Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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Vogelsong
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Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:44 pm

I have a few tubes out of an old radio from 1948.

They are old Crosley tubes, one is a coke bottle 5y3g, and 6v6gt.

The rest are smaller ones 6sq7's and a few others.

So what is the best way to go about testing them without spending a fortune on equipment.
Vogelsong

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SonicProvocateur
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by SonicProvocateur » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:43 am

Put them in your Fender and see if they explode? Lol

No, thats awful lol. Got a friend or local music shop that has a tester you can use for free?
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Vogelsong
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:36 pm

SonicProvocateur wrote:Put them in your Fender and see if they explode? Lol

No, thats awful lol. Got a friend or local music shop that has a tester you can use for free?
I wanna get something of my own. I want to start educating myself.
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:39 pm

SonicProvocateur wrote:Put them in your Fender and see if they explode? Lol

No, thats awful lol.
Dude we have the same sense of humor, thats the same kind of thing I'd say.

Aren't we terrible? LOL
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
Original 59 Fender Bandmaster,
69 Fender Coronada II,
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by mark2boogie » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:40 pm

Hi Vogelsong,
So what is the best way to go about testing them without spending a fortune on equipment.
Sorry, there is no cheap way, apart pluging the tube on where it should be used and try to evaluate how it behaves... It's not a bad way at all, but this is not testing. Here's my test gear :

Image

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Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:14 pm

mark2boogie wrote:Hi Vogelsong,
So what is the best way to go about testing them without spending a fortune on equipment.
Sorry, there is no cheap way, apart pluging the tube on where it should be used and try to evaluate how it behaves... It's not a bad way at all, but this is not testing. Here's my test gear :

Image

A+!
Really!

Why didn't you just drive to central PA and put a stake through my heart? :)

Seriously, okay so it's not a "cheap" thing I see.

So if you could only have one piece of test gear what would it be and why?
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
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yeti
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by yeti » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:55 pm

where at in central pa?

im routinely up my camp near parker off of route 80...i dont have all that tube testing equip posted above me, but the one i have works well and is calibrated recently. i can test those three types, and probably any others you might have if you're in need of knowing (12ax7, 12at7, au7, etc..6l6, el34's, etc). i could bring my tester and run your tubes on it and see if they test for shorts/emissions and quality. that is if you're close by and wanna take a drive on the weekend, i'm usually off the water from chasing muskies by 11 a.m. on hot summer days (my other passion aside from music). let me know dude, i'd be glad to help out.

im not always on here, so the best way to get in touch would be at my email: the_yeti@verizon.net

hit me up, we'll set something up.

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:58 pm

yeti wrote:where at in central pa?

im routinely up my camp near parker off of route 80...i dont have all that tube testing equip posted above me, but the one i have works well and is calibrated recently. i can test those three types, and probably any others you might have if you're in need of knowing (12ax7, 12at7, au7, etc..6l6, el34's, etc). i could bring my tester and run your tubes on it and see if they test for shorts/emissions and quality. that is if you're close by and wanna take a drive on the weekend, i'm usually off the water from chasing muskies by 11 a.m. on hot summer days (my other passion aside from music). let me know dude, i'd be glad to help out.

im not always on here, so the best way to get in touch would be at my email: the_yeti@verizon.net

hit me up, we'll set something up.
Your probably around 2 hours away, which isn't bad. I don't mind the occasional drive and I love the outdoors. Although my sons the fisherman I prefer hunting, but for a ten year old he fishes his ass off.

We'll see, I'm really wanting to pick something up and start doing this myself. No other way to learn but to read and dive in right.
Vogelsong

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G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
Original 59 Fender Bandmaster,
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51 Gibson ES300,
Beater Strat,
Waldon Acoustic,

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by mark2boogie » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:01 am

Hi Vogelsong,
Why didn't you just drive to central PA and put a stake through my heart?
I am located in France - Europe - do you vaguely see where it is :) ? - I thinks it's not very near to Central PA...

If you only want to know if a tube is really out of duty, then an emission tester is OK and you can find very affordable units in good condition on eBay, like my KNIGHT 600A - Look at the Heathkit, Eico, Knight brands, to name a few...

Image
Image

But DO NOT expect that kind of tester to tell you if a tube can work properly : it can't.

If you want to know a bit more, that is to say an evaluation of the performance of the tube, then a dynamic mutual conductance like the HICKOK 600, 800, 6000 are convenient. Don't look for a 539B or C model, because they command very high prices and all in all do not much a better job than a 600 or a 800 (I know it, a friend has a minty 539C)...

Image

But DO NOT expect from a HICKOK to give you useful measurements to be compared to the official tube datasheets.

