serial number

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 30: Working On It

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Superfly chassis shipped
Date: 29 April 2008 17:56:48 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hi David;

It's an early amp, in the #0030'-0040 range.
Adrian put the upgraded transformer inside, as the original Mercury Magnetics units proved to be total crap.

we are working on it today to bring it up to the latest specifications.

BZ

Here's the first expression of dissatisfaction with the ill-fated reverb transformer, but why worry? Bruce is working on the amp that very day.

Naively perhaps I took this as an indication that the work could be done in the sort of timescale I'd previously imagined.

So I left it a couple of weeks before wondering how they were getting on - see part 31.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 29: Identity Revealed?

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly chassis shipped
Date: 29 April 2008 11:42:28 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

That's great news! I guess my packaging survived OK.

Now you've seen it, do you have any idea what the serial number was originally (assuming you haven't actually found it after all my searching proved unsuccessful)?

Also I'm more than curious to know what repair Adrian did to the reverb?

Regards,

David

I indulged my curiosity with a couple of questions to Bruce, not that the answers were that important now he had the amp.

The missing serial number is something of a mystery to this day, though.

Bruce's response was plenty encouraging though - see part 30.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 16: Can You Fix It?

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 10 April 2008 10:25:19 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

I certainly have got an intermittent reverb :( What I don't have is a serial number. I just took the chassis out of the case and although there's a Smoky Amps sticker right inside the chassis approximately in line with the bass knob, there is nothing written on it apart from the standard logo and no other visible stickers at either end of the chassis, inside or out.

So how about getting the amp to you to sort out the various issues, please?

Regards,

Dave

For the first time I took the chassis out of the combo case and really had a good look at it.

What I saw convinced me that only an expert assessment was going to unravel the mysteries therein. Rarely can a valve amp have had as tightly-packed circuitry - point-to-point this wasn't.

So I concluded with a direct request to ship it back to them. Bruce's reply was partly in agreement - see part 17.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 15: Really Starting Over

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 9 April 2008 23:32:38 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hi David;
The amp should have a serial number inside the chassis, near the input jack even if the back panel serial number was removed.
Might also be one near the on/off switches, inside the chassis.

You've got an intermittent reverb. This could be easily caused by a cable that is on the blink. Most all the internal cables can be unplugged and checked out individually. Many of those cables are crimped connector types, which can be pulled apart, stripped, tinned, then crimped again and then soldered. That won't fail, but the crimped only connectors can.

Z

So I've got an intermittent reverb (paragraph 2)? I think I knew that, as well as I knew that it didn't for some reason have a serial number.

At this point I tried to steer back toward the idea of getting the amp repaired - see part 16.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 14: More Puzzlement

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 9 April 2008 21:28:14 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for the response.

As I wrote near the end of my email, I have never been able to find a serial number despite having the chassis out and looking really closely all over. I can send photographs if that would help?

I just tried the test you suggested. About three times the reverb appeared to have cut out so I stopped playing and rocked the cabinet. I got a mild crashing sound but as soon as I played a note on the guitar again the reverb was working again. Then for the last 20 minutes of testing the reverb didn't cut out again. It's unpredictable like that when I'm testing it at home. Not a definitive answer I'm afraid.

Regards,

Dave

Although the method seemed sensible, I couldn't get the amp to drop the reverb signal to order or to make a crashing noise in a predictable way that would give an idea of what was wrong.

If the act of shaking the amp revitalised whatever was causing the reverb dropout, I'd hear the crashing always (although I'd tried gently banging the amp before when the reverb failed, with mixed results).

I reported this back to Bruce. His diagnosis was incisive - see part 15.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 13: Starting Over

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 9 April 2008 19:09:29 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hello Dave;

What is the serial number on that amp?
If the pan doesn't make crashing sounds when you rock the cabinet back and forth, then there is a problem either in the pan (output section), or in the return portion of the circuit.

If the amp DOES make crashing sounds when you rock the cabinet back and forth (but no reverb), then the problem is likely to be somewhere between the 12AT7 (which should be OK) and the pan input.

Let me know the results of the crashing tests, and the serial number. The serial number will also give me some clues.

BZ

I didn't expect Bruce to remember every detail of what had gone before, but having previously stated twice that I couldn't find a serial number, it was frustrating to see that as the first question.

Frustration was to be the overriding theme from henceforth however.

At least there was a sensible suggestion included, but why didn't Bruce or I think of that a year ago?

I tried the suggestion and reported back as soon as I could - see part 14.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 12: A Year Later

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 9 April 2008 17:28:31 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

Hi, you may remember me emailing early last year. To keep it brief, my problem was that the reverb on my Superfly Combo kept cutting out. No crackling, just one minute it was there and the next gone. An exchange of emails ensued discussing possible reasons and other issues with the Superfly but after 15 March 2007 I sent three more emails, none of which was replied to.

Jumping foward to where I am now:

1 I bought a new set of pre-amp tubes and figured out where the 12AT7 should be (not the socket where it was when I bought the amp!) This has not fixed the reverb problem.

