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Old 07-11-2018, 06:03 AM
AlanInSitges's Avatar
AlanInSitges AlanInSitges is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Sitges, Catalonia, Spain
Posts: 94
Setting up a bench - what should I buy?

I'm going to be back in the US in a few weeks and plan to take advantage of the opportunity to pick up some test equipment for use back in Spain. There are a few things that are either expensive or impossible to come by in Europe so I'm going to concentrate on those. I've already got a VTVM, variac and isolation transformer, and most of the smaller stuff like a DVM, decade box, soldering station, cheap-o LCR tester, etc., and have located a Tektronix scope here locally at a good price.

So I want to pick up CRT and tube testers, a HV probe, what else? I'm mostly going to be working on midcentury Zeniths, Admirals, and Philcos, and messing around with building some tube amps and stuff. I have no access to any NTSC RF source whatsoever here so I'm planning to do video injection on all of these, handily eliminating the need to do IF alignments, fix tuners, buy sweep generators, etc.

Given the logistics of getting all of this shipped to my mom's house and into luggage in the span of a week I figure it makes the most sense to Buy it Now the equipment I decide on (there is nothing in VK classifieds at the moment). I have an affinity for Sencore equipment since that's what the shop I worked in as a kid had, and I've found a reasonable deal on a CRT tester, but I'm kind of at a loss for a tube tester - not many Sencores out there, those that exist are super expensive, and the testers of any brand that aren't super expensive or too big to fit in a suitcase seem to be cheap emission testers. I probably need a pattern generator of some kind but they all seem to be the size of a dishwasher, so not sure about that.

Unfortunately there are no listings for "the 50 tubes you're most likely to need when working on midcentury Zeniths, Admirals, and Philcos". I'd like to stock up but I'm not even sure where to begin there - Shango and Admiral Bob always manage to find just what they need from a huge stash but buying and shipping huge lots of random tubes isn't practical for me, even though buying them one at a time as needed is a pain as well from here. Same probably goes for fusible resistors and other parts unique to American-made sets from that era.

So tell me, VK experts, what other equipment do I need to be looking at? Any recommendations for a tube tester? Is it worth even bothering if all I can manage is an emission-type tester? What should I do about a limited stock of tubes and other replacement parts?
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