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Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?
Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?
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Old 11th September 2018, 09:00 PM   #1
Lingwendil is online now Lingwendil  United States
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Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?
Default Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?

So, a recent idea has resurfaced in my mind, and that is how best would one go about mounting tubes to a chassis that will be used in an automotive environment, given the technology available today? Years ago I built a four channel EL84 AB1 design, and used guitar type sockets with spring-retainers that go over the top of the glass of the tube. This setup saw mostly smooth road use, and lasted over a year without issues, but was not given all that much attention to the idea as a whole. I was young and dumb

For practical purposes, lets assume that the amplifier design is able to provide sufficient SPL in the chosen automobile environment, is matched to efficient enough speakers, and has a stable, sufficient power supply. Lets say that it has safeguards built in to protect against loose tubes and/or physical damages. Power range, lets say 10-20 watts, just to give an idea of form factor, nine-pin or octal (or loktal?) tube types, for ease of maintenance.

I don't want to go off-topic into the "tubes don't go in a car, forget it" discussion, I just want to know how you would physically mount everything.


Part of me thinks that going smaller (physically) on tube selection is best, and using rubber grommets or vibration-dampening studs would be best. Something like using Russian surplus "EV" tube types as much as possible, and mounting them vertical may be the best bet, as you would have less mass flailing around during hard bumps (potholes, for instance, or large speed humps/bumps) but I'm not sure if supporting the tube at the opposite end of the socket would be a good idea. FWIW, I think small 6V6 or 6AV5GA sized octals may be a good size, and are pretty stable in good sockets.

Looking at history, we see a good bit of octal and loktal tubes used in portable equipment for the military, in both aerial and ground based vehicles, and these seem to be supporting the tube at the sockets, with no additional regard to the rest of the tube's envelope. The guitar guys and MI use situations often have retainers on their nine pin tubes, that have spring loaded mounts to retain them too their base somewhat, but these aren't meant for active use while in motion.

Any suggestions?
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Old 11th September 2018, 09:39 PM   #2
20to20 is offline 20to20  United States
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Originally Posted by Lingwendil View Post
So, a recent idea has resurfaced in my mind, and that is how best would one go about mounting tubes to a chassis that will be used in an automotive environment, given the technology available today?
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Old 11th September 2018, 10:01 PM   #3
carlthess40 is offline carlthess40  United States
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I remember back in the 70ís some of the best of the high end SQ setups used tube preamps and amps. They cost a ton of cash so I know itís a doable task
Good luck and post pics.
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Old 11th September 2018, 10:16 PM   #4
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Loktals......
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Old 11th September 2018, 10:38 PM   #5
spaceistheplace is offline spaceistheplace
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Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?
Default Best way to mount tubes when used in an automotive environment?

Use EAR Elastomer vibration absorbing grommets on sockets and the top plate as a whole.

Standard Grommets | E-A-R Aearo Technologies LLC

In addition Iíd use a healthy amount of damping sheets underneath the chassis.

Noico is a brand Iíve used. Thereís many others.

Amazon.com: Noico 80 mil 36 sqft car Sound deadening mat, butyl automotive Sound Deadener, audio Noise Insulation and dampening: Automotive

Look at the car forums and see how they address rattling from subwoofers.

If not damping sheets explore spring systems.

Vibration Isolator,Spring,80 to 113 lb. MASON 5C142 - Newegg.com

There were record players in cars which I imagine would be much more precarious. Explore how they addressed those issues. Hereís a throwback from consumer reports:

Car Record Players of the 1950s and 1960s | Early Infotainment Systems- Consumer Reports News
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Last edited by spaceistheplace; 11th September 2018 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12th September 2018, 12:19 AM   #6
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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I don't think it is a problem. You can spend far more time fooling with grommets and braces than it is worth. Car radio tubes did not die all THAT often, even minis in hard-mounted chassis. IMHO, Loctals are more pain than they are worth, in any vehicle I would drive for pleasure. (Yes, going to die for my country in a Jeep or a P-38 is different; however a B-17 is a very smooth ride until the shooting starts.)
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Old 12th September 2018, 01:57 AM   #7
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Old 12th September 2018, 05:29 AM   #8
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Old 12th September 2018, 06:06 AM   #9
petertub is offline petertub  Sweden
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As others have said: small tubes will typically be seated in quite ordinary sockets, maybe EL84 will need spring loaded fasterers.
But do take care of cooling issues, make sure ventilation is adequate, add a temperature controlled fan and an independent shut-down on overtemperature.
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Old 12th September 2018, 05:42 PM   #10
w5jag is online now w5jag  United States
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How rugged do you want?

You can ( or could ) get seven and nine pin sockets with a matching spring loaded shroud, that fit over the tube, and bayonet lock to the base. Those tubes aren't coming out by accident.

Some ( IERC ?) have contact material inside the shroud that will sink heat from the tube to the shroud, and the tube will run cooler than it would in free air.

Bigger tubes like octals would have a piece of all thread beside the tube, and a plate that would fasten down against the tube to hold it in place.

There are ruggedized tubes for rough service applications, and tubes that have consistent heater / cathode output over the large voltage swings you would see in the vehicle charging systems of the tube era. These types are scarce nowadays.

Last edited by w5jag; 12th September 2018 at 05:44 PM. Reason: changed "socket" to "shroud"
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