2 I bought a replacement reverb pan direct from Accutronics. It sounds just like the original but has not fixed the reverb problem.

3 I bought replacement power tubes, taking care to get proper Sovtek 5881s. I guess I should have scheduled in a bias adjustment because when I fitted them and used the amp for band practice the amp developed a loud hum and smell of excessive heat after about an hour. The tubes are marked 42mV on the boxes. I have re-instated the previous set of tubes for now but would like to know what is required to get the amp running happily on the new set. It was also unclear from previous communications which amp tecs in the UK would be qualified to work on it?

I understood that, for a charge, there are some upgrades that can be done to the Superfly, but that the chassis would have to be sent back to you.

I have now bought a backup amp so I can get along without the Superfly for a period of time. I would like to send it back to you so I can get the upgrade done and the reverb problem checked out.

Additionally, I have found that the overall weight of the combo format is just too much for transporting it around. Can you supply me a case for the head alone - I have already transplanted the speakers into a separate speaker cab to use with my backup amp?

By the way, despite taking the chassis out of the cabinet and having another damn good look, I still cannot find a serial number anywhere.

I'll pay the cost of shipping, I'll pay for the upgrade, I'll pay for the head-only case, I'll pay for shipping it back to me. I would just like to get the issues resolved finally so that I can use the amp to its full potential. To recap: reverb, upgrade, bias, head-only case.

Please let me know how I should proceed.

Kind regards,

Dave Jackson

In the preceding year I had lived with the intermittent reverb but understandably was not happy at having to do so. As I outlined in my next email (opposite), I'd bought new pre-amp valves and even gone to the trouble of buying a new reverb pan (not particularly expensive considering it was sent from the USA), but that did not help the original problem.

By April 2008 the situation had changed partly due to the effect of having put in new (and supposedly good-quality) power valves.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 9: How Much To Ship?

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Re: March 14 email about frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 15 March 2007 23:12:49 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for getting back to me.

The reverb works from switch-on, and then at some point when I'm concentrating on playing, it simply drops way down in volume and stays like that for an unpredictable period of time. There's no crackling or popping sounds like you might get from a loose connection.

I'm wondering if its heat-related as next time I use the amp the reverb initially works?

I'd certainly like to get the $100 amp upgrade. Do you use a particular shipping service? What would the typical cost be to send an amp chassis back to you? It would also be very useful to get an idea of turn-around time as I'm currently using the amp most days (despite lack of reverb) so I'd have to sort out an alternative while my amp is being fixed.

As I explained in earlier emails, I could not find a serial number anywhere on the outside of the amp. Maybe if I take the chassis out I'll finally see one.

Regards,

Dave

I tried to restate the problem - no complete failure, just intermittent lack of reverb.

Aside from the shipping cost, I noted that I'd have to buy a backup amp to use while the Superfly was away. It seems a reasonable question to ask how long that would be.

...and I still couldn't find a serial number anywhere.

At least this time I got a quick response - see part 10.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 8: No UK Repairer?

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Trying again with my 22 Feb reply re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 14 March 2007 21:32:01 GMT
To: dave@dave.st

Dave;

Upgrades include everything we know that will improve the Superfly.

UK- I don't know anyone in the UK with the ability who has the time. Adrian from Orange had done one upgrade fix for us (after some famous and clueless amp tech couldn't figure it out). As far as shipping goes, I may be able to get the amp consigned with another cargo to substantially reduce the shipping cost. However, there would be a wait.

If the reverb is not working at all, and all of the tubes are correct and the reverb pan checks out, I will do the upgrade at no charge.

What is the serial number on your Superfly?

BZ

So it seemed like the upgrade could be quite involved... but no-one in the UK was able to do it?

Shipping costs could be minimised subject to a possible wait? At this point I didn't know what waiting was!

Strange question at the end though: I'd mentioned in my first email that I could not find the serial number.

Still, I went back to the amp to have another good look. See part 9 for my response.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 5: Inconclusive Observations

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 4 February 2007 21:07:25 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for your prompt reply, sorry it's taken me this long to acknowledge it. I played around with the box connections and hooked it up in line with the red side of the reverb tank rather than the black side as it had been, and the one time I have been able to use it since, I have not noticed it cut out completely, and the signal level into the reverb appears not to be causing symptoms of overload.

I would be interested to know the details of the sensitivity mod you mention. If it's just down to cutting the wires on one capacitor, I think I could handle it.

I had another good look for a serial number on every surface that is visible without removing the chassis, without success. Was it just a self-adhesive sticker that could have been peeled off?

Thanks and regards,

Dave Jackson

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Trying again re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 20 February 2007 19:41:10 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Hoping this will appear on your radar this time...

Regards,

Dave

It took me a week or so to find the time to check out the amp and my observations were not exactly conclusive - I still had an intermittent problem, but had it just become more intermittent?

Receiving no reply by 20 February, I re-sent the email with the comment "Hoping this will appear on your radar this time..." (see below right).

This was the first indication that the initial quick response from Bruce might not be typical. However a response did come - see part 6.

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