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5E3 Kits

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by newpain001, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. newpain001

    newpain001 TDPRI Member

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    Looking to do another project in my spare time and I think a 5E3 kit would be perfect. I don't know much about these kits and I see many websites selling them, like Boot Hill Amps, TrinityAmps, Mojotone, TedWeber, etc. I see the prices vary wildly, so I am not sure which way to go.

    Anyone built any of these kits? How was your experience and which one do you recommend?

    I never heard a 5E3 in person, how does it compare to, let's say a Blues Junior?
     
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  2. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Holic

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    Ha! I've had the same thought in my mind, so glad you asked. I'd like to build something on mid-late 50's narrow panel, like a Fender Pro or something... looking forward to seeing what replies you get.
     
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  3. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know if Bruce Collins (Mission Amps) still offers his 5E3 kit. It was my first DIY build 17 years ago and I'll never let it go! Mine has the legendary Weber 12A125 that is a perfect match.
     
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  4. no doz

    no doz TDPRI Member

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    i just finished a trinity kit a few weeks ago, the experience was really great and i adore the amp a little more with every use. just finished using it on a record for the first time and i can't get enough. would love to build another trinity kit ASAP

    some photos of my build and a lil convo about it in here:
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/just-finished-my-5e3-build-photos-inside.1061707/
     
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  5. newpain001

    newpain001 TDPRI Member

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    Wow, that looks beautiful!
    Where did you get the cabinet? (I saw it was built by marc etienne, but not sure who that is and where to check it out)
     
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  6. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, Trinity has good quality kits and great manuals!
     
  7. no doz

    no doz TDPRI Member

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  8. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    To assure it sounds/acts like a 5E3, the power transformer should have no more than a 330-0-330 volt secondary. This usually provides a B+ of about 370 to 375 VDC with a JJ or vintage 5Y3 rectifier tube. The target B+, for a 5E3, should be between 340 and 375 VDC. (Since I mentioned rectifier tubes, only use a JJ or vintage 5Y3 rectifier tube. The other new production tubes will end up with higher B+ voltages.)

    The output transformer should have a 8K to 8K4 primary impedance. At least one kit comes with an OT with a 6K6 primary impedance. You don't want a 6K6 primary.
    The 5E3 is a different animal. When using the Weber 12A125A, or RecPro TweedDeluxe A12Q, copies of the Vintage P12Q speaker, the 5E3 cleans are not blackface type clean. It is more woolly, bluesy, smoother clean. Full breakup is very Neil Young Cinnamon Girl or Rockin' in the Free World.
     
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  9. Paul-T

    Paul-T Tele-Holic

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    The 5E3 was my second big build. I went for a kit first time around for tme 5f2a.

    The second time, for the 5E3 I bought all the bits separately.

    ROb and Hoffman's site both have pretty comprehensive lists of what you need. As I picked up things like tube bases from small shops it ended up being way cheaper, plus I got a Chinese chassis from ampmart.com which was great. I suspect if you bought, say, everythine from Hoffman, with perhaps a board from elsewhere (lots of choice) it would be way less than a kit. I used Hammond OT and a tube-town PT.


    I followed Robrobinette's site very closely, studied D'tar and King Fan's builds here, and that all provided very comprehensive instructions , didn't really need any more. I looked at Mojotone's, too, as thye have nice colourful pix, but didn't follow everything as they have a couple of glitches.
     
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  10. dougsta

    dougsta Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for this good info, I've been looking for the specs to wind an accurate copy of the original PT:

    So now here's what I think I'll aim for:

    Primary - jury still out, I'm leaning towards 120v (US) 240v (UK) so a simple dual 0-120v + 0-120v (I measure 240v most days from my wall sockets) Voltage selector to wire in parallel for US and in series for UK.

    Secondary HT - 330-0-330 for the HT, 100mA
    Secondary LT 1 - 0-6.3, 1650mA
    Secondary LT 2 - 0-5, 2000mA

    Doug
     
  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Like a Tweed vs a Junior, with more mids. Speaker choice can make a good difference, but the basic voice is always there. I sometimes play a 5e3 opposite a Junior with a band mate, they work well together, sounding different enough that we both can play teles. I'll never be without a good 5e3.
     
