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Amp Maintenance

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by borgward, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    What should I do to maintain my solid state amp? What would an amp tech do for regular maintenance? Some of the pots are getting a little scratchy. I know there are products used to spray into the pots to clean them up. Is there a down side to doing that? Are some of those products bad, others good?

    I am not an electronics guy, but I am aware of the dangers of high voltage and capacitors. I would gladly take it to someone, but If you are not important where I live your amp will be in limbo for quite a while and you might. even have to take it back to get it done right. I know this from experience.

    My amp is a Peavey Mark III Bass 400. Anything particular to do on it?
  2. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Over the years, I have found that "maintenance", especially Internet recommended maintenance type stuff, is responsible for more problems than it solves.

    As a generalization, if it's fan cooled, a simple gentle blowout with compressed air is fine. Spraying "magic cureall electronics cleaner" is probably the single worst thing you can do. If you have a noisy pot, it's generally (thought not always) safe to spray a TINY amount of Craig DeOxit (5%) into the opening of a non-sealed pot. No more than a tiny, tiny bit. Other cleaners can ruin a set of pots in a variety of ways.
    Jamie_Funk likes this.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    i have always followed the axiom if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Fan cooled amps can suck up all sorts of airborne crud but it takes years to accumulate for the average player. I would add to Andy’s post that when cleaning an amplifier out wearing a dust mask is a sensible precaution to take.
    agedhorse likes this.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If the pots get scratchy, it's always best to see if you can get rid of the noise by moving the knobs back and forth quickly a few times. This often dislodges any sorts of buildups that causes scratchiness. Might take a few tries but usually works well. After talking to these guys, I only use Deoxit on pots as a very last resort.
    Badwater, Ampslut and agedhorse like this.
  5. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    So true. I learned this the hard way when I sprayed contact cleaner into the pots of a 68 jazz bass and destroyed them many years ago.
    Some people recommend changing capacitors in older amps. I recently sent my very expensive and heavy class A 250 watt hi-fi amp in for a recap, it has been left permanently on in class AB mode throughout its life. The very experienced tech told me the caps were perfectly fine and times have moved away from the recap everything theory.
    Similarly with tubes. I have played tube amps for over 40 years and have never had to replace a full set of power tubes. Very occasionally a pre or power amp tube will play up and be replaced, but the last time was a few years ago.
    agedhorse likes this.
  6. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    Like the tag says "No user serviceable parts inside. Refer servicing to qualified personnel."
    Badwater and agedhorse like this.
  7. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    Unfortunately many of the so called amp techs don't do very good work. Like I mentioned earlier I have had to return stuff that immediately was not right. That was an 80 mile round trip. That said, one must be very careful digging into electronic equipment.
    agedhorse likes this.

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