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How long is a Tonemaster amp designed to last? FACTS ONLY.

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by guildguy516, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    The Cyber Twins were a really big deal when they came out. I worked teaching at a shop that dealt Fender at the time, the rep made a big thing of it. Then, Sony/Disney studios in town (Chicago) started using one to go direct.

    After being super cool for a minute they sucked. You'd get random patch skipping, the encoder would skip values like crazy and one just stopped turning on for whatever reason. Now they're basically relegated to the "for parts or not working" section of Ebay and the ones that do work are IMO survivor bias... Likely rarely used when new.




    Edit. Also of note, the tonemaster Amps are cheap $$. Or, at least, you have to factor in that you have a chassis, speakers, transformer etc on top of a digital unit. However much was leftover to fit it with top grade encoders/chips/parts with known long life spans is very debatable. There's some older digital synths with buttons, knobs, etc that have stood the test of time pretty well but they're the ones that were stupid expensive when new. Your bottom dollar offerings tend to need a lot more work. And, they don't have to deal with heat of any kind to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  2. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

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    in your head man....
    Yes, this is what broke on my TC Electronic G force. Still on my workbench for a fix. Fortunately the rotary encoder is available, just need to find time to work on it.
     
  3. Jimclarke100

    Jimclarke100 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you know the components and get the correct data on those then you can work out the Mean Time to Failure of the amp. I work with small electronics and a small SMD board will typically have a calculated MTTF of 20 to 30 years or more - but that’s largely based on component failure.

    In reality, failures are more likely to be mechanical than from even an SMD component failing. So think in terms of Pots, switches and cracked joints from vibration.
     
  4. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    No experience with the 'Tonemasters' specifically but I do have some experience with the 'Champion' and 'Mustang' line of SS Fenders.
    Pre Covid, I'd teach music 2 days a week at a private MS/HS and they had two each of the Champion and Mustang models. These amps would (and hopefully will again) get played on average of 8 hours a week, every week for about 40 weeks a year. They would also get handled pretty roughly; kids hauling them in and out of a storage closet, dragging the power chords, knotting the power chords, yanking the cables out the input jacks, blasting them when I wasn't around, etc.
    In 10 years of this, the only issues were broken knobs, power cord receptacles coming loose and a busted input jack. None of the amps actually ceased to function. YMMV.
     
  5. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Mine is the 50watt - simply the second incarnation of a "Bandit" - the 65 came out the next year at 65 watts, so the timing meshes, lol! ;) I'm pretty sure the Bandit 65 was the third incarnation of the Bandit. They were really popular and I played with a lot of guys that had them - my 50 watt was always the oddball.
     
  6. Telecasters84

    Telecasters84 Tele-Meister

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  7. Telecasters84

    Telecasters84 Tele-Meister

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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    So much arguing without some facts.

    Here's a picture I grabbed off the internet of the guts in this amp (it's in a long long gearpage thread)

    [​IMG]

    It's quite tidy in there with separate small function boards.
    The things that will go wrong, based on my experience repairing solid state amps:

    -Input jack nuts will get loose and/or the owner will tip the amp over (it's lighter than the older ones so tugging on the cord will get it moving easier) and the jacks will break off the circuit board. Fix is wiring in a new jack with wired connections to the board.

    -The big power cap on the left side will go out and need replacing, $15 part (at today's money not inflation) a couple dozen years from now. The row of three medium-sized caps will go out around the same time, $3 each.

    -Many traditional cables are run in protective looms to guard against nicks. The newer ribbon cables are generally quite robust on their own.

    -Gooping the standing coils and ceramic resistors will help them survive years of massive gig vibrations from breaking solder joints at the board. But it's possible the gooping inhibits heat transfer of those power resistors. Some blocks look like diodes instead of resistors so heat will be less of a problem for them.

    -Pots will need DeOxit sprayed in them, but it is a major pain to do that since you have to take all the knobs and jack nuts off to get to the other side where you can spray. They positioned the board on top so the tip-back angle of the control panel didn't make an 'under' board hit the chassis. Perhaps they could have included nozzle ports drilled in the board for the DeOxit-spray tube to hit the pots for easy cleaning. I like how they labeled the board for which part of the controls you are looking at.