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  12. dankilling

    dankilling Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I’ve built quite a few 5e3 circuits over the years, and small kit differences matter in how the overall amp turns out. Look for a welded chassis (not just folded), Belton tube sockets, and switch craft jacks. The transformers spec is higher than 330-0-330 but the final voltage will also depend on how much current the transformer can supply. Spec was 70ma, making the higher secondaries land around 375 once the final draw pulled it down. If you go with a 100ma or 120ma transformer, 330-0-330 is good advice. I’ve even built with as low as 275-0-275 on a 120ma transformer which landed around 350vdc on the B+ and allowed for some rectifier options to tune the overall voltage and sag on that amp. 5e3’s are great amps- simple enough to really get you understanding how amps work, but with enough mods floating around out there to make it your own amp if you so desire.
     
  13. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've built 3 kits Boothill 5E3, Triode 6G15 and Mojotone 6G15 the Mojo kit components are extremely organized easier not to make a mistake. All the 5E3 kits will get you an amp depending what comes the kit you could upgrade components like say SoZo coupling caps, F&T filter caps. but if this is your first Amp best to go with come with the Amp kit. The biggest thing I've found with the 5E3 is the speaker you can do some research on that. The 5E3 is a loud amp you have to push it to make it shine. I'm sure you have found Robs page (if not https://robrobinette.com/5e3_Modifications.htm ) that's the best source for information. If this is your first kit, I build it without any mods or add them after your up and running. When you start building the Amp post pictures of your progress and be sure to ask questions. A lot of people wish they followed that advice LOL.
     
  14. Muzzy

    Muzzy TDPRI Member

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    I built a Mojotone and a Boothill 5e3 kit. The Mojotone IMO was the better of the two kits. It had better parts and wire.
     
  15. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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    Franklyn Amps would be my choice.
     
  16. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    I've only built the Boothill kit, my only complaint was the teflon wire, it's a royal pain to strip for tinning the ends, otherwise it's a fine sounding kit, and not too difficult to assemble. Best advice is to take your time putting it together and double checking, then triple checking your work. The speaker makes a huge difference in the final project, more so than a lot of the mods. I lucked out and a got a Hellatone version of the Italian Jensen (they don't make that anymore). A Weber signature alnico will do very nicely in this amp, amongst others.

    Franc Robert
     
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  17. gabasa

    gabasa Tele-Meister

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    Mojotone has a PT that's 330-0-330 @75mA. Made in the US, I believe by Heyboer, a nice transformer for a 5E3.
     
  18. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    You will get a lot of opinions saying this place or that place has great kit or quality components or whatever but be aware that in these types of threads you attract a lot of people who will reply with glowing recommendations for a supplier because it is the only kit they have ever assembled. Not saying that invalidates their opinion about that kit but it sometimes comes across as if it's the best or only option when it's just the only option they have experience with.

    People can get very brand loyal about the sort of thing for whatever reason and I don't think a lot of people have tried several different kit suppliers. Most of us seem to either buy from the same place over and over or move on from kits and start buying components as we need them.

    The only full kit I ever bought was from Boot Hill. Perfectly good quality components (though I did not especially like the hookup wire either), and if someone asked me to recommend a kit that's probably who I'd go with because it was by good margin the most cost-effective at least five or six years ago when I was first getting into this.

    The only thing to be cautious about is that Boothill supplied me with a deluxe reverb spec output transformer because he prefers those but you should be aware that is not correct for the 5e3 and I personally think the amp should be built with the correct 8K output transformer.

    I now source all my parts on my own and have mostly bought from Weber or antique electronic supply over the years. I mostly go with AES now though because Weber's shipping costs are stupid these days, and despite having better prices they end up being more expensive most of the time now. I also buy hook up wire, resistors and a few other components from a hobby electronics supplier called Tayda, their prices are far and away the best but they don't carry a lot of high voltage components or anything tube specific.

    At the end of the day, I don't know of any place that sells a kit that I don't think will make an excellent amp if assembled with care.
     
  19. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    If you want easy peasy and right in the pocket of the original 5E3, go with the Mojo Kit. It's my favorite of about 10 amps in the arsenal including Fenders, Vox and Marshall. Best of the bunch for recording.

    Regarding a Blues Jr vs the 5E3, the 5E3 kicks dust in the tone of the BJr which is flat and boxy sounding vs the 5E3 which blooms and is full sounding. The BJr looks great, is the perfect size but does not come close to the tone and punch of the 5E3. In a blind shootout of the two you would go blind listening to the Blues Jr.
     
  20. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    Since you are adjusting the winding, I would prefer to see somewhat lower than the 330-0-330. I would shoot for 315 to 320.
     
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