What is a good Tube tester to get? - diyAudio
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Old 26th August 2005, 12:28 PM   #1
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Default What is a good Tube tester to get?

...What are your suggestions..due to price contstraints I'm not considering the Hagerman Tech or other new jobbies...but rather something the B&K 700 series that are going for around 100US.

Purpose is to test the typical stuff like 6L6/EL34 and miniature types....

If you can see the speaker cone move...it's not hifi.
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Old 26th August 2005, 12:31 PM   #2
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Read what Tomer has to say in "Getting The Most Out Of Vacuum Tubes". It's reprinted by AA, so it's not a problem to get. A very worthwhile read. Boiled down, they're all $&) and even the best ones are $&).
The loudspeaker: The only commercial Hi-Fi item where a disproportionate part of the budget isn't spent on the box. And the one where it would make a difference...
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Old 26th August 2005, 12:33 PM   #3
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funny I was just reading that post of yours
when I saw you had replied to my post...

So..should one build one yourself? Or should I just read that book...and will get all the answers ?
If you can see the speaker cone move...it's not hifi.
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Old 26th August 2005, 04:28 PM   #4
amperex is offline amperex  United States
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Any Hickok tube tester that has 7 & 9-pin sockets is a good choice. Some of the older models do not test those miniature 7 & 9 pin tubes, nor would list a EL34. To confuse firther, the Hickok 539 series came with two socket assemblies for older or more modern tubes. The 539C is the more modern version. More info is available at Padgett's Hickok Page. Do a Goggle search & the site will be found.
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Old 26th August 2005, 04:39 PM   #5
Duo is offline Duo  Canada
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I have had excellent results with the Stark 12-22 and 9-66 machines. They do have a couple of finickey things about them, but otherwise, I like them a lot.

If you should accidentally press the OZ4 rectivier test button while something little like a 6AL5 is in, you'll fry it pretty fast. Upon other things, the tube testers are otherwise useful to me and I enjoy them. Another good thing is the internal tube index chart on rolls. You don't have to look them up in books.
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Old 26th August 2005, 04:50 PM   #6
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I'm real happy with my Hickock 600. Its not as fancy as a 539 and doesn't do as many tube types but does most of the tubes I use and they are not as outrageously exspensive as some of the more coveted models. Manual reprints are available that have listings more current than the built in rolls in most of also.

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Old 26th August 2005, 11:36 PM   #7
Jimness is offline Jimness  United States
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Thumbs up Great tube tester to get

As far as tube testers can go, I feel that a B&K model 747 is an excellent choice. I would never question the results on small-signal tubes, if I performed the 'Shorts' and 'Grid Emission' tests whilst vigourously tapping the tube (on its side), and holding the tube being tested from loosening in the socket. Power tubes are never subjected to full-load during test, however, so you must use discretion in interpreting test-results {How fast does the tube come up to a good, strong, AND STABLE reading?}. Be sure to tap all tubes during Shorts & Grid Emission Tests.

Some of the high-traffic 7- & 9-pin sockets (e.g., for 6U8 & 6AU6) will invariably lose their 'grip' on the pins. After I got tired of buying "Socket Savers", I hit upon the relatively simple expedient of extending a socket's useful life with an injection of silicon rubber!! First, I used my trusty awl to carefully re-shape the individual pin-contactss (so that they would make firm contact, even if only enough for performing a few tests). Second, I put a small amount of clear silicone into a hypodermic that had a fairly large needle. Third, after I inserted the needle between each of the metal 'split-barrels' and the plastic socket, I forced enough silicone into the socket to be just visible around the metal barrels. If there was still open space within the metal barrels (of all the pins), the job was done, and the socket would be tighter than a new one, if I could stand the suspense of waiting at least twelve hours for the silicone to cure. If there WAS silicone within the metal contact, I just put a tube in the socket, pulled it back out, removed the silicone from the tube pins with a tissue, and repeated until satisfactory, letting the silicone cure without the tube in the socket. As insurance, you may wish to actually TEST a tube (without tapping!) before the cure really starts.
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Old 26th August 2005, 11:36 PM   #8
2wo is offline 2wo  United States
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A Hickok 533 (big) or 600 series (smaller) is a very good choice...John
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Old 27th August 2005, 01:58 AM   #9
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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I have a few. My fav is the Stark 9-66. I actually had a roll chart falling apart and made a book by copying sections. Very fast this way.

Duo, what have you found as a "finickey thing"? Just curious.

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Old 27th August 2005, 02:05 AM   #10
KBK is offline KBK  Canada
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I have the dyna 747 myself. Got it for $35 from a guy..basically new. Gave him the money..and ran like hell.

I envy anyone who has the Stark 9-66. A Gorgeous machine, by anyone's standards. I think it's the best out there.
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