V  /  148.9V  /  139.7V

Headphone Jack (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   Tip 0V  /  0V
   Ring 0V  /  0V

All LED's light up, except for ONE:  High current board over socket D, LED closest to bB.  All tubes light up (including both halves of the 12AU7). 

So, some voltages appear to be fine, others not fine.  I don't have pics with me, but can post them later if needed (at work right now).  Can anyone give me some idea of where to start looking to fix?  I ran through the amp last night, checking all solder points, tugging on wires, etc.  It all looks okay to me. 

Thanks in advance for everyone's help.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 08:49:07 AM by plasticon47 »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2021, 08:51:35 AM »
High Current C4S (Manual  /  ACTUAL B TUBE  /  ACTUAL D TUBE) 
   IA 190V  /  181.4V  /  144.5V
This is where I would start.  I suspect that perhaps the wire that should be leaving OA on the D side is attached to IA instead.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline plasticon47

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2021, 12:22:05 PM »
Hey Paul:

Thanks very much for your response.  I took a look at the board (high current-D) and just so I am clear, you thought the wire that should be connected from OA to 16L may be connected from IA to 16L?  Or are you talking about the wire on the board from OA to bB?  Either way, I checked those and all appears correct, according to the manual.  In fact, I walked through all steps in the manual for the whole amp and verified connections were correct.  I reflowed the solder joints on the high current - D board in the areas you mentioned (IA, OA, and even did bB).  Just for kicks, I even swapped the two 6AQ5 tubes.  Checked voltages again, and while a little different, the problem areas still remain:

Low Current C4S  (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   IA 150V  /  149V
   OA 60-90V   /  67V
   KregA 3-6V    /  4.3V
   bRegA 150V  /  134V
   IB 150V  /  134V
   OB 60-90V  /  66V
   KregB 3-6V  /  20V
   bRegB 150V  /  149V

High Current C4S (Manual  /  ACTUAL B TUBE  /  ACTUAL D TUBE)
   IA 190V  /  173V  /  136V
   OA 150V  /  149V  /  133V
   bA 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   IB 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   OB 90-110V  /  92V  /  73V
   bB 150V  /  140V  /  132V

Headphone Jack (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   Tip 0V  /  0V
   Ring 0V  /  0V

Is there any other spot/voltage I can check that might point to my issue(s)?  I have to say, I built a Mainline a month ago and it seemed like a cakewalk compared to this Crackatwoa.  Again, many thanks for your response.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 12:24:10 PM by plasticon47 »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 06:57:53 PM »
You basically have a short somewhere across the A side C4S on the channel with the bad voltages.  I just did a repair today where there was a blob of solder across two transistor legs, and that kind of thing would also cause this kind of problem.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline plasticon47

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 05:40:06 AM »
Hey Paul:

Just want to make sure I am clear: you are saying you think one of the transistors has a short on the HIGH CURRENT C4S BOARD (i.e. - not the LOW CURRENT C4S) on the side with the low voltages (that would be over the D tube socket)?

Assuming I understood correctly, I examined all the legs of the four transistors on that board.  I didn't see any bridges; however, I desoldered all the legs and then resoldered.  I did a continuity test between each of the three legs on the bottom of the board with my multimeter.  I didn't get any continuity (by the way, I don't know if this is a valid test for solder bridges, but I took a shot!).  I fired the amp up, and checked voltages.  Same voltages as previous. 

In light of your post, I am concerned that one of the transistors is bad?  Is there some way to check this?  Perhaps some other test I can do?

Also, I'm wondering about the other voltages:

On LOW CURRENT C4S:
   bRegA 150V  /  134V  (this is low)
   IB 150V  /  134V  (this is low)
   KregB 3-6V  /  20V  (this is very high)
   
On HIGH CURRENT C4S for the B tube (i.e. - the "non-offending board")
   IA 190V  /  173V   (this is low)
   bB 150V  /  140V   (this is low, though not hugely so)

Would a bad transistor on the D side HIGH CURRENT C4S cause these issues on the other boards as well?  Is there some way to isolate which transistor may be the culprit? 

Thanks again for your help with this.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 05:48:07 AM by plasticon47 »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2021, 05:51:13 AM »
To check transistors, you check for continuity between pairs of legs. 

Beyond this, you would want to post build photos or send the kit in for repair and I can figure it out for you.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline plasticon47

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2021, 12:10:22 PM »
Hey Paul.  Thanks for your response.