    -Switching jacks (like that one on the back right corner) will corrode and need DeOxit or the amp 'won't work'.

    -The heat sink on the central board CPU (multi-core processor) seems small. There are no air passages directly around that board on the 'floor' nor (from another image I saw) no back panel air slots cut in (a half dozen quarter inch diameter holes along the top of the back would help). So all heat generation will sit under the middle top of that amp right where the CPU is located (that's where the adjustment for power attenuation is located as well as the product model/branding -- so the styling department likely won out over engineering). The wire sock insulator runs along back there too. Heat is a life shortener for electronics. As heat goes up component operation variation goes up too. Without sufficient air flow out of the top of that chassis then all the parts will heat soak and age prematurely. I see this a lot. Very few amp builders consider heat. Black case, sitting at a gig in hot muggy July with mid-day sun getting absorbed by black Tolex...

    This is a random heat image (stereo power amp with heat sinks sticking out the back of the unit) showing the type of analysis Fender could do on the amp to lengthen lifespan. Perhaps they did and found it's a non-issue.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looks like a ram stick is on the left, and a mini SD card slot on the right (for software upgrade/re-flashing). It's a mini-computer. Would be interesting to see what kind of a PC they are running. Suspicious it's a Windows-box but would be cool if it's a Raspberry-Pi kind of device running Linux.

    I assume Fender did extensive product testing ... hot/cold cycles simulating decades of use and abuse, beer spills, knocking over, falling off an amp stand, tipped off the back of a load-out van, tripping up to the gig stage. Or they relied on general consumer electronics component performance.

    Like your phone. Don't get it wet and you should be ok for years.

    .
     
  9. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^^^^^^
    Thank you friend for posing this. Looks very nice and trustworthy to me.
     
  10. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Just FYI regarding the Fuse software no longer being updated...

    That doesn't mean the amps no longer work. I have the Mustang IIIv2, and it still works just fine without Fuse. Admittedly I really never saw the need to use Fuse with that amp...but it still works with Fuse if I wanted it to. I suppose all bets might be off when we get to the next version of Windows/Macs, whenever that will be.
     
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  11. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    It sure does look like a single board computer. Do you think it's just something off the shelf? I see a Fender logo (part of it anyway...sticking out from under the heat fins) on the top, but that's probably a separate board mounted on top...kind of hard to tell from that angle, but that's my guess.
     
  12. secretsoundz

    secretsoundz TDPRI Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    I've had my DRRI since it came out in 1994. It's been in the shop once. Check back in 30 years on the reliability of the The Tonemaster.

    For the record, I have no problem with Tonemaster amps. I'll probably buy one at some point. But this incessant knock on tube amps really just has no basis in facts. In 50 years of playing, I've had more issues with SS amps than my tube amps, even when I was playing 6 nights a week in the 70's.
     
  14. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Afflicted

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    You're not far off; it's a quad-core ARM running Linux. I did some reverse engineering of one of the firmware updates. Fender didn't do much to make poking around difficult.
     
  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    If Fender wanted to generate some goodwill they should put the source code out on GitHub so that interested third parties can enhance it as needed. Since it's just a control system, not DSP algorithms, it shouldn't give away anything that proprietary.
     
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  16. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    The topic at hand is the Tonemaster amps which, to the best of my knowledge, have no on-line app interface like Fender Fuse. So that should be a "don't care" with regard to their support.
     
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  17. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Totally irrelevant with regard to the OP topic..
     
  18. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    guildguy516 opened up this thread with the above post, to which there is no answer except "HTF do I know ?", and then bailed. Probably sitting back laughing his butt off over the ridiculous tangent(s) that this thread has taken after he got everybody all spun up. Yada, yada, yada...jajajajaja
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Today's news:

    Everybody wants to know how long a certain thing is good for!

    Hint: it aint an amp.
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hahahahahahahahahahaha "this incessant knock on tube amps" hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

    All the posts we read over and over stating that tube amps are unreliable?

    Speaks to the unreliable info on the internet
     
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