Posts Tagged ‘KBO Dynamics’

Does Plate Dissipation Affect Valve / Tube Life In Practice ??

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

In general, the obvious connection between higher anode dissipation and shorter tube life holds good, however,  many other factors affect tube life, including accuracy of heater voltages and the efficiency of tube cooling within amplifiers.

The tube leaves the factory with a known amount of cathode coating material which is the source of all the electron emission. In use, this material is used up as it emits electrons when heated by the filament and plate current is drawn.

If plate current is drawn before the cathode is at operating temperature, the surface of the cathode can be damaged (so called ‘cathode stripping’).

This is why the Standby switch should be off when the amplifier is warming up. If, however, the tube is operated for long periods with the filament hot with little or no plate current being drawn, then an oxide-like coating can form on the cathode, effectively blocking the emission of electrons even when normal operation is required (known as ‘cathode poisoning’). TubeSync takes care of this by automatically controlling the bias at both start-up and run conditions.

vacuum tube EL34 valve

Plate dissipation is generally quoted by the manufacturer as a maximum value which, if exceeded could cause damage to the tube and should not generally be used for ‘normal’ operation. The relationship between tube life and plate dissipation follows an exponential curve. Tubes operated correctly at around 30% maximum dissipation can have lives in the region of tens of thousands of hours and can last several decades of years. This figure decreases rapidly as the dissipation increases, in some cased down to hundreds or even tens of hours as they approach or exceed their maximum plate dissipation rating.

Cooling is extremely important as running tubes very hot also increases the risk of arcing and a condition known as thermal runaway, which can instantly destroy the cathode material, making the tube useless. Conventionally biased tubes are most at risk when biased towards ‘Class-A’ operation, as they experience maximum power dissipation when no audio signal is present.

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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.

TubeSync Fitted To A Mesa Boogie F-50

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Sensational blues 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.”

Mitch & His Mesa F50“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.

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Above : TubeSync fitted to a Mesa Boogie F-50

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.

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Doug Doppler Demos Orange Amps Rockerverb 100 with DIVO Frankfurt Musikmesse 2011

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Doug Doppler Demos Orange Amps Rockerverb 100 with DIVO Musikmesse 2011

Orange Amps Rockerverb 100 with DIVO Musikmesse 2011 / Doug Doppler

Orange Amps Rockerverb 100 with DIVO Musikmesse 2011 / Doug Doppler

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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Tube Amp Testing For Professional Stage Performers – Engineering Tube Talk

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

A common requirement for tube amplifiers used for professional and stage purposes is that there should be a high percentage of confidence that one or more tubes will not fail during the performance. Tubes are often thought of in the same manner as light bulbs, in that they are most likely to fail catastrophically at switch on. This means that the moments just after the switch on point constitute the most stressful and potentially damaging periods in the life of the equipment.

In an attempt to guard against this possibility, it is common practice to do one of two things on a regular basis.

1/ regularly remove the tubes and have them commercially tested;

2/ replace the tubes with new stock on a regular basis.

These two methods may give the operator a degree of confidence but in fact, it can be shown that the faith placed in both methods is misplaced.

It is a known fact that removal of a tube from its socket results in a number of potentially damaging mechanical stresses on the metal to glass seals around the pins. Each insertion of an all glass tube will cause micro-cracking of the glass around the pin. This will invariably cause a small leakage of air into the valve, causing ‘gassing’ and eventually leading to its demise.

Removal for testing will also break the intimate contact between the holder and the tube contact pin, resulting in a poorer contact on re-insertion.

Many tube testers apply unreasonable electrical stresses to the tube internal electrodes and it is not uncommon for a known good valve to be damaged during the test. Tube testers can also give erroneous results depending on the way they perform the tests, possibly allowing faulty tubes to show ‘good’ and the good valves to be rejected as ‘bad’.

The second method of ‘blanket replacement’ with new stock on a regular basis can also lead to problems because if the failure distribution curve for tubes is analysed, it can be seen to follow the classic ‘bathtub’ failure curve. This inevitably means that an amplifier which is regularly ‘re-tubes’ will inevitably be considerably more likely to fail during the first hundred hours service than one which has been left untouched.

TubeSync overcomes these problems by performing an ‘in circuit’ test on the tubes every time the amplifier is powered up. The mutual conductance (gm) of the tube is measured by monitoring the cathode current of each valve whilst adjusting the grid bias in fixed steps. The results are tabulated and the new value is compared with previously stored values. A decision is then made on how far the tube has decayed in emission since the last test. Outputs from the device inform the user of the predicted remaining life of the tube.

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TubeSync Facebook Friends Are Now 2,000+

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Due to the growing demand TubeSync has now over 2,000 friends on Facebook!

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Click on the link above if you would like to join the TubeSync Revolution

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.