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Changing VU Meter Bulb in ART Pro MPA II Reference
Old 25th April 2015
  #1
Gear Head
 

Changing VU Meter Bulb in ART Pro MPA II Reference

Hey all, I don't have any modding experience, so please excuse my ignorance.

I've got an ART Pro MPA II Reference Series (the one with the blue VU meters, matched pair of tubes, and gold plated connectors). I like the unit, but really dislike the blue VU meters. Can I easily change the bulb for a traditional VU meter color?

Thank you!
Old 25th April 2015
  #2
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
Is the blue color just from the bulb (or LED)? Or is the meter face (or the panel-window) actually tinted blue?
Replacing the bulbs is probably as close to trivial as it gets. And replacing LEDs only slightly more complex.
For that matter, replacing the whole meter probably isn't very difficult, either.
But is you dislike of blue worth buying two new meters?
Old 29th April 2015
  #3
They probably use white or blue LED's. For a traditional bulb look, get incandescent "soft white" LED's from:

www.superbriteleds.com

Sand them to difuse the light and enjoy the olde tyme look.
Old 29th April 2015
  #4
Yes usually it's a pair of LEDS facing the plastic white back of the VU units.

Easy to replace but keep in mind that LED's have polarity so there is a + and a - connection.

Be carefull not to use high power LED's as these can run pretty hot and melt the plastic back of the VU unit.
(I had this happen once when I stuck a pair of smd leds in an old VU wich had no lighting)
Old 23rd November 2016
  #5
Cozmik is correct.
Its the same VU meter as all of the MPA's but the LED is blue.

Its the upper two wires on the back of the VU meter assembly that connect to the little bulb/led pcb. remove the two wires and then the tiny phillip screws and there it is.

I'm not sure how you can by that part though.
I was thinking the opposite and wanting to add a Blue led to the VLA...just to match up the two.

$23 each for meter and led
Changing VU Meter Bulb in ART Pro MPA II Referencehttp://www.ebay.com/itm/1pc-Panel-VU...8AAOSwI-BWJJOo

3.6-5.2V 20ma Yellow Led

Last edited by ZEF; 23rd November 2016 at 09:27 PM.. Reason: add info
Old 23rd November 2016
  #6
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Hi
You keep the parts but replace the LED with a colour of your choice. The LEDs themselves should be a Dollar or thereabouts.
Matt S
Old 4th December 2016
  #7
The one I have isnt the fuse bulb type as seen in pictures. Its a small pcb with a led soldered in the tiny circuit.
Old 27th April 2017
  #8
Did you have a go at soldering this in the end? If so, how did it go?
Old 15th February 2018
  #9
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Link for replacement LED

To the gentlemen in this thread: did anyone ever discover a link for the VU led that could be purchased on its own/in different colors?
Old 29th October 2018
  #10
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TimRideout's Avatar
I too would like to know the answer... where can one purchase LEDs for the meter lights in the ART series?
Old 30th October 2018
  #11
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
LEDs are widely available all over the internet. They are "dirt-cheap" The postage/shipping easily costs an order of magnitude more than the LEDs themselves.

The major issue is the exact physical and electrical details of your particular piece of gear. Apparently there are several variations as technology evolved over the life-cycle of the equipment. So the exact solution depends on your particular unit.

Exactly how are the bulbs configured mechanically in your unit? Unless the bulbs are INSIDE the meters, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to remove bulbs and replace them with LEDs.

What kind of power is going to the bulbs? AC? DC? Voltage? This is where it might get somewhat technical to accommodate the LEDs to whatever power was being supplied to the bulbs. You might need a multi-meter to test the lighting power. Even an inexpensive ($10 or free) promotional gadget meter from Harbor Freight or Canadian Tire (or whatever you have up there?).
Old 5th November 2018
  #12
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TimRideout's Avatar
Yes! LEDs are widely available allover the internet - that's the problem
Coupled with the fact that I am unable to find any literature or posts that point to a specific bulb or solution.

My unit it the ART TPS-II.
Does this information help?

thanks!
Old 6th November 2018
  #13
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
There were probably several variations of the internal details of even that one model.
Replacing the incandescent bulbs with LEDs would require the electrical and mechanical details.
What voltage is being supplied to the incandescent bulbs? What is the mechanical arrangement.

