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Phil Jones bass: product support experience and power supply question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Aloe, Oct 29, 2020.


  1. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    I've recently bought a second-hand Bass Buddy. It has a couple of problems: a very tired power supply and a broken fader. okay, I said, it's not a problem, I'll get a new power supply. wasn't able to find one in PJB's shop, so I mailed them and asked to purchase one.

    they answered that since Bass Buddy is recently discontinued, they don't provide any repairs or able to provide spare parts. They said, they do have a power supply though they can sell. I answered: sounds great, please tell me how do I purchase one, as it isn't in your shop. I'm still waiting an answer from them, although it's been two weeks and no reply yet.

    So: they started to make a product 12 years ago and stopped to make it like a year ago (?), and now it's not supported and if it breaks, you should throw it out? Sounds not like a great product support for me, frankly. I love PJB gear, I have some pieces of it, but now I'll think several times before buying a new one from them.

    of course I've tried to use a third-party power-supply. it's just a 18v power supply, I thought. first I encountered that Bass Buddy needs a center-positive 18v power supply. second thing I encountered was that not every 18v center-positive power supply with rated voltage will match: the ones I have make the head hiss terribly.

    in case somebody who reads this owns a Bass Buddy and have successfully used it with a 3-rd party power supply, please tell me which works.

    thanks for reading.
     
    Garret Graves and imabuddha like this.
  2. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    NYC
    I don't think many companies support products they no longer produce, unless you're talking about computers or operating systems or have a lifetime warranty. Especially niche products from smaller manufacturers. PJB aren't Fender.

    Good luck, though. I'm sure someone out there makes a power supply that matches. I would hit PJB up again and see if they respond.
     
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I too feel that PJB could be more helpful to a customer. Yes this unit was purchased used but if that customer had received more help the company could have had a customer for life!
     
  4. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    well, that doesn't mean all amps are disposable and be thrown away after they're no longer produced for a year.

    for instance, there's a honorable forum member that still repairs Genz-Benz amps, a long time since the actual company that manufactured them is gone.

    come on, making a 18v power supply incompatible with ones that are on market, and next stopping selling the power supply?
     
    Sixgunn and imabuddha like this.
  5. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    NYC
    Not saying I disagree with you, would be great if companies supported products indefinitely, but OP mentioned product was 12 years old and they finally discontinued it. Seems like it had a nice long run.

    But you'd think if it was around that long, there must be power supplies available for it somewhere. I would check Ebay and Amazon.
     
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I disagree (in general) with this statement.

    I think most manufacturers do in fact support their products for a reasonable time after they have been discontinued. My experience is mostly in the pro audio field, but using companies like Yamaha, Shure, Audio Technica, DBX, JBL, Crown, QSC and Soundcraft as examples I can recall getting full factory support for easily 5 - 10 years after a product has been discontinued.

    From personal experience (because my experience with other companies in the MI industry are generally more limited) of companies I have worked for in the MI side of the industry, I know that both Mesa and Genz Benz stand/stood by their products for many years after they were discontinued and both companies also had products with long production lives. Mesa still services products that were discontinued over 20 years ago. Genz Benz is a little different, but it was the former owners Fender and KMC who insisted that the products be supported for a minimum of 5 years after being discontinued, and then went a step farther and did the right thing by making it possible for me to continue the factory level service/support through my R&D lab for at least 10 years after being discontinued. I never experienced anything that suggested that any of these companies don't care about the customer 5 years down the road, and in fact quite the contrary.

    Where things get tough for all manufacturers is when key suppliers discontinue critical parts. Sometimes we have advanced notice and can be sure we have adequate inventory on hand, but sometimes we don't. When this happens, we can often find alternative parts, but sometimes the part is so specialized that it has become unobtanium. While they may appear to be available on eBay, Ali Express or Amazon, almost always we discover that these are either counterfeit parts, or relabeled parts that are not the same and unusable when repairing products for a customer. With product technology advancing as rapidly as it does, I would expect to see more of this sort of thing, but it's something that many designers do consider when selecting parts for a design.

    I think that if you look at most of the well respected brands on the market, most do in fact have pretty good customer service from the factory.
     
  7. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    oh, OP is me. only 12 years from launch to inability to repair? is it a cell phone or something?
    if you have a 60s Fender in a good condition, don't throw it away as it's obsolete, send it to me, by the way.

    another example of treating customers good is EHX. it no longer produces many of their pedals, but you can find a power supply for everything in their store. for your weird 70s 24V pedal they still have a new power supply in stock, for Europe, US or UK. if you have a 10+ year ago discontinued power amp that needs 24V 3A, no problems, they also still make it (and it's two different 24V power supplies mentioned here).
     
    imabuddha likes this.
  8. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    NYC
    I don't expect Fender to fix my 60s Fender in 2020.

    Again, I'm not saying I agree, just saying that unfortunately, it can be that way. And what can we really expect past warranty dates? I think a lot of companies who can afford to do so, do it.

    But how big is PJB? Nowhere as big as Yamaha, Shure, or the others mentioned above. It may not be worth it for them. Also, it may be that the demand just wasn't there for the power supplies for that product in the 12 years it was available. In any case, you should just send them another email, maybe someone will help you.
     
