Can I Test Old Vacuum Electron Tubes a simple way? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    I made a list of them and think I will sell them on E blay and see what happens. i have a bunch of fuses on there now. I get these deals from time to time from local online or in person auctions .Im a sucker for them...Last night I looked the value or what folks are selling them for on bay. I think i will sell them in 3 batches ..as is..for 1/4 of the prices the others are selling them for. Some numbers are: 3BA6, 6DJB, 3DT6, 6DR7, 6EA8, etc...have about 19 different numbers and a total of 88 tubes. You guys are a great help. I just want to sell them. I was thinking as I opened some of the boxes, they look new, because the boxes haven't been opened before. When I open them these old boxes get torn a little, so I hate to open them.
    Have to see if anyone wants them. For example I saw a 3BA6 selling for 2.69 and I'm thinking 50 cents each as is. here are 4 3DT6's sellin for 32.50...I was thinking 10.00 each. what a deal...lol...Thanks. Rich

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Done those.

    Also 'acorns', 'peanuts', Dekatrons, Klystrons, and Traveling Wave Tubes. Cavity magnetrons are a different sort of critter, but also on my list.

    And if 'unit count' of vacuum tubes matters?
    Mcguire AFB. Summer of 1965. Cross-trained on Semi Automatic Ground Environment, NYADS AN/FSQ-7.

    My 'regular' mount was AN/GSA-51, BUIC II, 680th RADRON, Palermo, NJ.
    Modern stuff. 'Transistors'. Didn't need 3 Mega Watts of power, nor a man-made lake for cooling. SAGE surely did.

    AN/GSA-51 was also the first-ever dual-CPU 'puter, (SAGE just alternated its two IBM Whirlwind II). Moreover could have either CPU switched-out and replaced on-the-fly while still managing the Air Battle.

    Never touched it, but IIRC, SAGE BOADS was actually slightly larger and a wee wee bit more capable among around 26 or so of the monsters. Closer to Lincoln Labs, so got more TLC from the Gurus with their experiments.

    You didn't really think there were only teen-agers in the room did you?



    Bill
    You are a young squirt. I spent 1966 at Adair AFB, Corvallis, Or after receiving my Master's. Grade E2. I will always remember the 'Q7, one of a kind. Programmed it in Coseal.

    Most people will have little use for the tubes you quoted, that stuff is all microwave except for the Dekatraons. Peanut tubes to me were the 7 and 9 pin miniatures, like a 6J6. If you want specials, don't forget the Williams Memory tubes.

    Tom

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    This thread makes me feel old. I remember being able to walk into the local radioshack and they would test for you and had drawers full of tubes. I wonder who got all of those old testers. ... and the left over tubes for that matter. Willing to bet most hit the dumpster.

    JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    You are a young squirt. I spent 1966 at Adair AFB, Corvallis, Or after receiving my Master's. Grade E2. I will always remember the 'Q7, one of a kind. Programmed it in Coseal.
    "Conceived" in Corvallis a whole lot earlier if my folks are to be believed. 70th Infantry Division, Trailblazer form-up was on the playlist at Camp Adair. Wartime emergencies and such as they were, Army hadn't even had time to truck in MIL standard mud. Post Engineer had to authorize use of local materials.

    Q7 - incredibly reliable and long-lived - albeit with MASSIVE preventive-maintenance, and 'predictive failure' of course, tube testers being where we came in - was 26 of a kind, IIRC, not just one.

    And there is the REAL marvel of its era.

    Each ADS plus redundant HQ @ approx 60,000 vacuum tubes per-each, plus on-site, near-site, and distant warehouse spares, factory production lines behind those, times near-as-dammit a quarter of a century online at around half that or better, long-term average?

    Well may have accounted for more tubes in the types used than the rest of the entire world economy combined.

    Also JOVIAL for software workup, IIRC. Got itself a MIL code later, went on to the F15 program and such. May still be serving us under that nomenclature.

    I've ceased watching, long since, but it was waaay cleaner and more elegant - warts and all - than MOST of the alleged-languages in use these days.

    Bill

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    I am working on an amateur radio transceiver (Drake TR-4) as we speak. It is from the mid 1950s (Civil Defense era) and has been unused for a considerable period of time. All I know for sure now is that all the tube light up and get warm. No sound from the speaker but many of the RF circuits seem to be operating somewhat. With headphones I can hear background noise.

    Bob
    WB8NQW

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    Quote Originally Posted by blcksmth View Post
    I am working on an amateur radio transceiver (Drake TR-4) as we speak. It is from the mid 1950s (Civil Defense era) and has been unused for a considerable period of time. All I know for sure now is that all the tube light up and get warm. No sound from the speaker but many of the RF circuits seem to be operating somewhat. With headphones I can hear background noise.

    Bob
    WB8NQW
    Squarely in with Bro. Bassett's pet crusade on where to look first. Capacitors over age in grade, AND NOT JUST B+ supply and the like.

    As a kid, I marvelled at a 1938 'Sparton' Console all-band that would not talk plain.

