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What's wrong with my Walkabout?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Taylor Livingston, Jun 27, 2007.


  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    My Walkabout has been malfunctioning lately. The sound is almost inaudible, but there if I turn the volume all the way up, then it cuts in at full volume. Sometimes there is no problem at all, which makes it difficult to isolate what might be the problem.

    Could the problem be with the tubes? This is the first amp with tubes I've had (only in the preamp, for those unfamiliar with the Walkabout). I was under the impression that preamp tubes didn't really wear out, but I'm hoping this is the problem, as it would be an easier fix than getting the amp fixed by a tech.

    What else could it be? What can I look for to isolate the problem?
     
  2. KevinMG

    KevinMG Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Princeton, NJ
    It sounds like you're having the common Walkabout issue with the effects send/return jacks. If the sound keeps cutting in and out, like as if you had a defective cable, then this is the reason. Try using deoxit (contact cleaner) - don't spray into the jack, just spray the tip of a plug to activate the jack. Plug it in/out repeatedly. Apparently from lack of use dirt gets in there and causes problems. That should fix it immediately.

    The long term solution is to jumper the effect send/return with a cable. I found a 4" effect cable with right angle jacks at GC that did the job nice and cleanly. The contact cleaner worked for me, but Mesa recommended the jumpering as a preventative. If the contact cleaner or jumpering doesn't fix it, then you might need the jacks replaced. You can call Mesa support to find out what to do in that case.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Thanks. So, just to be clear, I'm not using the effects send/return. Is the problem that the jacks are malfunctioning and acting like there is a cable in the send jack (sending the signal out the send and cutting the connection from the preamp to the power amp)?
     
  4. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    There is a third contact that is supposed to be closed when no cable is in the jack. This allows the signal to go from preamp to power amp. Sometimes this little spring loaded thingie gets dirty and doesn't complete the circuit. Or metal fatigue may cause it to fail from constant use,as it did on an old GK400RB I had. On the GK I "solved" it for good with a 12" jumper cable. Diagnosing it was hard because it was intermittent and heat related. It only occured when the amp had warmed up quite a bit, usually halfway through the first set. Testing it at home just wouldn't get the amp hot enough. So that may be the problem on the Walkabout. Could be dirty or worn. Try the jumper cable solution.

    I have a Walkabout myself going on to 3 years of use and have not had this problem with the effects loop. I did however have sound cut in and out on a gig once when the amp was quite new. When I got it home after the gig I found it was a dirty bass eq control pot. This was an easy fix with some spray cleaner. I haven't had a malfunction of any kind since. Still on the original tubes. It's a great sounding amp.
     
  5. Aaron Mc

    Aaron Mc

    Jul 28, 2006
    Avondale, AZ
    I had a similar problem with my walkabout, except I was experiencing an audible pop, followed by a noticeable decrease in the fan noise and no audio output whatsoever. I took it into the only warranty repair shop in Phoenix who left it sitting in their shop for 3-1/2 weeks before looking at it. Once they did check it out they told me they could not reproduce my problem, could not find anything wrong with the amp, and talked with Mesa Boogie who had never heard of a similar problem. So they have my amp for a month and say please come pick it up there is nothing to fix.

    After bringing it home of course I experience the same problem right away and decide to dig a little deeper for anyone who has had similar problems. I am so glad I found this thread! I have cleaned the fx loop jacks and have played through the amp for about 3 hours total now and have experienced no problems. I will give it some more time before I call it fixed but to go from no output to 3 hours of problem-free playing time - I have a good feeling so far. I wish I had found this thread before I sent my amp away for a month. Thanks for the advice KevinMG, I will pick up a short cable to plug in there for a more permanent solution.
     
  6. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    This worked for me as well.
     
  7. BillisCool

    BillisCool

    Apr 16, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    The newer ones as well as my Big Block have a effects loop disconnect switch... which is nice.

    I had the same scenario with my walkabout... but cleaning the effects jacks worked fine... then I always carried a patch cable with me just-in-case.
     
  8. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    the deoxit worked for me as well...
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    How come people on here know this but you can't get it out of Mesa themselves? That's not good.
     
  10. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    So apparently this problem is common with walkabouts, but I just wanted to mention that I talked to the people who "repaired" my amp. They went checked over the entire power amp without finding a problem however they also mentioned they cleaned the effects loop on my preamp. I have a feeling this was the problem. $60 for something I definitely could have done myself. I really hope they don't charge me the $35 dollars for the "rush order". I don't have $35.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I talked to Mesa and they are the ones whom suggested using deoxit.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ah, it was just this repairguy, not Mesa. Mi mistako, although he did say the repairman called Mesa.
     
  13. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Why do you harp on Mesa so much being an Ampeg afficionado? I highly doubt [ampeg] customer service is anything to brag about.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ampeg's CS was great in 2000 or so when I had to deal with a problem with my old SVT 3 Pro. But I understand what you're getting at, Amos, and yes, I have a problem with a company who designs tube amps with no bias adjuster then tell you to buy their tubes once a year rather than install a bias adjuster, and I have a problem with a company that designs circuits around a half-dead Chinese tube for it to work properly. Sorry. It's good stuff but I'd never buy it because of those problems.
     
  15. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Reasonable, but what line of Mesa amps are you specifically referring to when you say "I have a problem with a company that designs circuits around a half-dead Chinese tube for it to work properly."? Does this refer to their hybrid amps?

    Obviously the bias thing refers to amps like the 400+ (all-tube), and you are right, it is BS not having bias adjuster, instead having to buy Mesa tubes. But that doesn't apply to an amp like the M-Pulse 600, an amp I am considering acquiring.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm horrible with model names, but whatever amp has two tubes. Might be the M-Pulse, I don't know. Search Mesa and Chinese tube and you should be able to find it.

    This isn't a knock on their sound by any means. I like the 400+ quite well and I like other Mesa stuff I've tried. It's more a knock on their tricky attempts to get people to spend more money on Mesa products than they need.
     
  17. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Yeah, the M-pulse is the one with two tubes.

    Edit: is Thishttp://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=392474&highlight=chinese+tube+mesa the thread you are referring to? I know they've discontinued the Mesa M-pulse 360, which this thread references, but most likely Psycho Bass Guy's theory about Mesa hybrid amps works for the whole M-pulse line (The 600 is the one I was looking at on the used market). That thread is bizarre.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, that's it.
     
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