1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Replacing Power Transformer on Vintage Amp: Anathema?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by RadioFM74, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Dear all,

    as some of you may recall (including revered amp experts such as @Silverface @moosie @BobbyZ @keithb7 …… who were gracious enough to chime in on my NAD thread) I have recently become the happy owner of a ‘64 Tremolux Head.

    I love it. There is only one hassle (well, two, but the unavailability of original/reissue cabs is not the topic here…). Since I play it in Europe, every time I take the head out for practice or jam I have to take along a rather heavy step-down transformer (220 to 110V), too.

    It may sound like a minor hassle, but I have back problems and it all adds up.

    So I was considering having the original power transformer of the amp replaced with an identically spec’d 220V power transformer. My tech has tracked down one from Germany and says it can be done no problem. I would of course keep the original PT with reverence, including for the unlikely case that I might wish to sell the amp down the road.

    Do you think it would be crazy to do this? While a beautiful BF amp, my T-lux is certainly not collector grade. It has lost its original cab in its long years, it has (luckily) a 3-prong cord, and most of the original signal caps are gone....

    As I think I understand it, replacing the PT would be fully reversible and would not have any significant impact on performance, provided the new PT is spec’d right.

    Am I wrong? I am really wondering whether there are any big cons to doing this surgical operation to my beloved amp, and I hope some of you may chime in to enlighten me before I do anything wrong here…

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. TheDams

    TheDams Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    590
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    If it's a player and not a collector, and it's done by a pro, with the right tranny... I'd say do it !
     
    Darkness and RadioFM74 like this.
  3. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,006
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    Western Canada
    You're right on all accounts. Do it. Don't even think twice about it. A simple practical improvement. Enjoy that amp. You're right to save the removed tranny.

    I would enquire what brand your tech is supplying. I'd recommend a Classictome PT.
     
    RadioFM74 and BobbyZ like this.
  4. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    4,303
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    Kent, OH
    What he said^^^

    As long as your tech knows what he's spec'ing and is able to rebias as necessary I wouldn't hesitate for a second.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  5. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    8,346
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    Do it but save the original transformer. Actually save everything you take out of a vintage amp. A future buyer may want to go back to original.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  6. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,624
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    Snellman MN
    If I lived in Europe I'd do that to even a perfect collector grade old Fender. After you do the electrolytics, power cord and any needed maintenance. A PT is only a few more solder joints.
    Really in Europe I can't imagine that really hurts resale value.
    Of course I am in Minnesota. :)
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  7. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Oh people, I have no idea why I got no notification of all your replies. Thanks a million to you all for chiming in! New PT will be on order very shortly.

    Thanks again!! You have again proved how good it is to be a TDPRI member!

    PS: @robrob I'll soon post a praise of your "How tube amps work" guides, which are several times better than a famous published book I've read on the topic...
     
  8. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
  9. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    12,797
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    another +1 vote. If it's done well by a skillful mechanic using correct parts, it's a winner all the way.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  10. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,006
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    Western Canada
    @RadioFM74 I'll bet that's a Heyboer transformer. Made in the USA. Yup. Proceed to party.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  11. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Thanks @keithb7 !! I proceed!!
     
  12. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    9,795
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Lawndale CA
    Sorry for the late chime-in...

    As long as you are drilling no holes *and* keeping the old PT I'd say do it.

    Also, if it's in excellent physical condition the things you mentioned don't seriously hurt collector's value. A 3-prong plug is a good thing; replacement signal caps aren't the best thing for maintaining long-term value but are not deal killers. Most vintage amp collectors I know are not looking for museum-quality examples, they want amps that can be played. They look for player quality amps in excellent physical condition, with original transformers - amps like that are generally what Vintage Price Guide prices are based on.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  13. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Thx a lot @Silverface ! This is great advice going beyond the immediate transformer “transplant”.

    If I may be so bold to ask, is there any special precaution I should take in storing away the original PT? It sure isn’t going in the cellar……
     
  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    9,795
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Lawndale CA
    I store old ones in Ziploc bags with a few silica gel packs (the "Do Not Eat" packets that seem to come with almost everything!).
     
    robrob likes this.
  15. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,991
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Great, thanks for the suggestion!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.