DIY Need help with a 5w Tube amp idea

Oh_Scripts

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Any help would be greatly appreciated. What webistes or books etc. can i learn to build my own 5w tube amp to sell eventually? I see if i copy other amps schematics and sell them i can get sued. I am trying to build my own version of the old pignose 7-100 or the dwarf amps but a 5w TUBE AMP instead like a Gibson ga-5. (For my 1st amp I want to try to make a 1 or 2 knob tube amp to minimize wiring.) I have pretty much unlimited 5w 4ohm 6.5 inch speakers. Or I can get different speakers. I have the wood already. Have the ability to get custom made amp knobs. Plan on dovetailing wood models. And tolex the rest. I want to sell these as a hobby.
 
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Burning Fingers

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Not trying to dissuade you but :.

Firstly you need a good grasp of electronics including tube technology and electrical safety... you would more likely get sued if an amp you made, and sold, electrocuted someone.

Second..you will need to find a way to get high voltages from 1.5 volt batteries...old tube radios used 90 volt batteries and a vibrator circuit to jump the 90 volts up higher...you'd need 60 AA batteries in series to get 90 volts !...then still you would have to jump that 90 volts up to hundreds of volts to get any useable power from the amp.

Third...you need to power the heaters with high capacity batteries or the batteries would go flat extremely quickly due to the current draw.

The little portable amps that can run from batteries or AC are transistor amps as transistor amps require a much lower voltage to operate and don't draw much current ....for example the Pignose 7-100 runs on 9 volts whereas tube amps usually run on hundreds of volts.

Best place to learn is to start with a basic electronics course ( plenty of them online ) and progress from there.
 

Oh_Scripts

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Not trying to dissuade you but :.

Firstly you need a good grasp of electronics including tube technology and electrical safety... you would more likely get sued if an amp you made, and sold, electrocuted someone.

Second..you will need to find a way to get high voltages from 1.5 volt batteries...old tube radios used 90 volt batteries and a vibrator circuit to jump the 90 volts up higher...you'd need 60 AA batteries in series to get 90 volts !...then still you would have to jump that 90 volts up to hundreds of volts to get any useable power from the amp.

Third...you need to power the heaters with high capacity batteries or the batteries would go flat extremely quickly due to the current draw.

The little portable amps that can run from batteries or AC are transistor amps as transistor amps require a much lower voltage to operate and don't draw much current ....for example the Pignose 7-100 runs on 9 volts whereas tube amps usually run on hundreds of volts.

Best place to learn is to start with a basic electronics course ( plenty of them online ) and progress from there.
Thank you. I was originally going to make a solid state 5w amp but then I heard people think solid states are bad compared to Tube Amps and the market isn't that huge for solid state... seems like for a beginner maybe building a solid state would be better?
 

Oh_Scripts

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Here is a 5w tube schematic. Seems like very few parts. The tubes are pretty cheap also
 

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corliss1

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Welcome to the forum!!!

I'll be that guy and just straight up say it - you will lose money. Not break even, not come out slightly ahead, you will end up behind. I'm not saying you shouldn't build amps - it's fun, it's addictive - but expecting to make money when you can't put "Fender" or "Marshall" on your amp is silly.

I'm a pretty well-established repair shop for some busy music stores and I also build a line of amps, and when I did the math I figured out I'm making about $3-6 per hour on stuff I sell. I like building for fun because I REALLY like amps, but I sell maybe 3 a year despite all the time/space/tools/effort.
 

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Phrygian77

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There's a reason no one has really done this. It's impractical. A little 5 watt single-ended tube amp with say a 12AX7 and a 6V6 is going consume roughly 20 watts. For one, because class A is inefficient. You need 13-14 watts just to get that 5 watts.

Then, on top of that, you need close to 5 watts for heaters. The heaters also need 6.3 volts +/- 10%. That means you need two different voltages, and it also makes Li-ion 3.6V cells impractical.

You would need an inductor based switched mode supply for the B+, because anything else like a charge pump is too inefficient.
 

generic202

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Not trying to dissuade you but :.
I am :)
Maybe you've heard this already but you could get yourself injured/killed working with tube amps or even other people (especially if you are selling something you don't fully understand).

What webistes or books etc. can i learn to build my own 5w tube amp to sell eventually?
Like what others said above, it's impractical to build battery-powered tube amps for a good reason. But if you are still interested in building tube amps, perhaps start here:

Uncle Doug on YouTube has amateur-friendly videos. Watch some videos to get your feet wet.


A great resource for many DIYers around here.

Solid state amps are usually safer, cheaper, and smaller to build. They can sound great. After all, what sounds great is personal and subjective. Here is a very easy solid state amp by runoffgroove. You can even build this with a tiny speaker and a 9V-battery all inside of an Altoids can. Have fun!
 

King Fan

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Not trying to dissuade you but :.
I'll be that guy and just straight up say it - you will lose money.
As a business plan *or* inexpensive hobby, selling on homebuilt amps is just about impossible. Why not build a single amp, one you'd want to own, purely for fun and learning? But... track *all* your expenses and your time. There are many small-amp plans similar to the one you found on the internet. Are they inexpensive to build?

