High Voltage Hacks: A 1000 Watt Tube Amp

Normally when we hear of a Champ guitar amp, we think of a sweet-sounding rig that puts out 6 Watts through an 8-inch speaker. [John Chambers] of Champ Electronics wanted to build a true champion for the field of battle and came up with The Champ 1000 Watt Tube Amp, an amplifier that probably puts out enough heat to keep an igloo warm.

The amp is based on 807 valves. With some clever engineering [John] managed to coax 100 watts out of a pair of 807s, so the entire amp “only” requires 20 power tubes. The build log shows some pretty impressive examples of electrical prowess. We can’t recall the last time we featured a build with point-to-point wiring on tagboard, and [John]’s work is some of the best we’ve ever seen.

[John] has been working on this amp off and on for a few years now, but he should be wrapping up the build sometime soon. We haven’t seen this amp in action, but we imagine it would look something like this 36×10 monstrosity. Send us a message or post a comment if you can find a video and we’ll put it up.

26 thoughts on “High Voltage Hacks: A 1000 Watt Tube Amp

  1. Sorry if I missed it, but I can’t find where he says how many channels this amp is. Is it just 1 single 1kW amp?

    Nothing like having a kW+ power on tap for what you need. I have a 1400Wrms PA amp that I sometimes use as a voltage source using a computer as a waveform generator, it can be really handy.

    Anywho, I wonder what he plans on driving with 1kW? I use mine in my home theater for my sub, but realistically I don’t really use more than say 100W. When I do get a little carried away my circuit breaker reminds me that it is a lot of current to draw from the wall. :)

  2. Aww, cut them some slack, voltage and power are kinda related, it’s easy to get them mixed up. It’s not like this is a blog for people you’d expect to know the difference, after all.

  3. @macona & @mr foo: Have you ever worked with tubes? They qualify for high voltage.

    @Tachikoma: It’s a disply thing. He can turn them off with a switch on the back. Has nothing to do with necessary or unnecessary.

    1. Some do, some dont. Even the 750v used in this amp is medium voltage, heck, there are 600v mains in some areas (Industrial).

      A lot of the “high voltage hacks” have been high voltage, but a few have been just mains voltage.

      1. Medium voltage are you kidding? many places 120v is considered high voltage.

        Also, EL wire runs at 400V or so, are you complaining that that voltage is too low to be considered high voltage?

  4. I do have to say, that his a horrible horrible font. The background is also quite distracting, but I’ve seen far worse :P

    This is a very nice build, though I can’t imagine ever needing that much output outside of a concert venue!

  5. A great build with some great design theory ideas. As a creator of custom guitar amplifiers I appreciate his insight into the design process and methods! Congrats John on a great job on a beauteous amplifier… I will be eagerly awaiting the 3rd page.

    @Everone else “High Voltage” as an industry standard is anything over 30 volts AC/DC.
    Voltage and Power are completely different though they are related and also related to “Ohms” and “Amperes”. Matter of fact “Volts” times “Amperes” equals “Power” or “Wattage” and the formula is EI=P. To be clear the output wattage is not equal to the power consumed by the entire device. The output power needs to be added to the power consumed by the heaters of all these tubes as well as the power consumed by the bias supply. There are probably other factors needed to be added to this sum such as fans and lights etc…

    One of my recent builds was a pretty simple 100 watt coliseum type custom guitar amplifier. It requires a 5 amp fuse on the HV side and requires to be plugged into at least a 10 Amp circuit breaker.

    1. Which ‘industry standard’ are you referring to. In my world, (IEC/IEEE) High voltage is > 1000VAC. 30V qualifies as extra low voltage. In power distribution, high voltage is 35KV or 50KV+.
      Also in my world, EI=P is an oversimplification. Power factor comes into play since real power apparent power.
      The great thing about standards is that there’s so many to pick from.

    1. Yea, I think(if memory serves correctly) that Caleb said that at one time. At least some link is better than none at all(FPGA oscilloscope) or the device’s function not being stated in the summary(Dish-O-Matic thing)… :)

      Nice amplifier, though, and quality build. I do like the LEDs, but do also like the fact that they can be switched off, for the legacy look…

  6. Why am I suddenly hungry for a grilled cheese sandwich? Usually when I see a grill I get hungry for bratwurst.

    Really neat looking design…he needs to paint some rust on it so it looks like it came from a Fallout game.

  7. Stating the obvious what is high voltage is relative. Certainly the voltages present in higher power electron tube equipment are higher than most DIYers are used to working with. Judging by one of here projects Lady Ada is uncomfortable with 120 VAC household power.

    A lot of craftsmanship is evident in the project. Would have been nice to see an in the dark photo with all the heaters lit.

  8. Hi
    I’m John melhop
    I actually wanted to contact John Chambers with a couple of queries, but couldn’t find an address for him that my computer did not spit out.
    so I’m wondering if you can help me with his email address?
    Thanking you
    john melhop

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