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Old 17th May 2012, 11:45 AM   #1
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Default Tube "Orientation"

General Opinion Needed:

As I am a tube-nube, I am interested in whether there is any general opinion about a "pretty side" of any particular vacuum tube. My musing arose as I was laying out PC mount sockets on a board layout and thought, "should pin 1 face the front, side back...?!?"

For example, would a 5AR4 dual diode look better from the front of an amp if pin #2 was at the front, or pin #5, or something else entirely?

Same question for Octal pentodes (e.g. 6L6GC, 6550, KT88...).

Same question for 9-pin miniatures (e.g. 12AT7, 12AX7...).

Same question for 9-pin "compactron" tubes (e.g. 6LR8).

Same question for 12-pin compactron tubes (e.g. 6LU8).

I can only remember looking through the perforated masonite back of an Electrohome console colour TV to the chassis from above and seeing the glow of the tubes.

Thanks.
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Old 17th May 2012, 12:20 PM   #2
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My own experience is limited to the guitar amps I make with ECC82/ECC83 or 6N1P/6N2P and EL84 valves... but I've never stopped to consider a "pretty" side of the glass. Lead dress and physical layout tends to be more important in dictating which way round a socket should face.
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Old 17th May 2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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I have the same taste. I had several years ago a AC/Dc General Electric MW/SW radio in an aluminium chassis. I polished it, and in a dark night watching the tubes brightning, and the light reflected into the chassis is an unerasable image in my mind.
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Old 17th May 2012, 12:37 PM   #4
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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You can buy two different examples of the same type and they can look completely different inside so if you want to see the 'pretty' side than you will restrict yourself to one version of each valve you use.

No, stick to engineering principles. There is enough to think about when designing physical layouts without worrying about the 'pretty' side. One exception to this: you can usually ensure that rows of valves are evenly spaced rather than appearing random.
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:40 PM   #5
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Some data sheets (The Genelex KT88 comes to mind) specify the orientation of the pins when tubes are next to each other to minimize one tube radiating heat into it's neighbor, as well as recommended minimum tube spacing. Some data sheets also specify whether the tube can be mounted in orientations other than vertical.

http://www.triodeel.com/kt88p5.gif
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:59 PM   #6
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF96 View Post

No, stick to engineering principles. There is enough to think about when designing physical layouts without worrying about the 'pretty' side.
That's only 50% of the job. Since squiffiness cares about aesthetics your suggestion seems a bit rude to me. Not worrying about the 'pretty' side will come eventually -when you're too old to care. Anyway, I don't see much point asking other people what would look best. Figure it out for yourself.
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Old 17th May 2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post
...Anyway, I don't see much point asking other people what would look best. Figure it out for yourself.
Why "reinvent" the wheel, when budget is a consideration for me as well.

If I have PC mount sockets, I can't readily change the orientation like I could in a chassis-mount.

Thanks to all for the opinions on this thread. It appears to be getting a bit controversial, so I'll sign off this one but lurk if more answers come in.
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:02 PM   #8
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Sorry to ruin your aesthetics, but orientation is dictated by engineering concerns. For example, noval (9 pin) tubes have to mounted with pins 4-5 to the chassis side, because the heater cables must hide in the chassis corner, octals with the "key" pointing the chassis, for the same reason. Beam power valves have to be wit the keys aligned and 9 cm distance between them etc. Would you like to have an amplifier that hums?
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:33 PM   #9
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I also value very much the aesthetics of the device once mounted. By example I put all resistors and capacitor, with the markings to the same side, so they can be read from one point of view.

squiffiness: as the job at your pleasure, keeping in mind some basic concepts above mentioned.

Good luck.
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by costis_n View Post
Sorry to ruin your aesthetics, but orientation is dictated by engineering concerns. For example, noval (9 pin) tubes have to mounted with pins 4-5 to the chassis side, because the heater cables must hide in the chassis corner, octals with the "key" pointing the chassis, for the same reason. Beam power valves have to be wit the keys aligned and 9 cm distance between them etc. Would you like to have an amplifier that hums?
I have to laugh! That is exactly what I was thinking: generally since it is the heater wires which I run first, their layout is what dictates how the socket is oriented.
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