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I wonder how much vintage gear is screwed up each year by people doing just the same thing?
Most people wouldn't know not to just plug it in though, and simply assume they found (or purchased) a lemon.
I've heard many times: "I plugged it in and turned it on. It worked for a couple of minutes, and then smoke started to come out the back." I had a guy with a little Grommes mono integrated who plugged it in and turned it on without service and, in so doing, burned up a pair of Blackburn Mullard EL84s. That was a sad day.
So, yes, people do frequently damage older equipment by turning it on when they shouldn't. Of course, the damage may already have been done by the time they get it in their possession.
The problem is that the general population is used to plugging electronic equipment in and having it work perfectly. They have no concept of aging components or associated hazards.
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