Tube tester

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Tube tester

Postby blue on Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:13 pm

Are the Heathkit Tube testers any good? I was looking into a tc2 on ebay. I don't really have a need for one right now just looking into it and I'm wondering if these are any good.

Thanks
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Re: Tube tester

Postby Baron Von Machinenmann on Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:44 pm

Ok for a first tester, but it is the emission only type that basically tests for emissions only, not transconductance types like the better stark, hickok etc. Here's a good read before you buy from a function standpoint by one of our members here: Testers ;)
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Re: Tube tester

Postby blue on Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:56 pm

Thanks for the link. great stuff which member?
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Re: Tube tester

Postby Baron Von Machinenmann on Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:01 pm

I believe he goes by the handle "Mr. Droopydrawers". ;)
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Re: Tube tester

Postby tone-lizard on Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:02 pm

Guilty as charged. It was a coin toss between 'Mr. Droopy-Drawers' and 'Señor Poopy-Pants'. I regret that coin toss every now and then ;) .
My attitude was, is, and always will be that just about any tester is better than nothing at all. If you can get it dirt cheap, get it. If you get a 'better' tube tester, like a Stark or a Hickok, then the lesser one can be a backup unit. But even though the TC-2 is just an emission tester, it can still test for shorts and will do the only test for diodes and rectifiers. Since these tubes have no 'gain', they can't be tested for anything other than emission. I have about sixty-something testers right now, so I have an idea which ones perform well, and which ones let me down every now and then. Since they don't test at real world voltages, they'll all be compromises.
But, to answer you query; I'd only buy that TC-2 if you can do so cheaply. It'll make a decent back up, and can be used to test rectifiers for shorts and emission. It won't be great, but if the price is right, it can be better than nothing. But thanks to eBay, nothing is cheap anymore.
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Re: Tube tester

Postby ampman72 on Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:51 am

Great Site, Mr. Droopy-drawers!

Any opinion on the Hickock/supreme TV-7/U?
I have owned one for about 3 years now. Seems to work well, ime.
What plate voltage do they run at in transconductance test mode, for, say 6CA7/EL34?

Thanks
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Re: Tube tester

Postby Baron Von Machinenmann on Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:04 am

I have about sixty-something testers right now, so I have an idea which ones perform well, and which ones let me down every now and then.
One can only wonder how may amps you have. ;) I'll second what our northern neighbor said regarding an inexpensive emission tester. The first one I bought for fifty beans is a Knight, kit built emission tester. It is now used for screening tubes before they go onto the Hickoks. :cool:
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Re: Tube tester

Postby tone-lizard on Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:16 am

I have had, and still sort of have, a 'decent' collection of guitars and amplifiers. Some I wish I hadn't parted with, but I'm sure we all have those stories. Luckily today I 'saved' my Blonde Bassman, my Super Reverb, my JMP's, and my Simms-Watts. I may have 'given away' my SG's and my '59 ES335 (this is before eBay remember), but I still have a few Les Pauls (including a '59 Special), and my Strats and Teles. Thankfully this wife understands.
Ok, this next bit is just a series of opinions. Keep in mind I like to mix, if not totally forget, my medications.
The TV7-U is easily the most common military model. There ought to be a lot of them out there today, and there seems to be. Every high-end tube seller on eBay claims that his tubes were tested on a 'calibrated' TV7. It's a standard Hickok circuit, so it's apparently as good as any other Hickok. But I sometimes like the later versions; say a 6000A as opposed to a 6000. This is because the early versions, including the TV7, use a 5VAC test signal on the 'B' and 'C' range. This can be too much for some low-bias tubes like the 12AX7, a tube we all use every now and then ;) . The 'A' versions dropped the grid signal down to 2VAC, which is much nicer to the tube. The only other thing I wish the TV7 didn't do was use that cheezy '0-120' scale. I'd like to see a real gm scale. Then I'd be able to pick a matched 12AT7 for my phase inverter without squinting over a '0-120' scale and trying to decipher the exact reading.
That Knight tester is probably so close to the Heathkit that I think I may have used chart settings from one on the other. It's been a while, but I thought those and the Eico 625 or 628 were all pretty much the same. They will work OK, and can test old 4-pin tubes like the 83. Oh, the TV7 won't have 'modern' tubes listed, but they can test all the tubes in your Bassman without breaking a sweat. People will post on Audio Asylum all the time asking for 6550 settings, or 6DJ8 settings, or EF86 settings, or ... you get the idea. No tester has them all listed, so no one tester can do everything for you. But they are all still fun to play with.
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Re: Tube tester

Postby lordraptor1 on Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:42 am

ok as far as hickock tube testers goes personally depends on what tubes, do you need or not need compactron sockets? personally i think the best all around hickok tester is the 539 ( a, b, or c models c preferred but b seems to be easier to obtain). with that having been said the 539 are NOT going cheap on fleabay we are talking $900 and up ( $900 for sellers not knowing what it is or much about it) for one in working order ( dont get confused with all the $225 fleabay listings as they are someone selling a service not an actual tester). now there are son 300 and under listings however those are non functioning and possibly missing parts to boot.

now on to the ops original question ar ethe heathkit TC-2 testers good? i think so however i see a lot of misrepresentation on fleabay because sellers class all tc-2 as just tc2 and are selling tc-2p ( the p stands for portable and it looks like it is in a suitcase). ANYway, the NON portable tc-2 seems to be a little more rare on fleabay than the "portable" version ( fyi the only difference is the case or box internals are the same). also note that the prices on the heathkit tc-2 ( and everything else) fluctuates on fleabay. as an example i listed my heathkit tc-2 on fleabay a week or 2 ago because the were popping up for $200 ( thats right $200) and i left it there LOL. it is still listed for $200 or best offer but sad thing ( fort me anyway) is that while other tc-2 are selling for 150 to 200 i am not even getting any offers on mine ROFL.

so yes the tc2 is a great little tester for what it is and it sure can save you money because you can test for good/bad and see if you realy have to throw down cash on new tubes instead of slapping down the cash on tubes only to find they werent the problem especially if you are using nos tubes. coincidentally back in the day people would use their vaccum tubes until they failed, they wouldnt replae the tube when it got "weak" because weak or not the tube will still work ( i have verified this personally using my vintage peavey VTM120, a vintage zenith tube radio, and a vintage knight stancor tube radio)

best advice if op wants to buy a heathkit c-s is watch the listings and hopefully catch the downward swing in pricing, because when that swing hits listings will get removed ( i remove mine when they are selling for peanuts LOL) and the rest usually are Buy it now and are gone within minutes of posting.

FYI mine is a standard TC-2 in the plain box ( not suitcase) near mint shape and works flawlessley, roll chart is dated 9-1-55 ( so it was sold new either on or after sept 1st 1955 ( to bad the date wasnt 11-5-55 that would have been uber perfect i could have addded a back to the future reference in there but i guess 1955 is close enough for back to the future references :D)
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