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Tube Testers - whatcha got?

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by bparnell57, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey there folks. I may be getting an opportunity to get a very conveniently small emission type tube tester for only $10 next week. Is this sort of thing worth having around (even to just check for shorts on used tubes) or should I wait to find some sort of transconductance measuring tester? I'd probably have to hold out on that one due to monetary constraints, being 19 and such haha.

    What sorts of tube testers do you guys have?
     
  2. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 2 by chance. IECO 667 and Heathkit TC-2. I got both for a good deal. I have found problem tubes with mine. Weak tubes also.
    I prefer the Heathkit because I am most comfortable with it. I have had it for about 5 years. The Ieco I picked up last Dec, but I think
    I will sell it again. No need for two.
     
  3. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Shame you're in Canada! Id be asking if you'd sell!
     
  4. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Holic

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    Don't quote me on this but i think the only advantage of a transconductance tester is the ability to "match pairs" of power tubes. They're always more difficult to locate and always more expensive, and deservingly so.

    I just picked up a Knight 600 series 'for cheap' and it seems to be working fine. I'll probably open it up and recalibrate it sometime soon. Having a set of matched power tubes is important but what place doesn't sell matched sets?? Luckily I live near a company that will test/match any tube for only $3/each. If you're consistatnly hunting down and buying old power tubes, maybe a TC tester is a good investment? If I were you, just buy the $10 tester. Make sure it's in good working order. Get it calibrated or do it yourself and start testing tubes.
     
  5. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Afflicted

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    How would you calibrate it yourself?
     
  6. ranjam

    ranjam Tele-Holic

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    I may be the first, or the last, person to ask about tube testers. I had at one time ( a looooooong story) about seventy (70) tube testers. :eek:
    I would tear them apart, learn what made them tick, and determine which tester I could trust for what tube. Really. Many of the oldies don't list a 6BQ5. Some passed tubes that took out fuses in an amplifier. Remember even gm testers usually just rectify the AC line for plate B+, so all you get is +150VDC or so. That may pass an EL34, only to have it blow fuses in your Marshall. Some had better shorts testing. Some you could calibrate the sensitivity of the shorts test, and I always went higher. B&K testers were my favorite, just because they could be calibrated a little more sensitively, tested most tubes, and had few dials to set wrong.
    If you put your Bias Probe in the tester, you can even check the test current, and crudely start to match your tubes. It's just a start, because again the high voltage in say your Marshall is a harsher judge of the tube.
    The problem with all emission testers is they connect all the elements in the tube to make it a virtual diode, and measure if it will rectify and pass an applied AC voltage. You can't check your 12AX7 for balanced halves. Still, I had emission testers just for the collection.
    My last attitude (and still subject to change for the 912th time) is that tube testers are electronic Ouija boards. However, if the tester says the tube is bad, the tube is bad. If the tester says the tube is good, it may be good.
    My collection got so big I started a blog on them, and believe it or not someone Vintage Guitar Magazine followed it and did an article on l'il ole me and my tube tester collection. Didn't mean I knew anything, but just had a lot of experience with them, and knew which ones I could trust for which tubes. For emission testers, I usually just stick to testing rectifier tubes.
    Buy any tester you find, and start learning. It's fun!
     
  7. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Got a couple good ones. My favorite low buck tester is a cheapo Lafayette emissions tester I got when I was in high school. El Cheapo is perfect for sorting through big batches of tubes for a quick go / no go rating.
     
  8. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1466007502.912828.jpg

    Like this el cheapo?
     
  9. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sencore Mighty Mite TC-114

    Steve
     
  10. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    Professionally calibrated Hickok 533A. Excellent tester.
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sencore Mighty Mite V T142, B&K 607, Superior Dynamic and a big, older Hickok. Oh yeah, and I have a few amplifiers that are the ultimate test beds.
     
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  12. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A ten dollar tubes tester is certainly worth having. It'll light the filaments and the open / short test are useful. One thing to watch for, though, make sure you get the book with it. They may be available online these days, but without the setup book a tube tester is not very useful.

    I have a couple of them, the one that gets the most use is a Sencore Mighty Mite V. It's a simple emission tester, and it works fine.
     
  13. Opaltone

    Opaltone Tele-Holic

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    I have access to a B&K 707, but find I use my simpler Triplett 2413 more. The most useful check is for shorts, IMO. After that, I use my amp(s) to tell me the rest - especially with miniatures (no common tester will tell you about noise or microphony). Rectifiers and power tubes are especially important to test for shorts prior to installing, then match the power tubes at full voltage, installed in the amp (most testers won't help you with this).

    Keep 'em calibrated!

    - Thom
     
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  14. ranjam

    ranjam Tele-Holic

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    A B&K 707 is an awesome tester. Quick and easy to use, and you can calibrate it a little more sensitive. There is nothing wrong with a 707, and compared to those ten cool Tele-style switch tips to the Triplett 2413, the 707 is more fool-proof. Have both. ;)
     
  15. TeleFunk Man

    TeleFunk Man Tele-Afflicted

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    Picked up a used (somewhat vintage) Dyna Jet tube tester. It does the job. I was able to salvage 6L6, 6v6, and many 12AX7s tubes that I had sitting around for years but not able to test until got this unit.

    IMG_4589.jpg
     
  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Telefunken man, I looked at your tester and wondered why your Dyna Jet looked so much like my B&K 607. Then, I saw the manual for a B&K 667/607. Then, I saw the B&K 667 on the tester.
     
  17. Opaltone

    Opaltone Tele-Holic

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    So you've noticed those tips? Yeah - I pilfered one for my Tele, and another for my Strat. That's my tone secret! :cool:

    Yeah - I use the B&K for more assured results, like if I'm selling something. The Triplett is for everyday quick & dirty.

    - T
     
  18. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

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    I have a B&K 707 and yes, it's a very useful tester. I also have an Eico 666. Good thing I'm not superstitious!
     
  19. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a Hickok 6000 like this'n.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. jspartz

    jspartz Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I have a B&K Model 700. It works great for most tube but I wish it could give more variation for 12AX7's regarding the strength of the tube.
     
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