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Fromel electronics? any good?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by caferacer, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. caferacer

    caferacer Tele-Afflicted

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    I just picked up an old USA Blues Deluxe cheap:D although it is showing it's age:(
    while looking for information on it I came across the website of http://fromelelectronics.com/ and would like to know if anyone has used them? I have never heard of them but the web site looks nice with good information, (but we all know that can be misleading)

    the problems with it are, no reverb and no channel switching, according to info I have found here http://www.justinholton.com/hotrod/ they are common problems caused by bad connections due to cold solder joints, and/or defective resistors Fender got from a supplier, either way an easy fix,
    the other problem it has is "crackeling" noise when you play it, once again my research show's this to be a common problem due to defective "plate load resisters" ? this according to both Fromel electronics and Justin Holt web sites, once again an easy fix, (I hope:confused:)
    has anyone had experience with this company (Fromel) and/or with these problems on a Blues Deluxe?
    according to the web site the Fromel kit addresses the plate load resistor problem with new "carbon comp"? resistors, as well as addressing other known problems, so I thought it would be a good idea, but would like some first hand experience from those who have used it, or recommendations on any other options or sources of parts, thanks:cool:
     
  2. Billm

    Billm RIP

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    I think it's crazy to put carbon composition resistors into a modern amplifier. They're obsolete technology and there's only one location in the amp where they have any chance of all at adding harmonic content.

    And although I sell mod kits (not for the Blues Deluxe), my first rule is "never mod a broken amp." Get it working first. Do the Holton fix for the big power resistor that controls the channel switching.

    Replace the plate resistors with metal film or metal oxide if you want the amp to be reliable and noise-free. But first determine whether the resistors are at fault, whether it's a tube problem, a broken solder joint, or just dirty, oxidized tube pins.
     
  3. hardie775

    hardie775 Tele-Meister

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    Billm sounds like he knows what he's talkin about here. Makes sense to get it firing on all cylinders before any mods. But I bought a mod kit from Frome electronics last year for a Ibanez tube screamer mod and communication was great. I had an understanding issue, (I have these sometimes) and he was johnny on the spot for assisting me in dialing it in and this was only like a $20 mod. I'd use him again and recommend him as well
     
  4. caferacer

    caferacer Tele-Afflicted

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    do you sell the "Holten" fix kit? and what is a holton fix? can you provide a link?
    do you also carry the metal film/metal oxide resistors? you mentioned?
    according to the Hotrod website that is a good option (they use carbon but also recommend metal) I am fine with whatever works, as I am just looking to make this a cheap drag around beater amp, thanks:cool:
     
  5. caferacer

    caferacer Tele-Afflicted

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  6. jebbo

    jebbo Tele-Holic

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    I bought a kit from Fromel once. I read great reviews about them just from internet research. They're actualy a pretty well known company. I bought a Boss BD-2 mod kit from them. I work on amps so I figured I could mod a pedal. I was wrong, I blew the pedal. That being said, I can't realy say much about Fromel. I will say this though, however I'm not blaming my broken pedal on Fromel, that was my fault. The kits don't have the greatest directions. It's hard to follow. It's still my own fault that my BD-2 is broke though.
     
  7. jfromel

    jfromel TDPRI Member

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    Send the pedal to my shop and I will get it up and running for you unless you have destroyed the PCB. No charge except for return shipping.

    I completely agree with BillM that kits are not designed to fix broken amps, they are designed to make perfectly good working amps sound better. If you are experiencing the problems with your BDX the kit may fix it but there is no guarantee. The crackle may be due to the plate load resistors (a known problem with the amp) or it may be something else. My kit includes carbon comp resistors (which is the only place in the amp where it could affect harmonic content). I have done a few A/B tests with carbon comp vs. 1% metal film and honestly I don't hear a difference unless I am playing my strat on the neck pickup with the amp really cranked on the clean channel. Which is generally too loud unless I am using an attenuator. Perhaps because my ears are shot from 30 years of playing loud. I am always happy to ship the kits with 1% metal film if requested.

