Lonestar Special Critically Ill

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csistrat
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Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by csistrat » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:18 am

Well, needless to say I need some assistance from everyone here at the Boogie Board. I have a LSS that I purchased about five years ago and, frankly, it's never been right. I immediately started having problems with it blowing rectifier tubes. I took it to my local Mesa-Boogie rep, who replaced the tube and gave it back to me. Well, five Mesa rectifier tubes later, I got ticked off and sent my entire chassis back and mesa said there was nothing wrong with my amp. How could that be? I kept trying it at gigs and experiencing the same problem. I'd get about an hour into the gig and the tone would go to hell and break up until I was getting no volume on either channel. Losing what little hair I have left, I removed the chassis, wrapped it in bubble wrap and mailed it back to the factory so thay could figure it out. Multiple telephone calls later, they said that they could not replicate the problem, so therefore there wasn't one. I asked them to leave the amp on for a while before testing it, and they did that too, but no problem could be detected. I got the amp back and turned it on with nothing between my guitar and the amp but a cord and.....guess what? Same old same old. :( Needless to say, I was pretty pissed and took my $1800 door stop and put it in a closet, intent on selling it when the recession eased up. Well folks, that didn't happen either. Thanks Congress.
Fast forward two years. A new guitarist comes into my band and he plays an identical amp and it sounds just amazing. Great tone and volume to spare. He talks me into getting my LSS out of the closet and playing it side by side with his. I replace the blown Mesa rectifier tube with a NOS RCA since all seven of the Mesa tubes I've placed in that position have failed. We try that for a while, but eventually the same old problem crops up when I plug into the effects loop and turn it on. I have spare 12AX7 tubes, so I replace the V3 tube in the effects loop thinking that might cure the situation and, twenty minutes later, that tube fizzles out. Same problem. I put another one in and....same deal. I get twenty minutes out of the tube and it craps out. BTW, the fuse never blows during any of these blown tubes.
So, I fax the bench guys at Mesa-Boogie about the problem and they say to clean the jacks on the effects loop. ??????? They've been very nice through this whole ordeal, but the last time I looked, dirty jacks don't blow tubes. Being a good customer, I try that anyway. So after all that, I take the amp to rehearsal again and plug it next to my bandmate's LSS and, bah humbug, the thing has all the volume, tone, and character of a 1960's transistor radio. Unless someone here on the Boogie Board has some ideas about what to do with this thing, I'm going to contibute it to a landfill and go back to my 1977 Fender ProReverb which works every damned time I plug it in and has never,I repeat never, blown a tube or failed me at a gig. Help!

Jared Purdy
Mark II
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:42 am

Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:26 am

csistrat wrote:Well, needless to say I need some assistance from everyone here at the Boogie Board. I have a LSS that I purchased about five years ago and, frankly, it's never been right. I immediately started having problems with it blowing rectifier tubes. I took it to my local Mesa-Boogie rep, who replaced the tube and gave it back to me. Well, five Mesa rectifier tubes later, I got ticked off and sent my entire chassis back and mesa said there was nothing wrong with my amp. How could that be? I kept trying it at gigs and experiencing the same problem. I'd get about an hour into the gig and the tone would go to hell and break up until I was getting no volume on either channel. Losing what little hair I have left, I removed the chassis, wrapped it in bubble wrap and mailed it back to the factory so thay could figure it out. Multiple telephone calls later, they said that they could not replicate the problem, so therefore there wasn't one. I asked them to leave the amp on for a while before testing it, and they did that too, but no problem could be detected. I got the amp back and turned it on with nothing between my guitar and the amp but a cord and.....guess what? Same old same old. :( Needless to say, I was pretty pissed and took my $1800 door stop and put it in a closet, intent on selling it when the recession eased up. Well folks, that didn't happen either. Thanks Congress.
Fast forward two years. A new guitarist comes into my band and he plays an identical amp and it sounds just amazing. Great tone and volume to spare. He talks me into getting my LSS out of the closet and playing it side by side with his. I replace the blown Mesa rectifier tube with a NOS RCA since all seven of the Mesa tubes I've placed in that position have failed. We try that for a while, but eventually the same old problem crops up when I plug into the effects loop and turn it on. I have spare 12AX7 tubes, so I replace the V3 tube in the effects loop thinking that might cure the situation and, twenty minutes later, that tube fizzles out. Same problem. I put another one in and....same deal. I get twenty minutes out of the tube and it craps out. BTW, the fuse never blows during any of these blown tubes.
So, I fax the bench guys at Mesa-Boogie about the problem and they say to clean the jacks on the effects loop. ??????? They've been very nice through this whole ordeal, but the last time I looked, dirty jacks don't blow tubes. Being a good customer, I try that anyway. So after all that, I take the amp to rehearsal again and plug it next to my bandmate's LSS and, bah humbug, the thing has all the volume, tone, and character of a 1960's transistor radio. Unless someone here on the Boogie Board has some ideas about what to do with this thing, I'm going to contibute it to a landfill and go back to my 1977 Fender ProReverb which works every damned time I plug it in and has never,I repeat never, blown a tube or failed me at a gig. Help!
Regretfuly, I have no definitive answer for you, but some information to share that might help. I bought a 112 LSS new from a local shop this time last year and had exactly the same experiences as you. The one difference was that mine was also blowing fuses. I went through 4 or 5 recifiers (all Mesa branded) and about 6 fuses and two or three trips to the shop where I bought it (an authorized Mesa repairs facility as well) in 6 weeks before I finally took it back and asked for a refund. The technician in the repair shop could not find anything wrong with it. For a while I was running a Sovtek 5Y3 in it and during that periord it didn't blow anything, but I ended up taking it out owing to the fact that the warranty is voided if non-Mesa branded tubes are used.

