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In the Forum: Audio For Dummies ™
In the Thread: Get, or made up a tube tester, it’s necessary
Post Subject: Uncomfortably comfortable tube testersPosted by Romy the Cat on: 1/7/2007

I do not know, you have to decide to yourself what kind tubes and the most important HOW you would like to test them. For different tubes, differently used the different things are important.  I had a few testers and all of them were OK but all of them had some “twists” that made me to wish something else and did not allow me to do what I wanted.

Hickoks are nice, particularly the 580A (allow to measure a small currents) there are many others. But most of the testers kind of too generic and too … uncomfortably comfortable. I need to test a specific tube, twice a year at the very specific mode, specific operation conditions and get the very specific answers. I do not need to have those stupid English Dialers and user-friendly operations. I’m not a pharmacy in 1968 after all.

Generally the best bet (after you nailed down what you want to do with your specific tubes) is to build a very simple own tube tester where the necessary for you tube will be sitting in the very defined operation mode, identical to the way in which it used in your equipment. (BTW, do you know that all of those tube testers drive plates with AC?).

I personally resolved the problems for myself by going for a half-ass solution. I got Hickok TV-2 and slightly modified it. My Hickok TV-2 can push quite a lot of current now and it measures the current in real time. Still, it does not allow me to measure the tube’ gain but I have other ways to do it. Some people feel that TV-2 it too complex and too slow in operation. I disagree. It is not complex it does exactly what it meant to do. Yes it is not as “plug and play” as some other testers but I use my tester a few times a year, so I’m not in hurry… Also, I use tubes only in my phone and my power amps. With phono is a different story but in my Super Melquiades I have made essentially a tube testing capacity right into the amp. Knowing bias for a new output tube at a giver current and knowing where it go with time it is possible semi-say what is going on with the tube. I way “semi” because the 6C33C is a freaky tube and has it’s own idiosyncrasies…. My biggest problem to resolve those idiosyncrasies is… the price of the 6C33C. Since I buy them for $5.5 I can afford to be very liberal with them…

BTW, if you need to teat juts small tubes then you might consider the contemporary digital testers. I have seen some very cool testers but I never own one….

The Cat

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