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  • M3 Sudden Volume Loss

    My new M3 seems to have suddenly lost almost all volume. Everything is still functioning (percussion, vibratos), but with the pedal to floor and your ear pressed to the speaker, you can still barely hear it at all.

    Right before this happened, I added the jumper wire in the matching transformer to get rid of the drawbar volume drop, closer it up, and then did some cleaning of the grime and spider webs that were all over the inside of the cabinet. I then turned the organ back against the wall, and fired her up, but (almost) no sound.

    So I've only had the organ since Saturday, and it worked fine when I tried it at the sellers, fine after the 2 hour journey back home, and fine until now. BUT, on most occasions when starting it up there has been a large POP from the speaker as the amp is warming up. There was also one occasion where when after turning it on, the vibrato channel was almost as quiet as the whole organ is right now. It came back after about a minute, but it wasn't a sudden return to the regular volume, more like the distorted volume swell you hear when you play as the amp warms up.

    I started to clean the tube sockets with DeOxit yesterday, but ran out of spray before I could finish. The organ still worked after this though.

    Has anyone experienced this? What should I check first? The tubes seem to glow about the same as the tubes in my M-100. Getting it recapped was on my "to-do" list, but maybe that's something I'm going to have to do sooner rather than later :-(
    Last edited by theseacowexists; 07-02-2018, 06:06 PM. Reason: Tube socket cleaning
    Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

  • #2
    OK - crazy story time. When I got my M3, it did the same thing. The sound would simply drop out and stay that way until I let it cool off and restarted it. By accident I found out that if I tapped near the switch panel, the sound would jump back sometimes. Ended up cleaning the contacts in the switch box (with QT) and it has worked fine since then.
    -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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    • #3
      Did the sound drop out while you were playing? My sound was just (almost) gone from when I first turned it on after moving it back into position, and has stayed that way through several off/on cycles now.

      Suppose it can't hurt to open up the switch box and check. I have the day off today for the holiday, but of course my new can of DeOxit won't arrive until Thursday for the same reason! Oh well...

      I should also note that the cleaning I did involved getting all the dust and cobwebs out from the entire cabinet, using a brush and vacuum, followed by some alcohol on a rag. Wouldn't be surprised if I knocked something or pulled a wire, the question in that case is what and where?
      Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

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      • #4
        Yes, when playing it. I later found out the metal used by Hammond gets dendrites. The cover over the back of my E-110 is fuzzy with the stuff. While we're waiting for one of the Hammond gurus to jump in, I take it you've verified that the pedal rod is still attached and have tried tapping on the tubes with a book holding down some keys?
        -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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        • #5
          The pedal rod is attached, and the swell pedal does work. Of course, maximum volume is practically nothing. Did the tube taps/book trick, and it didn't sound like the taps came through the speaker. Gonna try to open up the switch box now, even though it looks like impossible to easily take out!

          Update: got in the switch box. No dendrites. But I'm gonna leave it open until I get the DeOxit.
          Last edited by theseacowexists; 07-03-2018, 02:31 PM. Reason: Update
          Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

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          • #6
            Well, my next suggestion is to look under the amp and see if anything obviously smoked - or a leaking capacitor can that's made a mess, or a resistor that features two pieces that used to be one. That switch box is a neat bit of engineering, isn't it?
            -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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            • #7
              Originally posted by theseacowexists View Post
              The pedal rod is attached, and the swell pedal does work. Of course, maximum volume is practically nothing. Did the tube taps/book trick, and it didn't sound like the taps came through the speaker. Gonna try to open up the switch box now, even though it looks like impossible to easily take out!

              Update: got in the switch box. No dendrites. But I'm gonna leave it open until I get the DeOxit.
              Please explain how you got into the switch box, I can’t figure out how.

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              • #8
                Amp looks good - nothing smoked, no messy caps, resistors all in one piece. Unfortunately, those can caps are beyond my capabilities, so I don't know what's going on in there. I'm thinking this might be something to take over to the local tube amp genius who recapped the amp in my M100 (which was working fine, I just wanted it to be refreshed so something like this was less likely to happen). Anything else you think I should check before ripping the amp out and bringing it over to him?

