5150 III Mini Teardown, and lots of info on the pilot

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Thread: 5150 III Mini Teardown, and lots of info on the pilot

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: The house formerly known as the Haus
    ME: Ibanez S540LTD
    MA: Taylor Big Baby
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    5150 III Mini Teardown, and lots of info on the pilot

    Quick google didn't pull anything up, so I figured I'd post this so people can find it later.

    Just a quick teardown of the 5150 III Mini while I was looking for some info

    First things first, removing those hooks for the 212 cab, since I have a mesa, and they are fucking obnoxious

    Pop off the front plate. It's 4 pieces, that come off as one. The main logo has 2 screws that go through the stripe plate,through the grill, and have nuts there to hold the whole assembly together. The 5150III logo is screwed on from the back to the stripe plate

    The removed chassis. Of note is that the tubes are all supposedly JJs, but are (with the exception of 7 LAJ on a sticker on the base of the power tubes) completely unbadged in any way.

    Chassis is very well built, and the seams in the tolex are about as well done as can possibly be, without having tolex custom made to pattern match. It took me a few looks to find the main seam. You can see that the bottom is properly shielded with aluminum foil tape

    Handle is properly attached with Tee nuts

    The guts. I've seen cleaner, but I've certainly seen more expensive amps with worse.

    Here in the corner you can see what I'm after: The pilot light assembly.

    Weird, cheap piece of shit that looks not bad, but I'd like to replace it with a normal jewel assembly. I'll talk about the problems this poses in a second.

    Now there are a few issues trying to replace this fucker. Fortunately, its not TOO hard to get out. There are 2 compression tabs that hold it in. Theres also a ridge where the manufacturer puts the parts together that doesn't compress, and gets stuck. That gets frustrating fast. Also, why the fuck is there no polarity indications on the damn thing?? It matters which way you plug it in (Light Emitting DIODE, durrrr).

    Anyways, from what I found surfing the web, the older ones where made by ArcoElectric, but these new ones seem to be made by Shin Chin Industrial. Regardless, its fucking huge. The hole in the chassis is just a hair shy of 22mm, whereas a normal jewel lamp requires a 17.5mm hole (or almost that, if imperial). the recess in the faceplate is 23+ fucking mil across.

    The power supplied according to fender is 3v, but spec on this says 12/24. I'll take a reading myself in a few days, because who fucking knows.

    I will most likely have to get a custom plate made, perhaps by Dave at FotN, to adapt to a jewel assembly. I'll also most likely just convert a standard jewel assembly. I can find some led based ones of various voltages on ebay, but they're all cheap plastic shit, not a good metal piece like you get from mojotone or elsewhere. The other option is to find a replacement LED bulb. FYI, most pilots take a standard old #47 bayonet bulb. LED replacements for these seem popular in the pinball machine repair world currently. I'll try to see if I can find one at the right voltage that will fit under the jewel.

    if anyone has any ideas on the light, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I just wanted to document as much of this shit as I could somewhere so someone else can find it if theyre looking.
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  2. #2

    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: Heidelberg, GER
    ME: Mayones Setius 7
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    5150 III Mini Teardown, and lots of info on the pilot

    Nice work!

    Most tubes are relabeled/printed by the distributors anyway, so it's not really a surprise they're unlabeled.

    Btw, most pilot lights, like for example the typical fender jewel light, run on AC since they're not LEDs. The pilot light I used on my JTM build runs on 230V AC, for example...

  3. #3

    Join Date: May 2010
    Location: Portland, OR
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    That jewel looks like HAL9000...

    I'm sorry Max; I'm afraid I can't djent that.
    Making metal every night and day.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: London ONT
    ME: PRS Custom 22
    Rig: JCM800

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soopahmahn View Post
    I'm sorry Max; I'm afraid I can't djent that.
    Sparrows (Space Punk, LOUD): www.sparrows613.com

  5. #5

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Soviet Canuckistan
    ME: Decibel Javelin
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    Wirelessly posted (like MAGIC!)

    Why are you so keen to change the jewel light?

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
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    He has an evil, diabolical plan, I believe.
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  7. #7

    Join Date: Apr 2010
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    ME: Electra X260 Invicta
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    He's going to put a cannon in its place to shoot out fucking dragons, of course!

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: The house formerly known as the Haus
    ME: Ibanez S540LTD
    MA: Taylor Big Baby
    Rig: Laney GH50L

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    Wirelessly posted (Hivemind)

    Yeah I figure I'm not going to be about to drive a traditional #47 bulb, but if I can find an LED one, or make one even out of a dead bulb, that word work. Doesn't solve the issue of the huge fucking hole though.

    As far as the tubes, I'm aware of the badging thing (there's what, 5 major tube factories left? IIRC 1 in China, 2 in Russia and 2 in Ukraine?) Just usually you see them rebadged to the amp makers logo at least, or at minimum country of origin, when they don't just leave the manufacturer on them.

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