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Author Topic: Ameritron meter bulb replacement?  (Read 1925 times)
KF9VH
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Posts: 72




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« on: October 06, 2002, 02:02:15 PM »

I have emailed ameritron regarding a replacement bulb for the meter with no response. What a "mickey mouse outfit". Has anyone used anything from radio shack and how was it to replace?

Thanks

Mike
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AC5E
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Posts: 3585




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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2002, 02:31:13 PM »

HI: MFJ has been hosting the Mississippi ARRL section this week and between that and TS Isadore and Hurricane Lili, I suspect it's been all hands on deck in Starkville this week. I'd be shaking hands with friends there myself but for two tropical storms in a week. But...

Item 1, After you get the cover off,  I haven't found any Ameritron amp that would be hard to change bulbs in.  Most have been bayonet base - push in slightly, twist left until it stops, pull the dead one out. Install the new one in reverse order, and be sure the cover is on before you plug the amp back in.

Item 2, check the schematic. If yours takes a 12 V bulb the ruggedized automotive bulbs available at Auto Zone, Pep Boys, etc., will usually last longer than the standard duty lamps from Radio Shack. Just unplug yours for a base sample and take it to the nearest auto parts store. Choose the "dash lamp" display and buy one that will fit.

Otherwise, the RS bulbs are about average for life.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E
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AB8IG
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2002, 02:32:29 PM »

Mike,

I'm surprised that you had a bad experience with Ameritron. About 2 years ago I acquired a used AL80B which had a burned out lamp and several missing cover screws. I called them on their telephone and a human being actually answered the phone! I received spare lamps, lamp capacitors, and a full set of cover screws with washers at no charge. Try giving Ameritron a phone call.

The lamps in my 80B are the same as the lamps used in many MFJ tuners. They seem to be a proprietary item as they come in a plastic casing that clips into the meter housing. Make sure that you get a new disk capacitor with your new lamp and replace them both (while the soldering iron is hot). You might try MFJ directly as a source for them.

Please keep us posted. I hope Ameritron hasn't changed their tech support policy.

Good luck,
Jim
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N2ERN
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2002, 02:56:59 PM »

I replaced the pigtail lead bulbs in my AL-1500 with Radio Shack equivalents. Some day I'll install some bayonet mounts and change the whole assembly
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W5RB
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Posts: 564




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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2002, 04:33:46 PM »

To KF9VH :I'll bet if you would pick up the phone and call Monday , you'll get all the info you need and a part on the way .Read below to see why I think so .

To AC5E:
You missed a fine party , Pete .The Day in the Park has really grown since MFJ came aboard as sponsor .Among the hundreds of hams present for the occasion ( also MFJ's 30th anniversary ) were ARRL president Jim Haynie , and CQ Magazine publisher Dick Ross . They were there to present plaques and say some very nice things about the founder of the aforementioned <<"mickey mouse outfit">> , Martin  Jue , K5FLU , who , by the way , received a standing ovation from the folks gathered at McKee Park yesterday .
 During the factory tour , I stopped by the service department to check the price on a replacement cap for the arced-over one on my Versa Tuner .After telling them that I was a bit short of cash ,and I'd check with them next week , I stepped out to the parking lot to have a smoke and visit with some of the hundred or so hams outside .I was surprised, but not shocked , when service manager Robert Ellis tracked me down with part in hand , and said "This one's on us." That's just the kind of treatment I've learned to expect from the folks there in Starkville.My hat's off to the whole bunch .
Russ , W5RB
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20612




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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2002, 04:55:27 PM »

The Ameritron amp meter lamps are evidently not all the same.  

But, I have found their customer service to be satisfactory, if I use the telephone and simply call them.  

A lot of small businesses, especially real manufacturing businesses who do not rely on the internet for most of their transactions, aren't very responsive to e-mail inquiries.  I wouldn't call the manufacturer who builds and sells more amateur amplifiers than all other companies in this market combined, worldwide, a "mickey mouse" company.  

