Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #57176  by jonarobb
 Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:51 am
From Geo....

The power tubes simply refuse to put out all that much more current with a lower-impedance load, so death by overheating with a too-low load is all but impossible - not totally out of the question but extremely unlikely. The power tubes simply get into a loading range where their output power goes down from the mismatched load. At 2:1 lower-than-matched load is not unreasonable at all.

If you do too high a load, the power tubes still limit what they put out, but a second order effect becomes important.

There is magnetic leakage from primary to secondary and between both half-primaries to each other. When the current in the primary is driven to be discontinuous, you get inductive kickback from the leakage inductances in the form of a voltage spike.

This voltage spike can punch through insulation or flash over sockets, and the spike is sitting on top of B+, so it's got a head start for a flashover to ground. If the punchthrough was one time, it wouldn't be a problem, but the burning residues inside the transformer make punchthrough easier at the same point on the next cycle, and eventually erode the insulation to make a conductive path between layers. The sound goes south, and with an intermittent short you can get a permanent short, or the wire can burn though to give you an open there, and now you have a dead transformer. For a poorly designed (high leakage, poor coupling, not well insulated or potted) transformer, 2:1 may well be marginal. Worse, if you have an intermittent contact in the path to the speaker, you will introduce transients that are sharper and hence cause higher voltages.