Here is a 5w tube schematic. Seems like very few parts. The tubes are pretty cheap also
Well, here's a decent kit that produces a well-loved, time-tested amp similar in simplicity to that schematic. If you built a cab, you'd only need to spend maybe $50-100 for a speaker. Oh, sure, kit makers include a markup -- but they also source all their stuff at wholesale bulk prices. *Most* folks who set out to build the same thing from scratch end up spending just as much or more.

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JPKmusicman

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I'm with the others. If you enjoy losing money this is a great idea. I build amps for a hobby and go as slow as I possibly can to get maximum enjoyment out of the build. I would make 10 cents an hour.
 

Peegoo

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Building amps one at a time is like building guitars one at a time: you will lose money when you add the cost of parts and hourly labor--and that does not include overhead (cost for workspace with heat/cooling/electricity).

Years ago I came to the realization that I neither make nor lose money when I build an amp or guitar, because my goal is more about the journey than it is the destination. I enjoy the process as much as (maybe more than) the final product.

I constantly need to be creating something to stay focused and happy.
 

1stpitch

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I'll be that guy and just straight up say it - you will lose money. Not break even, not come out slightly ahead, you will end up behind.
+1 to this. Trying to make money in any kind of business that you build from scratch is hard. And that's even when you start out as a expert at building the thing you want to sell. Sounds like you haven't even begun to learn to build an amp yet, much less are you an accomplished builder.

Go ahead and start learning and build some amps, but do it for fun. You may eventually be to the point you can think about selling one, but if you start out thinking that, you're going to be disappointed, and maybe broke as well.
 

fretknot

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A GA-5 is a great starter project. Mojotone's GA-5 kits come with the most thorough and easy to follow instructions. I think they now offer them without the cabinet, so it will open the door to tube amp building for a fairly low price. Or, you can source the parts for a little less.

It's an easy project, typically can be built in about 4 hours. I sold the one I built for a small profit.
 

Lowerleftcoast

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Has anyone ever been actually sued on copyright grounds over using someone else's schematics, circuit design, or general layout?
IDK, It is only the copyright on the artwork and such that can be contested. The circuit is obvious and not contestable. We see examples of Dumble and a few pedal builders where the circuit is covered in goo or epoxy to keep the circuit from being copied. They have no legal recourse to claim a circuit. It is like making pizza, putting on a different cheese or sauce is not patent-able. The artwork on the pizza box can be claimed as unique.
 

NTC

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A schematic can have a copyright. A CIRCUIT would have a patent- and those all expired decades ago .most of the circuits were copied from tube databooks originally, and the tube manufacturers WANTED them to be copied.
 

loopfinding

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if you have experience and are filling a need, then by all means.

but if you have zero experience, you're going to a) make a potentially unsafe product, b) probably make a low quality product, c) lose money because there are known values that you are competing with. plus it's likely not going to work just because you paint by the numbers - you'll invariably mess something up and as a novice you won't know how to troubleshoot it, and there goes money and hours down the drain.

if you want to get in on a side hustle, you can get started with pedal clones, especially if it's something the chinese haven't cloned for super cheap and the only options are boutique or DIY.

if you get your own boards made in china with a run of like 5-10 (sometimes you don't even have to design your own board, you can use freely available gerber files), and buy enough components to build 5 (so you get some price breaks), the costs are much lower than getting kits or whatever, and you can actually make some extra cash selling them for a measly afternoon's worth of work.

but if you are not experienced and don't know anything about electronics, you're probably going to do a poor job at first, and run into problems with customers. you should get a feel for it for at least a year or so (which isn't a waste, you learn how to build stuff for yourself for much cheaper than commercial products) and then decide whether you are confident you can put something out there that won't fail. if it doesn't work out, you don't lose much.
 
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Phrygian77

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I'll add that I build and repair amps on the side. There ain't no money in. It just for fun and enjoyment, and seeing someone like Bill Wharton (the Sauce Boss) playing your amp. If they're local, they can bring it to for repair without having to haul it off or ship it to someplace else. That's it.

I enjoy helping guitarists get the tone they want, and that's all the satisfaction I need from it. It's certainly not about money. The money just pays for the parts mostly.
 
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Wally

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Has anyone ever been actually sued on copyright grounds over using someone else's schematics, circuit design, or general layout?
A schematic can have a copyright. A CIRCUIT would have a patent- and those all expired decades ago .most of the circuits were copied from tube databooks originally, and the tube manufacturers WANTED them to be copied.
iirc, Mesa Boogie has been more agressive than anyone else in trying to protect what they have deem per at times to be proprietary circuitry.

I'll add that I build and repair amps on the side. There ain't no money in

I understand not making much money on your builds, but imho anyone who is working for the public doing repairs should make money.….unless the customers for that repair work also work for free in a ‘Sharing’ community.
 

Wally

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Imho, here is the worst use of harmonic tremolo that I have heard. It is also my least favorite Buddy Holly recording…including his early country and western recordings done before he met Norman Petty. This was done with his Magnatone amp Not very long before Holly’s death. It was released posthumously in 1963.
 




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