Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

Orange Amplification Announces DIVO VT1000 Valve Tester

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Orange Amplification has released the DIVO  VT1000 Valve Tester, an automatic valve tester that performs a host of diagnostics on both preamp and power amp tubes. The unit has one octal and two nine pin valve sockets to fit pe-amp and EL34 valves. Once inserted, the user presses the start button and the tests are run.

Vt1000 valve tester

VT1000 Details:

Tests run:

  • Heater filament test: Short circuit
  • Heater filament test: Open circuit
  • Heater filament test: Tolerance check
  • Heater cathode insulation: Leakage
  • Heater cathode insulation: Short Circuit
  • Tests for heater current abnormalities
  • Amplification factor
  • Voltage gain
  • Power gain
  • Screen grid test
  • Mutual conductance test
  • Dual test for double triodes
  • Emission
  • Inter electrode leakage
  • Inter electrode short circuit
  • Flash-over (arc detection, high voltage breakdown)
  • Gas ionisation test

Compatible Valves:

  • EL34/6CA7
  • EL34L
  • 6L6
  • 6V6/6v6GTA
  • KT66
  • KT77
  • KT88
  • 6550
  • 5881
  • EL84/6BQ5
  • ECC81/12AT7
  • ECC82/12AU7
  • ECC83/12AX7
  • ECC99
  • 12BH7

Orange TubeSync DIVO OV4

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Engine management for your valve amp? It’s here and it works brilliantly

Nick Guppy (Guitarist).

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Bias, and how to set it, is probably one of the most contentious issues for many valve amp users, especially those who like to tweak their amp by installing different makes or types of output valve.

Put simply, bias is your valve’s idle adjustment – it’s like making sure your car is ticking over properly. In fixed bias amplifiers, this is achieved by applying a negative voltage to the valve’s control grid – literally a grid of wire that sits between the cathode and plate.

“Once set, the OV4 continually micro-adjusts the bias current for each individual valve, keeping the amp running at peak efficiency.”

When you switch your amp on, electrons are generated at the cathode and pulled towards the plate, causing current to flow. This happens because electrons are negatively charged particles and the plate is energised with a strong positive voltage – opposite poles attract.

Varying the control grid’s negative voltage means this flow of electrons can be slowed to a trickle, or even stopped – like poles repel.

Although people often refer to the negative bias voltage setting, it’s the actual idle current that is important. All valves have an ideal idle current, typically around 30-50 milliamps, and for the amp to operate at its best it’s important that all your output valves are idling equally.

Click here to find out more!

This is done by fitting valves that have been matched in pairs or quartets, however even the best matching doesn’t mean that valves will wear equally, so in order to keep your amp operating at its best, an occasional small adjustment to the bias is sometimes necessary.

Usually these adjustments are at best a compromise; as individual output valves rarely draw the same idle current. What if there was a device that could measure and automatically adjust the bias for each individual valve? Well now there is: the Orange/TubeSync DIVO, which stands for Dynamic Intelligent Valve Optimisation.

It’s been available in OEM format for some time, however retrofitting this to an existing amp isn’t easy and is definitely beyond most guitarists’ capabilities. What was needed was a simple, bolt-on accessory that can be added to any fixed bias amp, and that’s what Orange has now come up with, in the shape of the DIVO OV4.

Built into an aluminium case about the size of a small paperback, the OV4 module comes with both a bracket and strong industrial Velcro fixings. Four piggyback octal sockets, or interceptors as Orange calls them, are connected to a strong nylon multi-pin plug that is located at one end of the module.

There are two small push-button switches, one offering a choice of standard and custom bias settings, while the other is called ‘share the wear’. At the other end of the module there’s an earth connection, together with an RJ45 socket and a standard 6mm jack socket.

The RJ45 socket is where the DIVO OV4’s interface module plugs in, allowing the product to be configured and interrogated from a PC using a small Windows-compatible program. This handy software lets authorised resellers/installers configure the custom bias switch setting, either globally or for each valve individually, as well as a second ‘idle only’ bias current that operates as a progressive standby feature.

Once set, the OV4 continually micro-adjusts the bias current for each individual valve, keeping the amp running at peak efficiency. It also means that you can run any combination of standard octal power valve you like, although pairs, such as 6L6s and EL34s are more useful.

