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Old 12th May 2012, 11:46 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by squiffiness View Post
Sheesh -- my degree in Mech. Eng. should have made me more resourceful. Luckily, I have you guys to rein me back in and stay on task.
I'll just keep my mouth shut.

BTW, I flipped my DCPP amp over and double checked the 12-pin locations on the board. They are definitely on a 1.0" circle diameter.

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For the various watchers of this thread, query -- is anyone else interested in a Tubelab optimized Spud? Unless I am the only one voting, my meager single vote won't help get this off the launchpad.
I have a dormant 6LU8 project, but I'm always interested in a refined spud variant.

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Old 13th May 2012, 12:18 AM   #42
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BTW, I flipped my DCPP amp over and double checked the 12-pin locations on the board. They are definitely on a 1.0" circle diameter.
Appreciate the confirmation.
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I have a dormant 6LU8 project, but I'm always interested in a refined spud variant.
Thanks for the vote of 'yea'. I am trying to see if I can craftily (is that a word?) place the drill holes for the Novar AND the Duodecar on the same area of a PCB so the end user can choose which 'twin' they want, LU or LR.

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Old 13th May 2012, 02:51 AM   #43
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The 12-pin circle diameter on the board measures ~1.0". I'm sure someone else can confirm this, George maybe?
I am currently 1200 miles away from my lab, so at this time I can't confirm anything. I know that ESRC's 12 pin Duodecar (compactron) sockets drop right into Pete's red board. ESRC's 7 pin sockets do not fit without spreading the pins a considerable amount.

I have seen at least 3 different pin circle spacings for the 9 pin Noval sockets, and two for the 12 pin compactron sockets. This means that you need to get the sockets before laying out the board.

The prototype board that I made for the Spud SE was laid out for some sockets that I bought from Antique Electronics Supply. The ESRC PC board sockets may or may not fit, I havent tried them. The AES sockets were NOS for a TV set. Well they were made out of PLASTIC! Guess what happened to them with a 6LR8. They started smelling funny after 5 minutes. I found some ceramic chassis mount sockets that fit the board if I cut the pins in half lengthwize. That is what's in the board now.

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There is a free version of Eagle which theoretically will let you view the library files.
I have the full version of Eagle on this laptop. I opened Pete's library and neither the Novar or the Duodecar are included.

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Based on the back and forth in this thread and the current state of the prototype and values stuffed on the proto-board, is this an amp that you would consider using as a "daily driver", so to speak, or better as something experimental like "your mileage may vary" and the end-user would need to play with it and tweak to get "good" sound?
I tweaked the basics (bias, tube currents with several tubes, and different supply voltages....) Then with meters attached to the vital points, I ran 50 tubes through it, primarilly to test the tubes (I just bought them). I later listened to the board for several days. It sounded good, but was a bit quiet with the 87db speakers that I was using at the time.

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My parents still live in Ft. Lauderdale (and I grew up there back when there was almost no buildup west of Executive Airport
I grew up in Miami and moved to Broward in 1973 when I got a job at the Motorola plant where I still work. At the time "civilization" ended at 441, except for the city of Sunrise that was built in 65. The Mot plant was built in 1971. Everything else west of 441 was McArthur dairy land. I have never lived anywhere else, and we inherited a house here in West Virginia, so it's where we will go first.
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Old 13th May 2012, 09:53 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by tubelab.com View Post
I have seen at least 3 different pin circle spacings for the 9 pin Noval sockets, and two for the 12 pin compactron sockets. This means that you need to get the sockets before laying out the board.
It is refreshing to see that our engineering brethren of days gone by couldn't achieve standardization on some things either.

Ok, sockets first, board layout finalization second. Check.
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...ceramic chassis mount sockets that fit the board if I cut the pins in half lengthwize. That is what's in the board now.
Maybe some surgery is in order, then if Novars end up tricky to get shipped to my neck of the woods.
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I have the full version of Eagle on this laptop. I opened Pete's library and neither the Novar or the Duodecar are included.
That'll save me some time. Thanks.
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I later listened to the board for several days. It sounded good, but was a bit quiet with the 87db speakers that I was using at the time.
I've got these little Canuck speakers called Axioms that are ~95dB, so 3+ watts should suit them fine.
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Old 14th May 2012, 05:59 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by squiffiness View Post
For the various watchers of this thread, query -- is anyone else interested in a Tubelab optimized Spud? Unless I am the only one voting, my meager single vote won't help get this off the launchpad.
Yep, I am indeed interested. I'd probably be in for 2 or 3 boards.

