A Radford STA15 restoration story - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:05 PM   #11
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
It looks really excellent, looking forward to seeing more pictures soon.

Will also be be quite interesting to read your impressions of the amplifier's performance once completed and put back into service.

That's real dedication to bring something back from the brink like this. I think many would have scrapped it for the transformers.
The amplifier has been long finished so I can tell you my impressions now!

Me and a friend compared against his stock STA15. The restored one had a slightly cleaner sound and for some reason was actually far less fussy about the output valves used, possibly due to the CCS bias arrangement.

My friend had previously used JJ E34Ls in his STA15 which he found a bit bright to his taste, so he upgraded to some Svetlanas and is very happy with them. We listened to the restored amp with JJs (while his had the Svetlanas), and he found that the brightness of the JJs was not so apparent. These tests were done on his system so he was familiar with the music and speakers.

Another thing that seems to be different is the noise floor. With my PCB design the amp runs VERY quiet. This may be due to the metal films throughout, and the different layout of the boards....
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:09 PM   #12
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Time for more pictures!

Here are some pictures of the assembly process. I tried to keep the amp as original as possible but I had to fit new binding posts, because the originals wouldn't fit in their holes due to the thickness of the new paintwork. IMO the new ones are far better anyway so this is no great loss.
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:20 PM   #13
Zen Mod is offline Zen Mod  Serbia
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:37 PM   #14
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Began to wire the heater chain (this was frustrating as a perfectionist), and etched and tinned some PCBs!
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File Type: jpg IMG_1206_small.jpg (135.8 KB, 136 views)
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:43 PM   #15
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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I then populated the final PCB version.

Features include cathode CCS bias, and a robust protection circuit to protect the amplifiers from runaway output valves. It works surprisingly well, in fact it has survived a shorted valve.

I then installed them in the amp ready for wiring.
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File Type: jpg IMG_1245_small.jpg (212.7 KB, 86 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1221_small.jpg (184.1 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1263_small.jpg (171.0 KB, 76 views)
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:52 PM   #16
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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And the journey ends with me wiring up the boards!

I had a few teething problems but I eventually solved them. One was a very low frequency oscillation caused by the CSS bias, which I solved with the kind help of DF96, a frequent poster here.

Another was an extreme tendency to pick up earth loops, which I managed to fix by earthing the signal boards via low value resistors, to break the loops.

The whole project was a LOT of work!
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File Type: jpg IMG_1343_small.jpg (206.8 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1350_small.jpg (225.2 KB, 71 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1371_small.jpg (239.0 KB, 83 views)
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:54 PM   #17
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Some more pictures
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Old 20th October 2010, 06:57 PM   #18
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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The last couple of pics.

I hope you enjoyed them! I have others but they're mostly of more specific parts of the build, this is just an overview. If anyone is curious about any specific part of the rebuild I will post relevant pictures. The owner is very happy indeed with my work. Thanks for looking
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Old 20th October 2010, 07:15 PM   #19
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Pretty, pretty, pretty good. I'd have improved the original design though. Those handles got to go.
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Old 20th October 2010, 07:19 PM   #20
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stalker View Post
Pretty, pretty, pretty good. I'd have improved the original design though.
I did toy with the idea but it wasn't my amplifier, and it turns out that while the amp could be improved with some modern tricks and techniques, the design really is more than the sum of its parts and makes good use of the valves. It is still a Radford STA15.
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