With no audio present, the OV4 can automatically drop the bias current to a lower setting to reduce wear and tear, instantly returning to its higher level when audio is detected.

In the event of a valve fault, a clever algorithm shuts off the affected pair automatically and remembers which valves are at fault, displaying them on warning LEDs, as well as in the software, while also keeping a record of how many hours use the amp has had, both with and without audio.

The jack socket connects to a standard footswitch letting you switch the amp from full power (all four valves on) to half power, moreover the ‘share the wear’ function remembers which pair of valves were switched off the last time and alternates them, keeping wear as even as possible, although if you use two different pairs of valves, such as 6L6s and EL34s, you can use this as a tone option, swapping from one pair to the other. Cool or what?

In Use

Click here to find out more!

Installing the OV4 on an unmolested 1970s Marshall 100-watt Super Lead head, we deliberately plug in an assortment of unmatched power valves – an EL34, a 6V6, a 6L6 and a 6550.

Setting the custom bias measurements for each valve in the DIVO’s software, we use a special piggyback test socket connected to a multimeter to verify the DIVO does actually do what it says on the can – needless to say, it does.

We then install an old set of EL34s and compare these results with a brand new matched quartet of Groove Tubes – the OV4 automatically senses the difference, easily dealing with big variations across the old valves and smaller ones on the new set.

Sonically, the OV4 noticeably tightens up the Super Lead’s midrange focus and attack while also slightly reducing mains hum, indicating that the magic DIVO box is actually making a positive improvement to the amp’s performance.

For owners of most fixed bias four-valve amps, DIVO offers a reliable and simple means of ensuring peak operation at all times; it works efficiently and transparently and should extend the working life of valves way beyond the point when most people would start thinking about replacement.

There was a time when all cars used a mechanical device called a carburettor to spray fuel into the engine – mechanics had to adjust them by hand, using a plethora of vacuum gauges, stethoscopes and experience to get the best results.

Today, this dark art has been replaced by the convenience and reliability of electronic fuel injection and engine management – if your mechanic wants to know what’s happening inside your engine he doesn’t make intelligent guesses any more, he plugs in a laptop instead and the car tells him what’s wrong.

The DIVO OV4 is really like engine management for your valve amp. It’s ready-fitted to the Orange Rockerverb 100, meanwhile this retrofit version is quick and easy for authorised installers to fit to almost any four-valve design.

As there’s presently no competition, it’s difficult to make comparisons, but we think the price is pitched just about right. Those who like to tweak things may be frustrated that the PC interface and diagnostic software isn’t available to the general public, however there is the possibility of damaging your amp if it isn’t configured properly, so this is an entirely sensible decision.

DIVO works perfectly and does an excellent job of keeping even the most wayward valves on the straight and narrow. If you want to get the absolute best out of your amp and improve its reliability, DIVO is almost an essential – it’s a real innovation.

Verdict

A brilliant idea from the UK that could be the way of the future for valve amp design.

Oranges in the Tornado

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Pics from Glory Days music in Joplin, MO USA. A reporter at CNN saw the orange tolex and took the pics.

We sincerely hope that the company can recover from this, our thoughts and best wishes go out to all.

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Checkout the cymbal sliced into the door frame

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Orange Amps DIVO TubeSync and OV4 Explained

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Orange Amps presents DIVO with TubeSync technology. DIVO helps increase the life of your tubes, protects against unexpected tube failure, and even allows for (4) different tube types to be installed in the same amp.

DIVO will come pre-installed on select Orange Rockerverb 100 MKII heads beginning Summer 2011. The OV4 stand-alone unit, also available in 2011, can be installed on almost any amp that has (4) power tube slots.

ov4_tubesync

TubeSync DIVO A Brilliant Idea From The UK That Could Be The Way Of The Future For Valve Amp Design

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Checkout the TubeSync DIVO review in the April 2011 Guitarist Magazine.

”TubeSync DIVO works perfectly and does an excellent job of keeping even the most wayward valves on the straight and narrow. If you want to get the absolute best out of your amp and improve its reliability, DIVO is almost an essential – it’s a real innovation”.

