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Old 16th September 2013, 06:14 AM   #1
SandyG is offline SandyG  United States
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Default OB2WA Radioactive???

I have used OB2's in a bunch of amps and picked up a lot from EPay the other day. Just opened the box and found that 2 of the RCA tube boxes have warnings that they are Radioactive!

Should I be worried about these, dates on the boxes are 1967 for one and 1972 for the other.

Sandy
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Old 16th September 2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyG View Post
I have used OB2's in a bunch of amps and picked up a lot from EPay the other day. Just opened the box and found that 2 of the RCA tube boxes have warnings that they are Radioactive!

Should I be worried about these, dates on the boxes are 1967 for one and 1972 for the other.

Sandy
All the cold cathode VR tubes are radioactive, as the cathodes include beta emitters to provide electrons for striking. There's not enough of it to worry about, unless you break them open, and accumulate a whole bunch of cathodes. Then you might have a problem.
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Old 16th September 2013, 08:16 AM   #3
Defiant is offline Defiant  United States
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What he said ^^^. The beta emitters are intended to pre-ionize the gas to ensure reliable, predictable striking of the glow discharge. Since beta particles cannot penetrate the glass envelope there is no danger of exposure from handling the tubes. Even if the tubes were broken the quantity of radioisotopes contained in them is very small. You would have to eat the cathode material to risk any health hazard.
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Old 16th September 2013, 12:22 PM   #4
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Some VRs are radioactive; some are not. Military versions are more likely to be radioactive, so they can start reliably in the dark. In many cases the gas is radioactive, not the cathode. No special handling needed. If you break the glass don't panic, just ventilate the room for a while before clearing up.
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Old 16th September 2013, 03:41 PM   #5
SandyG is offline SandyG  United States
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Thanks for the info, I hate when the EPay sellers don't make a note that they are. I have a bunch of other OB2WA's that don't have the radioactive marking and consumer ones without. One of the boxes says contains Nickle-63, the other is just marked Radioactive, but both are RCA. I have seen the same in some Raytheon OB2's but did not purchase them as no need to knowing have radioactive stuff around.

Might have to buy a Geiger counter for the heck of it now, always wanted one with the Civil Defense Logo on it

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Old 16th September 2013, 04:29 PM   #6
adason is offline adason  United States
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what's EPay?
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Old 16th September 2013, 04:36 PM   #7
SandyG is offline SandyG  United States
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what's EPay?
A euphemism for EBay

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Old 16th September 2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Try to fire it up in complete darkness. If it starts glowing it is slightly radioactive, if don't it is not. Also, some RF energy nearby can start them, even if they are not radioactive.
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Old 16th September 2013, 05:31 PM   #9
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I read somewhere that they had a needle from cathode to anode which (because of the power of the points as charges concentrates in sharper wires) was the responsible for the striking of the glow. :-(
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Old 16th September 2013, 05:37 PM   #10
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that was back in the day when the big X-ray radiation scare was on consumer electronics.

yes it produce gamma radiation, but in such small amounts compared to a CRT. But companies put warning on reg tubes and horizontal output section tubes.
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