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 Post subject: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 1:04 am 
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I am new to tubes and stuff. why is there not a comprehensive tube tester out there? Nothing seems to be 100% as for tube testing, from my understanding? is it to many manufactures, or to fast change in technologies, both, etc..? excuse my ignorance.. curious

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 1:20 am 
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Tube testers in the general market place went out of style at least 40 years ago.

There is insufficient market for a comprehensive tube tester. 50 testers a year is not a market.

Plenty of old boat anchors out there that still work fine or can be refurbished.

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 1:49 am 
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Rich, W3HWJ wrote:
Tube testers in the general market place went out of style at least 40 years ago.

There is insufficient market for a comprehensive tube tester. 50 testers a year is not a market.

Plenty of old boat anchors out there that still work fine or can be refurbished.

Rich

hi, you are saying the market was not large enough to support a comprehensive tester? or the technology was not there at that time?
(p.s.economics are not feasible at that time :roll: )

I am a generation away and not knowledgeable enough.. thks

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 2:07 am 
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This one is about as comprehensive as it is possible to get: https://www.dos4ever.com/uTracer3/uTracer3_pag0.html. It gets good reviews. Of course, you have to understand what it is telling you.

There is also the matter of the circuit that the tube in question is used in. Some circuits are rather picky and will only work with certain tubes no matter how good they test. Other circuits are quite forgiving and will work properly even with tubes that test far into the red zone on a conventional tester.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 3:18 am 
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There is also this for a modern tester.

http://amplitrex.com/

Mainly aimed at the audiophile market.

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:23 am 
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https://www.sarsradio.com/index_htm_files/SARStubesHickok-Dates_021917.pdf

Jagundo. Scroll down to page 9. Build one!! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 3:29 pm 
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ttx450cap wrote:
is it to many manufactures, or to fast change in technologies, both, etc..?

You'd probably enjoy reading Gerald Tyne's "Saga of the Vacuum Tube" to see all the varieties of tube bases and tube types introduced over the years.
https://www.amazon.com/Saga-Vacuum-Tube ... 0672214709

World War II is a big dividing line. There was rapid technological improvement during the war, so post-war products used distinctly different technology than pre-war products. There was also a big shift from radio to television after WWII. Thus, different tube testers for different eras.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 4:03 pm 
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Please forgive me for being a bit off topic, but I didn't want to start a new thread..and the folks I turn to to are watching this...and it is sort of a dumb TT question...

The the TT I have restored, as designed, does not test for shorts between the plate and cathode....I can somewhat grok the notion of design considerations dictating this, but was it because cathode to plate shorts are rare?

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 4:09 pm 
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Yes, Cathode to Plate shorts are very rare, but not impossible.

Usually shorts involve adjacent elements.

-Steve

EDIT: Except diodes/rectifiers where the plate and cathode are adjacent. Those are more common, such as the infamous 6X5

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 4:52 pm 
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yes, as I understand tube construction, the control grid would completely surround the cathode...making a short from cathode to plate NOT shorting the control grid would be gymnastics?

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 8:05 pm 
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If I understand the original question correctly, by "comprehensive" you mean why is there not one tester that can test every tube type ever made?

The answer to that is, economics. Tube testers were intended to be used in the repair and maintenance of electronic equipment. The earliest commercial tubes date to 1919-1920 and the last new types were introduced in the early 1970s. In that 50-year (or so) span, a lot of tubes became obsolete and were discontinued. Tester manufacturers did not want to price themselves out of the market by including sockets, power transformers, and data for tubes they assumed nobody would ever test again because no manufacturer was producing or using them. They wanted to focus on the latest tube types since those would be most useful to somebody in the repair business.

To me, the big dividing line was when television started becoming popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Many older tube testers were incapable of supplying the plate currents necessary to properly test horizontal and vertical deflection tubes, and they could not be updated or modified. This forced equipment manufacturers to develop a new generation of tube testers and when they did, many of the older obsolete radio tube types went by the wayside.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 9:20 pm 
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Old tube testers would not know about tubes introduced after they were made. So there is one cause for lack of coverage. In some cases there are adapters that could be purchased to help cover newer tubes and test data updates to go with them. These days those items can be hard to find but some are available if you look around. Some tubes are difficult to test, TV tubes have been mentioned and testers made before TV might not have the umpf to test them even with adapters and data updates. Transmitting tubes are also often not covered for the same reasons. If you look around you can find testers that cover nearly everything that most of us are interested in. If you have a deep interest in the more exotic tubes you will have a harder time but if you share what tubes you are having trouble with someone may be able to offer suggestions.

Since most of us are collectors, the limited coverage of a lot of testers is just an excuse to collect tube testers!