Like you, I started a thread here and had lots of replies. The one thing that I learned is that the LSS did in fact have issues with the recitifier and fuses blowing on earlier runs, but they apparently fixed it. The problems occured only on LSS amps that fell up to a certain serial number range, the number of which now escapes me, but you can find that information in the thread that I started. It was all really disappointing as I REALLY liked that amp.

Fast forward to the past month, and I am still on a tone quest, for an amp that has the variable wattage control and tones that the LSS has. Two weeks ago I went to another Mesa dealer in the city and they loaned me a new LSS for the weekend. Guess what? It blew the rectifier and the fuse after about two hours of playing in the 5 watt mode (which is the same mode that all the rectifiers and fuses blew on my LSS)!! I only had a Sovtek on hand so I put that in and up until the time I returned it to the store, it was still intact, and I think I logged about 1-2 hours of playing with the Sovtek.

As an aside, I had a spare Mesa 5y3 that I was running in my Swart AST Master with 6v6s in the power section. That 5Y3 had been in there about 5 months, with fairly regular playing, though not usually for more than 1-2 hours at a stretch, and usually 3 or 4 times a week, and often no more than for 1/2 hour at a time. It blew last week.

So, what is the answer? It may well be a couple of things. Could be lousy Mesa tubes, could be a circuit issue in your house. I have a 100 year old house that still has some knob and tube wiring in it, even though it does have a modern circuit breaker. All the while I had my Mesa, I was not using a surge protector, and for the brief time that I had the loaner last week I also wasn't using a surge protector. After the rectifier in the Mesa blew last week, I went out and bought a surge protector. Now, I have not been able to test out whether or not the surge prootector is working as I don't have a LSS right now. But, around the time I had the LSS loaner, my Swart AST Master also blew a fuse (but not the rectifier), and I have had that amp since last March with no issues, and not plugged into a surge protector either.

I am about to get another LSS, and I hope that I am not making a mistake. I really like the sound of the amp, and the 5 watt setting is perfect for home playing, while still managing to deliver great tone at low volumes. I'll keep you posted.

I would look at your serial number and call up Mesa and ask them when the amp was built. But before you do that, go back to the thread that I started and get the serial number range where the LSS was having problems. If your's is in that range, then that might be your answer. If you have had it for five years, it could be at least 6 months old than that, and based on what I have read, that sounds like it might be getting close to the LSS amps with the known, and admitted problem. Best of luck.


PS: I went back and reviewed the thread that I started and someone replied that amps with the serial number in the 4400 range or below are the amps that had the issue.

csistrat
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by csistrat » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:38 am

Thanks ever so much for responding and spending the time to share your experiences. There's definately something fundamentally wrong here with this amp. I'll look up your thread and see what others suggested at that time. I'll also check my serial number and start from there.

Like you, I loved this amp at first. It sounded amazing, especially with my tele, but here I am several years down the road and it's still sitting here with a critical fault that no one seems capable of finding. I'm going to call their bench person one more time to see what else he might be able to think of before 86ing this thing.

Once again, thanks for responding. :?