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TubeSync At The UK Northern Newcastle Guitar Show

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Come and see TubeSync / DIVO in action at the Northern Newcastle Guitar Show:

lespaul

Northern Newcastle Guitar Show

The Lancastrian Suite, Federation Brewery, Lancaster Rd, Dunston, Gateshead, NE11 9JR

on Sunday 6th  March 2011

With Blues Guitarist : Mitch Laddie

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What People Say About TubeSync

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Guitarist Mitch Laddie has been out touring with the product fitted to his Mesa/Boogie F-50, which he said sounds “incredible”. “I had totally fallen out of love with this particular amp before Tubesync was fitted but the difference in sound is more than substantial. The response and tone have been improved ten-fold. Very tight, very fat and all round punchier, especially in the low to mid frequencies.”

Mich_Laddie

“I believe the product is very interesting and definitely nothing like anything I’ve seen or used before. The main advantages of the product are that not only does it give you a valve maintenance feature by displaying a light if a fault is found within a valve, but it manages your valves to run at an equal number of milliamps. This means that each valve is working at an equal rate which in theory gives you optimum amp performance.

“You can also connect the product to a computer and by using the TubeSync software you can dial in the parameters for each valve to your liking. This makes room for a lot of exciting experimentation,” he said.

“You can fit whichever valves you like, no matter which amp you are using with the product fitted and not only can you fit whatever valves you chose but you can mix valves and it will automatically bias them with no issues at all. This also gives room for a lot of exciting experimentation which we are going to get under way when I return from the current tour.”

Orange
Technical director for Orange Amps, Adrian Emsley, plans to launch a new 100W model involving TubeSync at the upcoming Winter NAMM show next year, but didn’t disclose any further details. He did say that he thought the product was “extremely groundbreaking” with regards how it can be incorporated into high end tube guitar, bass and hi-fi amplifiers. “It can keep an amplifier perfectly set up and keep it always sounding great on the road!” he said.

Audio Kitchen Amps, an Acton-based guitar amp manufacturer, has incorporated TubeSync into its bass amps, one of which is currently being used by Kings of Leon. Audio Kitchen’s Steve Crow commented: “It’s pretty cool, that’s for sure. For me the most revolutionary aspect is the show-must-go-on factor; normally if an output valve goes bandy during a gig it’ll take out a fuse on the amp and the player is left playing air-guitar, but TubeSync will shut down the offending valve pairs and the show goes on. Genius.”?Tired Pony, the supergroup featuring Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and REM’s Peter Buck, have already played their first live gig with the help of an Audio Kitchen Base Chopper amp fitted with TubeSync, at London’s Forum venue in Kentish Town on July 14. According to Crow the band have been “loving it” so far and there are other bands lined up to try it out.

Audio Kitchen
Crow added: “People are scared of the word ‘Bias’, but TubeSync does lots of the thinking for you so it’s possibly a less daunting proposition for the average musician or tech. Also because the valves are individually biased, you don’t necessarily need matched pairs of output valves anymore.”

Hiwatt UK amplifiers, as used by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Killers and The Enemy, is another adopter of the TubeSync. The company plans to install the product on its pro series of guitar amplifiers as standard. Hiwatt’s Mark Lodge said: “Pretty much all of the bands that we deal with will start to add TubeSync to their amplifiers over the next year. We are just actually putting together the wiring practices etc, for our builders to be able to incorporate TubeSync into our UK pro series custom shop amplifiers.” Lodge said the reason they have got behind the product from the start was because it is a “fantastic” piece of kit that solves many problems associated with valve amplifiers.

Hiwatt UK
He added: “We all know that valve amplifiers sound by FAR the best, the only issue is that 99.9% of the time, the valves let the amplifier down. The deteriation can be traced back to when the military ceased to use valves; since then, the quality has gone down and down. TubeSync negates this and actually once more gives builders and performers hope and peace of mind. I think it is a huge step forward for the valve amplifier.”

