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  #1  
Old 06-06-2018, 09:50 PM
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Zsuttle Zsuttle is offline
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Lots of Questions

I figured I'd just do a post about some general questions that I had instead of making a bunch of different posts.

1) Where does everyone get their tubes? Most of mine come from big lots or tube caddies, but what about the earlier tubes pre-octal? (I like to work on those the most) Buying individually can add up, especially for some of the more expensive tubes

2) For tube equipment that's designed to be left on(either on or in standby) should that still apply today? (restored equipment that is) or would you recommend turning it off after using it?

3) What's the best place to get TV's or radios? (Rare stuff and more common stuff) I've seen that the ETF has some good stuff at auction, but my plans to go were interrupted.

4) For smaller radios and televisions, whats the best way to pack and ship something?

5) Is there any way to determine the Phosphor type on a tube without putting it in a set? (Without a tube number) eg, I have what appears to be a 7JP4 or a 7VP1, though the number on the glass is long gone.

6) What's with me having to refinish all of these sets? Three of the last 5 radios that I've done, I've had to refinish because it was in such bad shape, or someone "fixed" it.

7) How do you deal with electrolytics? Do you just purchase them as you need them? Or do you keep them in stock? (if so what values and ratings?)

Thanks for helping someone settle into the hobby
~Zach
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:11 PM
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bgadow bgadow is offline
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1) Where does everyone get their tubes? Most of mine come from big lots or tube caddies, but what about the earlier tubes pre-octal? (I like to work on those the most) Buying individually can add up, especially for some of the more expensive tubes
I've picked up a lot over the years, including some huge lots from a guy who only wanted audio tubes & would dump the rest. I haven't had to buy a tube in years. A good first step would be to post a want ad here or on the antiqueradios.com forum as many members may have spares they can sell you.
3) What's the best place to get TV's or radios? (Rare stuff and more common stuff) I've seen that the ETF has some good stuff at auction, but my plans to go were interrupted.
Again, the forums are a good start as many of us have surplus sets. You're within a day-trips distance of a number of members. For radios, club meets are often loaded with bargains. I know that the MAARC meets have some great deals in their auctions, and they occasionally meet in northern VA

4) For smaller radios and televisions, whats the best way to pack and ship something?
For radios, I'll pack the insides of the cabinet to keep tubes from coming loose, then pack the radio in a box not too much bigger than the set, maybe an inch or two all around, with bubble wrap all around, then pack that box in a bigger box, maybe 2-3 inches bigger all around, with more bubble wrap between the 2 boxes.

7) How do you deal with electrolytics? Do you just purchase them as you need them? Or do you keep them in stock? (if so what values and ratings?)
I keep a supply on hand, organized in an Akro-Mils cabinet. The big movers are 10, 22, 33, 47, 68 & 100. If you don't want a lot inventory just get 450v for everything; for some applications lower voltages will do, especially for radio, so you could order some of those as well. I like having things on hand, just in case a rainy Sunday afternoon shows up!
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:27 PM
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2) I definitely would not leave vintage tube equipment running. Not only is there the possibility of an escalating failure, but tubes are always in wear-out mode, so having them hot when not needed is a waste. Think of all the instant-on TV sets that wore out their CRTs prematurely.

5) I think there's no way to determine phosphor type for sure by looking at an unpowered tube, but maybe someone can comment if the phosphor can be made to glow by applying a Tesla coil to the face?
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:28 AM
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Electronic M Electronic M is offline
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If you do a decent number of transformerless sets stocking 160V lytics will save you money. I stock the paper caps too (I do enough work to justify that). I tend to buy my caps in bulk usually 2-3 times a year (something like a $100-400 order each time). I try to keep a minimum 25 each of the less common values .001, .0022, .0033, .022, .033, .22, and .47. And I try to keep a stock of 100+ of the high need values .0047, .01, .047, .1.

Doing a lot of TV work there are values like .0056, .0068, .0082 and 10X and 100X those values that I've started to stock 10+ of...When I need a higher than normal voltage I tend to order 3X what the set needs to build a small stock, and there are some other oddball values like .0015 .0018 etc. that I'm thinking of stocking too.

If I'm going to pay for shipping from an online parts house it makes more sense for that ~$7 shipping on $200 worth of caps 2-3 times a year than it does on $20 worth of caps 2-3 times a month...Also when you buy in bulk the volume discounts make the price per cap lower. I'm saving money by buying 6 months of stock in one go...Heck I often look at the more cap hungry projects I plan to start in the foreseeable future and add the parts they need in on top of my restock, so any new acquisitions are not fighting with my existing queue for parts.


Also with regards to instant on/standby don't change the circuit as it is original. Whether to use it depends on your use cases...On SW receivers and TVs with instant on or heaters only standby if I need to be away for 5-30 min (and don't feel comfortable with it fully on), probably want it to start working fast on my return and can enable such a standby mode easily then I use it. If I know it is going to sit for hours I turn it completely off. If I had a TV that averages over 8 hours runtime every day and gets turned on and off a lot with a lot of 'crap (insert show) started 2 minutes ago' moments you can bet I'd put it into instant-on mode and keep it there...If you're already running it in a way that wears the tubes fast instant on is not going to make much difference in life (heck it might extend tube life if you are turning it off and on a LOT every day). Something that sits unused most of the waking day, or days to weeks on end is just a waste to have in instant-on mode though.
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Last edited by Electronic M; 06-07-2018 at 12:36 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2018, 01:49 AM
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5. You can light the phosphors on a tube's face with UV light. That should give you a good idea of the color. (Incidentally, that's how fluorescent lights work.)

>YOUTUBE<

Last edited by MadMan; 06-07-2018 at 01:59 AM.
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