I can't believe that a modern amp design would use a first filter capacitor with only a 450 Volt rating.  With modern wall voltage approaching 130 VAC, the potential at the first cap at turn-on can be 600 Volts.  I recommend changing at least the first filter cap to at least a 500V rating.  Your amp will thank you.

Tim Ward introduced me to this amplifier when he brought his over for me to play with.  We both thought that the amp was dark sounding, almost flabby in the bass notes.  The tone control doesn't seem to do much to the tone at all.  Weird.  Pairing a 5W Princeton circuit with a 12 inch speaker is a good idea, but Panama didn't quite get the circuit tuned to the speaker.

PANAMA Conqueror schematic


PANAMA Conqueror
PANAMA Conqueror

2018 PANAMA Conqueror 5W

PANAMA Conqueror


Panama added a one-knob tone control similar to the Fender 5F2 Princeton circuit, but they use a 1M pot, and it is not configured properly with the volume pot.  I changed the tone pot to 250K, and added a 100K "bias" resistor to convince more of the signal to go through that tone control (as in the 5F2 Princeton).

The L-Pad attenuator isn't very useful on this amp, and it does affect signal quality to the speaker.  I disconnected it from the circuit (left it in the amp).  The result is an improved tone (IMO).


   Vintage Electronics

Panama departed from the Fender 5F1 Champ circuit in a few places:  The filter caps are all 22 uF, instead of the 5F1's 16uF, 8uF, 8uF.  They removed one of the input jacks - there's only one on the Panama.  They changed the 6V6 cathode resistor from 470 Ω to 330 Ω.  The 5F1's 5Y3GT rectifier is changed to a weird Chinese 6Z4-J nine-pin miniature rectifier,  and Panama added a tone control to the 5F1 circuit, as well as the 8Ω L-Pad.  Everything else is pretty true to the 5F1 design.

The Conqueror uses the same Negative Feedback Scheme as the Fender Champ, with a 22K resistor between the output transformer secondary and the 2nd gain stage cathode.  I used a push/pull switch on the Tone pot to turn the NFB off, by opening the NFB loop.  This increases distortion and alters the tone somewhat.  In a good way.

Panama got rid of one of the input jacks of the 5F1, which is fine, but they kept the 68K resistor, which is essentially the "Low Gain" input on Fender's amps.  I changed this to 34K (ok, 33K) to duplicate the "High Gain" circuit of the 5F1.

The Conqueror features an attenuator in the form of an 8Ω L-Pad on the back of the amp.  This is somewhat peculiar, since this amp only delivers 5 Watts, and certainly won't get loud enough to wake the neighbors.  But, it's there, and it works well.

Panama does not publish the schematic of this amp.   So I drew a schematic which also shows the suggested modifications.


(refer to above schematic)




PANAMA Conqueror circuit

The Panama Conqueror is a 5W combo amp made by Panama Guitars, in, you guessed it, Panama.  The Amp is touted as being a tribute to the Fender Champ 5F1 circuit, but it is probably closer in circuit design to the 5F2 Princeton, since it has a tone control.  Sells for less than $400.

The Conqueror is enclosed in a handsome Spanish Cedar and Palo Mora Cabinet with removable front grill. With 12" aged V30 driver as standard.

Stunning Palo Mora tonewood baffle. Available as standard in Ivory White / Graphite, and special editions of Purpleheart and Emerald.

The Conqueror is hand-wired on an eyelet board, and is well made and very beautiful, especially with the grill cloth removed to display the gorgeous tonewood baffle.

The amp sounds good out of the box, but it is definitely dark, almost muddy sounding sometimes, and would benefit from some modification.

So modify it I did.

This amp uses the Fender 1.5K cathode resistor bypassed with a 25 uF electrolytic capacitor.  The cap was changed to a 3uF Aluminum in parallel with a 1uF Tantalum.  This brings the first gain stage frequencies up into the range of human hearing, and tames that bass flabbiness.