Actually sent an email to George about this a couple of months back, think the email may have gotten lost, then I got distracted by life (oh joy) and forgot about it.
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Old 15th May 2012, 02:19 AM   #46
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Yep, I am indeed interested. I'd probably be in for 2 or 3 boards.
In post #38 Fenris pointed out a cheap PC board vendor that might make this project worth reviving.

The PC board house I have been using for my boards makes it uneconomical to order small batches of boards due to a $100 setup charge regardless of quantity, and they only ship Fedex. PC boards aren't light.

If I can really get 10 boards for $70 or 50 for $160 this little board may be worth doing. I will have to make a PC board library part for the 6LR8 socket and update the board. I dont think a dual footprint board will work because the two pin circles will overlap. I like to use oversize pads for all of my boards because many builders have never soldered a PC board before. The large pads make it almost impossible to destroy a board. I already have all the parts(25 sets) for populating the boards including the tubes (pre tested and gain matched). They have been in my closet for a few years!

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Actually sent an email to George about this a couple of months back
I work full time as an engineer in a Motorola plant. I am one of about 20 of the "old timers" left in a world of young people. We must be very careful to follow the rules to avoid being replaced. About a year ago is was made very clear that computer use is monitored and anything related to Tubelab is a violation. I can't open Tubelab email from work. Limited forum reading is permissible during lunch. I can post simple replies from my smartphone (they can't monitor that). Most days I get home from work around 7PM so I get to read email on weekends, and can only answer some of it. I try to cover all the support issues from customers first, and sometimes that's all that gets done.

There has been maybe 5 emails about the Spud SE since I posted it about 5 years ago. The Simple P-P generated a lot of email, but doesn't sell well. Given this I didn't see investing about $600 in PC boards that I would never recover. $70 is a different story.

I will check into it when I get back home....about 2 weeks. I can also expect to be stuck at work late nights, and some weekends catching up on work from 2 1/2 weeks of vacation.
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Old 15th May 2012, 10:10 AM   #47
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Yep, I am indeed interested. I'd probably be in for 2 or 3 boards.
Thanks, MellowTone. Nice to know I'm not the proverbial "cheese stands alone" at the end of the Farmer in the Dell kiddie song.
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Originally Posted by tubelab.com View Post
In post #38 Fenris pointed out a cheap PC board vendor that might make this project worth reviving...If I can really get 10 boards for $70 or 50 for $160 this little board may be worth doing. I will have to make a PC board library part for the 6LR8 socket and update the board.
The service suggested in Post #38 has a website that is a little hard to read, in that the lowest price service offering doesn't 'appear' to provide the solder and air levelling for the solder pads, but I'm probably reading that wrong...I hope.
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I dont think a dual footprint board will work because the two pin circles will overlap.
Since I thought that the SimpleSpud board was a faint hope, I started laying out my own on FreePCB. It became clear quite quickly that an overlap situation was going to occur. So, after a moment where the 'you lost' music from "The Price is Right" was ringing in my ears, I pressed on with the Novar layout.

The footprint library for the B9E Novar tube is attached for you, as well as an X,Y coordinate calculator to lay out the socket IF your Eagle app doesn't let you spin an array of pads (which every CAD app should). There's an Eagle script generator on the 'net somewhere for Nixie tubes, but the coordinates didn't seem to match up and this way was fast to lay it out in the FreePCB footprint editor. If it helps, please use, gratis, of course.
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I already have all the parts(25 sets) for populating the boards including the tubes (pre tested and gain matched). They have been in my closet for a few years!
Parts kits might push it over the top. The other spud "kits" are not available. One is point to point and undergoing a major redesign, and the other is a perennial "out of stock" disappointment.
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I work full time as an engineer in a Motorola plant. I am one of about 20 of the "old timers" left in a world of young people. We must be very careful to follow the rules to avoid being replaced.
Now, George, I don't want to read an internet news item where the pictures include a public flogging and you in stocks...or worse.
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Most days I get home from work around 7PM so I get to read email on weekends, and can only answer some of it. I try to cover all the support issues from customers first, and sometimes that's all that gets done.
From my end, it's only hope that a Spud may live one day. "Not right away" is just fine.

