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 Post subject: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 3:25 pm 
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I seen this over on the Goodwill auction site. Untested and over $1300 so far! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/106394511


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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 3:55 pm 
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The link doesn't seem to be working. What kind of tube tester was it?

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 4:10 pm 
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Triplett 3444.

Link works now.

Goodwill stuff often ends up going for more than eBay levels. I don't know why.

I rejoice that I acquired my tube testers in the 1970's and 1980's when no one wanted them.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 4:14 pm 
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It is a Triplet Model 3444, quite clean, with (reproduced, I think, as they are comb-bound) manuals, and a sticker on it saying "6/04 restore cal + test" plus someone's initials.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 4:37 pm 
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As a casual user, 1300$+ is not the sum I would spend on a used tube tester of any sort. I spent 50$ for my Hickok, and that was because I could have had it for 20 but felt guilty about it. Spent plenty more for my TV 7 but that was because I assumed mil spec was some assumption that it would be high quality item.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 4:44 pm 
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For those of you who have been in the business for some time, by the time you are ready to let go, your Hickoks may be worth like $10,000 at this rate of inflation for these guys!!!!

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 4:59 pm 
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The Triplett 3444 is one of the models that uses a 5-kHz oscillator along with 60-Hz to create complex waveforms to measure the transconductance of tubes. It's a method developed by Weston in the late 1940s and used on all of their transconductance testers, up to and including the Heathkit TT-1 (after Daystrom purchased both companies, they transferred some of Weston's test equipment lines to Heath). Though both frequencies are present in the plate current, the meter circuit only responds to the 5-kHz signal. The advantage claimed for this method was that it would do a better job of catching "lazy" or weak cathodes that might work at 60-Hz but lose efficiency at higher frequencies and on more complex waveforms. Perhaps it offered some advantages, but outside of the Weston/Heath "family" and Triplett, no other companies thought it was so much better that they wanted to take out a license and build it.

So yes it is a very nice, accurate transconductance tube tester if it is in good condition. But I think there's a bit of auction fever going around if anybody thinks it is worth $1,300.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 6:45 pm 
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Two Triplett 3444s in recent sales on eBay - one sold for an offer less than the listing ($989) but was "parts only". The other went for $1300.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 8:13 pm 
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Used to be the Hickok 539C was the tube tester of choice for gurus and mystics. Wonder who decided the Triplett 3444 was the next Holy Grail, and why.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 8:27 pm 
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Chris108 wrote:
Used to be the Hickok 539C was the tube tester of choice for gurus and mystics. Wonder who decided the Triplett 3444 was the next Holy Grail, and why.

Ebay did. Why? Same reason some tube with a black vs grey getter commands a price 10x higher then the other. I wasn't really aware that getter color could influence sonic quality but hey .....

Maybe I should divest myself of my 3444 while it's still such a hot item. BUT .... as noted it may be worth $10k in a few years!

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 26, 2020 11:50 pm 
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Next "Holy Grail" will be the Jackson 658, I predict! :D

Not really... :lol:

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Tue 27, 2020 1:51 am 
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These 3444's have been selling in the $1k range for years. I owned one but sold it about 4 years ago because the meter was starting to stick and failing. The buyer knew that and still gave me $800, and yes, I lost money on that one. $1300 is no surprise for a really clean example. I prefer my 539C's. If I really need to know how a tube is to operate at any given condition, I have the WT-100A and the NL-901A.


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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Tue 27, 2020 3:14 am 
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I must just be into "B" movies...these guys are just too "A" list for me...

But then, I am just a hobbyist...maybe I would feel differently if I made my living at it.

But come to think of it, my pedal steel guitars were a pretty penny...

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Is there something special about this tube tester?
PostPosted: Oct Tue 27, 2020 6:50 am 
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Joined: Jun Tue 02, 2020 11:47 am
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Chris108 wrote:
Used to be the Hickok 539C was the tube tester of choice for gurus and mystics. Wonder who decided the Triplett 3444 was the next Holy Grail, and why.



I instantly lost my interest in Triplett 3444 after finding out its Bias dial is just a pot without any meter to monitor it. IMHO any pot without a meter to monitor it is inaccurate and unrepeatable. So you can't set the Bias voltage accurately with that unmonitored pot. On the contrary 539B/C have a dedicated bias meter to accurately set the bias voltage. And we all know the Gm measurement is very sensitive to the bias voltage, if you can't set the bias voltage accurately you won't get an accurate Gm measurement.

Also I heard the transformer in Triplett 3444 is not robust enough, and there is only one transformer inside it (vs 2 transformers inside 539B/C).

So I don't understand the recent Triplett 3444 fever too :mrgreen:


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