Tube Amp Only "Works" When Standby Is On..

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassSurfer, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,

    New tube amp owner here after many years and I just have a quick, rather odd, question to ask the experts and amp gurus alike on here. The amp is an Ampeg V4 by the way.

    For some weird reason, I am not getting any sound at all when the standby switch is turned off. In other words, when the power switch is activated, there is no sound, but WITH BOTH switches activated, I am getting a sound.

    Does anyone have ANY idea why this would be happening? If someone could let me know that would be great and as always, all comments are welcome! If anyone needs me to restructure my question or make it clearer, I would be happy to oblige!

    UPDATE: 1/13/2012: The problem has been found. Whoever last serviced it, for some weird reason, "wired it up" and made it function in a way that the Power switch was actually the STANDBY switch and vice versa... who would of known... =/
  2. Handyman

    Handyman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    This is exactly how a standby switch is supposed to work. There is nothing wrong with your amp.

    The standby switch keeps the tubes heated, but the actual amplifier is disabled.
  3. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    You are in standby
  4. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    If I am reading your post correctly, the standby switch is doing exactly what it is designed to do. This is from the V4BH manual:

  5. vgbob


    Jan 15, 2007
    You will get differing opinions, but if you wish you can just
    leave the standby in the 'on' position, and not even bother
    with turning it on and off. Just use the power switch.
  6. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Do you by any chance work for one of the new production tube manufacturers? because if you did that to one my silicon rectifier equipped amps loaded with genalex KT88's you would be wearing your bass as a necklace.

    Cold tubes are not best subjected to any form of electromechanical shock especially banging circa 700volts DC straight on a cold tube let alone the dangers of cold surfaces attracting moisture and improving the chances of taking the HT fuse out in an arching tube socket.

    Of course if you find you have glass rectifier tubes you don't need the
    Standby switch to protect from the shock of instant HT.
    Now I am just beginning to understand why kids think tubes amps are less reliable than transistor ones.:bassist:
  7. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1 the reason tube amps have a stand by switch is to extend the life of the all important tubes. Failing to use stand by when powering up will result in premature damage to the amp, which would be a stupid thing to do on purpose.
  8. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    That's the fact!

    The standby switch is there for a reason, said the guy who's been playing tube amps for decades without any major issues...that would be me.

    On the old V4, when the standby switch is down and lamp's not lit, it's in standby. Flip it up (after you've had on the main power on for a minute) the lamp lights and you're ready to rock.
  9. Off on a standby switch means High Voltage is off (standby mode). On means HV is on (no longer in standby) the amp is fully on in operate mode.
  10. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Anyone who understands care to explain why the standby is necessary for protecting valves? All the serious electrical sorts I've spoken to don't think its for valve protection, its a convenient thing to have for when you are working on an amp, and a mute function. Most of the nicer amps I use don't have a standby, the Matamps have a mute button labelled as such, but it doesn't shut off the HT (might not apply to all Matamps, but its good to be aware the HT is still on if you are poking about in there.).
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Sounds like your works exactly like mine. That's what it's supposed to do. Both switches up and the V4 will take your head off (in a good way).
  12. Applying HV to the anode of a cold tube strips electrons from the cathode coating before it is heated. This is only true for SS rectification. Tube rectifiers will not supply HV DC until they themselves also warm up.
  13. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Ah, that will be why then, no amps I have operate in the kilovolts range necessary for cathode stripping to be a concern. The Ampeg doesn't, nor do any instrument amps I know of, except maybe the PJB thing that uses a transmitter valve.
  14. Actually Motorolla proved it to be a concern when exploring SS rectification on TVs. They were going to replace the HV tube with a HV SS rectifier (a expensive move in those days). Drop in emission was found in all tubes after many, many repeated cycles. Their solution for warm-up time was just to keep the heaters on. Cathode poisoning was found to be much less a concern than stripping.
  15. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    It tube terms, guitar amps don't run on high voltage, they are pretty low in the scheme of things, few hundred, rather than kilovolts, or tens of kilovolts for high voltage. CRT TVs work in this range, unlike guitar amps:
  16. I did not state they were evaluating the CRT only. They evaluated all tubes from oscillators to mixers to gain stages and output stages (AF,Horiz and Vert).

    TV's of the time were ALL tube before a SS device was ever used.
  17. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Give a citation, or there is no useful info. Nothing here has given me any more knowledge that what I already know to be oft repeated but not correct.
  18. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Sometimes, On means Standby is On and Off means the opposite, like the old Fenders.
  19. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    your V4's standby switch is working properly.
  20. Would love to if I still had access. I worked part time (while in school) for an authorized Motorolla and Zenith dealer and reapir shop. I don't know if Motorolla archives exist from that era?
    I only offer as personal experience. If you require proof the search is yours to do as you asked for information. :)
    Only offered what I know, to be readily discounted if anyone wishes with no offense taken. ;)