Wienbrock Amplifiers
Wienbrock Amplifiers owns two 45W production amps that currently use TubeSync, one with overdrive, one without. Rob Wienbrock said: “The TubeSync takes a completely new approach that has many hidden benefits. Its main advantages are significant reduction in power consumed, huge reduction in heat emissions, greatly extended valve and component life and great reduction in maintenance costs.
BREAKING THE BACKLINE MARKET

John Henry’s will be the first backline rental company to test out the TubeSync management system. Said Fallon: “We see the backline rental market as a market for us because they do have problems with amplifiers and they have to maintain the ones they’ve got when they rent them out.
“John Henry took us round his facilities and he has hundreds of amplifiers, one shelf had about 50 marshall amps on, so we realised we needed to give him something quick to install.”
John Henry commneted: “I haven’t managed to see one in action yet but from the brief overview it was a very interesting product, there’s nothing else like it, and if it works we would certainly be interested in having a look and trying it out. Anything that can tell you when a valve is about to pop is a good thing.
“I was a little bit concerned about how you actually fit it without drilling holes and damaging the authenticity of a vintage piece of kit because as it stands it’s based at the valve market. I think they need to make one which is an external fit. So it’s in the early stages and I’d need to get my engineers to test it out, but in theory it looks good.”

John Henrys
KBO Dynamics has been working on an external fit model specifically for the backline rental market. Said Fallon: “At the moment TubeSync is a circuit card that goes in the amp, but we’ve put it into a large circuit board self contained unit. It de-skills the fitting process so the user can easily retro-fit it into an existing guitar amp in around 5-10 minutes. John Henry will be the first one to test this out.”
Added Henry: “We go through thousands of valves a year so for us it would be a great asset as we might not need to replace a set of valves but maybe just one. It has a lot of potential.”

The Scissor Sisters Choose Hiwatt, Hiwatt Choose TubeSync

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The extravagant disco pop group The Scissor Sisters have purchased a Hiwatt amp for recording and live performances. They have just been announced as support to Lady Gaga for the North American leg of her Monsters Ball tour and have a new single “Any Which Way” out now.

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KBO Dynamics TubeSync Technology

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Introduction

There is a certain quirkiness about the British psyche. On the one hand, the proportion of consumers in this country who actually bother thoroughly to read instruction manuals is undoubtedly very low. On the other, there was a Japanese survey, apparently, that found of all significant inventions going back over 200 years, 55% of them were British. Obviously, the Germans are more disciplined and better organised. The Americans are driven. The Japanese are still incredibly advanced technically, yet the British struggle to get the trains running on time. Maybe that’s the point: because we’re surrounded by chaos, we’ve had to become inventive.

The Americans make the best electric guitars but the British make the best amplification, goes the old adage. Doubtless, there are as many British luthiers as American amp manufacturers chorusing their disagreement, but as a general rule, this is probably true. And although if you look at all the great British amp makers – Hiwatt, Marshall, Sound City, Orange and the rest – they all have an Achilles Heel: the tubes. Ironic, really; amps that collectively have been responsible for the greatest sounds in contemporary music relying on components whose design hasn’t altered at all for decades. Enter TubeSync.

TubeSync_225

The engineering guys here at KBO Dynamics – inventors of TubeSync technology -are into power supply. Their background ranges from white goods to defence, and to be fair, making a washing machine go is hardly rock’n’roll. But when they turned their knowledgeable gaze towards tube amps, well, that’s different. For example, when a technician at Hiwatt builds a Custom tube amplifier, he and he alone will spend 20 hours soldering the components to stringent quality control guidelines: no production line or PCBs here. Yet, despite this labour of love, if the tubes fail, the amp won’t work. So when KBO Dynamics approached Hiwatt with a system that could monitor the tubes constantly when the amp is turned on, adjust the biases, forewarn if the tube was getting flaky and even switch pairs should one of the tubes fail completely, they pricked up their ears.

