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Old 16th November 2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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Default Tube Tips/Tricks for beginners

Hello everyone!

I recently acquired a few vacuum tubes (~6 ECC81/ECC82) and decided to make a tube amp. I have a solid background in electronics but have never worked with tubes before.

I've set my sights on a simple 5 Watt amp with pre-amp, equalizer and output stages and am really excited to get started (and just picked up a copy of Morgan Jones' book.) But, nothing beats learning from experience and I know you guys have plenty of that!

So, what advice would you give a beginner like me?
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Old 16th November 2012, 03:06 PM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Read MJ's book.

Use Google (other search engine are available).

Don't believe everything you read.
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Old 16th November 2012, 03:22 PM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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What Dave said. I'd only add, "Don't be afraid of blowing up a few components."
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Old 16th November 2012, 04:22 PM   #4
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Keep one hand in a pocket while testing a device with HV on
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Old 16th November 2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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way back in the mists of time (1989), I started with a Dynaco 70 amplifier. I had a coupling cap lead break and had to replace it myself. My source for tubes couldn't always come through, so I rewired the 7199 socket to use the more common 6U8A.

My first tube preamp - a Dynaco PAS, I found the schematic and figured out how to bypass the tone controls.

Long story short, it helps to first modify/fix existing gear to gain an understanding on how they are built. It was a few years of playing around with used vintage stuff that I decided to build my own. A kit is also a good place to start.
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Old 16th November 2012, 05:49 PM   #6
TheGimp is offline TheGimp  United States
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Read the safety and on line tube theory threads at the top of the thread list.
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Old 16th November 2012, 08:16 PM   #7
rmyauck is offline rmyauck  Canada
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Look at George Anderson of tubelab.com 's offerings. He has 3 boards, with 2 SE one of which takes DHT tubes and a EL84 PP board which can be had with parts for $100 less tubes, transformers, and enclosure Chassis.

You can pick the Output Transformers to your budget and sonic qualities you desire.

He has a form here and there is lots of help from him and others.

For the popular EL84 PP amp or any other PP EL84/7591 amp add Dave Gillespie's EFB mod for improved tube life, sonics, and power.

Randy
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:34 AM   #8
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You're getting reasonable advice. Naturally, I'll grind my own axe. A triode wired "El Cheapo" yields approx. 6 WPC and uses the 12AT7/ECC81 as the splitter/driver.
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:39 AM   #9
rmyauck is offline rmyauck  Canada
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Eli I forgot about that amp! You should say that Jim McShane offers a kit of parts for it, less transformers and chassis!

Regards,

Randy
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Old 17th November 2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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I've been out of the tube world for 40+ years, just getting my feet wet again. Just figuratively..avoid wet feet and high voltage.

I finally just got an old analog-movement VTVM. I'd advise to get one sooner than I did.

I finally put two leads and alligator clips on a resistor to drain power supply caps. I'd advice to make one sooner than I did.

I finally made a jig to hold a chassis and be able to filp it while running. You don't need one of those right away.

Pick up some wooden or plastic chop sticks for poking around.

You'll find yourself collecting resistors in a whole new higher range.

Enjoy! The best part is that things don't blow up in a femto-second like some solid state components. First they glow different colors, maybe even arc, and you still might salvage the expensive parts.
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