If the files I've attached are of any help, please let me know. I am happy to donate to the group and Tubelab as payback for the education I've received and support in this forum.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Socket_Calculator.zip (2.5 KB, 6 views)
File Type: zip NOVAR_B9E.zip (782 Bytes, 6 views)
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Old 15th May 2012, 12:38 PM   #48
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in that the lowest price service offering doesn't 'appear' to provide the solder and air levelling for the solder pads
I agree that the web site is quite vague. I will look into it further when I return home, but for $70 I can get 10 of the guitar amp boards that I am finishing now and see what they look like, and how they solder.

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include a public flogging and you in stocks...or worse
It's more like the tribal council from the TV reality show "Survivor". They meet and someone gets "voted off the island" (laid off).

I used to joke about it, but it seems that life in the corporate world, wherever you work, bears strong parallels to the way the players act on that show. Watch, learn, and adapt. The ones who "survive" all have the same attributes. Honesty, good work ethics, and treating your coworkers fairly are not among them. Realize this and understand what it takes to survive among that crowd.

The player who quietly does a lot of the work that no one else wants to do, doesn't make any noise or try to excel at anything (to avoid being a threat to those who do) or play in any of the alliances (office politics) will not win the game. They will however be one of those left standing in the end game without all the stress and drama involved with the top two or three players.

Watching that stupid reality show has taught me how to survive without the heart attack that was coming my way about 12 years ago.
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Old 15th May 2012, 01:13 PM   #49
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It's more like the tribal council from the TV reality show "Survivor". They meet and someone gets "voted off the island" (laid off).
Ain't that the truth. My last employer was all about "The Nepotism" and whoever was related to the boss or a close friend of a relative was chosen over the meek among us. I got dumped when the "complete dopef^(k" son-in-law of the GM kept his job.
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I used to joke about it, but it seems that life in the corporate world, wherever you work, bears strong parallels to the way the players act on that show.
If it's any small consolation, George, my general experience has been as yours. The 2008 econ-implosion decimated my 2005-2010 company (580 laid off in Toronto over 16 months). However, my quiet, hard work there allowed me to "survive" many rounds of cut-backs, including my boss and his boss in Calgary dumped before me. So, sometimes the meek do inherit...so always keep some humour.

Due to heredity and long hours of sitting in meetings, I got hit with a trio of large blood clots in my right leg Jan 2011 that made a serious attempt to nuke me by going on the move to my lungs. Ahh...perspective. Thanks to pharmaceutical-grade rat poison and will-power, the leg is more annoyance now that life-threat.

So, keep your head up. You've got a nice following in this forum AND several others who've used your designs as a basis for their own. Quite a legacy IMHO.

Anyhooch, if your Guitar Amp board pans out, wonderful. As a learning experience for me, and since I have the time, if I can assist the Spud "peeling" process in any way, even outside my comfort zone, just lemme know. I am happy to keep busy while awaiting a call from my next prospective employer.


I think you should be building boutique guitar amps for people as your sideline/retirement. My buddy in Kingston, Ontario is C++ coder by day, drummer/mandolinist/harmonica player in a band by night. He has several pieces of tube equipment. Just a thought...
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Old 15th May 2012, 04:28 PM   #50
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I have had zero problems with the service I linked to. I'm attaching a picture of two boards I had done a year ago (actually, one 10cm x 10cm panelized board that I cut out myself). The fit and finish is professional and they solder just fine. I just ordered another 10 of a 5 x 5 cm board, I'll let you know if the quality has been maintained. Tubelab, if you want a board as an example, let me know, I'll drop one in the mail.
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File Type: jpg pcbs.jpg (851.0 KB, 131 views)
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