Junkyard Tube-amp Gold!

Why, oh why, oh why do people toss out awesome retro hardware?? Luckily, [Dino] visited the junk depot himself at just the right time. Even though you’re not supposed to take things others have dropped off he poached the retro portable turntable that was just sitting there. He cracked it open and figured out how to turn it into this great tube guitar amp without going to all that much trouble.

The original turntable used to be where the front grates are in the image above. The guitar amp version sits the case on end, which works perfectly since the carrying handle is now on the top. This orientation would have put the amplifier hardware upside down, so [Dino] pulled it out and flipped it around. The speakers for the turntable were made to sit separately and be connected with wires. But they also doubled as a lid for the unit. This makes them the perfect size to fit side-by-side in the void left by the turn table.

[Dino] records his own music for the build video after the break using his new hardware. Sounds great, looks great, and it was saved from being needlessly buried in the ground. Fantastic!


20 thoughts on “Junkyard Tube-amp Gold!

  1. What’s a junk depot? Like one of those old-fashioned junkyards where people bring garbage to before there was garbage trucks/collection? Do those even exist any more?

    Maybe it’s just something I haven’t seen since I grew up in the burbs of Chicago?

    1. I’m referring to waste drop off points. A lot of times you need to bring certain items to a drop off. Here in Madison you can dispose of computers and other electronics for free, but you have to deliver them yourself. And just like [Dino’s] local drop off point, you’re not allowed to pick through what others have left behind. (I’m sure this is for safety reasons or something like that)

      1. In the UK what was know as “the tip” has now been rebranded a “recycling centre”. The idea being that not everything has to go to landfill, and everything gets separated out and stuff that cant be recycled ends up in the ground.
        Stuff like electronics is taken, tested and sold in an onsite shop.

        I bought an old woodburning stove for £30 and sold it on for £250. Its amazing what people throw away.

    1. “Fire”? Let’s not get too carried away! Waxed paper caps may cause it to sound pretty bad, and an old electro may go bang and scare the bejezuz out of his cat, but his playing test shows no suggestion of distortion from leaky caps or hum from dried out electros. Besides, if you are going to the trouble he has, then a few caps are no big deal.

      There ought to be a lot more of this sort of project – far too much good stuff going into landfill.

      1. Yes, fire. Just ask any vintage TV/radio forum, and someone’s bound to have a story to tell you.

        As they dry up, they will overheat. Sometimes they will go off like a firecracker, other times the pressure doesn’t build, and they just short out… considering it’s now dried out and made of paper and wax, it _WILL_ burn.

    1. Beware the metal cased ones – those are electrolytic. If they short out, it can burn out the power transformer or rectifier tube and leave you without some _really_ hard to find parts.

      They’re cheap (usually <$2 each, at the rated voltages) so no reason to skimp :)

  2. Excellent hack. I actually have an old tube amp turn table that I have thought about doing this to for years. Only it is a much larger unit though I think the amp might be smaller (it also has a circuit diagram). Did you do anything special to input your guitar into the apmlifier?

  3. Stealing from???? The thing was thrown out!!!! It was headed to a recycling facility to be shredded and end up who knows where. I did the planet a favor… and inspired others to repurpose rather than throw out! Get a grip!

    As for you noticing the grammar mistakes… good for you! You paid attention in school. We are all proud of you.

    Hope you don’t loose any sleep over these troubling issues! :)

    1. One of those annoying legal issues is that in many areas, trash is considered the property of those that are authorized to collect it. By “considered”, of course, I mean that local (municipal, regional whatever) laws have been passed to enforce it. Since there is the possibility of generating cash from scrap, the contracted collectors of said trash have first call on it and any value it has. Hence, helping yourself to someone’s trash is theft in those areas. The annoying thing is that if they don’t value it, they scrap something that has real value to someone else and there’s SFA you can do about it.

      OTOH, if you live in a place where no such laws exist, then it is not theft. However, ownership can still be contested by the person who threw it out – if they think it’s trash and it turns out to be valuable (e.g. a rare painting) they can later claim it – well, if the laws of your region permit.

      So – is it theft? Maybe, maybe not.

      1. ^^This is what I was referring to. Many places in my area have these laws.

        …Btw it’s not too hard to notice the grammar mistakes when they show up so frequently.

        Also, Dino, I neither condemn nor condone what you do on your spare time. It looks like you do good work. I was in fact directing my comment toward HaD instead of personally attacking you.

        mmkay punkin?

  4. got an old Bogen VP17X turntable/amp here that was acquired for this very project. It’s almost a shame. The turntable was a tank, but it’s not all there, anyway, so I don’t feel too bad about ditching it (unless someone needs it for parts to restore another one).

    This will be a reasonably powerful amp, with two 6V6 tubes in a P-P config; but there are a few broken bits, and I am going to replace the plethora of waxed paper caps and electrolytics. I hope the thing works when I’m done.

    Previous posters had a point about doing this. Those caps are NEVER near their original value, and if the PS caps short, they will take out an irreplacable (or at least expensive) transformer.

  5. LOL.. This is the sort of hack I like to see, but I could do with less editorializing, but I shouldn’t complain about free to me content. Having said that here’s my letter to the editor. Yes ladies and gentlemen “stealing”; from whom depends how waste disposal is handled in your area. When dropped off, Ewaste becomes the property of those operating the collection site, more often than not it’s slated to be sold to a recycler, most likely destructive recycling, but recycling all the same. There is a bit of good news with this business model though, every one is free to step up, and the local collection agency a better offer.

    Why was this tossed, maybe because the turntable had problems? Even if it did work there is no wide spread release of new material on records, and that format doesn’t offer the portability most desire. For most this is long obsolete technology How can we know if it wasn’t offered for giveaway on freecycle or Craig’s list before the decision was made to toss it? Why hasn’t the Hackaday staff created a freecycle like forum where hackers can give away their surplus hardware to other hackers?

  6. Evidently there must be thousands of geeter or whormonica players who are starving and can’t afford to purchase an amp designed for the intended purpose. So, they must continue to destroy historic equipment which one day may find that there are still people out there who appreciate this equipment for what it is or is not. Please leave this stuff alone. I suppose if it just thrown away, any purpose is better than just tossing it, but it really torx me to see this stuff used this way. Most of this old stuff built in the 50’s is still in quite repairable condition with very little cost involved. Sometimes you have to be creative in coming up with the correct replacement parts, but searching usually finds what you need. I am working on a Columbia Bell & Howell 350 reel to reel presently which was built with fine materials and is just needing some cleaning and re-lubing, recapping to perform again as it was intended. Ok, so it is not stereo or maybe even considered hi-fi, but I’m sure it will provide many more hours of enjoyment. Webcor was another great builder of reel to reels back in the 50’s which would record and play in both directions without turning over reels. I own several which work perfectly and quietly.

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