Are casters on amps harmful?

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

  1. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    My SF Super Reverb with casters - in its vinyl cover - rolled down a low hill in Berkeley, about 3/4 of a city block then rolled off the curb into the street and fell on its face. Not damaged, and continued to operate properly for years.
     
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  2. Masmus

    Masmus TDPRI Member

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    Old Deaf Roadie is so right, if it's a choice between an amp and my back i'll sacrifice the amp every time. When I was younger I was pushing my 70's full stack on uneven pavement and the head fell off and split open when it hit the ground. I forced the wood back together fired it up and never had a problem (got to love the way they made them then). Even after that I have never stopped using casters.
     
  3. Blueguitar007

    Blueguitar007 TDPRI Member

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    I would never roll my amp on casters. The tubes get ruined. And ya anything else but mainly tubes. Go to home Depot and get a 25 $ fold up two wheeler. They telescope out and fold out. They can wheel 200 lbs or more and fit flat into your back seat. The wheels are bigger and absorb more shock and you can feel the vibration in your hand so you know to take it easy over bumps. You can haul twins around all day without breaking a sweat with these.
     
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  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use casters on my SR and my main concern is checking to be sure tubes are snug in their sockets, but I also check anytime I drive my amps to or from a gig. That’s the main thing that might vibrate loose IMO.
     
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  5. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

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    Home centers sell larger casters with softer rubber wheels. I put a set of these on my Twin so it wouldn’t damage our new flooring. It rolls much more easily and quietly, and rolls over sills and joints instead of hanging up on them as it did before. The amp sits a little higher, but now I can hide pedals underneath it.
     
  6. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Big wheels keep on turnin'
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sure, if it's a cheap import PCB amp with board mounted pots and sockets.

    Ducks
     
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  8. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    I've had my Twin since '78. For the longest time I used to roll it wherever and never had any problems. Later on I had heard that depending what you were rolling it over (concrete sidewalk, driveway) it could play havoc with the tubes so I started using a dolly with larger wheels to transport it from the house to the car and then from the car to the venue. If the venue had a solid floor like hardwood or linoleum I'd just roll it on the casters inside. If it was a tile floor (grouted) or something like that it stayed on the dolly. That said, it was many years before I got the dolly and as I said - no problems.
    Maybe I was lucky.....
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

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    In fairness, I've read that tubes shouldn't be knocked around when hot, and I don't roll an amp on a rough surface when it's running.

    But I've had a 100w Marshall head vibrate off a cabinet onto the floor, set it back up and it worked fine for years.
    I've had numerous Marshalls with the transformer tabs bent from the amps being dropped on end, and one even with the tabs ripped right off the transformer.
    Because Marshalls had heavy transformers that don't sit down in the chassis, Marshall started adding reinforced transformer mounting brackets in the late '60s early '70s to prevent them from being ripped off the chassis under normal handling, which for some reason seemed to include lots of falling and dropping.

    I've also had some amps with the casters ripped off the bottom of the cab, clearly due to beating the hell out of tube amps being normal handling.

    We read about tube amps being delicate, unreliable, have to treat them carefully.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    Seriously, who comes up with these stories?
    Tube tech was also standard military combat equipment because it didn't break.
    Now we hear from whoever first world educated folks with HVAC in every room that they're skeered of hurting the delicate tube amps, so we better handle them with kid gloves.

    Really though, cheapo tube amp const does indeed break badly enough to need major repair just from tipping over on it's face and pushing in a pot that's board mounted, so the whole board breaks.
    Vintage hand wired amps with actual wire leads between componenets can have parts relocated with a big hammer and keep working.

    Solder joints in tube amps breaking from vibration???

    Another comment to be fair is that by the late '70s or so the 6L6 and 6CA7 power tube had been redesigned to withstand the constant vibration of being mounted a few inches from speakers, where subjected to hundreds of hours of vibration, as well as general smashing around in transit.
    Those Sylvania STR415 are super rugged tubes, installed in Fender, Mesa and Peavey amps for maybe a 10-15 year production run.