If you want to know if a tube meets its datasheets specs, you will need one of those European models made by METRIX (fr), AVO (uk) or NEUBERGER (de). These are the most reliable and costy...

Image

But do you need to go so far ?

A+!
Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

guilhemamplification.jimdo.com

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yeti
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by yeti » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:30 am

honestly, i have a superior td55, it was cheap, gives me emissions, shorts and quality, and that's basically all i need. tubes that tested bad, didn't sound good, or didn't produce sound later (after the tests). i know it's not the best


that's some KILLER equipment you have there, but i can't justify thousands of bux on tube testing gear for a few guitar amp tubes, if you know what i mean. i can certainly see where you would want to have different testers though, and, would love to grab a hickock 600/800 to run in conjunction with my td55.

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by mark2boogie » Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:05 pm

Yes, yeti, thanks !

My part time job is servicing tube amps - so that's why I have some more elaborated testing equipment.

Sorry, I forgot to mention Superior (SiCo - I love their 1955 TW-11, in its wooden cab), Mercury, Paco, Simpson, Triplett, BK... Most of them are like your TD55 : emission testers, useful to detect frankly bad tubes, and they do this job quickly and easily. Doing better is usually not compulsory, except for dubious cases or special/critical tube duty, matching, etc, but it's another story... With more sophisticated tube testers !

A+!
Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

guilhemamplification.jimdo.com

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:58 pm

mark2boogie wrote:Yes, yeti, thanks !

My part time job is servicing tube amps - so that's why I have some more elaborated testing equipment.

Sorry, I forgot to mention Superior (SiCo - I love their 1955 TW-11, in its wooden cab), Mercury, Paco, Simpson, Triplett, BK... Most of them are like your TD55 : emission testers, useful to detect frankly bad tubes, and they do this job quickly and easily. Doing better is usually not compulsory, except for dubious cases or special/critical tube duty, matching, etc, but it's another story... With more sophisticated tube testers !

A+!
How much info will an Eico 667 give me?
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
Original 59 Fender Bandmaster,
69 Fender Coronada II,
51 Gibson ES300,
Beater Strat,
Waldon Acoustic,

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:03 pm

How reliable are these function wise? I see a lot of them that people are selling that power on but beyond that they don't know if it works properly.
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
Original 59 Fender Bandmaster,
69 Fender Coronada II,
51 Gibson ES300,
Beater Strat,
Waldon Acoustic,

mark2boogie
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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by mark2boogie » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:14 am

Hi Vogelsong,

In the Eico brand, I would choose the 625 or 628. These have all the basic features you need (emission, shorts), are simple and fast to operate, are very common and share similar schematic as the Knight, Heathkit, and most off all : the tube data of the tube tester is widely available (that's a very important thing, as you can't rely on official datasheets !). The 666 and 667 are more complicated, they test transistor (useless today) and their data has numerous errors...

Image
Image

In the Heathkit brand, there's the TC-2, the IT-17, similar to the previous ones. Forget the TT-1 : it has technical flaws that makes it rather unreliable.

Image
Image

In the Knight brand, you find the 600A and the 600B. Forget the 400A : it's a toy. I have a 600A which works very well, is fast and simple to operate, a good quality instrument. Here's mine again :

Image

In the SiCo / Superior brand (the one that owns yeti) you find the very nice TW-11 and it's wooden cabinet. Therefore, I would prefer a more recent one, because the tube data will be more complete.

Image

No matter the tube tester you choose :

Buy a nice one, very well preserved, with its complete documentation, like I bought my Knignt 600A and others. I paid mine 76USD last year and it is fully operational, complete with its documentation, and mint condition.

Do not "monkey" with bad condition tube tester if you have not the knowledge to make them work properly. Spend a little more money for a VG+++ instrument : you won't regret it, trust me...

A+!
Only one venerable Boogie MKIIA S/N° 4915 from March 1980 (dixit Daniel "igfraso" - thanks !), in Tolex Cab with a 1978 ALTEC 417-8H Series II speaker, and personal circuit improvements.

guilhemamplification.jimdo.com

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Re: Is there an inexspensive and reliable way to test tubes...

Post by Vogelsong » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:54 am

So after doing a lot of reading, I do want to be able to match tubes.

So if I understand correctly a mutual conductance tester is the least I need correct?
Vogelsong

G&L Comanche,
G&L Legacy,
RI 64 Vibroverb Custom
Original 66 Fender Reverb,
Original 59 Fender Bandmaster,
69 Fender Coronada II,
51 Gibson ES300,
Beater Strat,
Waldon Acoustic,

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