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Tubelab Discussion and support of Tubelab products, prototypes and experiments

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Old 20th November 2006, 01:46 AM   #1
vax9000 is offline vax9000  United States
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I am going to buy TubelabSE board, but can't get him through email. Has anybody bought the board recently?
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Old 21st November 2006, 03:15 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: West Virginia panhandle
I just returned from yet another weekend road trip. My father passed away last year and my mother is currently in poor health. I have traveled 250 miles each way every weekend for 5 of the past 6 weeks to help get her situated into a new assisted living facitity. I will be gone for the Thanksgiving weekend also.

The weekend travelling and my hectic work schedule (50+ hours per week) have left little time for Tubelab. I have no control over my work schedule (most employees my age have already been "downsized"), or my family obligations. There is no e-mail access at the locations where I have been staying. Although I have been working on web site updates on my laptop while travelling. Answering "e-mail related to secondary employment" is forbidden from work, though limited forum access is not (yet). I get 5 to 20 serious e-mails per day, and a bunch of spam.

Due to my limited time, I have given priority to e-mails from customers that have purchased boards and have questions. I have sold about 25 TubelabSE boards, since their inception. I explained on the web site that this board was never intended to be a beginners project. I also explained that the assembly manual was written for people with some vacuum tube construction experience. In spite of this, most of the purchasers of the TubelabSE turned out to be first time builders. Many had no problems assembling their amplifiers and some wrote glowing e-mails explaining their first experiences of DHT bliss.

On the other hand, I had a few customers who sent e-mails about everything from what kind of soldering iron or digital meter to buy, to what brand of caps, wire, resistors ... to use. Many asked questions that are answered in the manual, or asked me to help them with custom modifications. I answered this mail as politely and accurately as possible, but this consumed almost all of my available time. At this time, I believe that all customers that have contacted me have completed their amplifiers.

Some also made suggestions about how the construction could be made easier, and a few said that they had no idea that building a DHT amplifier could be so expensive. I listened to these requests and created the SimpleSE. This board IS designed for an inexperienced builder, and I have written the manual with this in mind.

The TubelabSE board has detailed instructions to assemble the board, but limited information about physically assembling an amplifier. This is being added to both manuals (SimpleSE first).

Because of my inability to adequately support these boards, I have tried to avoid selling them for the past 6 weeks, since I have limited e-mail access. I have sold a few to repeat customers who already know how to build them. I will continue to sell them to builders who feel confident that they can assemble their amplifier from the instructions given on the web site. I would prefer that beginners start with the SimpleSE board.

I have been catching up on e-mail, and I expect to get through most of them (including yours) in the next week. At this time, I believe that most of my family obligations are taken care of, and I may actually have some time off of work in late December.

At this time I plan to start selling the SimpleSE board as soon as I have time to support it (2 to 3 weeks), and figure out how to set up the shopping cart feature on my web site. I am still a rookie web designer. I plan to add the TubelabSE to the shopping cart as soon as I update its assembly manual. I am doing the SimpleSE first because it generates 5 times more e-mail than the TubelabSE.

There have been a few recurrent questions that I have answered on the web site, but the e-mail still pours in, so I will reitterate here:

The TubelabSE and the SimpleSE are TWO DIFFERENT boards. If you e-mail me saying that you want to purchase "the SE board", I don't know which one that you want.

The TubelabSE is a single ended amplifier board that uses DHT's like the 45, the 2A3, or the 300B. It is not intended as a first vacuum tube project. Yes, I did use a TubelabSE for many of the experiments involving sweep tubes, but these were temporary experiments. I will not offer schematics for these experiments. I blew up one amplifier, and it is too easy for you to fry some parts too.

The SimpleSE is a single ended amplifier board that uses indirectly heated tubes like the 6L6, the KT88, the EL34, and the 6550. They can be operated in triode Ultralinear, or even pentode mode. It is intended for builders of all skill levels.

At this time we do not sell individual parts, kits or complete amplifiers. We simply do not have the time or financial resources to catalog all of the different items. We MAY offer kits at a later date, that decision has not been made yet.

I will add some tube and transformer recommendations to the manuals as soon as they are compiled. This is all based on measured data. I don't plan to go any further down this road. I spent almost $2000 on tubes and transformers for the testing. I can not make component recommendations based on listening tests for someone in a different listening enviornment than mine.

There may be other projects in development. I have learned not to discuss them until they are ready. The unavoidable delays only cause dissapointment to potential customers. There are other projects that can be made with these boards, again I will not discuss them until they are completed.

I have no plans to produce the PowerDrive or the Power Supply boards for the 845SE. These boards have a small demand, and their develompent costs will never be recovered. The 845SE project is too dangerous for most builders. Those who are experienced enough to build am amp of this magnitude should be able to build it from the information given.

One more thing, if the moderators approve, I can start a thread dealing with the SimpleSE. This could be one thread, or two, one to deal with The PC board assembly, and one to deal with building an amplifier with your new board, even a third could be for tweaks and upgrades. I could do the same thing for the TubelabSE as well. Moderators?
Tubelab, it's 5 year mission. To explore strange new tubes, to seek out new circuits and topologies, to boldly go where no tube has gone before......
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