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Leaving amp and cab in car??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassmusic808, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Hello. I have done this before with a combo, Crate BFX-100, and have never noticed any damage. I've left it in the hot car for days at a time.. Now I have an Ampeg head and 4x10 cab that I care a lot more for, so I thought I'd ask if leaving either one of these in a hot car can cause damage??

  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I have this to be a very effective way for my amp to become Someone Else's.
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I have two friends who have experienced a strange phenomenon when leaving their gear in a hot car parked out in the sun. The heat apparently altered the gear in some strange way, seem to have sprouted legs and walked off all on their own. Weird . . . :meh:
  4. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I wonder about this too, since I usually leave my rack in my trunk and often will have a cab in the backseat. Other than the obvious problem of theft, I wonder if the vibrations from driving and the occassional pothole hit will damage the electronics. So far, no problems, but it may be a matter of time.
  5. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    I know that you wanted to know if extreme temperatures would damage an amp, but I'm going to agree with the other posts first. Don't ever leave your gear in your car longer than you have to. I had an EB/MM Sterling stolen from my car in the middle of a busy parking lot. I still don't know how the theif saw it...I have really dark window tint. :( :spit:

    As for your question, it really depends how hot it gets in your car. You don't want to leave it in an oven. I'm sure the gear could handle it, but I wouldn't want to take a chance. It's temperature changes that you need to watch out for.

  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    In the past I've had to store gear in my car for lengthy periods, both in winter and summer, and have noticed no problems except that one time when my tongue froze to the lid of my Anvil rack (just kidding about that last part).
  7. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    I've heard a good rule of thumb, at least for a bass or guitar, is to not subject it to conditions where you yourself would be uncomfortable, such as a car with the windows rolled up on a sunny day, or a really cold day, etc. I don't think anyone would accuse you of being paranoid if you applied the same idea to amps and speakers.

    I would think that vibrations and bumps would take its toll as time goes on as well.

    If you don't like lugging your gear in from the car, get a dolly.

    Like others said, gear has a way of growing legs and walking off when you leave it outside.
  8. I seem to remember in the Eden 410XLT owners manual that it's fine to leave it in a garage/car, etc. in the cold (not sure about the heat) but that you want to let it come to room temperature before playing hard through it.

    I haven't had problems in the past with my Ampeg cabs in hot or cold weather.

    But I agree, leaving there for a long time (especially basses/smaller combo amps/etc) is probably asking for trouble.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Plastic parts (knobs, cab corners, molded cases, etc.) can become soft or even deformed from excessive heat or direct sunlight.

    I once heard a story about a guy who destroyed his Ampeg Baby Bass by leaving it in a hot car, the body got soft and the pressure of the strings pushed the bridge through the top!
  10. Due to the size and weight of my biamp rig, and the 2x weekly gig schedule, I left it in the back of my truck for two years.

    Ugly truck, backed up against the fence for theft deterrence. Still, a poor idea. But... Anyway, I live in California where it does not freeze, but rains like crazy during the winter. Rust on my rack bolts, etc, was an issue.

    All considered, long term residency in the vehicle is a bad idea. Rust, theft, thermal extremes similar to bending a coat hanger back and forth until it work-fatigues.
  11. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Extreme temperature changes will take a toll on solder joints over time. I guess if its really hot or really cold without much fluctuation that wouldnt be a problem. In Colorado there can be 30+ degree change between night and day. I always take my amp inside but cabs probably arent such a big deal.
  12. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Most electronic parts can take more heat than is typical in a hot car, particularly when not powered. Most cars don't get hot enough inside the passenger area or even the trunk to boil water, which would be 100 C. But most power semiconductors are rated for operation to 150 C. Other parts may be only rated to opeate to 70 C, still pretty hot.

    Tubes of course get significantly hotter, in normal operation.

    The worst problem is cold. Not so much from the temperature cycling, but for completely different reasons.

    One reason is the fact that most gear is made with parts qualified to normal temp range, which is an ambient temp of 0 to 70 deg C.

