Champ Kits? (5F1)

aleceiffel

Electromatic
Sep 3, 2022
68
Queens, NY
Specifically, I'm interested in https://www.tedweber.com/5f1-c-kt/ but would also love to hear opinions on similar kits.

The boat I'm in is, minimal soldering experience -- I did a couple pedal kits years ago, and can..solder wires to pots. So, what risk do I run of blowing myself up?

Seems like it'd be super fun to build and I'd imagine you get a decent amp at the end of it.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,707
Tucson
You will blow yourself up, so make your final peace, and go for it. :)

In all seriousness, tube amps operate at high voltages and it’s entirely possible to be exposed to hundreds of volts. Even after an amp,is unplugged, the filter caps can remain charged for days, or possibly weeks. I would suggest that you need to know enough to remain safe and perhaps pursue some applicable training. Once you know the ropes, it’s not too bad.
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2012
6,865
France
@hcsterg , your expert advice is needed here
Oh, let's get serious... :rolleyes:;)
Specifically, I'm interested in https://www.tedweber.com/5f1-c-kt/ but would also love to hear opinions on similar kits.

The boat I'm in is, minimal soldering experience -- I did a couple pedal kits years ago, and can..solder wires to pots. So, what risk do I run of blowing myself up?

Seems like it'd be super fun to build and I'd imagine you get a decent amp at the end of it.
And you are right - I'll follow @J Bird advice too : go for it !

I won't be a positive advertiser for Ted Weber, because he sold me years ago a bunch of what turned out to be junky brand new Chinese pots at an undecent price :mad:... So have also a look to Mojotone's offer, from which I had good echoes from friends about quality parts and assembly instructions :

https://www.mojotone.com/Tweed-Champ-5F1-Style-Amp-Kit

About the risk of "blowing yourself up" with a 5F1 circuit, which is a foolproof simple design : I'd say minimalistic - if you stay simply wise and use your common sense, of course !

I mean that I would obviously not encourage you if you were speaking about working on an Ampeg SVT :eek:, and then I would be more severe than what @Synchro wrote by saying : do not open and refer to serviceable qualified personnel only !

In a 5F1, the high voltage storage after powering off quits any dangerous value within a minute (one day,
I will shoot a demonstration video on the subject as proof), so if you wisely wait for 10mn, the HV danger is over for sure.

If it is not already the case, undisputably - not to say compulsorily - you will have to learn to use a DMM to check the circuits - even if it is a cheap model - for your start on the Vacuum Tube World.

But much more dangerous is working on an amp which is powered off but still connected to the mains. If you don't need to power the amp on to work on it, then safely unplug it.

You will front some issues - as always, and I'm still no exception, like everybody, even after building amps for 40 years - but in the end you will be rewarded.

I'm sure that other builder members (think @markeebee, among others) will agree with me.

A+!
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,987
Where the action is!
Absolutely go for it! Every time somebody post looking for a suggestion for a "bedroom" amp, like a broken record I say, "build a Champ." As has been mentioned, there's no danger whatsoever in building an amp. It's if (more likely when) you have to work out any kinks that you need to be mindful. But even then, the rules are pretty darned simple and easy to follow. And with a Champ, you may well get it right on the first try and never have to open it up again.

I predict that within six months, you'll be working on a tweed Deluxe.
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,255
uk
I've often been tempted by the idea, but the amp, cab and speaker comes out at nearly $400.And then you have to build it! Sure it's worth it if you have an itch for this kinda thing. I can imagine it's very satisfying when done
 
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Uncle Daddy

Friend of Fred
Jan 19, 2012
5,924
Maldon UK
Although the Champ is an iconic amp, ultimately it's a one-trick pony that really only sounds any good when it's pretty much flat out, and sounds small and boxy otherwise. I'd strongly suggest building a 10" tweed Princeton- it's no more complicated but you'll end up with something way more useable.

Do check out Uncle Doug's primers on youtube.