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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:13 pm 
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thks lots of good info for me to dig through :) enjoy reading them

I watch many videos on tube, radios and stuff. after testing they all say you need to try in the circuit to be sure it works. :o Just got me wondering.. then this morning watched a video of a peace of equipment that rca made custom tubes for a specific device... grasping a understanding of tubes, long way to go... thks enjoy the post

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:18 pm 
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I favor the Jackson brand, so those are what i feel are good testers :D

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:24 pm 
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khutch wrote:
Old tube testers would not know about tubes introduced after they were made. So there is one cause for lack of coverage. In some cases there are adapters that could be purchased to help cover newer tubes and test data updates to go with them. These days those items can be hard to find but some are available if you look around. Some tubes are difficult to test, TV tubes have been mentioned and testers made before TV might not have the umpf to test them even with adapters and data updates. Transmitting tubes are also often not covered for the same reasons. If you look around you can find testers that cover nearly everything that most of us are interested in. If you have a deep interest in the more exotic tubes you will have a harder time but if you share what tubes you are having trouble with someone may be able to offer suggestions.

Since most of us are collectors, the limited coverage of a lot of testers is just an excuse to collect tube testers!


theres a older guy on youtube, teached, was in military, had a business moved from CA to TX auston... he's has a bunch of tube testers personal stock in video :).. he done many nice videos on youT.. cant find it right now, I dont link any of my accounts.. pain in the $$ to find anything then. I watch most videos on tv, not pc.. no wife so I can get away with it.
his channel started with tom or t

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Last edited by ttx450cap on Oct Fri 30, 2020 12:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:29 pm 
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The problem is testing tubes it that it is all relative.

A tube that checks bad, may be just fine, another that tests good won't work.
For the most part, they help, but one must take the test with a grain of salt.

Best tester is the device that uses said tube :D

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 29, 2020 11:44 pm 
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azenithnut wrote:
The problem is testing tubes it that it is all relative.

A tube that checks bad, may be just fine, another that tests good won't work.
For the most part, they help, but one must take the test with a grain of salt.

Best tester is the device that uses said tube :D

-Steve


hi, I guess my understanding is not there enough to know. how can a electronic testing be all relative. why cannot the test be more specific to tube function. I am sure its my lack of understanding how tubes works... out of all the area I have/had interest in or worked just drawing a blank for me right now :shock: will get there

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Fri 30, 2020 12:40 am 
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how can a electronic testing be all relative. why cannot the test be more specific to tube function

Many reasons. For starters, tubes were never "precision" components. New ones had a very wide range of tolerance for many of the critical parameters such as gain, inter electrode capacitance, heater characteristics etc. For that reason one may work fine as an audio amp, but the same tube used as an oscillator may or may not work. That's not a scientific example... just a "for example".

There is no way a tube tester can know what kind of circuit a specific tube might be plugged into. Will that beam power tube be plugged into an audio amplifier? A power supply? A TV Horizontal output stage? It will behave, and be stressed, very differently in each of these examples.

A closer idea of a given tube's performance can be had by using a curve tracer, but even that is not going to tell you anything about how it will work in the above examples, or for that matter, in systems that make it work at different frequencies.

Solid state devices, on the other hand, are much more precisely manufactured, so all of the ones with the same part number should be very close to each other in all respects. While there is a range of tolerance of course, it is FAR more precise and tight than tubes could ever have hoped to be.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Fri 30, 2020 12:46 am 
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khutch wrote:
Old tube testers would not know about tubes introduced after they were made. So there is one cause for lack of coverage. In some cases there are adapters that could be purchased to help cover newer tubes and test data updates to go with them. These days those items can be hard to find but some are available if you look around. Some tubes are difficult to test, TV tubes have been mentioned and testers made before TV might not have the umpf to test them even with adapters and data updates. Transmitting tubes are also often not covered for the same reasons. If you look around you can find testers that cover nearly everything that most of us are interested in. If you have a deep interest in the more exotic tubes you will have a harder time but if you share what tubes you are having trouble with someone may be able to offer suggestions.

Since most of us are collectors, the limited coverage of a lot of testers is just an excuse to collect tube testers!


interesting to what you said. In computers programming always lack 4yrs behind state of art electronics in pc's. (take 4yrs to take adj to new innovations electronically) thats how it used to be anyway.. prob sure is still around there.

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 Post subject: Re: dumb vacuum tube tester question
PostPosted: Oct Fri 30, 2020 1:01 am 
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Barry H Bennett wrote:
Quote:
how can a electronic testing be all relative. why cannot the test be more specific to tube function

Many reasons. For starters, tubes were never "precision" components. New ones had a very wide range of tolerance for many of the critical parameters such as gain, inter electrode capacitance, heater characteristics etc. For that reason one may work fine as an audio amp, but the same tube used as an oscillator may or may not work. That's not a scientific example... just a "for example".

There is no way a tube tester can know what kind of circuit a specific tube might be plugged into. Will that beam power tube be plugged into an audio amplifier? A power supply? A TV Horizontal output stage? It will behave, and be stressed, very differently in each of these examples.

A closer idea of a given tube's performance can be had by using a curve tracer, but even that is not going to tell you anything about how it will work in the above examples, or for that matter, in systems that make it work at different frequencies.

Solid state devices, on the other hand, are much more precisely manufactured, so all of the ones with the same part number should be very close to each other in all respects. While there is a range of tolerance of course, it is FAR more precise and tight than tubes could ever have hoped to be.


thks, I know nothing about tv... have changed a tv tube before.

auto detect, & select a tube application will not work? so the tester has to be specific to the circuits requirements to be tested? and there's now way fessable to do that?

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