Are casters on amps harmful?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Milspec, May 15, 2019.

  1. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    There has been some discussion in an unrelated thread about if rolling an amplifier with casters across cement could harm the amplifier?

    In my case, I was taking my Twin with JBL speakers (approx. 120 lbs) to my amp guy who happens to have spent decades with and retired from Fender. I was rolling the amp from my van to the shop across the cement sidewalk before that amp tech came running out and lectured me against doing such a thing.

    His claim was that rolling an amp across cement is a sure-fire way to destroy the amp as the vibrations transfer straight to sensitive components (reverb wire, solder points, etc.). His belief was that casters were a bad idea all around and that amps should either be carried or else placed on a padded cart to isolate from vibrations.

    I trust the guy based on his background, but can find nothing out there to really support his position. Anyone who owns heavy amps like a Twin likely view casters as a positive, so it would be good to hear the opinions from our amp tech gurus found on this site.

    Is it safe to roll across cement or is it really just for rolling across a studio floor where there would be far less vibration?
     
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  2. richiek65

    richiek65 Tele-Afflicted

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    Keen to know the answer to this, I roll my 2x12 on a removalists dolly (big skateboard, basically) and can hear the reverb springs rattling around, was wondering what else gets a shake up
     
  3. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Meister

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    I understand what he's saying, but the only thing an amp does is create vibrations.

    Semi unrelated story. Many years ago a singer actually helped carry some of the gear out of the bar. I know, I know, this story already sounds like a myth, but it was my singer carrying my 410 Hot Rod DeVille. Of course the one & only time he voluntarily pitched in the stupid rubber handle broke sending the amp rolling down 3 or 4 steps.

    The cabinate joints were a little loose (though somehow magically tightened over time without repair). In fact I never did a single thing to that amp other than replace the handle. No issues......none. Maybe if my amp had casters the handle would've lasted longer.

    Can an amp roll over cement? Mine rolled down stairs and kept going.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  4. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    A hot amp on casters being shoved across a bumpy floor is hard on tubes. I don't like casters because they seem to damage everything else around them. There's no doubt that hand carrying an amp, as long as you don't dump it, is going to jolt trannies far less then bouncing it around on casters. A hand truck is better than casters. The only real plus for casters is getting the amp off the floor and de-coupled from the stage.
     
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  5. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't know if it's right, or not, but I don't like to roll my Super Reverb when everything is hot/warm after playing. I tend to let it cool down some if I'm gonna roll it. I don't really fear a uniform surface like pavement, but I do watch out for, and lift over, the big bumps.

    A question about your amp: The typical Twin Reverb weighs in the neighborhood of 70 pounds. Are you saying the JBLs add an additional 50 pounds to the weight? That seems high.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think there is some truth to it, but it's not huge. Reverb tanks springs are pretty sensitive. Some tubes too. But a cranked amp creates a ton of vibrations too. Sitting the amp down hard etc should be bad too. But really, I think the whole thing is almost a non event.
     
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  7. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Ideal? No. But how many Fender Twins have been thrown (some more literally than others) into trailers that get pulled by trucks with basically no shock resistance, to and from gigs over the years? A relatively smooth concrete surface don't bother me much at all.
     
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  8. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    i carry my heads..always
     
  9. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I guess it's possible you could find weak solder joints and the like. And maybe shorten the life of a tube... Maybe.

    But they're pretty darn strong. Circuit board, and turret board alike.

    Like you said, there's a serious lack of evidence to support the idea that casters destroy amps.

    Thinking back to all the stupid stuff I did with amps in my teens... I never once had an amp tech tell me "you just jostled it too hard."
     
  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Feel that amp when it's hot and thumping at a gig.

    I wouldn't ride it down a hill like the little rascal's soap box derby racer though.
     
  11. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    My bone stock ‘74 Twin Reverb with 12T6 Oxfords weighs 86 pounds. JBL magnets aren’t much bigger, are they?
     
  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    The JBL speakers (E120-8 weigh 20 lbs each) and it is the UL transformer add a lot of weight to the standard expectation
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  13. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    It might be a high estimation, I used a bathroom scale to calculate it. It is noticeably heavier than the '72 Twin I had.
     
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  14. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Meister

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    Rolling an amp across concrete won't do near as much damage to the amp as it will to your back from carrying that same amp across the same pavement when you didn't need to, unless you drop it out the back of the truck. If it's on wheels, they're there for a reason. I have never wrecked, nor do I know anyone who has wrecked an amp that way after 40 years of having amps.
     
  15. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    No way man! All the 'lectrolyte will leak out of your caps.
     
  16. dwh100

    dwh100 Tele-Meister

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    I’ve regularly rolled around a music man 212 65 since the early 80s with no adverse effects yet!
     
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  17. Fluddman

    Fluddman TDPRI Member

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    Re rolling an amp on concrete - I would be more worried about the internals of tubes than the soldered joints.

    On a side note, I love hearing stories about Fender Twins. I gigged with one a lot when I was a younger man and I always enjoyed watching hangers-on and helpers lifting it for the first time. They were bloody heavy! but great clean amps with lovely reverb and tremolo. Mine was also an effective bum warmer during the cooler winter months.

    Cheers
     
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  18. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The vibrations are possibly rather harsher via rolling vs. playing, and some could be quite jarring and of a rather high amplitude, but then so is riding in the boot of a car and the car thwacking a pothole or speed bump.

    Valves are sturdier than people think. Have a read of the spec sheets with regard to shock handling and vibration, consider how folk wibble about 'Milspec/JAN' or 'OTK' and the uses the Armed Forces put valves to, and they seemed to survive just fine.

    I wouldn't sweat it.
     
  19. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Look @ closed cell foam surrounding amps held in Anvil cases.
    That reduces the bounce.
    If your amp isn't in a case, then go w/ the larger diameter caster wheels.
    My PV 2X12 ain't precious, so it has the smaller ones. And I roll over fairly smooth surfaces...

    Peace - Deeve
    2019-05-15 19.03.41.jpg
     
  20. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I can vouch for this. I owned a SF Twin with Orange Basket JBLs, and it easily weighed 110 pounds. That's the reason I don't have it any more, as much as I loved the tone.

    I usually move my amp with a hand truck, because I was always told that having casters on your amp might break the filaments in the tubes.

    - D
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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