• WARNING: Tube/Valve amplifiers use potentially LETHAL HIGH VOLTAGES.
    Building, troubleshooting and testing of these amplifiers should only be
    performed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with
    the safety precautions around high voltages.

help ID 4-500 old stock tubes

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Hi: A neighbour was cleaning out his deceased Father in law's house. The old boy kept all his stuff from when (I guess) he was a TV and electronics repairman in the tube days. He asked if I could sort through the 5 boxes of tubes, sockets, and books in exchange I get to keep enough stock to build my own amp. Being only familiar with bjt and chip projects, I need some help with what is actually worth keeping. There is about 4-500 tubes , new in boxes. In one of the books (from GE) it lists essential characteristics of most tubes that I have in front of me. Is it safe to say that all listed for service in class A amplifier are the ones I should keep?
It's more complicated than that. Stuff the whole collection into a closet after making a list. Then let us know what you have and you can either use them or sell them or give them away. I would never suggest throwing any in the trash unless it's clear that they have no possible use.


diyAudio Member
Joined 2005
Hey squarehdca,

I just went through this recently. Bob is right, make a list. It's the only way, until you familiarize yourself with tube amplifiers. There are a fair bunch of commonly used audio tubes, but there are even more that are probably only useful in old tube TV's, which aren't of much interest.

Start looking at tube amp schematics and take note of the tubes being used. There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of amp schematics on the internet. Make a list of all the tubes you see in those schematics. Those are the ones you want to keep.

The rest will end up in the list you post here, so people can point out some of the less common, but still useful audio tubes. There are a few types of TV tubes that work well for amps.

A couple tips: Separate the new (NOS) ones from the obviously used ones. Be careful with the flaps on the tube boxes, they tear off easily. Be VERY careful if you clean dirty tubes, the label paint wipes off REALLY easily. If you come across any tubes with inside of the glass covered with white residue, throw them out, they're dead. Try to find someone who can test the audio tubes you end up with.

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