I really don't want to admit defeat and send this to you to fix.  I can take some pics and post this weekend, but in the meantime, I want to see if I can come up with some other things to try/test.  You mentioned above that you believed there was a short on the A side of the HIGH CURRENT C4S (if I read your brief comments correctly).  I have some older amps/boards I have built lying around and might be able to swap one or both of the transistors on the A side of the board.  I know I have a PN2907A transistor, but I doubt I have a MJE5731A transistor. 

1.  Is it worth it to try to replace the two transistors on the A side of the HIGH CURRENT C4S board? 
2.  Is it possible for me to just purchase the PCB for a HIGH CURRENT C4S board from you guys and try to fix this myself by replacing the whole board?

 

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 01:27:08 PM »
Yes you can purchase a new board, but the thing to do first would be to trade the high current C4S boards between sides to see if the problem follows one of the boards.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline plasticon47

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 08:47:25 PM »
Paul:

I swapped the HIGH CURRENT C4S boards this evening.  Voltages:

Low Current C4S  (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   IA 150V  /  141V
   OA 60-90V   /  65V
   KregA 3-6V    /  16.7V
   bRegA 150V  /  149V
   IB 150V  /  149V
   OB 60-90V  /  65V
   KregB 3-6V  /  6.1V
   bRegB 150V  /  141V

High Current C4S (Manual  /  ACTUAL B TUBE  /  ACTUAL D TUBE)
   IA 190V  /  145V  /  182V
   OA 150V  /  140V  /  149V
   bA 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   IB 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   OB 90-110V  /  74V  /  92V
   bB 150V  /  140V  /  149V

Headphone Jack (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   Tip 0V  /  0V
   Ring 0V  /  0V

So, it appears to me that the low voltages did follow the board.  When I desoldered the wires to swap the boards, I studied all the solder points with a magnifying glass.  I saw no solder bridges , blobs, or anything suspicious. 

As the voltages followed the boards, can I safely assume the board with the low voltages (or more accurately, one of its components) is bad?  In a previous post, you mentioned you thought there was short on the A side of the HIGH VOLTAGE C4S board.  Is this still the logical conclusion?  Is there something else for me to test?

There aren't really that many components on one side of the HIGH VOLTAGE C4S board.  Is there an easy way to test them?  Also, at this point, is it a good idea to order a new board from you guys? 

Sorry for all the questions.  It is rather frustrating being so close to the end of this project, yet not being able to listen.  It is more frustrating not knowing what the issue might be.  I appreciate your help with this.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 08:50:04 PM by plasticon47 »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2021, 05:08:45 AM »
I would just order a replacement board from replacementparts(at)bottlehead(dot)com.  Otherwise if I had your amp on my bench and ran into that, I would use my powered solder sucker to suck all the solder out of the joints for the transistors and LEDs, then I would replace them.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline plasticon47

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2021, 10:45:39 AM »
Hey Paul:
I tool the board out and desoldered the two transistors in the center of the board.  Also desoldered the LEDs.  Found some info online re: checking transistors and LEDs with a multimeter and checked all of them (all checked out fine).  I replaced one of the LEDs (the one that didn't light up) with an HLMP 6000 (only had one extra from a build sometime ago).  Put everything back on the board and fired up:

Low Current C4S  (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   IA 150V  /  149V
   OA 60-90V   /  66V
   KregA 3-6V    /  4V
   bRegA 150V  /  149V
   IB 150V  /  149V
   OB 60-90V  /  67V
   KregB 3-6V  /  6V
   bRegB 150V  /  149V

High Current C4S (Manual  /  ACTUAL B TUBE  /  ACTUAL D TUBE)
   IA 190V  /  180V  /  180V
   OA 150V  /  149V  /  149V
   bA 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   IB 0V  /  0V  /  0V
   OB 90-110V  /  92V  /  93V
   bB 150V  /  149V  /  149.7V

Headphone Jack (Manual  /  ACTUAL)
   Tip 0V  /  0V
   Ring 0V  /  0V

It looks like all voltages are "in range" (or extremely close) with the exception of IA on both HIGH CURRENT C4S boaards (180V instead of 190V).  Is this voltage okay?  (It looks like it is a hair over 5% off).

1.  Assuming the voltages above are okay, am I ready to go?

2.  One more question:  I was thinking about swapping the TRRS headphone jack with a balanced XLR 4pin one.  I read a post in this forum where it said you could do this and just bridge the two grounds on the jack.  I just want to confirm this with you.  So, I would have red wire output to pin 3, white wire output to pin 1, and then black wire output to pins 2 and 4?

Many thanks for your continued help with this.
 

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: New Crackatwoa build. Voltage issues
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2021, 11:07:21 AM »
It looks like you're all set.  Yes, that is consistent with how a 4 pin XLR should be wired for headphone use.  You could also just use a short TRS to XLR adapter.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man