Although maybe I would...seems to me, Walt Disney made his first several million dollars with that mouse.

WB2WIK/6
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KA7GKN
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Posts: 147




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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2002, 11:54:31 AM »

I replaced the lamps in my atr30 with white leds so I'll never be concerned with the lamps burning out.
I did have to CAREFULLY enlarge the meter lamp opening to slide the led in place. when  adjusted , I secured with a little hit from a hot glue gun..a steady hand is critical
I also have the white led at the turns counter.

you can use the 3000mcd or brighter 5600mcd white led
they typically use 4volts at 20ma max. so a little ohms law, a resisitor and behold you have created cool light that will never butn out!

regards, marty          ka7gkn@arrl.net
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KF9VH
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2002, 01:08:10 PM »

I am happy to report Ameritron did answer my email and sent me 2 bulbs for free. I retract what I said.

I give them two thumbs up!!!!!!!

Mike
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KQ9J
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Posts: 35


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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 05:50:20 PM »

The grid current meter in my AL-811H went out soon after I got the amp many years ago. Recently the plate/hv meter lamp went out as well. The lamps are inside the meters. I took the meter cases apart and replaced the lamps with some blue LED's rated at 3.0-3.4 volts. I put a 680 ohm resistor in series with the line to the meter lamps, which runs the LED's right around 3 volts. Looks pretty cool and should last a long time, too.
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W8EZI
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2009, 06:36:54 AM »

I just want to say that this post was very helpful for me. I am surprised that Ameritron used a rather mickey mouse method of illuminating the meter. The good news is that this amplifier has been a real work horse and has had zero problems for me. I have had two peak meters and the al80b internal meter registering 1300 watt peaks from this amplifier. I am told this is impossible. But having three meters all bad in the same way seems unlikely. I noticed that my HV is higher than the manual says it should be.

I intend to replace the bulb and use the existing square plastic piece and capacitor.

I would rather install an LED, but I don't know of any that could radiate light sideways as seems necessary in their current holder.

Thanks again for the help

Michael
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W8JI
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2009, 07:50:32 AM »

Meters since time began were illuminated with incandescent lamps. LED panels suitable for illuminating meters at reasonable price came about only in the past few years.

Amateur radio is a very low profit business. I don't think it is likely manufacturers will rush out to spend several thousand dollars re-tooling a meter housing injection mold just so some insulting person can have a "non-Mickey Mouse LED" until something in the result can justify the cost.

This is probably true no matter how insulting or verbally demeaning a customer is. :-)

73 Tom








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W8EZI
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2009, 09:16:37 AM »

OK, follow-up

I decided after making the effort to open up the cabinet and disconnect everything that I did not want to use another incandescent bulb. I wanted a more permanent fix with an LED. I used what I had on hand. A very bright white LED model LED-127 from All Electronics. Figuring the rated current of 30 ma, I put a 680 ohm resistor in series with it. I measured my dc voltage there at 15.5 volts. Subtract the 3.2 volts of forward voltage and you get 12.3 volts for your ohms law calculation. For maximum brightness that would be 410 ohms. I used a 680 ohm to get some degree of life out of the device. This is a narrow angle led and the only reason I tried to use it is because the led would be aimed at white plastic. This turned out to work fine. The plastic diffused the light very well and the meter is more brightly illuminated than before. My only complaint about this fix is that the meter has a very white appearance instead of the nicer orange tinted glow from a bulb. I'll live with it. I suppose I could have ordered a high intensity orange LED, but I am not going to change it now.
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W8EZI
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 09:24:14 AM »

Tom,
I was not calling the choice of incandescent bulb for illumination a mickey mouse way to do it. I was directing my comment at the proprietary type of bulb and the way it was installed. In an amplifier that size it would have been so much easier for the user to deal with a simple bayonet socket lamp. Again, if you work for MFJ or Ameritron, I said this amplifier has been very good to me. It is popular and for a good reason.

I am very happy with my choice of amplifier. This overall design is a very good one. And I would buy it again.

Michael
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