Forums :: Resources :: Features :: Photo Gallery :: Vintage Radio Shows :: Archives :: Books
Support This Site: Contributors :: Advertise


It is currently Feb Tue 28, 2017 2:00 am


All times are UTC [ DST ]





Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 37 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered on?
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 5:52 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep Sat 10, 2016 9:44 pm
Posts: 100
Location: near Morgantown, WV
I've heard varying opinions on this topic, and that tubes, etc. last much longer when in continuous use, however do have concerns of something going south while I'm not in the room listening to it, and causing damage. Most days, I turn the radio in my bedroom on in the evening, and listen to it well into the next morning. Lately, I have been feeling under the weather, so it only got turned off on Saturday, or if we needed to leave the house the last couple weeks. I'm beginning to wonder if switching it off for maybe 7-12 hours every day is worse than just letting it play through. The radio in question is my original Fairbanks Morse 58T1, of which I have been working on restoring a second radio of same model due to carelessness in my youth. I have added a 1A time delay fuse, resistor to correct line voltage, and am using a PM speaker, but am also wondering if other precautions such as a 100ma fuse on b+, or AF output transformer would prevent any potential grief. I also tend to leave my other tube radios powered on as well if planning to listen again in the next few hours, and have been known to leave some solid state radios playing indefinitely. Energy usage aside, I just wanted to hear some opinions on what everyone thinks is easier on a radio either way.

_________________
Big B

Old radios and records, Just let the music play.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:32 am 
Member

Joined: Feb Sat 06, 2016 1:47 am
Posts: 1600
Location: Santee Calif. 92071
Turn any unused electronics off when not in use. No need to keep any of them on stand by. No saving by doing that. All tubes have a limit of life. By keeping them still conducting just is a waist of emission. Solid state can be kept on for extended time buy why if not being used.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:52 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep Mon 16, 2013 2:42 am
Posts: 1897
Location: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
It depends on how long it will be unattended. I would leave it on if I were going to the bathroom but turn it off for lunch time. If you are concerned about the turn-on surge, add an inrush limiter. There are several threads about that going on right now. If you use an appropriate one (high cold resistance, maximum rated current not more than 4 times the current drawn by the radio), they are quite effective.

When the radios were new, they were turned on and off frequently. Yet the tubes lasted for quite a while.

_________________
Jim Mueller


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 8:00 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep Sat 27, 2014 4:24 am
Posts: 1009
Location: Oxford, MI
This isn't ENIAC, its probably better to turn them off. :)

_________________
Caretaker of Portable Tube Radios


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 8:23 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16010
Location: Albuquerque, NM 87123
My opinion:

Don't leave tube equipment left on unless you are actually using it. Not energy efficient and tubes do wear out.

Leave lights on if you will be back in 5 minutes or less. Note: I use mostly incandescent bulbs; I DO NOT trust CFLs or ANY "New" type lamps of any variety.

Leave computer on all the time. Boot time is a pain. The electrolytics in a computer are going to go bad, no question about that--but, they might last longer if powered up all the time. Power down the monitor when not in use. I blow out the dust and check electrolytics for bulging in my computer about twice a year.

If you have security lights set the sensitivity so that cats or passing cars don't set them off. Most of those lights are 100 watts or more.

Many people leave their chargers plugged in all the time; not a good idea.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 8:59 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Mon 16, 2012 4:15 pm
Posts: 2504
Location: Eastern Iowa
Notionally at least, the idea that tubes and some other components last longer when not subjected to daily off-on cycles has some merit. Some 1960s TV manufacturers offered an "instant on" feature for their sets which trickled enough current into the tubes when the set was shut off to allow the tube cathodes to remain in an emitting state; these manufacturers touted "improved reliability" as a side benefit of this feature. Some electronics hobby mags of the day featured DIY mods for older tube equipment that would implement this capability. This may be a false memory, but I think that only equipment with series-string heaters was suitable for having this mod installed.