Be warned, amp building is addictive! My latest offering-

P1020372.JPG P1130345.JPG
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2012
6,865
France
I've often been tempted by the idea, but the ap, cab and speaker comes out at nearly $400.And then you have to build it! Sure it's worth it if you have an itch for this kinda thing. I can imagine it's very satisfying when done

Yes, you are right in the sense of building an amp kit is not - at all, should I say ! - necessarily an economical solution. It's primarily a matter of satisfaction and creativity - at least for me !

In 2013, when I designed and built my Orient Express amp, there was no compact 5-watters / 8" speaker / tremolo / reverb / power attenuator tube amp available on the market. So it was creativity first of all...

vaP4Jb-IMG-1859.jpg


hbP4Jb-IMG-1863.jpg


yncNLb-P1120158-Copie.jpg


Things have changed since ! Even Fender offers a Vibro-Champ-Reverb now... :cool:

1664656816252.png

A+!
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,255
uk
Yes, you are right in the sense of building an amp kit is not - at all, should I say ! - necessarily an economical solution. It's primarily a matter of satisfaction and creativity - at least for me !

In 2013, when I designed and built my Orient Express amp, there was no compact 5-watters / 8" speaker / tremolo / reverb / power attenuator tube amp available on the market. So it was creativity first of all...

vaP4Jb-IMG-1859.jpg


hbP4Jb-IMG-1863.jpg


yncNLb-P1120158-Copie.jpg


Things have changed since ! Even Fender offers a Vibro-Champ-Reverb now... :cool:

View attachment 191109

A+!
Excellent work, it's great to get an amp to both look AND sound the way you think it should
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,255
uk
Although the Champ is an iconic amp, ultimately it's a one-trick pony that really only sounds any good when it's pretty much flat out, and sounds small and boxy otherwise. I'd strongly suggest building a 10" tweed Princeton- it's no more complicated but you'll end up with something way more useable.

Do check out Uncle Doug's primers on youtube.

Be warned, amp building is addictive! My latest offering-

View attachment 191055 View attachment 191056
Very tempting idea. I'm not wild about that small over blown tweed sound. At least, I'd want the amp to have a good low volume/edge of breakup sound
 

DougWheeler74

Synchromatic
Jul 10, 2019
744
NE Wisconsin, US
Go for it! Pay attention to the instructions and basic rules of electronic trouble shooting. Some were mentioned by @hcsterg. If it's plugged in and on be careful what you do; watch where you put your hands, etc. Not a big deal actually. When done you will have an amp that YOU built.
 

Powdog

Gretschie
Mar 15, 2012
220
Cool,CA
Although I’m a big fan of Weber speakers, their amp parts are not what you want to use. Nice chassis’ though.

The Mojo kits are nicely put together and a 5F1 is a good starter. You can easily make it a 5F2a by using a stacked concentric Vol/Tone potentiometer, and there’s a cool little boost mod you can add to make it a two trick pony.

If you want to save a few bucks I can send you a cabinet. I have a few extras.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,987
Where the action is!
Be warned, amp building is addictive!
Very true. Once you realize you can do it, your mind starts to wander. You start thinking things like, "Hey, those tweed Bandmasters bring crazy money. I wonder what that's about. Wait a second. I can just build one and find out for myself." Or, "You never see a first generation AC100 come up for sale..." The next thing you know you've got this sitting on your bench.
CIMG0310-XL.jpg
 

FoobiusBBarius

Electromatic
Apr 20, 2022
38
Parts Unknown
I built an AA764 years ago with very little prior experience. It didn't work the first time, but it was easy to fix and afterwards it was nice and quiet. It sounded a treat as well. It's currently sitting unused and tubeless, but it's on the "to fix" list

I didn't blow myself up but I did learn the hard way that you don't ever want to be the ground. I've since always made sure I checked if an amp was plugged into mains before poking around inside.

I think a 5F1 is a good amp to start with. At least when I built my amp (10+ years ago now) the Weber amps didn't have the best parts, so do your research before settling on a kit
 


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