                Oh yeh, that switchbox was fun to get to. I found a thread on here that had instructions for pulling it under the drawbars and resting it on top of the generator. Instead, I ended up finding a way to twist the manuals so that I could get at the three screws behind the drawbars that held the top casing of the switchbox/drawbar assembly, and that freed it up from the switchbox, allowing me to open up the switchbox from the front of the organ, "floating" in its more-or-less usual spot. I'll take some pictures before I get it all back together.
                Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

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                • #9
                  I got into the switches through the back. Did you take the generator cover off? The other fun I had with the M3 was it had a switch added below the manual that controlled internal speaker, external speaker cabinet with two volume controls and a toggle switch. The pot had a dead spot, and guess where it was...

                  That's about all my suggestions. I do wonder what would make a pop at start up (when things are cold).
                  -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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                  • #10
                    FWIW, my '55 dumpster rescue M3 developed an intermittent 'loss of sound' issue. It would crackle and pop and go dead, but poking around the expression pedal would bring it back. I opened up the expression capacitor box and blew it out with compressed air to clear out any conductive debris, but it still acted up. Turned out one of the terminals had broken off the back of the speaker! I pulled the speaker out so I could work on it and it looked like the terminal had been repaired (clumsily) more than once. Fixed it again, but better, now works great!

                    For some reason, I find myself fooling with the M3 more than the E100 in spite of the E100's richer features. Might be because I was imprinted with an M3 as a child, and/or this M3 is only 48 months younger than I am 8)
                    Tom in Tulsa

                    Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720

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                    • #11
                      The expression pedal box (like the switch box) was surprisingly clean. I took the cover and the pedal arm off and tested it. When I turn the swell past maximum, you can hear it click, and the organ volume increases a tiny bit more. When I turn the swell past minimum, you can hear the organ volume cease and a hum increase.
                      Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

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                      • #12
                        Curious about that speaker, too. Does it have a magnetic coil? Have you touched the terminals to see if they're intact? (The reason I asked about the coil is that some of the speakers used electromagnets rather than permanent magnets, and they can shock you.) My M3 is a 59 model and so am I.
                        -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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                        • #13
                          Well, having thought about it, which I know is dangerous to admit, you could try (1) lifting up ever so gently on the the drawbars to see if that changes anything, (2) tap a little sharply around the upper tablature (I love that word) in case anything is loose under there.
                          -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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                          • #14
                            You got me thinking about the speaker. I had a simple line out box hanging around, so I hooked it up to the speaker not long after the organ came home. Only temporary until I build a MEE box. Figured I should check the terminals, so I undid the the line out and the speaker wires from the amp, then reattached the speaker wires (but not the line out). It worked - the organ came back full blast when I turned it on.

                            BUT - it only worked once. After I turned the organ off and turned it back on again, it wasn't working again.

                            I was talking to a friend about it today, and he suggested that maybe a tube was bad, and that maybe I could get the known good tubes from my M-100 and see what that does. Didn't get to that, but I did figure I could at least pull and reseat the tubes. And the organ finally worked through several on/off cycles!

                            So what I will do is really clean those sockets (and the switch box) once the DeOxit arrives tomorrow. I will keep you all posted about how things go.

                            Oh yeh, I will also be back with pictures of how I got into that switch box. I still have it in pieces. Why on earth couldn't Hammond have just made the top panel stop before the drawbars? That would make accessing the switches so much easier!
                            Farfisa Mini Compact V1, Fender Rhodes 73 Mk. 1, Hammond B2, Hammond L-102 "El Choppo", Hammond M-101, Hohner Cembalet CF, Hohner Cembalet N, Hohner Favor Combo, Hohner Pianet L, Hohner Pianet T, Hohner Symphonic 30N, Leslie 145, Leslie "430" (former 130 cab with horns and light show added), Nord Electro 3, and an entire village of guitars and harmonicas.

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                            • #15
                              I feel like that stopped clock that's right twice a day... Gee, could you have a problem with the terminals on the amp? I've seen stuff work/not work/frustrate because of things like dirty terminals, plugs, etc.
                              -- I'm Lamar -- Allen TC-4 Classic -- 1899 Kimball, Rodgers W5000C, Conn 643, Hammond M3, L-102 - "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." (Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest​ -) ​Paracelsus

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