TubeSync

Musicians don’t shell out for a big, powerful expensive amp if they’re not gigging. That makes them either pro musicians or semi-pro at the very least. That also means that the public shell out to go and see them play. Therefore, neither party will be particularly chuffed if a tube goes in the middle of a performance. Yes, the pro musician probably carries a spare amp just in case, as most guitarists have a spare guitar in case they break a string, but it’s not ideal. TubeSync gives the musician peace of mind; simple. With TubeSync fitted in the amplifier, it’s a bit like having a dedicated amp tech working full time on that amp from the moment it’s turned on to the moment it’s turned off.

custom ampThe output from a traditional 100-watt valve amplifier comes from two pairs of EL34 tubes: matched 1 and 4, and 2 and 3. There are companies who sell ‘matched’ pairs of these tubes, as two identical tubes will tend to last longer than an unmatched pair. Normally, the EL34 will operate at 50Ma, although they can be rated higher, but the higher they are rated, the shorter their life. Best not to fiddle around too much, then. Better still, let TubeSync do what fiddling there needs to be done. The device, which is not an integral part of the amplifier, sits within the circuitry and ensures that the pairs remain matched throughout, and micro-adjusting the biases when necessary. Four LEDs on the facia plate – one for each tube – serve as a visual indicator of the state of each one. So the musician is given adequate warning if one of the tubes is getting flaky. In the unlikely event of one of the tubes letting go completely without warning, TubeSync will immediately switch out the affected pair; OK, the amp will be functioning at only half power, but at least it will be working. That’s peace of mind. Knowing that this technology is available but not using it would be a bit like driving really fast whilst wearing welding goggles. Don’t want to worry you or anything.

hayden Granted, having TubeSync installed in the amp is going to give peace of mind, but then we at KBO Dynamics haven’t just left it at that. Professionals in the music industry need to find out not only that there are certain strains on the tubes within the amp, but are there conditions within the live situation that perhaps put an amount of stress on the tubes above others. Handy that the techies can plug a laptop into TubeSync and get a readout, then. Handier still, we are working on an interface that when completed will allow the TubeSync-ed amp to hook up with either us or Hiwatt via the internet, and the amp’s performance can be monitored remotely in real time, even if the gig is in Australia. How formula 1 is that then? But then again, it isn’t, when you think about it; it’s more like professional progress. The Rolling Stones, for example, earn millions every time they tour – having seen them, they’re worth every penny, but that’s just one opinion – but they will never have toured in the past with amps loaded with TubeSync. Imagine the poor old amp techs frantically peering through the grilles of the back line checking for the dreaded EL34 red death glow while the band is laying it down for over a million fans on a beach in Brazil: now that’s stress.

We are talking with other amplifier manufacturers, but Hiwatt was a logical place to start: they are fiercely proud of their reputation for reliability, rightly so, and any technology that compliments that reputation is clearly going to be of interest to them. Both KBO Dynamics and Hiwatt feel that the incorporation of TubeSync technology genuinely adds value not just to the amplifier, but also to the whole amplification process. Tubes are still fairly reliable; with or without TubeSync, manufacturers wouldn’t build tube amps if they weren’t and we’re not in the business of scaremongering. However, the fact of the matter is that they are still the least reliable component part of the amp, and if you have experienced ‘sod’s law’, then you’ll know that if a tube is going to fail then it’ll pick the most inconvenient time to do so. Going back to the driving analogy, the odds of you needing the airbag in your car are reassuringly long. But try driving a car without one fitted, you genuinely do feel vulnerable.

Conclusion

In recent years, there has been an exponential rise in ‘extreme sports’ and the arrival of the adrenaline junkie, doubtless in response to an increasingly risk-averse society. The term “Nanny State” has been coined as a result. But let’s keep things in perspective; there’s a big difference in safety for safety’s sake and straightforward common sense. TubeSync technology has been designed to prolong the life of the tubes in the gigging musician’s amp – which is good – and also to alert them to the fact that the tube is approaching the end of its life – also good. We think that’s common sense, which is why we invented it.

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TubeSync Service Points : Why Should You?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

TubeSync technology

TubeSync streamlines with the amp’s circuitry to constantly test and monitor the amp without altering the fundamental amplification process, tone or sound. It eliminates the need for bias current matching, increases tube life by micro-adjusting the bias on each tube, predicts tube failure and can, in the event of tube failure, even run the amp at half power, preventing catastrophic amp damage. ­­

The result is an amp unhampered by many of the problems associated with conventional tube amplification allowing musicians to enjoy classic tube sound quality without the frustrations.

