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Can Cold Weather Hurt Heads/Cabs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by irishpride28, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. I have a problem.
    Just got back into my dorm room after winter break, and I plugged in my bass to start playing. It came out fuzzy and weak, and sometimes wouldn't make any sound at all. Thinking it might be the bass, I plugged another in and same deal.
    My next thought was that the cable was shot, so I plugged my computer to the rig through a double ended cable with 1/4" adapter, and the same problem happened with the computer playing a youtube video.

    I had the head unplugged for the duration of the break (2 weeks). It did get pretty cold and the heat was off in the rooms for the break, so that's the only thing that I can think of that might have screwed it up. Could some solder have gotten way too cold and cracked, or could the low temperature have damaged the cone in the cab?

    The amp head is a Carvin BX500 and the cab is an Aguilar GS112, if anyone has any input it'd be greatly appreciated
  2. IntrepidCellist

    IntrepidCellist Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Generally, cold doesn't do a lot to electronics and speakers if they're not running while cold. And, even then, it takes some SERIOUS temperature drops to damage anything.
  3. You know how they say problems tend to work themselves out? It doesn't apply to electronics.

    At least not usually. The wierdest thing happened. After leaving it for ~15 minutes, I plugged back in and started playing. It was slightly better, but really fuzzy and distorted (if it was a pedal making it sound like that instead of my amp, I would have dug it). After a series of crackles and one loud POP, the bass' tone and volume returned to their original state, and it's like it never happened. Talk about wierd.

    crisis averted though!
  4. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Just a stab in the dark here - but there may have still been some condensation on the jacks or pots when you first tried it out -? It's happened to me before too.
  5. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I grew up in Minnesota, our gear was frozen by the time we got anywhere with it. It's condensation that can cause more problems than cold. Things get moist as they thaw out. All it really means is a little more care and prep time. Load in, open guitar cases, etc., and let the instruments warm up while you're setting up the other gear. Don't power on gear yet, let it warm up close to room temp. while you're tuning instruments. Then power the gear on but don't play yet, give it a little while to come up to operating temp. and evaporate any condensation, go get a drink or whatever. Then come back, re-tune instruments, soundcheck and play. At the end of the night, power everything down and let anything with a tube in it come back down to room temp. before putting it out in the cold.

    Never had any gear problems handling it this way.
  6. That makes sense, thanks alot.
    I go to college in Pittsburgh, so while not as bad as Minnesota it did get pretty cold in the rooms I imagine. I'll take that into consideration going forward.
  7. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Also, cable connections can get condensation from less extreme weather over time.
    I inherited a soundman position at a house gig and the previous guy told me that every now and then to just unplug everything and plug it back in - wipe off or clean if necessary. I found this to be good advice. The first time I got that fuzzy sound coming out of a speaker for no good reason, I unplugged and replugged and that was the end of that problem.
  8. rhino333

    rhino333 Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Western NY State
  9. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Your dorm room thing was likely condensation letting electicity flow between components it's not supposed to. Can speed up the process by blowing a hairdryer in amp vents, jacks, etc.

    Good point on wiping down plugs before plugging them in.
  10. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    If you can't keep it in an environment with very stable moisture and temperature, it may be worthwhile to think about some gear covers/bags. I have a BX500 and bought a bag for that very reason (plus it makes it easier to carry around). Anything with exposed contact points like cables, input jacks, etc. is always covered in my automobile.
  11. I do have a bag for it, that would have been smart. Thanks for all the advice guys, makes TB great
  12. MikePL


    Nov 25, 2011
    Montreal, QC
    +10000 I live in the province of Quebec, in Canada and have a couple of touring francophone bands (so we don't go down to the not -20C USA). Been doing the same thing before every gig except in summer, and even then at night it can get preeeeetty cold up north.
  13. Agreed! I remember the ice storm! that was an interesting time.
  14. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Listen to this is man. He knows of what he speaks... Where he lives is basically like the North Pole! ;-) And I say this as it drops below 0F at my house tonight!

    Just kidding, Moles!

    But in any case, the only time I have had cab issues in the past was when I left one overnight in my truck when it got this cold. I had a similiar problem to yours last year. Barely worked at first, and after 20-30 min it was fine.
  15. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    I think the longer range problem is the oxidation that occurs as your gear is exposed to temperature variation and resulting condensation. If you keep your gear stored in the cold, don't forget about those days where it warms up just a bit...... and then it freezes again. I opt to keep my larger cabs in the garage, and smaller cabs, amps, mixer, etc, indoors.

    We just sent some hand gauges down to our plant in San Antonio in the fall (from Tennessee). They were all covered in surface oxidation by the time they got down there a day and a half later. That was purely from flash condensation in the truck trailer overnight...... and it never reached freezing.
  16. MikePL


    Nov 25, 2011
    Montreal, QC
    Haha I was about 12 at the time, happy I was not conscious of everything happening except thinking "ICE SKATING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET IS AWESOME!!" :p

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