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Maintenance tips on Valvetronix amps

Here is a compendium of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ), tips and tricks, and common troubleshooting solutions

Moderators: Voxman, laurent_56, Valvetronix Expert Users

Maintenance tips on Valvetronix amps

Postby Voxman » 06 Dec 2005, 23:39

Thought I'd post a couple of tips to help solve what probably accounts for over 95% of the most common 'problems' that crop up with the Valvetronix amps. In reality, these aren't serious problems, just things that most often need some very simple and minor maintenance.

Q1) Sometimes the tone/volume quality can drop, or sound only comes out of one channel, or I get crackling/hiss. Why is this happening?

A1) Although the concept of the Valvetronix amp is superb, they are built to specific budgets. The jack plug sockets used are 'adequate' but they aren't the best. Two problems can occur - (i) the jack socket gets dirty & becomes oxidised, creating a bad contact and lowering sound quality &/or volume (ii) the jack-plug connector pincers inside get 'stuck' and stay open.

SOLUTION - just spray some electrical switch cleaner (not WD40) into EVERY jack plug socket, and push a jack-plug in/out several times. Pay special attention to the headphone and FX loop jacks as these are 'switching' type jacks. This will clean the socket, and release any 'sticking' jack plug. If your amp is older you may need to repeat several times to get the contacts clean - if badly oxidised, you might easily need to repeat the process half a dozen times or so.

It's also a good idea to spray some switch cleaner into your guitar jack socket and tone/volume pots if you haven't done this for a while too!

In fact, by doing this every 6mths or so, you could save yourself ever having the problem - prevention is better than cure! This is the cleaner I use - Servisol 10 in the red & white can (not the blue & white version!):

http://www.ukwholesale.info/tools-testi ... 01100.html

Image

ADDITIONAL NOTE: (with thanks to photoweborama who kindly advised me of the following). In addition to the slip-on push-fit connectors that connect the speaker, there are also about a half a dozen other slip on connectors inside the amp. When you pull it apart, some of them have translucent blue covers over them, and some are just bare. As these could also succumb to oxidation over time, if you can gain access to these it would also be worth cleaning these.

Q2) My amp has 'locked-up' completely or certain controls or buttons aren't working properly, or I'm experiencing poor abnormal tone or some other strange behaviour.

A2) Although the Valvetronix is a guitar amp, it's a DSP (digital signal processing) amp that is controlled by software. Just as with your lap-top or desk-top computer, the software file paths can become broken or corrupted. In this regard, your Valvetronix is just like a computer, and often a re-boot is all that is needed to re-set it.

SOLUTION

With your computer, it may just need a re-boot to re-set the machine back to where it should be(ie switch it off, then on again). However, unlike a computer, simply switching your Valvetronix on/off will not re-boot it.

To re-boot your V'x, you need to re-set it back to factory settings (see the re-set instructions in your V'x manual). 95% of the time, this will rectify the problem. Be aware though that you will lose all of your customised patch settings, so unless you're lucky enough to have a full-featured AD60/120 and a VC12 floor controller (which can save up to 4x32 patches) it's a good idea to write your favourite settings down somewhere - & why not even contribute your favourites to the patch section here!

(Whilst we're on the subject of the VC12 (or VC4) if you're getting problems with the floor-controller attached, just try your amp without it! Most problems are just caused by a faulty connecting cable!)

Q3)I've tried all the above several times, and the symptoms are still there. What can I do?

A3) As the amp gets older, and thus particularly with the older AD60/120VT's, dry/cracked solder joints can occur whereby certain electrical connections are no longer clean, thus giving rise to performance/tonal problems. This will need careful attention to certain solders on the PCB, and there may also be poor wiring connections to jack-plug sockets resulting in unwanted noise or even non-functionality of a particular output. Unless you are experienced with this type of work you will need to get your amp checked out by a techy. Without exception, everyone who has reported dry solder problems here have had these 100% resolved by their amp tech, & it's not expensive work.

Q4) My delay/reverb/modulation has stopped working in my AD60/120 & nothing happens when I press the 'Type' button

A4) Once again, the contact under the button can become oxidised and/or dirt can get trapped under the switch.

SOLUTION - Spray some electrical switch cleaner around the button and press repeatedly, and repeat as needed. Badly stuck/oxidised switches can take 2-5 minutes of pressing to free-up, but this will solve the problem. Once properly cleaned/lubricated the problem is most unlikely to ever return. (see here: - delay-problems-t2754.html)

Rich :wink:
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