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  • Variac question

    Hi All

    Does anyone with good electronics knowledge have experience with a variac?

    I'm interested in knowing whether or not one could apply a minimum or extremely low voltage to an old valve/tube organ like a Lowrey or Baldwin over an extended period with a view to keeping components energized and more efficient. I'm refering specifically to my old DSO which suffers if left unplayed for more than 48 hours. Crosstalk, ciphers and pedal burble being the main problems. I know humidity is an issue.

    I appreciate my theory may be way of the mark, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be most grateful.

    regards
    Lazlo

  • #2
    Hi Lazlo,

    It sounds like a good idea, but is most certainly not. A Variac is simply a variable AC transformer that allows one to lower an AC voltage continuously (rather than in discrete steps like a regular transformer). Running any AC device that is not specifically made for this kind of use will almost certainly ruin it. Some vacuum tubes regulate current by the increased resistance that comes when the filament becomes incandescent. Running a tube like this on lower voltage will prevent it from getting hot, which means that the resistance will stay lower, and that can lead to unexpectedly large current flows. Short answer to your question: don't do it!

    The best way to keep your organ happy is to keep it turned on (but that will, of course, shorten the life of time limited components like tubes). Another approach might be to get a dehumidifying wand (like those that are often put into gun safes) inside the organ to reduce humidity. This might help if humidity really is a problem.

    Cheers,

    Pieanoman


    Originally posted by Lazlo View Post
    Hi All

    Does anyone with good electronics knowledge have experience with a variac?

    I'm interested in knowing whether or not one could apply a minimum or extremely low voltage to an old valve/tube organ like a Lowrey or Baldwin over an extended period with a view to keeping components energized and more efficient. I'm refering specifically to my old DSO which suffers if left unplayed for more than 48 hours. Crosstalk, ciphers and pedal burble being the main problems. I know humidity is an issue.

    I appreciate my theory may be way of the mark, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be most grateful.

    regards
    Lazlo

    Comment


    • #3
      If you're really ambitious, you could make the tube heaters run at reduced voltage when the organ is "off." Think "Instant-On" TV.

      Does your DSO have a Dampp-Chaser? My SS does.

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