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Official Ampeg Portaflex Club

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JimmyM, May 25, 2008.

  1. Hillbillypolack


    Mar 2, 2018
    Now on to the other side of the chassis chrome (so to speak).

    I have a few days at home and am getting into cleaning up the chrome chassis exterior. The chrome looks to be in great shape, with the usual hazing or possibly smoke residue. I did a search for what to use regarding cleaners (Autosol to Diet Coke etc), but my usual chrome cleaner is Simichrome. BUT, I have a sneaking suspicion Simichrome might soften or wipe the lettering off as I clean the surrounding chrome.

    Does anyone recommend a cleaner that won't affect the graphics, but clean the chrome? I'll test Simichrome on something else, I'd rather it not happen on a 50+ year old amp head.
  2. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I've had good success with D.Coke/Aluminum foil, followed with a chrome polish. Go gentle over the printing. Be especially careful near any missing printing.
    Hillbillypolack likes this.
  3. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Simichrome is pretty abrasive. I use it on my motorcycles' alloy cases. I wouldn't use it on the lettering. There may be some tips in the excellent Ampeg Portaflex Wiki.
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    That lettering will dissolve away in a heartbeat if any organic based polish touches it. Clean polish and protect the metal. On the lettering, I use warm water and dab with soft cotton makeup removing pad. Next step is a couple of drops of mild liquid hand soap dissolved in water. Use the pads and common sense to dab, don’t scrub.

    Sometimes the lettering is in good shape. Other times, any rubbing will remove it. In the worst cases, I use a product called Evershield to coat the lettering after it is cleaned. It is a thin clear ceramic: STEWART SYSTEMS: EVERSHIELD CERAMIC SURFACE TREATMENT from Aircraft Spruce.

    They have made great progress with what is called nano-ceramic coatings. They were initially used on aircraft but the auto industry has caught on. Very interesting, the future is here.

    Ceramic Coating For Cars - Ceramic Pro Americas
    Hillbillypolack likes this.
  5. Hillbillypolack


    Mar 2, 2018
    I completely agree with you on Simichrome being effective on alloy, though it must also have some solvent that affects certain paints. It's not labeled as petroleum based, xylene, toluene, etc. It does work incredibly well on areas with no graphics (the sides for example), used very sparingly.

    In situations like this, I think it's best to approach with the least aggressive first (or simpler soap & water). Speaking of which, would Simple Green work on decades-old cigarette smoke?
    ahc likes this.
  6. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    People have reported that Simple Green works.

    Looking inside a chassis you can find all the components coated with yellow baked on nicotine. It can be safely cleaned.

    I use Safety Wash (4050 - Safety Wash - MG Chemicals | MG Chemicals) and Q-tips, makeup pads, and pipe cleaners to remove nicotine. It is designed for cleaning electronics. It can take multiple passes to get all the nicotine and the smoke smell off.

    You can also use 99% isopropyl alcohol, available at a pharmacy. It can remove color bands and lettering from components so be careful.
    Hillbillypolack likes this.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Gonna have to get me some of those, very nice, useful little device
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  8. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    There's Zep product...(I think it's Industrial Purple - I no longer have any to check) Mixed with 50% water, nicotine just leaps off. No scrubbing involved at all. I've never seen anything else work as effectively.
  9. gtmalone


    Sep 30, 2015
    Allen, TX
    Started on the adjustable bias mods today. All the mechanical stuff is done - bracket for the two pots and holes in the chassis for the pin jacks for checking bias. Bracket will mount on the two holes where the old can cap used to be and it all fits inside the cage.

    Does anyone know of an LED substitute for the #47 pilot lamps? Direct sub would be ideal but I'm okay with removing the sockets and making brackets. Ampeg purple would be cool.
    lowplaces likes this.
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It’s in the wiki here: Technical - Amplifier | TalkBass.com
    gtmalone likes this.
  11. Frederick34


    May 12, 2017
    Yeah, cleaned up, the random flair is super cool, no doubt. When I got my 1961 B-15N, it was quite dull and neglected. My blue diamond B-18 was much more impressive. But, I sat down in front of my TV (watching Jaws, iirc) with a toothbrush, Fantastic, some TuffStuff, and a roll of paper towels... by the time I was done, I had totally changed my tune on the random flair. It is, hands down, my favorite amp covering of them all. It also seems a bit tougher than the blue and black diamond tolex.

    A little tip on restoring the random flair: you can use DAP brand latex caulk, black color, to fill little nicks. It does not dry to be a stark black at all, and blends very nicely to make any minor dings and nicks virtually undetectable (looks almost like the navy to me, when dry). It take a little practice to get it right (I used a standard weight business card as a spreader, great on the rounded edges), but the end result is very nice. Use it very sparingly, just enough to fill the nick, but definitely fill the nick, don't just wipe it over with your finger.
  12. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Anyone heard from hoochie coochie man lately ?
  13. earache60


    Apr 16, 2018
    Hello folks

    I have a Portaflex SB-12 here that my friend has asked me to restore.
    So I’m hoping that this is the place to ask the following questions!

    About what vintage is this amp?

    I’m missing a case latch and one of the “stove” type knobs, what’s the best source for those?

    What was the stock speaker in this era amp? There’s a JVC labeled speaker in it that must have come out of someone’s stereo.

    How was the speaker cable routed with the head in playing position? As you see from the picture, there’s just a jack hanging from the speaker.

    Thanks in advance! (Pictures to follow)
  14. earache60


    Apr 16, 2018

    Attached Files:

  15. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    That's a 67 or 68. Originally, the amp was wired to the speakers via the latches. A clever idea, but probably not the most practical.
  16. earache60


    Apr 16, 2018
    “The Amp was wired to the speakers via the latches”!

    Wow I never woulda guessed that!

    Anyone know what the original speaker was?

    Who is the best source for the knobs and latches?
  17. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    Fliptops.net is your best source for all things vinatage Ampeg
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Those look like bullet holes in the back!

    Some SB-12’s did have the speaker wired through the latches.

    There are some entries related to the SB-12 in the TalkBass Portaflex Wiki:

    Ampeg Portaflex Wiki | TalkBass.com

    Check the schematics and technical cabinet section. There is also an extensive renovation of an older SB-12 speaker cabinet presented. Look in the literature section. I have seen Jensen C12N as well as JBL D120F speakers used in earlier models. A new Jensen C12N is one modern option to consider. There is a 1967 user’s manual, it is short, check out the other SB-12 manuals.
  19. Frederick34


    May 12, 2017
    Latches are readily available, but knobs can be tricky. I see them online occasionally going for $25-40 each... nothing comparable is made today. There are similar designs, but side-by-side they are noticably different.

    Bruce at Fliptops may have a knob or two available, but not showing any original on his site right now... best to send a note and inquire about one.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 17, 2021

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