Even if it can be shown that component longevity is improved by keeping the tube heaters idling, I don't think that I'd care to run a 70-year-old "daily driver" 24/7. Too much power there, and too much opportunity for something to go very wrong while the unit is unattended.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 10:56 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Mon 18, 2010 2:13 am
Posts: 13675
Location: Dayton Ohio
Sorry, but in the 35+ years I've been in the hobby, I've never heard or seen any indications that tubes last longer in continuous use.

They do have a life, and any use shortens them. Perhaps its the sudden surge upon turn on with everything in a cold state that could be a concern.
If so then bring your daily player up to power gradually with a Variac. This will also allow running at reduced voltage (110 VAC) which I feel would be the best way to help squeeze more life out of your radio.

-Steve

_________________
Radio Interests
-Zenith
-Sparton
-Pre-War FM
Consoles and floor models, the bigger, the better!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 3:42 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 11803
While I won't turn one off if I'm going to be away from it a few minutes I generally do if I'm out of the house... I rarely leave older transformer sets on more than a hour or two...

I use AA5 types for monitor of my transmitter, those often run 24/7 and yes tubes fail in continuous useage... In approx 2.5 years a little Admiral lost five 35Z5/35Z4(it can use either), three used ones bellied up in approx six months total... The new ones lasted fourteen & nine months... It also had 12SK7 & 12SQ7 failures... A little PT30 Philco that uses dropper resistors in heater string pulled two years without a single failure...


Tom


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 3:57 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 18945
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
I turn off any piece of electronics when not being used, especially tube equipment. This is mainly for peace of mind. The one exception is my desktop computer which I use often during the day and evening. I put into the "sleep" mode if I'm not actually using it and I shut it off over night.

Dave


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 4:04 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jul Mon 26, 2010 8:30 pm
Posts: 18278
Location: Annapolis, MD
i would never leave a vintage tube radio running unattended---there are too many parts that can randomly fail and---at best---take other things with them, or start a fire.

To the more general question:
You would have to focus on the likely failure modes. As already stated, tubes will wear out with operating time. This tends to be true of anything that runs hot--light bulbs, electric heating elements, etc.
In contrast, many electrical failures are mechanical, and are related to thermal or mechanical shocks or cycling. I think thermal cycling is probably the major cause of broken solder joints on printed circuit boards. If mechanical cycling and stresses is the concern, then you are better leaving the equipment running.

_________________
-Mark http://pixellany.com

"It's always something". --Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 5:43 pm 
Member

Joined: Dec Sat 24, 2011 9:17 pm
Posts: 794
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
To save the switch, I leave the radio switch on and use a power bar with a switch on it.

Make sure your smoke detectors are up to snuff.
It sounds like you ccould fall asleep with the radio on? I would suggest a timer on your power bar.

Tubes are not that expensive or rare, so why risk a fire?

On the flip side, the more radios left on, the less you need to spend on heat. :lol:

_________________
If it has a short, yes I will happily make it longer. [:l>)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:21 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7614
Location: Baltimore, MD
Everything inside a radio has a finite lifespan. I'd turn it off when not in use. Stepping away 15-20 minutes or so is no big deal, but why leave it playing when no one is around?

_________________
Tom

PM me for my email address


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:24 pm 
Member

Joined: Dec Wed 25, 2013 7:57 am
Posts: 1282
Location: USA
Every old tube set is turned off whenever I'm not in the room. This practice saved me from a potential fire when a set's transformer started smoking.

_________________
Thanks to everyone here for making this hobby possible.


Last edited by AJJ on Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:37 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 24873
Location: Detroit, MI USA
I agree with those who feel a vintage set should not be left turned on while unattended. Too many things can happen too quickly, and many catastrophic failures only take seconds to happen. I won't ever leave them plugged in, even if not turned on, when not in use.

If you seriously think that a 1 amp slow blow fuse in the primary will open in time to protect anything with only about a 20% overload, you are mistaken. The available charts show how long it takes and the numbers are shocking. It's quite possible for something to overheat to the point of burning with only a small increase in primary current.

