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Reduced sound from one speaker

Hi. My very elderly amplifier has recently developed an issue where it's now outputting great sound from one speaker, but barely any from the other. Balance is set ok, and if i swap the speaker connections at the back of the amp, then the opposite speaker is affected, so i know the speakers themselves and the speaker wires are ok. Not knowing anything at all about it's internal workings, i was wondering if anyone could advise me if it would be worth taking to a repair shop? It's unlikely parts would still be available, but it did have great sound, and if possible I'd love to be able to get it fixed. Many thanks in advance...

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  • Vivienne Boyd Feb 17, 2012

    Site not the easiest to use for a novice when it comes to answering posts, however I sincerely hope I have managed to pass on my grateful thanks to both contributors. Particularly joecoolvette, whose help and information was totally outstanding!! My first time on the site, but I will undoubtedly be back!! Thank you again!!

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Only 30 years old? I thought you were referring to an OLD amplifier.
One that used vacuum tubes.

One side isn't playing?

1) Could be the Balance 'pot'. (Potentiometer )

http://interactiondesign.sva.edu/classes/physicalcomputing/files/potentiometer_diagram.jpg

http://interactiondesign.sva.edu/classes/physicalcomputing/files/potentiometer.jpg

The top link to the illustration, shows a basic schematic of the workings of the 'Pot'.
The bottom link to the photo, shows an example of the 'Pot'.
The object to the right that has three wires going to it.

Looking at the illustration note the circle in the middle, and the line issuing from it. This represents the movable sliding contact, that is connected to the stem.
The knob you turn is connected to the stem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentiometer

The problem may be a $4 Potentiometer.
Easily replaceable by you if you have basic skills.

2) However the problem could be further. More than likely it's Electrolytic Capacitors that have broken down.

Electrolytic Capacitors have a chemical paste inside them.
Electrolytic Paste.

This paste breaks down over time. When it does it produces a gas. (Hydrogen Gas)
The gas expands inside the capacitor, and breaks seals.
When this transpires paste will ooze out of the capacitor, and the capacitor fails.

Electrolytic Capacitors are the weakest link in an electronic circuit. Designed to be. Engineers know that the capacitor will break down as time goes on, and use capacitors that are rated 2 times, as much as what is needed.

This way when the capacitor breaks down to 50 percent good, it is
still 100 percent good for the circuit it is in.

The Electrolytic Capacitors that are used are Radial Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors. May, or may not have Axial Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors.

(With the Radial design, both leads, Positive and Negative, come out of the same end. With the Axial design each lead comes out of an end,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capacitors_electrolytic.jpg )

3) Transistors:

May be transistors in the final output stage for that side.
Could be a power transistor though. (MOSFET)
Little expensive.

If the shop determines it will be expensive to fix, HOLD onto the amplifier.

Could be blowing smoke in your eyes, and want the amp because it is a collectible.
Talk to older musicians about the amp.

Regards,
joecoolvette

(For example a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier. Amp from the '60's, and used vacuum tubes. The sound is great, and I would take it in a heartbeat over an amp with transistors.

Sears Silvertone amp's.
Worth bucks )

Posted on Feb 12, 2012

Testimonial: "Amplifier now working perfectly!! Turned out to be just the potentiometer, and thank you Joe for the links to the wiring diagrams. Didn't do it myself eventually,( was afraid of wrecking it completely) but a friend of mine with more knowledge than me sorted it from your links. Have saved the other information you provided for future reference, you're a star!!"

  • Vivienne Boyd Feb 13, 2012

    Wow! Such a comprehensive answer, thank you so much for taking the time to post both the info and the links. I've not looked at the workings of the amp yet as I thought it would be beyond any knowledge I have, however I will now certainly have a go at checking out the potentiometer. If this isn't the issue, I can hopefully pursue the other avenues you have suggested with the benefit of now having some degree of insight. Thank you so much again!!

  • joecoolvette
    joecoolvette Feb 13, 2012

    You're very kind, (Blush) Thank you for the kind words!

    (Not asking. Since you indicate you haven't visited FixYa very much, just would like you to know that all solutions may be rated. (Isn't like a certain website, Y.A. )

    If you get into the workings of your amplifier;

    1) Visual signs of Capacitor failure,
    http://www.capacitorlab.com/visible-fail...

    (Info is about capacitors on desktop computer motherboards, but the information crosses over when dealing with any Electrolytic Capacitor )

    2) One supplier of electronic parts, and I have linked the page to the Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor section. (I can also guide you in obtaining the capacitors you may need, IF needed),
    http://www.mouser.com/Passive-Components...

    (Capacitors are a Passive Component)

    The two major suppliers are Japan, and Taiwan. The information needed however, is not always readily apparent. (Voltage and Microfarads) It is usually in a manufacturer's code on the side of the capacitor,
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/5...

    (Details both Japan, and Taiwan)

    A small capacitor replacement tutorial I like,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCSNWi3UH...

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Yes the transistors or on of them is either gone or about to its worth the repair should only be around TWENTY POUNDS

Posted on Feb 12, 2012

Testimonial: "Thank you so much for your help, it would certainly be worth fixing then if that's what it'll cost. Would the repair depend on obtaining original spare parts do you think? The amplifier is nearly 30 yrs old, so I would doubt if these would be available. Thanks again..."

  • Vivienne Boyd Feb 12, 2012

    "Thank you so much for your help, it would certainly be worth fixing then if that's what it'll cost. Would the repair depend on obtaining original spare parts do you think? The amplifier is nearly 30 yrs old, so I would doubt if these would be available. Thanks again... (My apologies for leaving this message in the wrong place earlier, not used this site before, hence my error)

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