New tube tester and tube caddy day!

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by DADGAD, May 6, 2021.

  1. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Found an ad on FaceBook Marketplace for $200. Couldn't pass this up. Now I have a backup tester. The caddy is a little beat but I've wanted one for decades. Many of the tubes are for television. But, there are some 5U4, 5Y3, 12A*7, 6V6 and 12BH7 types. I probably paid top dollar for this stuff but you don't see it every day.

    The Heathkit TC-2 tube checker lights up and the scroll works. I found the manual online. Yay! If the tester is junk, I can still salvage ten vintage 3-way Tele switches and knobs from it.

    Tester1.JPG Tester2.JPG
     
  2. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Nice!
     
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  3. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Included were some old Sylvania and GE price lists. Those were the days!
     
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  4. metalosophy

    metalosophy Tele-Meister

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    Nice find.
     
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  5. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    The Heath TC-2 is just a checker. It will work to see if tubes are open, have shorts and test for emission. A Hickok it ain't.
     
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  6. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Very cool!
     
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  7. Telekarster

    Telekarster Friend of Leo's

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    That tester is the very one my Dad had back in the day, when I was a kid. I used to help him test tubes and got rather good at using that machine myself. It was a great tester IME. Prob not the best but for DIY home use, worked well enough for my Dad's work ;)
     
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  8. Mowgli

    Mowgli Tele-Meister

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    DADGAD, I have a TC-2. It's a decent TT for what's worth. Years ago, its results matched up well with my other TTs.

    Make sure to get the updated charts. I think they are available online. At the Boat Anchor Manual Archive maybe??? If you can't find them let me know and I'll try to find my collection and copy them for you. My basement lab/workshop/storage/library/etc is being reorganized and presently in disarray so...

    IIRC, it has a Selenium rectifier. Many recommend replacing it with a silicon diode rectifier and the appropriate resistor (you'll have to research how to safely accomplish this.) My plan is to replace the Selenium rectifier and all e-lytics in mine before I use it again (I have other testers I can use).

    Why replace the Selenium rectifier? My understanding is that when/if it fails a toxic vapor, Hydrogen Selenide, is created and it smells really awful... until it reaches a really toxic level where it adversely affects one's ability to smell it. It can cause pneumonia and, as a gas, is highly toxic. As a solid, I suspect it is safe to throw away with the garbage. After all, Selenium is used in dandruff shampoo!
     
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  9. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    I’m impressed by this 1952 era tube tester. The scroll tube chart is illuminated. Why didn’t Hickok do that? I need to open it up and clean & lube the switches and pots. But I’m impressed by the humble Heathkit TC-2!
     
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  10. JDB2

    JDB2 Tele-Holic

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    The caddy looks familiar. I think I remember our TV repairman carrying something like that. He was a frequent visitor at our house when I was a little kid in the 1970s and I always watched him work.
     
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  11. Telekarster

    Telekarster Friend of Leo's

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    I remember that chart very well, and it was extremely handy especially being illuminated! I think you should clean her up and get her calibrated and working spiffy again ;)
     
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  12. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Holic

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    If I were you I'd very carefully pull those 10 switch tips off and sell them. It may take quite a while but if they are bakalite and in good condition and say pat appl on the bottom you have Broadcaster/Nocaster early Tele switch tips. Put repro on the tester and no one will ever bat an eye.
     
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  13. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    I used a hot glue gun to tack down the lifted material. It looks like it was tweed that has turned green. The wood is very dry. But with light use, it will be handy.

    Thanks for the idea! I'll check them out when I open the tester for cleaning. :)
     
  14. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    gutscr.jpg I got the 200 ohm plate load variable resistor cleaned and lubed. It is no longer intermittent. Next I will replace the old .1mfd/600V paper cap in the neon circuit with a modern type.

    My concern is the selenium rectifier replacement. I have some 1N4007 diodes on hand. Will replacing the selenium rectifier with a silicon rectifier cause any problems due to forward voltage drop differences? TC2.jpg
     
  15. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    PS - Additionally, is it true that schematics that show selenium rectifiers are drawn in the reverse of silicon doides? Is the polarity shown opposite?
     
  16. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Nice tube tester. It looks similar to the Triplett 3413 I used to have.
     
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  17. Mowgli

    Mowgli Tele-Meister

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    I don't trust my memory on the diode replacement info.

    Type "Antique Radio Forum, selenium diode replacement" into your search engine field and see what those guys offer up for advice.

    The guys who deal with the old radios have much more experience with replacing these old rectifiers than anyone I know!

    Report back, too. I'd love to hear what tips you find!
     
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  18. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the tip. I did Search that and found a post about this particular tube tester and the diode. This Bendix rectifier is a copper oxide device and is both safe and reliable. :)
     
  19. Mowgli

    Mowgli Tele-Meister

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    Wonderful. Now I'm going to have to read up on copper oxide rectifiers!

    I'm curious, by reliable does that mean reliable for two decades after it was installed or still reliable today?

    The reason I ask is that some of the old Hi-Fi guys recommend replacing the old silicon rectifiers in the tube gear from the 50s & 60s -- but I never saw nor sought a reason/justification for doing so. Back when I read of this practice I assumed, maybe naively, that they knew something I didn't. Maybe they were noisy c/w today's?

    I am reminded of a discussion I had with a former Zenith engineer. He told me that back when the company, and industry as a whole, were making the decision to switch from tubes to solid state the great unknown was "what would be the expected life of solid state devices like these new transistors"? This was a brand new technology and they were making huge outlays to build new production factories. They hedged their bets by making sure that all of their SS components were built with the tightest tolerances possible. I remarked that an old friend still had one of those small Zenith B&W CRT TV sets with a broken antenna and was still using it up until everything went digital - still working around 40 years later. He said, "I believe it. Those original transistor sets lasted for decades. Once we found out that the fail rate was extremely low the executives started cutting back on the tight tolerance requirements."

    That's why I wonder about reliability issues with older tech.
     
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