    At low temps, some parameters are changed. A Mosfet, for instance, has its maximum allowable voltage drop with temperature. Some ICs, opamps, etc, may not function correctly.

    Also, when you bring an amp in from the cold, it may condense water on the circuit boards and wires, etc due to the cold temp existing inside. That may cause all sorts of effects from possible electrical leakage through the condensed water (mixed with the miscellaneous dust and general bar spooge that has collected inside the unit).

    I have actually tried this with a PA amp, put it in below zero (deg F, same as about -20 C) temp for a few hours, hauled it out into a room-temperature environment, and immediately hooked it up and turned it on .

    It made all sorts of clicking and creaking noises, the relays clicked on and off, the fan sped up and slowed down, current draw (at idle) changed all over, and there were noises in the speakers. Easily could have damaged something, although in that particular case it did not.

    I would for sure let things warm up or cool down before using the amp, etc. But the basic storage temperature issue should be way less of a problem than theft. And heat is probably less of a problem than cold.

    With an instrument, well, that's different. They like nice even room temp environments. Not too much or too little humidity, etc.
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I get strange looks when I lug my bass(es) into work on practice days, but I don't care. It's better to be safe than sorry.

    We did have a front desk person who had this incredibly annoying habit of asking me every single time if I was going to "serenade everyone" that day, even though I had repeatedly told her why i bring them inside. I finally told her that it was amusing the first 1500 times she said it. She was fired soon after, fortunately. ;)
    GERBY likes this.
  14. TheAmpNerd


    Apr 25, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Yeah i had that problem once with a Vintage Ampeg SVT...

    Wouldn't you know I used a 63 solder...and I couldn't figure out
    why the damn amp didn't work. Well we opened it up and sure
    enough...from leaving the amp in a hot car, direct summer sun,
    with NO ventalation, and NO derating...the wires had come
    unsoldered...what a hot mutha'

    who would have thunk it would've been 473 F in that car? :crying:

    I've got some great beach front property in Oklahoma for you
    too. : )


  15. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    :spit: :D Im quite satisfied with the beautiful mountain view through my office window but thanks anyway!
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    As long as you don't mind it being stolen, it shouldn't be a problem.
  17. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    We did some gigs in the snow fields. All the equipment was in a van that didn't do a great job of keeping the back section warm. We set up for the first gig in a hurry and half of the amplifiers failed. Why?

    Turns out that the solder joints shrunk and became brittle in the cold. All it took was a biggish bump on the road and a few of them dislodged. The repair guy is also pretty sure some of the solder joints dislodged when we fired up the ice cold amps and send a signal through.

    Since then, we've been more careful with the cold and always give our gear time to acclimatise to temperature changes.

    As for heat....... we Australia get pretty darn hot in Summer. Hot enough to warp bass guitars and guitar cases (something I found out the hard way). But I've never ever had problems with amps or speaker cabs, even when the car has been an oven.
  18. until.tomorrow

    until.tomorrow Guest

    May 5, 2003
    US - Milwaukee
    My friend left his $2000+ PRS guitar in his car when he went to work and someone stole his keys, made a copy, and made off with the guitar. No signs of forced entry were found on the car and YES he did lock the door.
    Myself on the other hand…coming back from the long ride home after late night gigs I tend to be lazy and leave my m/m sterling marinating in the truck of my Saturn (one of the easiest cars to break into). I live in kind of a shady part of the city (ie the ghetto) and so far have been quite lucky. Maybe I’ll start being less lazy.
  19. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    On the matter of temperatures, don't forget that all this gear got to you via a truck in which the gear has been exposed to all kinds of temperatures (ever been in a trailer of a semi in the dead of summer or winter?). Your gear survived that, it should survive your car as long as it doesn't walk 1st given the fact you give the gear a chance to stabilize before use (RE: condensation as mentioned earlier).
  20. T. Brookins

    T. Brookins Supporting Member

    While on tour, two of the woofers in my Ampeg BXT 410-HL became misaligned and started rubbing from being left in a hot van by day. What adhesives are high heat tolerance? Did the magnets slide? Should I have stored it flat?

    Watch out, y'all.