Oops, I left my tube amp powered on...

Green Craig

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 15, 2012
2,343
Michigan
...Yep, I left my tube amp plugged in and powered on for an unknown period of time (somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks).

How did this happen? I leave my amps in a spare room in the basement - most of my guitar playing is done upstairs in the living room, either with a parlor-sized acoustic or plugged into Rocksmith. Life happened, and I wasn't able to revisit the basement room for several weeks.

How screwed am I? It still sounds good - nothing concerning in the way of buzzing or breakup. But, it was warm to the touch when I finally discovered it.
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,075
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Not sure about guitar amps but I leave my stereo receiver and computer on 100% of the time (talking years here) with no issues other than power consumption. I would assume the only 'wear' for a tube amp would be with the tubes themselves? Dunno...good question actually
 

soulman969

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,584
Fort Collins, CO
I'm in the same camp about tube life as others but over all of that time the tubes were just idling and not being driven hard so overall it may have even less impact than you think. It also depends upon the tubes. Some are rated for thousand of hours. I'd say that if it's all working as it should no damage we done.

Imagine yourself back in the era when vacuum tubes powered everything from our TV sets and radios to the their transmitters at the networks and radio stations. Tubes also powered the radars that scanned the skies and early computers that operated 24/7/365 too. Your amp put far less stress on it's tubes than that.
 

Geoff06

Strat-O-Master
Nov 15, 2021
503
Wisconsin
Only "warm to the touch"? I would expect it to be hot, maybe even too hot to touch any of the metal parts for more than a second or two. If it was a Fender tweed-style amp, it seems like it would combust after a couple days. Are the tubes above the chassis or below it?

As stated, you may have cut down on some component life but I think if it's still working, it's still working :thumb:
 

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,175
Beaverton, OR, USA
Not sure about guitar amps but I leave my stereo receiver and computer on 100% of the time (talking years here) with no issues other than power consumption.
Are you using your computer as a server of some kind? Or do you perhaps have it working on things all the time? If not, seems like a waste of electricity (which is costing you money)..
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,897
SoCal
Are you using your computer as a server of some kind? Or do you perhaps have it working on things all the time? If not, seems like a waste of electricity (which is costing you money)..
My BBS reports that my PC is using 1.7kwh per day.
While California has insanely high power rates, that's still only $20/mo at the higher summer rates. A little over 5% of my summer power bill.
 

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,175
Beaverton, OR, USA
My BBS reports that my PC is using 1.7kwh per day.
While California has insanely high power rates, that's still only $20/mo at the higher summer rates. A little over 5% of my summer power bill.
Ah, that's cool. I also run a BBS. Nice to see other BBS sysops out there. :)
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,075
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Are you using your computer as a server of some kind? Or do you perhaps have it working on things all the time? If not, seems like a waste of electricity (which is costing you money)..
No, just WFH and its an old iMac (2011) that takes forever to boot up...I was hoping it would have died by now so I coud upgrade but it just keeps going.
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,897
SoCal
No, just WFH and its an old iMac (2011) that takes forever to boot up...I was hoping it would have died by now so I coud upgrade but it just keeps going.
Hint: Turn it off every night and it'll die sooner.

Seriously... I was running the same Athlon for over 10 years. Couple of hard drive upgrades to add space.
Power supply finally crapped out in 2014... I originally built the thing before Operation Flashpoint was released.
 

Stratafied

Dr. Stratster
Oct 29, 2019
13,378
North of South
...Yep, I left my tube amp plugged in and powered on for an unknown period of time (somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks).

How did this happen? I leave my amps in a spare room in the basement - most of my guitar playing is done upstairs in the living room, either with a parlor-sized acoustic or plugged into Rocksmith. Life happened, and I wasn't able to revisit the basement room for several weeks.

How screwed am I? It still sounds good - nothing concerning in the way of buzzing or breakup. But, it was warm to the touch when I finally discovered it.
Got them tubes nice and hot 🔥
 


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