  9. msb

    msb

    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Agedhorse recently serviced my old GenzBenz Streamliner . It's like a new amp . And I am very happy to have invested in it .
     
  10. Sorry to hear your pain but this isn't an issue with PBJ's customer service. It's simply the reality of offshore contract production and the details within that contract. Supplying spare parts - especially one-off 18v power supplies - can be an expensive gamble on the part of the manufacturer when the yearly sales are counted in hundreds and not 10's of thousands. I'm sure PBJ would have sold you a replacement if they had one but in reality they're in the same boat as you with no more parts and nobody to make them.
    Your best bet is Amazon as long as you can be sure of the consumption and the tip is the correct diameter.
    Good luck ..... :)
     
  11. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    yeah, it must be some evil offshore suppliers that forced poor PJB to use a 18v power supply that's incompatible with the ones you can get on the market. and it's some secret power supply no other manufacturer is able to make, I guess.

    if a 18v power supply was such an expensive thing to manufacture, EHX would go bankrupt in early 70s. but they still provide all their old pedal users an ability to buy a new power supply and it costs just $10-25 for the end user.

    let me put it straight: it's not that cannot order more power supplies from China. or not that ordering some 18v power supplies costs a lot of money. it's just planned obsolesce, i.e. telling their users: okay, you had fun with our bass head for a year (a year ago it could be still purchased new). now throw it away and buy a new one.
     
    imabuddha likes this.
  12. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Can you post a photo of the label on the original power supply? It would make it easier to find a compatible replacement.
    Don't forget that components become obsolete over time and that might be the reason that the power supply is no longer offered. From what I can tell, Phil Jones cares about the quality of his products and may not be willing to provide an inferior replacement. Even if it is off-the-shelf, I'm certain that PJB fully tested and vetted it before including it with his product.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
    RSBBass and Aloe like this.
  13. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    So you bought a Bass Buddy that you knew was broken, assuringly for a good price and are upset that you're not getting within warranty, original purchaser level service? Yes, a 1960's Fender Twin amp can still be serviced, but I don't think you would want a 65 lbs headphone amp with point to point wiring, nor be willing to pay the purchase price.
     
    Garret Graves likes this.
  14. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    Golden profit electronics LTD.
    Switching mode power supply
    Model: GPE651-18100W
    Input: 100-240V-50/60Hz 1.5A
    Output: 18V DC 850mA 15.3VA
    A001573
    Made in China

    it's center positive and jack diameter is not specified, but seems like it's a standard 2.1mm plug (except for being center-positive, not negative).

    I actually have a 18V center-positive power supply from a PowerAdd powerbank, but it doesn't fit well: head is able to power up, but hisses badly. This one states:
    Switching Power Supply
    Model No.: BI65-180200-E2
    Input: AC100-240C-50/60Hz 2A
    Output: DC 18V 2A, center-positive

    I also have a center-positive power supply from my Double Four PJB amp, but it's 20V. Didn't try it as was afraid to fry the head.
     
  15. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    not really, I'm willing to pay my money for a new power supply.
    I'm not talking about warranty at all.

    I actually also have a BG-75 that I purchased new. sadly, it also seems to be discontinued now.
    so I believe this all also means I won't be able to get any parts for my BG-75 if something gets wrong.
     
  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Let me suggest one possible reason why some power supplies are becoming unobtainium...

    There have been several major regulatory changes made over the past few years that have specifically affected power supplies.

    The first is new efficiency and safety standards for walk watts type supplies that for the most part have precluded the use of line frequency transformers. If the original power supply used a line frequency transformer, it may not be possible to build new ones under the current regulations.

    The second possible reason is that if the power supply was an early SMPS with some specialty in the design (common in that era) and if that’s the case, some of these parts may no longer be available. Many component parts like this have been obsoleted by changes in safety, EMC and EU 1W eco standards. If power supplies can’t be certified, there’s no reason for suppliers to continue to produce the component parts

    This leaves the used market to supply replacement power supplies, but there may be features of the factory supply that are essential to proper, noise free operation.
     
  17. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    It's a two year warranty, they will cover you during that time period. There are other options out there, but they are more expensive. Integrated components give us a lower purchase price, but also mean that the cost of repair is likely greater than the original purchase price - if the components are even available.
     
  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Are you sure the input current is 1.5A and not .15A?

    That looks like an early SMPS, there may be special noise control features built into it for audio applications. It’s also early enough not to meet the new standards so it wouldn’t be surprising that the supplier can no longer build them (at least as they were originally designed)

    Maybe PJB has researched alternative supplies that will work even if the don’t stock them? I suggest following up with them even if it appears frustrating.
     
    MCF and Aloe like this.
  19. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    second, to be quite frank. I got my Bass Buddy in an international trade.
    it was expensive, but it's the only way I could get it (and I wanted it badly).

    living in East Europe and buying US gear isn't that easy.
    for instance, I'm not even sure there's an authorized Fender dealer in my country. I didn't hear of any.

    fader was somehow damaged during shipment, sender denies his fault and I cannot do anything with it.
    power supply, uhm, it worked for some time and then stared sparkling inside.

    uhm, I'm afraid, I got it three years ago, so if something arises no service for me.
    sad to know my phone gets more years of support than my bass amp.
     
  20. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Apples and oranges. Compare the number of phones sold versus the number of bass amps.
     
  21. 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.

     
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