    Pros and Cons on the plate load resistors...

    1% metal film pros - lower noise, lower price, cons - no second order harmonics.

    Carbon Comp pros - second order harmonics, cons - more expensive, more noise.

    The plate load resistors that Fender uses are Carbon Film, this should not readily present a problem but Fender is known for selecting the least expensive parts that will get the job done. When a Carbon Film resistor fails or partially fails, it will blow open, rather than short. When it opens there is no resistance from the power supply to the plate of the tube. This is exactly opposite of carbon comp or metal film. When they fail they blow short. Had Fender chosen to spend a couple extra cents on high quality plate load resistors this would have never been a known issue with the BDX.

    The other problem with the reverb and channel switching is most likely the two 470 ohm power resistors that supply the 16V power rail that controls the reverb, channel switching and effects loop. The 470 ohm resistors restrict a lot of current from the bias tap on the PT causing them to heat up to the point of melting the solder on the PCB, This continual melting and cooling of the solder produces a cold joint, and failure. The cure is to install 330 ohm resistors, which Fender has done in the Hot Rod Deluxe III. This allows more current to flow which means less heat build up.

    I have had many HRDX, and BDX in my shop where the heat from those resistors was so hot that the PCB was badly burned, and the traces badly damaged. If this is the case with your amp I would highly suggest having the amp worked on by a qualified tech.

    In sum if you want a fix it kit you will need two 330 ohm 5w power resistors (R85 and R86), four 100K 1/2 resistors, carbon comp or 1% metal film, (R4, R9, R18, R52). one 91K 1/2 watt resistor, carbon comp or 1% metal film (R51).

    I do not sell a "fix it kit" for the BDX or HRDX because I cannot guarantee that the kit will fix your amp. The only way to correctly diagnose an amp is to have a qualified tech diagnose the problem on their bench. 90% of the time the problem is with a known issue with the amp. The other 10% may be tube related or a myriad of other problems.

    You can get the parts from Mouser or Digikey and the total cost with shipping should be about $10.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to PM or email with any questions.

    John Fromel
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
    guitardaddy76 likes this.
  8. birddog01

    birddog01 Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, gotta love the internet on this one.
    Post a question and hear from John Fromel himself, long time member but not many posts.
    Great abvice in many post before that from qualified people on repairing the problem first and what an offer on repairing that pedal.
    This says a lot to me:cool:
     
  9. caferacer

    caferacer Tele-Afflicted

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    thanks for the reply, now THAT is what I call customer service!
    my standard thoughts on fixing old cars and bikes goes something like this
    is there a known common problem? A: yes,
    is there an upgrade to address that problem? A: yes
    even if that is not the cause, would you still do the upgrade? A: yes
    do the upgrade, if it fixes it good, if not you have eliminated one possible cause, a win either way

    my first step is to reflow all the solder joints, clean the tube sockets etc.
    second step is to replace the plate load and power resisters and see if these steps fix it
    after that assuming it now works fine I will change out the linear volume pot for an audio taper one and replace the board mounted jacks for chassis mounted ones

    and while I could order these parts form anywhere, I would prefer to do business with someone who has shown such exceptional customer service, so if you could also supply the two 330 ohm 5 watt resistors with your basic kit (at a reasonable charge) that would be fantastic
     
  10. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    Carbon comp resistors just look cool. I use them in amps that originally had them. For esthetics mostly. Billm where is the place these make the most difference to you?
     
  11. Lostinthe50s

    Lostinthe50s Tele-Afflicted

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    I put both Fromel kits in my original BD, the cap kit and the revoice kit. I was very, very happy with the result.
     
  12. jebbo

    jebbo Tele-Holic

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  13. BillyO

    BillyO TDPRI Member

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    I put a Fromel kit in my Boss CS-3, Very clear pics and instructions! This compressor is now the only pedal I use, Big change from stock.
     
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