    Durned 5Y3 B+ supply rectifier plates where white-hot.

    A 5U4 replacement glowed pink.

    Gifted with an ex-WJPA AM broadcast station used-but-good 5R4 that only glowed dull red and got me actual sound.. was wondering where the LOUD 120 Hz carrier was coming from... until smelly wax started running like water out of the transformer casing.

    I had just got my first pop-quiz in Borax-electrolyte capacitor longevity signed-off.

    With an "F".

    Been a tad paranoid about caps ever since. Even itty-bitty ones that have so much 'leverage' where they sit in a circuit they can spoke rather larger wheels with no discernable effort. Above-suspicion silver-mica mini-mini's are akin to Bodine motors: "They DO TOO fail. They just take longer!".

    Failed 'diode longevity' first go as well. Then transistors.

    Only way to git ahead in 'tronics is to make more mistakes earlier and faster than the next guy is making his, and learn better from them.

    Too-easy 'success' don't teach s**t as far as LASTING lessons go.


    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Squarely in with Bro. Bassett's pet crusade on where to look first.
    Capacitors over age in grade, AND NOT JUST B+ supply and the like.
    HOORAY !!! We agree on something. Cue the drum roll.

    Fireworks start at dusk.

    - Leigh

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    Quote Originally Posted by The real Leigh View Post
    Fireworks start at dusk.

    - Leigh
    Given that we are opposite side of our respective old projects at Goddard? IOW within 8" SP HOW, if not four-deuce range of each other geographically?

    I think I'll go visit my Kid Brother in Front Royal this evening and "give that a miss".

    Sittin' down over a pint would be equally dangerous. Absent keyboards, slow uplinks, and PM adverts to slow us down, we could starve to death whilst swapping War Stories on NASA and Redstone alone.

    Guess those adverts are a 'public service' after all...


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Also JOVIAL for software workup, IIRC. Got itself a MIL code later, went on to the F15 program and such. May still be serving us under that nomenclature.

    I've ceased watching, long since, but it was waaay cleaner and more elegant - warts and all - than MOST of the alleged-languages in use these days.

    Bill
    COSEAL was assembler, JOVIAL was a compiler. Had fun playing with the half word structure. According to the Lincoln Labs, the original Q7 was programmed in machine language. I suspect that language was COSEAL. Strange thing is that no record exists that I can find that documents the language.

    "JOVIAL was developed as a new "high-order" programming language beginning in 1959 by a team at System Development Corporation (SDC) headed by Jules Schwartz to compose software for the electronics of military aircraft.[1] The name JOVIAL is an acronym for "Jules Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language."[2] The "International Algorithmic Language" (IAL) was a name originally proposed for ALGOL 58."

    Tom

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  11. #30
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    What's a "vacuum tube"?
    Why would you put a Hoover or a Dyson in a tube? Would it suck up electrons better this way?

    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    What's a "vacuum tube"?
    Why would you put a Hoover or a Dyson in a tube? Would it suck up electrons better this way?

    Bob
    Lazy the last few days. Generally call them 'thermionic valves' meself. Covers those that are not (hard) 'vacuum', but have a rare gas or metal ions running about. Intentionally.

    BTW 'Hoover' ain't a vacuum. Their's DON'T suck.

    'Hoover' is either an under-Engineered Dam or an overly-damned Engineer, depending on one's political persuasion, long view of history, or expertise with concrete placement.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    You are a young squirt. I spent 1966 at Adair AFB, Corvallis, Or after receiving my Master's. Grade E2. I will always remember the 'Q7, one of a kind. Programmed it in Coseal.

    Most people will have little use for the tubes you quoted, that stuff is all microwave except for the Dekatraons. Peanut tubes to me were the 7 and 9 pin miniatures, like a 6J6. If you want specials, don't forget the Williams Memory tubes.

    Tom
    Most of the tubes Bill cited are microwave types, but the ones Rich is selling are TV, especially the 3 volt heaters, which were used in series string sets. These tubes were also used in various other applications. For example, there were a lot of ham transmitters that used TV horizontal sweep driver tubes because the old TVs also used them to generate the high voltage for the CRTs. Whether there is a market for a particular one is a matter of who sees the ad. Most of them are probably listed on Mike Marx's website, which gives you a baseline.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    Most of the tubes Bill cited are microwave types,
    Military RADAR and FPTS types some were, yes.

    Except the "peanuts". Hearing Aids, those.

    And therein lies a rare 'happy customer' service tale.

    Our last thermionic-valve hearing aid was the Model 82. Upstart MAICO hearing aids beat E A Myers/ Radioear to market - just barely - with the first-ever consumer-market transistor device.

    Retaliation included hiring-away the young Engineer of theirs who had enabled the project, and following up Real Soon Now with our own transistor hearing aid. Tacked-on a digit and called it the Model 820.

    No time to make new dies for a smaller stainless clamshell case, our own Chief Engineer, Sam Lybarger, just stuffed a Mallory RM1 battery into the space and changed the trim a tad.