Have you seen this discussion?:
Pro VLA VU Meter Lamp

And this response #9 . Does this look like your unit?
Pro VLA VU Meter Lamp
Old 12th November 2018
  #14
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TimRideout's Avatar
Thank you Richard - that is not my unit, unfortunately. But the post did state the obvious, for n00bs like me: contact the manfacturer Thanks for your leg work.
Old 31st December 2018
  #15
Gear Nut
 
silentsky's Avatar
I've got an ART Pro MPA II that had an intermittent short in one of the VU meter lamp bulbs. When I would power the unit on, the one VU meter would almost never be lit, but after leaving it on for a while, it would usually light up. I opened it up and found that there are actually three LED's behind each VU meter: 2 amber & 1 white, which give the meters their pale orange appearance (on the version that I have). In my case, I simply had to touch up the solder joints (which required a very fine-tipped soldering iron), and it fixed the problem. I've detailed the steps for the repair on my blog here:

ART Pro MPA II VU Meter LED Bulb Lamp Repair and Tube Swap

Hope this helps,

Jon

Last edited by silentsky; 31st December 2018 at 08:56 PM.. Reason: clarity
Old 15th December 2019
  #16
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TimRideout's Avatar
For those wanting to replace the meter bulb on an ART TPS II preamp (NOT the MPA II, as in the title of this thread), here is the response I received from the manufacturer/service rep:

"Unfortunatley, those bulbs have never been available as a bulb separately, they have only been available with the meter, I know this sounds dumb , but the meter manufacturer would never reveal what bulb it was. The meters are rather inexpensive at about $15 each if I recall. any ART dealer can get them for you .

Regards,
Yorkville Sound, CANADA"

Et voilà...

T
Old 23rd December 2019
  #17
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travis.funk's Avatar
Tim,

I just replaced the bulbs in my TPS ii with LEDs and a resistor. I used some amber LEDs that I had from an electronics kit and fit 2 in each VU (in testing, 1 LED was too dim) then fitted a resistor (7 Ohm 1/4 Watt - no I didn't calculate that) outside the VU so that if it was too bright or dim, or over heated and failed I could easily replace it. I just have a nice soldering iron and lots of computer repair and soldering experience to lean on. I've never fixed a VU before. Once I had the first one done and figured out, the second one went really quickly!
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Old 23rd December 2019
  #18
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Hi
The choice of colour of LED is tricky as the colour you end up with is not necessarily what the data sheets suggest.
However, you do need to use some maths and roughly speaking LEDs should be run at around 20mA or a touch less if you can. The maths gets more fun if you are using rectified and possibly unsmoothed AC.
Whites often are used at a higher current, but then are too 'white' anyway although a white run at 20mA or less with a bit of yellow cellophane might do it for you.
It is mostly a 'fiddling around' exercise rather than being out and out expensive.
When run at a modest current LEDs will last for years.
I expect there will be Youtube or other resources to help work out the maths and a 'fiddle' factor of about 50% means you don't have to be super critical.
Have fun and don't bend the meter needle!)
Matt S
Old 16th January 2020
  #19
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Hi Travis! thank you for that :-)
I have a Tps2 and the analog Vu's meters are not acting beyond being off as well. However the unit is working well. (the digital led color inputs are ok)
I opened the lid to see if I could access the Vu meter, but I found it very difficult to access the lamps and try to replace them. I have doubts if my problem would be just the light bulb or something else.
How did you get access to the Vu meter? Thanks!
Sorry for my bad English, hug from brazil

Thiago Lecussan
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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TimRideout's Avatar
Cool, Travis!

Unfortunately for me, I shudder at even the thought of putting together IKEA furniture... so soldering and electronics are definitely beyond my scope

Nice job on the hack,

T

Quote:
Originally Posted by travis.funk View Post
Tim,

I just replaced the bulbs in my TPS ii with LEDs and a resistor. I used some amber LEDs that I had from an electronics kit and fit 2 in each VU (in testing, 1 LED was too dim) then fitted a resistor (7 Ohm 1/4 Watt - no I didn't calculate that) outside the VU so that if it was too bright or dim, or over heated and failed I could easily replace it. I just have a nice soldering iron and lots of computer repair and soldering experience to lean on. I've never fixed a VU before. Once I had the first one done and figured out, the second one went really quickly!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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travis.funk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lecussan View Post
How did you get access to the Vu meter?

Thiago Lecussan
Hi Thiago,

Figuring out the operation was one of the hardest parts. The LED+VU meter module is connected via solid pins extending from the main board, plus a pair of giant (~1 inch) screw standoffs. I carefully snipped the pins (in one case they had already been cut and soldered back together [at the factory], so I just un-soldered those) and unscrewed the LED control board.

Then, the VU is soldered to that smaller board and the bulb is then wired back to the main board with two red wires. I had to use a volt meter to determine positive/negative, since that was going to matter with LEDs. I un-soldered the VU module from the LED control board and had to unwrap black vinyl tape covering the bulb (I later replaced this tape, because it directs the light toward the meter instead of into the case).

I did some testing with various LED setups to come up with the two LEDs + resistor setup. My Fluke voltmeter did not measure any AC across the bulb leads, in spite of most of my electrolytic capacitors apparently leaking (my next project is to replace those and upgrade opamps).

Once I had my setup tested I figured out how to squeeze it all together and leave the resistor in a easier to access spot.

Like I said, after the first one was done, the second was much easier.

Travis
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