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Author Topic: Shut down amp between sessions or let it sit in STBY all day?  (Read 9194 times)
N6AJR
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2014, 09:36:02 AM »

shut it down. those electrons cost money !!
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N1UK
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2014, 10:45:34 AM »

Quote
Insert Quote
shut it down. those electrons cost money !!


Except in the winter when it warms my shack which is the only warm room in the house...hi hi


Mark N1UK
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K8AXW
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2014, 10:48:54 AM »

SF:  No sympathy extended.  Did you assume that I was going to offer sympathy?  

MOST hams that leave gear run ARE out of the shack and are not "an arms length away from it."  

Perhaps I should have considered that you was handicapped and was always close to your gear.  This shows that it's always a mistake to ASS-U-ME!

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N3QE
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2014, 04:56:49 AM »

At home I have a nice old fashioned amp with glowing glass bottles visible from the operating position. It is obvious when the amp is on or in-line, by many visible and audible clues, and this helps remind me to turn it off as I leave the shack. The glass bottles are also near instant warmup so I can be on the air with it from a cold start in just a second or two (add a few more seconds if I am changing bands and have to manually tune). I try to shut it off when I am out of the shack or not likely to be needing It on the air.

I recently got to work in a very nice modern station with two Acom 2000A's. Smooth as silk! Except by looking at the remote LCD panel, I had no way of knowing if the amp was off, in standby, or in operation, or had shut itself off. There was no fan or relay noise from the 2000A's at all, I had to look at the remote LCD panel to know the state of the amp. It was certainly quite a leap for me in terms of "user experience".

Now there's no way I can afford a 2000A or similar for my home station. But if I had one, I would train myself to look at that LCD panel, turn it on minutes before I might need to use it, and check the panel and shut it off if leaving the shack for any period more than a few hours. It would be a "culture change" for me for sure.
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KM4AH
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2014, 10:47:12 AM »

If I am going to be out for over an hour or don't know I turn it off. If just to go eat or something I leave it on.
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2014, 12:28:53 PM »

there is always a percentage of when a piece of any equipment can go "BANG!"  or maybe just "sizzzzzzleeeee."

it happens in commercial stuff, too.

this is why the law mandates circuit breakers.  but they don't protect everything all the time.

I don't leave stuff hot.  your mileage may vary.  but tubes are cheap compared to houses.

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KB2FCV
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2014, 04:34:53 AM »

If I'm done operating for the day / night or leaving the shack for more than an hour or so I'll shut it off. If I need to run upstairs to eat / yell at the cat / whatever I'll leave it on. Once in a while if its late at night I'll fall asleep at the desk so it might stay on a few hours. Most of the time it stays off in general. Amp here is SB-200.
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W8JX
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2014, 05:02:01 AM »

If I'm done operating for the day / night or leaving the shack for more than an hour or so I'll shut it off. If I need to run upstairs to eat / yell at the cat / whatever I'll leave it on. Once in a while if its late at night I'll fall asleep at the desk so it might stay on a few hours. Most of the time it stays off in general. Amp here is SB-200.

The beauty of a amp using 811, 572, 3-500z or 3cx1200 is that they are basically instant on tubes with no warmup needed.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2014, 07:00:12 AM »

I usually shut mine off after use. If I leave the shack for any time more than a few minutes ( i.e. potty break, fridge run etc.) I shut it off. I do this for a couple  of reasons, #1, I worry about stuff that is plugged in and on when I'm not there, and #2, I have an 8 year old grand son who can be curious about thing electronic. Smiley
 
So in a contest, it may stay on for 16 hours straight, but on a casual day, it goes off it I am not using it for more than a short break, where I don't anticipate using it in a few minutes.
 
Current amp is an alpha 87A, and I have had any thing from a ameritron 811 or 811H, to clipperton L's, to TL 922, to sweep tube amps, to al1200's, to IC 2-KL's, to als 600,  and many more.
 
 I will also cut off a transistor amp, the same way.
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AA4HA
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2014, 12:22:07 PM »

Interesting responses to the OP's original question. I guess much of an answer comes down to your personal philosophy about leaving devices powered on when unattended.

This question also comes up on the R-390 receiver forums from time to time, with that radio one of the failure modes that is becoming more apparent is the pitting/welding of the contacts on the microswitch that is used for power. That radio only pulls about 2A (max, fused) on startup but even with that many owners are seeing switch failures on radios that are now getting up around 50-60 years old. The micro-switch is not a component that is easy to find a replacement for. We also get failures on the sealed power transformers (encapsulated with paraffin), caps that go "BANG" from inrush. The trade-off there is the cumulative heat wear on components over years or the inrush or thermal cycling effects.

Some ops shut their gear down when not in use (that radio takes a few hours to really temperature stabilize so frequency drift is less than 100 Hz), I shut them all down when I am not going to be in the room. Other ops leave stuff running (with no apparent ill effect) for days, weeks, months...

I too have heard about running the filaments at "dark heat" and have seen such things at commercial broadcast stations (the heat also keeps any condensation down in the equipment, for a broadcaster that is some distant remote transmitter shed with questionable weatherproofing).

Amplifiers have been known to self-oscillate for a variety of reasons. That can be "bad". Incoming electrical service has gone bonkers (one site where the distribution transformer shorted out in a way to put 7200 volts on 120/240 service). How much do you trust your fire insurance? Are you a bit obsessive? (I am) I have a guest house where I leave every breaker turned off, except for the one that the burglar alarm is attached to. When you are not around you never know what can happen.

So its a pig-in-a-poke. Those tubes are E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E. In my lifetime I do not want to be buying multiple replacement sets because they were idling away for 99% of the time.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KG9SF
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2014, 02:12:04 PM »

Well, I should have been clearer in my OP.

Mine is NOT a matter of wondering whether I should leave the amp unattended while in STANDBY mode.  My amp is never, ever unattended when the filaments are glowing.

I am mobility-handicapped and very rarely leave the room I live in.  Day and night I am within easy reach of the amp's power switch.

My question deals ONLY with tube life, nothing else.  Is it better to let the filaments stay hot for 12-hour stretches, or to power down between uses if there will be, say, a 2-hour period of idleness.

Hope this sheds some better light on the proble.

Thanks.
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W7MMQ
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2014, 03:21:07 PM »

Well, I should have been clearer in my OP.

Mine is NOT a matter of wondering whether I should leave the amp unattended while in STANDBY mode.  My amp is never, ever unattended when the filaments are glowing.

I am mobility-handicapped and very rarely leave the room I live in.  Day and night I am within easy reach of the amp's power switch.

My question deals ONLY with tube life, nothing else.  Is it better to let the filaments stay hot for 12-hour stretches, or to power down between uses if there will be, say, a 2-hour period of idleness.

Hope this sheds some better light on the proble.

Thanks.

Tube life is measured in the thousands of hours.  Vacuum relays with fail before a tube fails during normal operation especially during QSK.  I was a big contester back in the day and
used to run my Henry 3K Premier at full legal limit for 24 to 36 hours at a stretch. Went to bed left it running, got up and did it over again.  Needless to say 20 years later the ceramic tube is still kicking.  In other words, unless your a broadcast station, it won't matter too much.
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