Archive for August 2nd, 2011
It turns out the Hammond folks made the outer frame from tin- (or, shudder, cadmium-) plated steel that has grown a dense crop of whiskers on its interior surface. They glittered in the sunlight like a carpet of crushed glass, with the longest ones maybe 3 mm tall!
This view looks nearly parallel to the side of the channel (upward as it mounts on the speaker box), with the steel wall to the bottom of the image. I applied gruesome contrast stretching to make the whiskers more visible:
This is the first time I’d ever seen a tin whisker in person and there’s a bazillion of ‘em in there!
If that Ampeg had transistorized components, it’d be dead as a doornail! Fortunately, a tin whisker doesn’t stand a chance in an analog vacuum-tube circuit. The power supply puts 400-ish V into 40 μF caps, providing plenty of energy to vaporize the errant whisker; all you’d hear is a pop.