These are just some of TubeSync’s unique features:

  • Eliminates the need for bias current matching of output tubes
  • Micro-adjusts the bias on each tube to ensure its full potential is realised
  • Assures reliability
  • Maintains optimum performance
  • Increases tube life
  • Reduces quiescent power consumption
  • Sets tubes at their optimum temperature as soon as you power up
  • Detects tube failure and prevents catastrophic damage to amp
  • Switches out faulty tubes and runs amps at half power until tube can be changed

A new industry standard

TubeSync technology has now been incorporated in new amp designs from some of the world’s most prominent amp manufacturers. Hiwatt, famed for their legendary reliability, was one of the first OEMs to recognise the potential of TubeSync for further enhancing the reliability and performance of their amps. KBO Dynamics continues to work with the industry’s biggest names to raise the bar in tube performance and reliability, creating a new industry standard in amp design and manufacture.

Introducing the Bias Engine

The Bias Engine is the hardware that encapsulates TubeSync’s unique technology. Fitting the Bias Engine is a straightforward procedure, with all necessary components supplied within the retrofit kit. It is stipulated that the Bias Engine is fitted by an accredited technician.

Bias engine retailThe Bias Engine is sold as a part of the TubeSync Professional Amp Upgrade Kit containing:

TubeSync Bias Engine Hardware

TubeSync hardware is wired straight into the amp’s circuitry. The Bias Engine is a very compact component that can be incorporated in both point-to-point and PCB wired amps.

Tube fault LED indicator harness and amp chassis LED plate

The Bias Engine is wired to 4 LED indicators that permanently illuminate when the tube is faulty and ‘flash’ when the tube needs to be replaced. The LEDs sit on the amp chassis, surrounded by the LED plate.

Wiring harness and mechanical fixings

The wiring harness, bundling all necessary wires and connectors, completes the kit along with a full set of mechanical fixings for securing the Bias Engine.

TubeSync Bias Runner software

Improving amplifier biasing methods, servicing and fault diagnostics

Interfacing with Bias Engine hardware, our Bias Runner software has been designed to allow OEMs and professional amp technicians to interrogate the status of an amplifier, alter bias settings, perform field diagnostics and configure the amp for best performance, further adding value to your services.Bias Runner_02

Bias Runner is easy to install, offering full fault diagnostics, enabling tube biasing with and without audio present, either collectively or as individual tubes. It is the perfect tool for warranty provision and servicing, providing a database of hardware serial numbers and storing amplifier parameter settings for full traceability.

Total service hours

Reads and displays the total number of hours the amplifier has been powered up. Optional reset facility available if required.

Total duration with audio

Reads and displays the total number of hours the amplifier has been driven with audio. Optional reset facility available if required.

Total hours idle

Reads and displays the total number of hours the amplifier has remained idle i.e. has not been driven with audio. Optional reset facility available if required.

Faulty tube log

Reads and displays the number of times a tube has been switched off due to a fault during the lifetime of the amplifier. A reset function is available for each individual tube.

Bias current (Audio present)

Enables the user to adjust tube current bias settings collectively or individually

Bias Current Idle (No Audio Present)

Enables the user to adjust tube current bias settings collectively or individually

Hardware and version status

Displays the serial number of the TubeSync module and the hardware version number

Serial number and settings database

Stores all serial numbers together with amplifier parameter settings in a   database for full traceability

Our commitment to you

We work closely with all of our partners to promote high standards and to support you in realising the full benefits of our truly innovative and impactful core technology and associated products.

As a TubeSync retailer or accredited technician you will receive:

Guaranteed product quality

All of our products are manufactured to the highest quality standards using state of the art assembly equipment. All components are ROSH compliant and uniquely identified for full batch traceability

A comprehensive solution

A complete package of hardware and software supports ease of use and easy configuration

Technical support

Our approach is founded on product and service quality. We offer our retail partners generous technical support to ensure that you are fully equipped for promoting TubeSync technology and advising your customers appropriately.

As an authorised retailer you will appoint a technician(s) who will receive training from our own technical team and who will be required to become certified as an accredited TubeSync technician before performing installations.

Warranty

All components come with a 12 month warranty which commences from the date of installation. Full warranty terms are available on request.