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DrExotica 27th August 2002 03:52 PM

Necessary equipment/tools for building
I am trying to get my head around this DIY tube world (hoping to ultimately build a 300B [P?]SE amp and a MC phono preamp), and have the following question. What tools and equipment are necessary in order to build one of these beasts? In the course of searching/reading about various designs, I have notices that some builders often appear to have oscilloscopes (among many other things). If someone can list a recommended collection of equipment that the beginning DIYer should have (or point me to an appropriate site), I would be most appreciative.

cocolino 27th August 2002 04:42 PM

Hi Eric,

aside of the most obvious tools as a good (temperature regulated prefered) soldering iron, pliers, srew drivers etc. etc., I would say the most basical equipment You`ll need is:

1.)Multimeter (AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage, resistance), preferable a DVM (Digital Volt Meter) but it maybe an analog meter as well

2.)Oscilloscope, perhaps not urgently necessary but it helps a lot

3.)Signal Generator (sine/ square wave, 100kHz upper frequency is enough, more does not harm)

Of course there is a lot more of handy equipment which might be useful but the three above are the most important IMO.

DrExotica 27th August 2002 05:01 PM

Recommended oscilloscopes
Thanks Christoph - I was unaware of signal generators.

Follow-up question: are there particular makes/models of oscilloscope and signal generators that I should be on the lookout for (given my level of [in]experience)? I am hoping to be able to pick these things up used/second-hand on Ebay without having to spend a fortune. The fortune goes toward the transformers ...

cocolino 27th August 2002 11:38 PM

Hello again Erik,

Without any doubt the world leading company in oscilloscopes is Tektronix and You can find them for sale in masses at ebay. If I were You I would go for a rather "simple" unit (in regards to specifications) but therefore in very good/clean condition (dirt and corrosion is one of the main enemys of switches and contacts and often is the cause for non functional equipment) and guaranteed fully functional. The manual would me fine too but You may have to buy it seperately.
It`s better to spend somewhat more on a fine but "simple" unit than messing around with a high-end model which is in poor shape.
Here is another thread (and even more links from there) with more opinions about oscilloscopes:
Here some other Tek models which might be for interest also:
453 (50Mhz and delayed trigger)
T922 (15MHz)

What concerns the signal generators there are a lot of options.
Here just a few brands: Hewlett Packard, Krohn Hite, Leader, Tektronix, Wavetek. I cannot comment at particular models but would suggest doing a search on ebay (go to: Business, Office & Industrial > Test, Measurement Equipment > Generators)
Sure there are plenty of options.
Maybe somebody else around here can give You some detailled advice of what particular models might be a good choice.

Just watch some auctions (don`t buy the next best, every day there are a lot of offers, watch first) and You`ll see that You don`t have to spend a fortune on a good scope and a generator.

Though at the first glance this kind of equipment seem to be somehow complicated to handle (a lot of knobs and functions) for somebody not so accustomed - but it is really not.
Just don`t be afraid - hook the generator to the scope and play around a bit and after a short time, intuitively You`ll lfeel how it works basically. And with the manual, what I always recommend to buy also, You can explore the more "complicated" functions. Particular the manuals for the older equipment are nicely explaining everything detailled though simple.

Cambe 28th August 2002 03:13 AM

Used Test Equiptment
Hello Everyone,
Here is a link to a site that offers new and used (tested)...something
to consider when buying test equiptment.


DrExotica 28th August 2002 02:23 PM

Thanks for the info and link. One question - the Tek 453 has been suggested as being appropriate for tube amp construction. Is a selling price of $159 (w/manual) for a working one reasonable? Sorry to be tedious, but I have no knowledge of the going prices for these beasts.

cocolino 28th August 2002 04:42 PM


Sorry to be tedious, but I have no knowledge of the going prices for these beasts.
Never mind :)

One question - the Tek 453 has been suggested as being appropriate for tube amp construction. Is a selling price of $159 (w/manual) for a working one reasonable?
I guess You mean the one from the link....:)

Here are some completed ebay auctions I found for Tek 453 scopes:
(Look somewhat closer who is the buyer of this one. Click on his "me" sign and follow the "Electronic Test Equipment" link. Any bells ringing......??)

I`m no expert in used Tek scope prices but it appears to me that $159 for a clean and guaranteed fully working Tek 453 including the Instruction Manual seems to be a good deal. You might consider to buy a probe for the scope also. If You intend to buy this 453, I`m sure Mr. Thomas P. Gootee can give You good advice which one is suitable to go with the 453.
As You likely don`t know what a probe is and for what probes are good, here a link to the Tektronix primer: "The ABC of probes".

dhaen 30th August 2002 09:39 PM

Tek 453
I had a 453 for years. Although the dispay is a little smaller than it's peers eg 465, it's display is much brighter. This means that it is good for seeing short ocurrence events.
These are the last generation of Tek "portable" scopes that can be fully serviced without specialised test sets. Later models have to go back to Tek for everything.
I upgraded to a Tek TDS210 last year, and although it's small and light, I do miss some of the 453 features.

Bottom line... for a limited budget the 453 is good.

Enjoy it.


till 7th September 2002 11:35 PM

I read all threads about scopes in this forum, and following to what Mr Haller said, I looked for Tek 465.

Tek 465 is sold here for 450 Euro.

I bought Tek 7504 with 7B53A, 7A12 and 2* 7A16A for about 150 Euro.

Now my Question to the Professionals like Mr. Haller:

Does it makes sense to buy plugins like 7A22 or 7D13?
Is 7D13 usefull? i own no Bench Multimeter, only a small Metex. Which way is 7D13 used?

Would you suggest to use as it is possible with the pugins listed above or should i look for others? Or should i look on for 465 or 475?

thanks for any answers

cocolino 8th September 2002 01:13 AM

Tek Series 7000 scopes

Would you suggest to use as it is possible with the pugins listed above or should i look for others? Or should i look on for 465 or 475?
Though I`m not a "pro" and also not Mr. Haller I hope You don`t mind to hear another opinion about that question:)

I have a Tek series 7000 scope and many plug-ins for it. IMHO the Tek 7000 series oscilloscopes are the most versatile scopes ever built and probably ever will be (things seem to get rather worse what concerns "progress" :sad: ) because there are so many completly different kind of plug-ins.

By changing the plug-ins actually You can change the scope in another kind of instrument as for example a spectrum-analyzer, curve tracer or a sampling scope to name just a few.
For instance for audio applications particular the 7A22 is a very handy and incredible sensitive low frequency (1Mhz bandwith) differential amplifier plug-in and You`ll hardly find another scope which can do something comparable.

I would never change my scope against another and if I were You I would stick with the 7504 and complement it with suitable plug-ins whenever it`s necessary or when there is a good occasion.

The 7D13 is a multimeter plug-in but as it does not have an own display it can be used only in a scope mainframe that has a screen display read out. I don`t know if Your 7503 is suitable for it.

By the way: the last Tek`s 465 I saw here at the German ebay went for around Euro 260 -300 in beautyful shape, including manual and with fresh calibration!

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