Line 6 DT50 Amp Repair

I have a Line6 DT50 112 tube amp I love. But over Christmas, the power transformer failed. Line6 no longer makes parts, but it turns out Mercury Magnetic makes an aftermarket replacement. It’s pricey at $300, but given another used tub amp would be at least double that I figured it was worth trying to fix. Digging into the issue, I used this site as a guide to the replacement:

Fortunately all the wire colors seemed to line up. Unfortunately it seems the green/yellow strip wires for the center tap and filament are actually different voltages, and ultimately I released the “magic smoke”. Guitar Works in Evanston took about 4 months but eventually was able to find the issue and source the bad capacitors and fix it. So now I have a working amp. Mostly.

One of the cool features of the Line6 amps are that they can model different amp sounds. There’s a switch called “topology” which allows you to cycle through 4 different amp simulators. According to this site, topology I is a clean Fender, topology II is Marshall, III is a Vox, and IV is a Mesa Boogie.

Unfortunately whatever I did seems to have messed up the output from topology I and III, which are quite a bit quieter now than II and IV. I’m still debugging this via the schematics I found, but will likely need Guitar Works to take another look to find whatever other capacitor or analog component is bad and causing a lack of volume.

For those who have problems with this amp in the future, I ran across this set of schematics online. I’m not an electronics repair expert, but if you are or you have a trusted local guitar repair shop this doc might be really helpful in troubleshooting your problems. (And if someone out there is really good with schematics and can help me figure out why topology I and III are now too quiet, please write me or post a reply!)

Good luck!

Damn You Apple! Damn You Microsoft!

Yesterday my littlest one had a dance/recital/show at his preschool.  I took videos on my iPhone of the event, and then promptly spent the better part of last night trying to get my iPhone to act as a USB storage device so I could copy the two movies off.  My phone works fine in iTunes; I can sync music and movies to the phone just fine.  But when I tried to browse it in Windows the iPhone kept showing up as an “iPhone” but refused to load any drivers.

After quite a bit of searching and attempting a number of different technique (including, but not limited to, reinstalling the usbaapl64 driver, removing and reinstalling iTunes, and poking around at the registry), I came across this website:

As it turns out, the MSDN licensed Windows 8.1 I have installed is actually “Windows 8.1 Enterprise N”.  The “N” evidently stands for “Not gonna work properly”.  Unlike the poster in the article (who was using Windows 7), Windows Media Player is already installed.  However the “Media Feature pack”, available at, was not.  I don’t really know what the media feature pack is, why it’s not included in the default Windows install, why iTunes relies on it, or why iTunes doesn’t prompt you to download it, but I removed the existing driver, installed the media feature pack, and then Windows correctly configured my iPhone driver when I plugged the USB cable in.

Thank you Bryan Amundson at Spiceworks, I’m fairly certain I never would have figured this one out on my own.

10 Reasons I Hate Server Name Changes

There’s been a, um, heated discussion at my work about our current server naming standards. Personally I hate our naming scheme. However, a lot of people have become accustomed to it, and a lot of applications use the standards in their configurations, often to automate management. So when the idea of changing it came up again this week, the O.C.D. part of me was anxious to “fix” our naming. Then I realized just what that meant.

For those that can’t read my handwriting (with explanations):

#10. Time consuming to “fix” existing servers (must update files, DNS, monitoring, reboot, etc)
#9. Nobody is every happy (or rather, for every person you please you probably tick someone else off)
#8. This would be irrelevant if everyone used CNAMEs (’nuff said)
#7. Breaks bcfg setup (our config management system bases some configs on the hostname)
#6. Adds time to RH6 upgrade process (rather than an OS upgrade being transparent, now the owners need to update all their configs)
#5. Invariably will end up repeating this again later (this is the 3rd or 4th naming “standard”)
#4. Angers end-users (they need to update their configs, and notify everyone that depends on their apps – would be irrelevant if #8 didn’t apply)
#3. DCops must relabel everything (datacenter guys must label every server)
#2. Value? Makes us $0. Saves us $0.
#1. Must open 700 WOs for Windows to update DNS (my team does not have DNS rights, so we must open a request and coordinate each change).

If this doesn’t sound like a “make work” project, I don’t know what does.

The Pompous Bill Smith

Bill Smith, editor and publisher of the local “Evanston Now online newspaper and I had lengthy discussion today. It started when I commented on his article entitled Library Board Votes To Levy Own Tax.

My comment was summarily deleted because his interpretation of the statue that I cited differed from mine. When I pointed out that he was removing comments trying to start a civilized and informed discussion, he instead replied with a smug retort.

Incidentally, my original comment simply linked to the (quite lengthy) Illinois Local Library Act, and questioned how the unelected library board could decide to levy taxes when the act clearly stated that only the “corporate authorities” (the City Council) could do so, and only via voter referendum.

As Mr. Smith owns and operates the Evanston Now website, he’s free to remove any comments from his website he deems (un)fit, even if doing so is in direct conflict of his own Terms. Of course, I’m free to point out his journalism double-standard here.

Incidentally, I would have very much liked for another citizen “who can read” to “point out to [me] in public what [I was] unable to find in the statute”. After all, my complaint about the Library Board is not that there is a tax to pay for the library (though $366/year seems awfully steep), but that the Library Board has suddenly deemed itself a taxing authority.

What follows is my e-mail discussion with Mr. Smith:

>On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 9:44 AM,  wrote:
>>> Hi Geoff,
>>> I've pulled your comments about the library funding dispute because you've
>>> missed the key provision of the statute, from the library board's
>>> perspective.
>>> The statute says at (75 ILCS 5/3-5) that the library board of trustees
>>> gets to specify the amount that the corporate authorities (the city council)
>>> "shall" levy -- the implication being that the city council has no
>>> discretion in the matter -- it must levy whatever the library board tells it
>>> to (within the caps set by the statute).
>>> Evanston for many years has used a different process -- in which the City
>>> Council determines what the library's budget will be and funds that amount
>>> out of the general fund -- not from a separate library fund.
>>> The last time the library board tried to flex its muscles on the issue a
>>> couple decades ago, the then city attorney persuaded them to back down by
>>> threatening to take them to court.
>>> If you'd like to discuss this further, drop me a note at
>>> or give me a call at 847-733-7526.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Bill Smith

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Geoff Silver  wrote:
>> You guys moderate civilized comments by removing them?  Seriously?
>> If you're only going to allow comments which are pro-Evanston than what's
>> the point of allowing comment at all?  You disagree with my interpretation
>> and so my comment is removed?
>> Wow, nice yellow journalism there.

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 2:27 PM, Bill Smith  wrote:
>Excuse me ... I was trying to save you the embarrassment of having
>someone who can read point out to you in public what you were unable
>to find in the statute.
>I didn't realize you'd rather be publicly embarrassed. I'll make a
>note of that for next time.
>Bill Smith
>Evanston Now

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM, Geoff Silver  wrote:

No need.  Any website which leaves comments like "The INTERNET and
e-books has replaced librarys. Those that still use the library should
pay for it! The taxes in this city have almost made it unliveable to
want to live here as it is. Give us another reason to sell and move!"
yet summarily "moderates" (removes) comments like "here's a link to
the precise documents" isn't worth the screen it's printed on.  You
can keep your moderation - I'd rather get my news from an unbiased
and trustworthy source.