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Old 8th October 2010, 12:36 PM   #1
cr0wl3y is offline cr0wl3y  United Kingdom
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Default Help - the pre amp I made is not working!

I built Jan Lodstrom's reMUS phono-line preamp from a Sound Practices article at an old and it just won't work. I get no sound out of it!

I have checked all the components and connections and everything is kosher and the valves are all either new or NOS tested by the retailer. I have attached the schematic and components list to this message.

I decided to try and figure out what stage of the pre-amp is problematic. I have established that the line stage is not working. (I have not checked phono yet so not sure, but let's fix this for the time being and worry about the rest later.) I did this by running my ipod straight into the point that I have labelled "Input" on the schematic.

Could anyone please suggest where I could start looking for problems? My understanding of electronics is limited and this project and the research around it in part serves the purpose of learning so that I make more ambitious things in the future, so please bear with my ignorance.

Some facts that may or may not be significant:

1. Instead of the suggested B+ supply, I am using an RCRCRC filter after bridge. I am getting ~270-280 V DC out of it.
2. My power transformer is a bit too powerful for my purposes, so I had to kill a lot of voltage with the filter. To get to he 270-280V there was a fair deal of trial and error with different resistance values. This meant that I had to run the pre-amp at voltages up to 370 V a few times, all of which for less than one minute. Is there any way I could have damaged anything by doing this?
3. Initially, I had forgotten the C11 capacitor and ran this a few times without it. Again, could I have damaged anything as a result of this?
4. Instead of the suggested 6V supply for the heaters I am using a regulated supply designed by Wavebourne. I am getting 12.85 V DC out of that. (I have of course wired the heaters accordingly.)
5. Although the schematic calls for 3 ECC83s and two ECC82s, I have used (in a V1-V5 order) two ECC83s followed by one ECC81 before the volume pot, followed by an ECC82 at the first stage of the line and an ECC81 at the end. I did this following the suggestions in the article accompanying the schematic, which read:

"The preamp uses five tubes, each of which handles both channels. Two 12AX7s provide the phono amplifications with RIAA equalisation. A 12AT7 is used for an isolation stage and driver for the volume control and tape output. The line stage uses a 12AU7 as a voltage amplifier direct coupled to a 12AT7 cathode follower to provide a solid low impedance output"

6. I have been feeding this into the "CD input" of a solid state amp to test.

Many thanks,
Nikos
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File Type: jpg Remus.jpg (155.8 KB, 481 views)

Last edited by cr0wl3y; 8th October 2010 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:44 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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Measure all of the plate, grid, and cathode voltages of the line stage tube, and we'll go from there.
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:49 PM   #3
piano3 is offline piano3  United Kingdom
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No sound at all?Have you checked the volume pot to see that it hasn't gone open circuit? Do you know approx. what voltages to expect at various points in the circuit?

Sorry,Sy beat me to it.
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Old 8th October 2010, 01:22 PM   #4
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Daft question: are the heaters on? You should be able to see them.

There ought to be a resistor (say 1M) from V4 grid to earth, with a capacitor coupling the signal from the volume pot slider. This reduces pot noise, and protects the valve from pot failure.
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Old 8th October 2010, 01:25 PM   #5
cr0wl3y is offline cr0wl3y  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piano3 View Post
No sound at all?Have you checked the volume pot to see that it hasn't gone open circuit? Do you know approx. what voltages to expect at various points in the circuit?

Sorry,Sy beat me to it.
Pot is definitely working, although either way this shouldn't affect the test, since I've fed the sound after the pot, no?

I'll measure tonight and post, thanks.
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Old 8th October 2010, 01:29 PM   #6
cr0wl3y is offline cr0wl3y  United Kingdom
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Answering DF96's question, yes, heaters are on (the ECC81 and 82 are fairly bright, the ECC83s are a little less so).

Thanks for the tip, will try adding resistor and coupling cap to the final version, once I figure this out.
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Old 8th October 2010, 01:43 PM   #7
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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The pot is providing the grid leak function for V4, so at present it needs to work. If you inject a signal at the slider, as you are for testing, then you need to ensure that the signal has no DC voltage (or use a capacitor) and that the pot is turned up so it doesn't short the signal.

Sorry if this is all too obvious, but I'm not clear what level of knowledge you have.
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Old 8th October 2010, 04:51 PM   #8
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Might be a good idea to make sure that you have not swapped pins on the tube sockets as I have a marked tendency to do this myself if the sockets are not labeled and/or I have not marked pin 1 on the socket first.

Pins 4 & 5 can be swapped with no ill effects and the tubes will still light up, swap any other pins and at best you get some very odd behavior, at worst no sound..

Note that the volume pot must be turned up if you are injecting a signal directly into the grid.

Interesting phono stage design, thought I was the only one to place the grid bias resistor (R4) ahead of the passive EQ network - I first did this over 20yrs ago as it reduces loss across the EQ network by a couple of dB.. Not sure why R5 is there unless to implement the IEC version of the EQ curve, and I am not sure that the value of C3 is optimum either - all of this can be addressed later if you are not entirely satisfied.

I assume you have limited to no test equipment. A sound card based measurement setup would be extremely useful for both a source, basic scope, and FFT.. I recommend audiotester.de software and Pete Millett's interface..
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Last edited by kevinkr; 8th October 2010 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 9th October 2010, 03:09 AM   #9
cr0wl3y is offline cr0wl3y  United Kingdom
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In hindsight it becomes obvious thinking about it - if pot is down sound will go straight to earth...thanks for the tip, hadn't actually thought about it.

Either way, pot had been up and I did the experiment again, and tried to tweak the pot (in case I'd wired it the wrong way around) still nothing. Not sure if the signal has DC, but to ensure this is not an issue I fed it into where the CD/Tuner/Phono selector is in the schematic and I tried . Still nothing.

I have attached a jpg with voltage measurements. Anodes for both valves in the line stage and grid for the last valve are ~275 and everything else (grid for the penultimate valve and cathode for both) is zero.

I'm afraid I have nothing to measure with although if deemed useful, happy to purchase the audiotester software (or get the trial version at least to begin with) and I have a decent soundcard to use it with.

Thanks,
Nikos
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File Type: jpg Remus Measurements.jpg (36.5 KB, 378 views)
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Old 9th October 2010, 04:10 AM   #10
SY is offline SY  United States
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OK, you're drawing no current, so you're miswired at the tube. There ought to be 3V or so at the first cathode, 120V or so on the first plate and the second cathode.
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