_________________
Dennis

Experience is what you gain when the results aren't what you were expecting.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:41 pm 
Member

Joined: Feb Tue 12, 2008 4:24 pm
Posts: 417
Location: Virginia
"Tubes last longer" most likely translates to "tubes are much less likely to croak from premature filament failure" if left on. That's all. When you think about it, what happens to all the hours of emission spewing forth with no one listening? I suspect that would outweigh any perceived savings from popping a filament.

Plus you have the other issued mentioned - failure of a cap, overloading of a transformer or other small part that starts a fire. Not very likely, but always *possible*. And there's also the long term cost of electricity that could be better used to....buy another radio (or more tubes).

Sure - if you're running to the garage to look for something or watching a game on TV but will be coming back later, no big deal leaving it on. I do that frequently. The main thing is, the set is still attended, so to speak. If it goes *POP* and starts to buzz, chances are good you'll catch it sooner than later.

Then again, I'm not even comfortable with the new age electronics that are always on even when off.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 6:45 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 10172
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Put me down for the OFF group. Lost at least one set because of letting it go through the smoke test and it did :shock:

Chas

_________________
There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See: John Heywood, 1546


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 7:26 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Mon 18, 2010 2:13 am
Posts: 13675
Location: Dayton Ohio
Right after I restored my Zenith 765, I had it all together and playing nicely!

I was listening to AM 740 CFZM and my SO came in the room and asked what that smell was.
I told her I didn't notice a smell, but as I got to the back of the radio, it was quite strong.

I turned the radio off and you could hear the power transformer sizzling and it was too hot to touch!

I wouldn't have noticed as it was probably gradual, but who knows how much longer it would have played.

I would never leave a radio plugged in the wall, let alone turned on while I'm away from home.

-Steve

_________________
Radio Interests
-Zenith
-Sparton
-Pre-War FM
Consoles and floor models, the bigger, the better!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 11:29 pm 
Member

Joined: Aug Thu 27, 2009 7:47 am
Posts: 2615
Location: Seattle 98125
A 1935 GE that I restored for the lobby of a local business has been playing 14 hours a day for 2.5 years with no maintenance. It's turned off every night.

YMMV though, I suppose it depends considerably on the quality of the components used in the repair, the quality of the other components that weren't replaced, transformer size, etc. etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 11:42 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 23470
Location: SoCal, 91387
azenithnut wrote:

I would never leave a radio plugged in the wall, let alone turned on while I'm away from home.

-Steve

Why would you unplug it? At least in the case of most AA5's, the switch disconnects one side of the AC line. Even if the disconnecting failed, the pilot light would remain on, showing that power was still being applied.

_________________
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\He Who Dies With The Most Radios Wins//////////////////


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The daily player, better switch off, or leave it powered
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2017 11:50 pm 
Member

Joined: Aug Mon 18, 2008 3:17 pm
Posts: 1130
Location: Dallas Tx.
I turn off and unplug mine when T-storms are predicted. And before vacation. No problems so far but I am preparing to do a third recap since the sixties. Normally it is on six to eight hours a day. Why unplug? I've measured 800 volt spikes on the power line here during stormy weather. And lost several pieces of modern equipment when the power xformer down the street was hit by lightning.
One tube was marginal when I originally overhauled the set. At the last recap it was still about the same. All of the other tubes tested good.
A slight hum in the background is a good indication that a recap is past due.
The Radio Shack stock I used on a few sets seem to have a useful lifetime of 15 years. Some of the caps I pulled during recap still had low leakage on the hi-pot test after 30 years.
Sprague brand caps have never given me a problem. A couple out of 1950's surplus military gear still test good.
Panasonic brand from 1980's stereo and TV equipment tested good to really bad in November of 2015.


Top
 Profile  
 
Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 37 posts ]  Moderator: sofaslug Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chris hollingsworth, Fowkes, mhuston26, Robert Lozier and 36 guests



Search for:
Jump to:  




















Privacy Policy :: Powered by phpBB