Jared Purdy
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Posts: 135
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:56 pm

csistrat wrote:Thanks ever so much for responding and spending the time to share your experiences. There's definately something fundamentally wrong here with this amp. I'll look up your thread and see what others suggested at that time. I'll also check my serial number and start from there.

Like you, I loved this amp at first. It sounded amazing, especially with my tele, but here I am several years down the road and it's still sitting here with a critical fault that no one seems capable of finding. I'm going to call their bench person one more time to see what else he might be able to think of before 86ing this thing.

Once again, thanks for responding. :?
You're welcome and you might want to get his email address and copy and paste some of these posts and send them to him and see what he has to say. I am about to get another LSS, tomorrow actually, though this one is almost a year old and has not had any issues, though I don't know how much it has been played. I was speaking with a friend today who bought one about a year ago, and his has not had any issues at all, so ther eis hope. When you were playing it, what wattage setting was it at?

twally
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by twally » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:01 am

I currently own a LSS and it had the same problem as yours. Luckily, mine was still under warranty, I have bought several Mesa amps over the years, and they let me send the amp to the factory. I don't know what they did, but the amp will not blow a 5Y3 any more and it sounds the same.

I am not sure what to say, except I would give them one more chance to make this right.

TW

Jared Purdy
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:36 am

twally wrote:I currently own a LSS and it had the same problem as yours. Luckily, mine was still under warranty, I have bought several Mesa amps over the years, and they let me send the amp to the factory. I don't know what they did, but the amp will not blow a 5Y3 any more and it sounds the same.

I am not sure what to say, except I would give them one more chance to make this right.

TW
Do you know what year your's is? What's the serial number? I would love to know what the problem is and what they do to fix it??? I picked mine up yesterday, and it's like having an old familiar friend back in the house. It's such a great amp, and highly under rated. Apparently the previous owner "didn't play it that much", but that is at best a subjective interpretation. But, he said that in the less-than year that he had it, it didn't blow a fuse or a rectifier, but then he wasn't running Mesa tubes in it either - he was running JJs. Mine is definately one of the newer incarnations as it has the tube cage on the back, and the one that I bought new last year, didn't have one, and it blew 4 rectifiers and 5 or 6 fuses in 5 weeks (which is why I got rib of it). Anyways, I'm knocking on wood that this one will be okay!!

csistrat
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by csistrat » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:03 am

Sorry for the delay in getting back to everyone.

The amp has a serial number in the low 4000 range. I purchased it in February of 2008, so it is still under the 5 year warranty. I guess that I will be sending it back to the factory for one more shot at a solution. They've already had it once and if there were modifications to be made to correct an inherent problem, I'm sure they would have done them at that time. l'm just hesitant to mail it back again because of the risk involved in shipping and, frankly, the price of shipping. The last time it cost about $60 including insurance.

I'll call today and get an authorization number so I can give it one last shot. Thanks to everyone who responded with props and advice.

Jared Purdy
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:31 pm

So yours falls int the range where they were having issues, at least according to the theory. Have you used other brands of rectifier tubes and had the same problem?

csistrat
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by csistrat » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:35 pm

Once again, sorry for the delay in getting back to the Board with an answer to your last question. I've been on the road and had no computer access.

I tried a NOS RCA 5Y3 and it seemed to work for a while, but then the same old problem reared its ugly head. Everytime i try this amp to see if I can find a solution, I end up being disappointed all over again.

Jared Purdy
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:03 pm

Try a Sovtek. They are robust. I know of at least 3 other LSS users who are all using their 5Y3. Mine has been in there about 3 weeks now and it's still going, and that is with fairly regular playing.

Glennn
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Glennn » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:33 pm

Hi!
I have a Lonestar (not Special). I owned it for about one and a half years when it blew a fuse on me due to faulty rectifier tube (a mesa rectifier valve/tube). about handful of gigs later it happened again and ended up using a cheap (but reliable) Roland amp.
extremely frustrating since this should be a top quality amp. Have anyone had this issue with the Lonestar (with 6L6 tubes in it)?
do i really need to bring a backup amp for every gig???

Jared Purdy
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by Jared Purdy » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:28 pm

Jared Purdy wrote:Try a Sovtek. They are robust. I know of at least 3 other LSS users who are all using their 5Y3. Mine has been in there about 3 weeks now and it's still going, and that is with fairly regular playing.
And the Sovtek is still going.....

rfrakes
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by rfrakes » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:10 pm

I traded my Vibro-King for a LSS and it blew Fuse, Rec and power tube when I got it home. I went and bought some NOS Mesa tubes. They had been at the shop for a while. Maybe the older ones are better. I haven't had any problem since.

