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My ACab Was Flaming Saturday Night

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hpttpbass, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. hpttpbass


    Nov 7, 2005
    Hey, ok so I've been playing for 10 years and I've never been much of a gearhead although I'm in the constant search for the perfect tone. Anyway Sat night I'm playing the bar where the pretty people go in a downtown strip in Fredrick MD. I'm literally 30 seconds into the first tune when my lead guitarist starts pointing at my amp and screaming "ahhhhh, ahhhhh". I turn around and my cabinet is on fire. It was an ampeg 4x10hlf, I run through an ampeg svt 3-pro and a sans amp bass driver DI. I'm not sure what happend but after we put out the fire I tried my head (running through an ampeg BM2x10) but alas it was no good. Anyone have any idea what might have happened? You think we were drawing too much power from the circuit? I don't get it because bands constantly play there. What do I need to do to avoid this kind of thing in the future? :crying:
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Wow, that is bizarre! I have no idea what might have caused this, but I look forward to hearing from anyone who might know, so that I can try to avoid a similar fate! I trust that no one was hurt?

  3. jacostilllives


    May 4, 2004
    is the 3 pro in a rack or do you just have it sitting on top of your cab? Was it literally on fire or was it just smoking?
  4. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    i could be wrong , but i don't think 30 seconds is enough time for the Ampeg
    to overheat and to cause an actual fire ...

    ... were the cabinet and head both on fire ? { or just smoking ?}
    ... where was the actual fire started , at the bottom of the cab , or at
    the head ?
    ... could it have been a lit cigarette , or possibly some other herb ,
    that might have fallen onto the floor ?

    hopefully no one was hurt ...
  5. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The first generation of EVX drivers had a problem with the carbon fiber voice coil formers going up in flames from excessive heat, but that's by no means a common occurance. The only way to know for sure is to open the cab up and see where the fire originated.
  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Glad no one was hurt.
    Will you have to make this an integral part of your act now? ;)
  7. jacostilllives


    May 4, 2004
    Yea he needs to pull a Jimi Hendrix and light his bass on fire while dancing around it high on Acid...That would be sweet or maybe pull a Jaco and do a backflip off of the flaming rig onto his flaming guitar....Not to take away from the seriousness of the issue but i thought i would throw that in. :p
  8. hpttpbass


    Nov 7, 2005
    Thanks for the responses. No no-one was hurt (well maybe my pride).

    No the amp did not catch and flame but it certainly was fried, i.e. I could not use it with my second cab. The top left speaker caught on fire. It burned the speaker (paper) the coil and the grill. They weren't big flames, just smoldering so I put it out with my hands and we carried the cab outside and put it in the van (after it stopped smoking). The club was unimpressed with our light show... but I'm sure we wowed them with our pyrotechnics. :)

    It's an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by mystery.

    Does anyone know anything about power conditioners and what they do?

  9. getz76


    Apr 3, 2005
    Hoboken, NJ
    If it started in the cabinet, I doubt it had anything to do with the power you were drawing.
  10. I had an Eden cabinet pull a similar move on me, and I nearly fried my head. We discovered it was a faulty outlet at the club. I bought a little outlet tester to make sure I don't run into that again.
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Most of the power--nearly all of it, actually--going into a loudspeaker driver turns into heat instead of acoustic power. If you put too much power into it, the temperature of the voice coil goes up and up, and sometimes, as in your case, reaches high enough to ignite something. Since the moving parts of a loudspeaker driver usually are mostly made of paper, there may be ample fuel for this unintended combustion.

    It has nothing to do with power conditioners or how much power you draw from the AC line.
  12. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    A faulty outlet won't burn out your cabinet.
  13. hpttpbass


    Nov 7, 2005
  14. The interesting question is why did the amp fail?? It doesn't sound as though it was damaged by flames and only one driver was burned so even if it shorted, that leaves 3 more drivers as a load to the amp. It doesn't seem that the amp could have seen too small of a load (unless they use 32 ohm drivers ALL in parallel in which case a shorted speaker WOULD short the amp's output transistors). Bummer any way you look at it. NEVER pleasant to have gear fail mid gig no matter how "flameboyant" ...