    A lady who had become accustomed to managing three different batteries for filament, plate, and grid bias, changed at one day, one week, and one month intervals respectively, came in with her Model 820 after over 12 months of use.

    Said there had to be something WRONG with her hearing aid because it had run for over a year on the original battery and showed no sign it would EVER need a new one.

    Well.. they did. Eventually.

    Just had a rather flat discharge-curve as well as lower power needs than thermionic valves.



    NB: The wave of transistor goods that soon followed to replace battery-nuisance vacuum-tubes goods put soooo many 'portable' (barely..) radios and hybrid TV's into the scrapped-out market, that many of us got our start with vacuum tubes from economic necessity.

    My first-ever Eccles-Jordan 'digital logic' bi-stable multivibrator, AKA 'flip-flop' was built from two tubes salvaged from an AC/DC table radio's chain.

    OTOH, that technology hadn't waited for the digital computer age. Their original didn't use transistors or IC's either. Not as of the 1918 patent, anyway.



    Bill

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    I don't know if any were ever built, but there was a proposal to use a strong beta particle (I.e. electrons) emitter for a cathode. It would always be on and would need no filament power. It occurs to me that the electrons might be coming out at such a high speed that it would require a very high negative grid bias to control them and you might not need a positive plate voltage, just let them bang into it. Since it would be at ambient temperature, you could not call it a thermionic valve, so then what?

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    I don't know if any were ever built, but there was a proposal to use a strong beta particle (I.e. electrons) emitter for a cathode. It would always be on and would need no filament power. It occurs to me that the electrons might be coming out at such a high speed that it would require a very high negative grid bias to control them and you might not need a positive plate voltage, just let them bang into it. Since it would be at ambient temperature, you could not call it a thermionic valve, so then what?

    Bill
    There was 'chatter' as to utilizing them in space, where the vacuum was 'free'.

    AFAIK, it didn't get much traction, partly due to vacuum being nearly 'free' anyway, largely because it became waaaay less-costly to boost lower-mass and much denser-featured solid-state goods into orbit even WITH the very-damned good shielding it needs for that environment.

    Forms of thermionic and beam-shaping technology DO still live-on in Ion drives and their cousins, though.

    Horses for courses.

    Retrospectively, the "Science Fiction" of JW Campbell, RA Heinlein, and a bevy of others who got their physics right has turned into "Science Prediction".

    One can still hope that some of the "doomsayers" in that crowd got THEIR part dead-wrong.

    Heinlein, too, come to think of it. We could surely give "Revolt in 2100" a miss and be the better for it, positive final outcome or no..

    Bill

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    Richard, if you want a tube tester, I have one and could swap for scraping supplies.
    It's a Jackson Model 103
    I have no idea if it works, I don't think I ever used it. I had a 1966 vintage sinker EDM that had tubes and assume that's why I have this.
    (That EDM also had a hydraulic servo!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by msimard View Post
    Jackson Model 103
    'Dynamic' type. Plenty of info online about restoral and use, here's one:

    http://www.mzentertainment.com/studi...be_tester.html

    Plenty more.

    Just add 'tube tester' to the search string... unless you are also into electric guitars and such..


  20. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by The real Leigh View Post
    ...Other values are almost certainly TV tubes, which are virtually worthless...
    Almost anyone can find something to disagree with or criticize in a topic like this one. I would have ignored the above if it wasn’t a key area of discussion in my book “Designing Vacuum Tube Amplifiers And Related Topics”: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sutb3baaajypfzp/5jAs6MErWU

    In the book several issues with vacuum tubes used in today’s amplification equipment are discussed (as are the outrageous prices consumers will pay for the poor quality devices manufactured in China and Russia).

    An obvious solution to the quality issue is to use American/British/Dutch-made NOS vacuum tubes but the cost for these are even higher, as one would expect. My solution to the two problems (for which a design procedure and an example is included in the book) is to use television tubes as amplifiers.

    This class of vacuum tube often will result in higher performance and for 10% of the cost because so many of them exist on the surplus market. The reason for the lack of popularity is simple: lack of knowledge.

    Almost all vacuum tube musical instrument amplifiers use the same four or five tubes. That’s mainly because almost all vacuum tube musical instrument amplifier manufacturers are simply copying old designs.

    IMO, many of the so-called “boutique” amplifier manufacturers have no comprehensive knowledge of vacuum tube design and the tube selection process. This limits them to copy-cat amplifiers for the most part.

    (FWIW, the above book is a free download from the link posted. The book is not in the public domain and may not be replicated beyond a single copy or used for any commercial purpose, as is clearly specified in the highlighted section at the top of page 2. NOTE: the download takes a while as the book is over 300 pages.)

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  22. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyc View Post
    FWIW, the above book is a free download from the link posted.
    And I'm confident it's worth every penny.

    - Leigh

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    The problem with tv tubes is not being tested for noise, or even being designed for low noise or low microphonics.

    Idea sounds good, works out less well.

    There is a 6C4 in certain Ampeg SVT bass amps, which causes a noise problem even though it is not in any way high gain. Just never designed for that use. No problem in radio use.


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