Having sent your amp to Mesa, they would have known if it was in the bad range of Serial numbers. This almost seems like a power supply problem cause the fuse, Rec tube and one side of the Power tansformer is there some capacitors and resisters.

Mine is above 6100 and bought Jan 2011. Mesa even sent me new tubes no charge.
Last edited by rfrakes on Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mark2boogie
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by mark2boogie » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:49 pm

So, what is the answer? It may well be a couple of things.
Yes, but this amp suffers local but unacceptable misconception, unrelated to the qualities of the LSS.

One LSS is returning again on my workbench for servicing, despite the tubes are new from 6 months (the 1st time I found most of them out of duty) and the owner only plays quietly at home or with friends time to time... So I will check the issue again and modify it to make it run as it should. Fortunately I have found some advice on the forum - at least on where to check primarily - Thanks ! - But changing rectifer or tubes as you change your T-shirt is not the correct solution for me at least !

If I come to something interesting, I will let you know the cure.

A+!
Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

guilhemamplification.jimdo.com

mark2boogie
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Re: Lonestar Special Critically Ill

Post by mark2boogie » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:06 pm

Hi All,

I made some measurements on the LSS (S/N° LS-002445, export model 230VAC) that I have here for "fuse cure" issues... Well...

1 - I have no schematic of the LSS, nor found one via the web, unfortunately (it's a pity... It would be a great help...).

2 - this is the 2nd time that I see this amp for "fuse cure" : the 1st time, power tubes were dying or dead, and the valve was flashing, when a bigger fuse was put for test purposes, because the normal fuse kept on blowing too quickly. This was in March 2012. The set of tubes has been replaced and I put an 1.25A fuse instead of the 1A (export version). After 3 hours of use and no issue, I considered the amp OK for duty.

3 - the amp is back in late June 2012, fuse blown, in nearly the same situation : the valve is dead, 2 of the EL84 are out (one is half the normal current, the other one tends to thermal runaway, tubes 1 and 4, from L to R, rear facing). All these tubes were new in March, and the voltages in the amp were a bit higher than the tube's specs, but nothing surprising nowadays in a guitar amp.

4 - So I put the amp on a Variac to have the exact required voltage (with a DMM for monitoring it), and found on 30W position, at idle current, vs GND, with a set of checked/paired EL84 tubes (42/48ma) and a 5U4G valve instead of a 5Y3:
HV PSU = 356VDC, stable
Vplate = 340-358V, so strangely floating, but this may be due to a special design of the power stage vs my measurements points (?)
Vscreen = 352V, stable
Vkathode = 12V1, stable
So nothing really dramatic, no tube glowing red, even if I found them somewhat "pushed" hot, at least to my taste...

5 - So I made HV total current measurements, at idle current (real serial measurement with a DMM ammeter) :
I30W = 315mADC - here the whole power tubes are powered via the diodes
I15W = 175mADC - here only the outer valves are powered via the valve
I5W = 175mADC - same situation as 15W, but only one tube would be driven in signal, not the other one (t's my supposition).

6 - In the same condition as above, I measured the plate to cathode voltage on the EL84/6BQ5s :
Vpk30W = 337VDC
Vpk15W = Vpk5W = 316VDC
Nothing unacceptable here.

7 - I calculated the plate+screen (= total) dissipation of the tubes, considering that the rest of the preamp tubes could absorb 25mA (which is large, but possible thanks to unseen local voltage regulators or bleeders) :
D30W = ((337*(0.315-0.025))/4) = 24.5W per tube !
D15W = ((316*(0.175-0.025))/2) = 23.7W per tube !
So :shock: :shock: :shock: & :?: :?: :?: indeed...

8 - considering the EL84/6BQ5 specs :
Vpkmax = 300VDC
Dtot = Dp+Ds = 12+2 = 14W max total dissipation
Ikmax = 65mA

9 - considering the 5Y3GT specs :
Ikmax = 110-125mA (peak max = 375mA)
Vpmax = 400V

10 - I am not surprised at all if the Lonestar Special has some reliability problems under those working conditions ! :twisted:

Of course, I may miss something :roll: in the process because I do not have the schematic :( to understand clearly the idiosyncrasies of the LSS...

Any of you has made such investigation, or have additional information that I do not have about :mrgreen: ces usines à gaz de LSS :mrgreen: ?

Thanks & A+!
Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

guilhemamplification.jimdo.com

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