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How we test our tubes...

 

Introduction

Most of what this page is about, is how to make sure you use the right tester, in the right way. Only like such results are meaningful to discuss about. To make this page not too difficult, anything that supplies details is presented with a link, but you are advised to read those links when it applies to your situation.

Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for advice for how to use the AT1000. We give the last word to the manufacturer.

Tube testing can raise many issues, some of which can be:

  • People use all different kind of tube testers.
  • Test methods are different, even with the same tester.
  • Some testers give parameters, other testers give a good-bad result.
  • Producers of new, digital testers, make horrible mistakes with the software.
  • Some vintage testers have not been calibrated for 50 years.
  • Some vintage testers are not capable to test the tubes you have.
  • The user is only interested in the results of his own tester.
  • People "test" tubes in amplifiers.

What is good manufacturer data?

At Emission labs we take pride in presenting absolutely correct tube data. This data is part of the guaranteed specifications of an unused tube. A technician can verify this data easily. Test data from the day the tube was build, is the best information for judging the tube condition years after. Suppose you buy an old RCA tube on Ebay, and you find it reads 61mA, lets say a Hickok 539C tester. Then you would assume the tube is unused, because a new tube must have 60mA. Suppose however you find a note on the tube socket saying, "71mA, in 1954 on a Hickok 539". This shows the tube is fine, but used a lot. So the clue is always: What was the data when the tube was born, and to verify this, you need to know how it was tested.

So the test data we supply at the tube box is very precise, and also we write in the tube box how it was tested.

Recommended Testers

Why we use the AT1000

The only reason why we use the Amplitrex AT1000 is because it can be bought new, and it can just do what we need. There are many AT1000 around, and they work all the same, because the software was never revised. You do need to be well aware of the many limitations this tester has. The default mode is quite useless for our purpose, and we will explain to how to use it. Test results can be good, if you define clearly what the tester is supposed to do.

How to use the AT1000 tube tester

Important Note for non-USA users of AT1000

The AT1000 stand alone mode

How to get the AT1000 in the computer controlled mode

Create set up files for EML tubes

Testing EML tubes

Some links:

  • What is tube activation Read here
  • What causes long tube life Read here
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