    Current production tubes might actually be designed to fail in a year or so, same as light bulbs which can be made to last 20 years, but that would reduce sales volume.
    Can't say I'm certain that the new stuff is up for being banged around, maybe that's why tube amps are considered fragile and unreliable by the more recent generations.

    We now live in an age where we expect products to be disposable, and we hardly even complain about the cheap crap because it seems cheap.

    To me a 50yo hand wired amp that still works and is worth more than its original retail price is the genuine "cheap" item.
     
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  10. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    I spent quite a bit of time rolling a Roland Jazz Chorus between buildings. I was always worried about the joints in the sidewalks. Lotsa sidewalks are poured in squarish slabs that have significant grooves every 3 feet or so. Every time the casters roll over those grooves it jolts the amp significantly more than the normal texturing on the concrete. With an amp that size, I tried to space my steps so that the inside leg stepped on the joint and gently lifted the amp over the biggest grooves. I had to have work done on that amp a while back, but its hard to say if it was from all the wear and tear from rolling it or other incidental stuff.
     
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  11. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Always hand carry your gear to gigs and avoid using automobiles.
     
  12. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Casters are for inside. Nice and smooth. Not for outside, where it’s bumpy. I have always put casters in 212 amps, and it saves tons of work- once you get inside. For outside, use a handcart.
     
  13. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

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    Meanwhile, over at the Sidewalk forum they’re discussing damage caused by rolling Twin Reverbs on casters.
     
  14. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Meister

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    Don't think for an instant that all that stuff posters are claiming about how bad rolling an amp is, isn't happening in the truck it is being transported in, because it is.
     
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  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I never liked or used casters much.
    I have had trouble with reverb tanks on bigger, heavier amps, like Twins, and Supers.
    When I have to move them, I still lift them.
    I had an ultralinear (late 70s) Twin with casters that weighed a ton, but every time I rolled it, the reverb spring transducer would come unsoldered.
    Grrrr!
    I fixed it a bunch of times.
    No casters!
     
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  16. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Can't compare rolling an amp on small hard casters to being shipped in a packaged box...
     
  17. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I had a Twin with 2 EVMs, similar to the JBLs, that thing was stupid heavy. I installed casters and heavy duty side handles. I would carry it if the surface was rough, roll it where it was smooth. It sounded awesome, but I sold it when I got my hands on a '65.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  18. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Meister

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    I'm not sure I should post this without a big bucket of popcorn at the ready but here goes nothing...

    The soldered, stranded wire used in hand-wired amps is a recipe for disaster. You heard me. Disaster.

    Stranded wire is great because the metals used in them are elastic. That means any flex, be it vibration from transport or someone poking at it to get it out of the way during service, will cause the strands to stretch just the right amount and not cause any damage and snap back when the flex goes away.

    Once you've applied solder, that goes right out the window. The soldered part will be solid, but at the spot where the solder ends and the strands begin will be a point that doesn't stretch. And any flex you put on the wire will apply stress to that point. Where there's no elastic wire on the other side stretch and absorb the stress. Keep it up and eventually the joint will fail. You heard me. Fail.

    If you've ever wondered why wires tend to break where they're soldered, that's why. If you've ever wondered why wire joints in high-vibration applications like cars and airplanes use crimped connectors instead of being soldered, that's why (among other reasons, like repeatability). Crimps are mechanically superior because they make the physical connection and still allow the strands in the wire to move.




    The preceding post is technically-correct but practically nothing to worry about. Just move your amps and don't drop 'em. :cool:
     
  19. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMHO, installing casters on an amp is sacrilege; it put holes in the tolex! Furthermore, I believe that if the amp requires caster's, then it's too big! :eek:

    ...but, if you must, go buy one of those contraptions that the home moving companies use: a dolly that's made of carpeted, wood slats, with caster's. :rolleyes:
     
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  20. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Big box old 60s Ampeg Gemini. Thing has had casters on it since it was born and it still works – and it’s never even been serviced! Ha ha Ha ha ha :lol::lol::lol::eek:
     
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