Author Topic: What tubes do you hoard?  (Read 1301 times)

choppinrice

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What tubes do you hoard?
« on: May 04, 2018, 02:02:02 PM »
What is your favorite to find and why ?
What do you keep and never give up ?
What is on your list of must have ?
I just scored some tubes and trying to figure out what is rare and what is common.

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 05:29:39 PM »
I have a collection of over 30,000 tubes.  I have a little bit of everything.  I like them all, especially if I have a need for one.  I have not had to buy a tube in nearly 20 years.  The problem with having a collection this size is what to do with it.  You can't give tubes away.  I have not had any luck selling them.  You get into that silly "getter" and "black plate" nonsense, non-original boxes, date codes, etc.  I give them away to those deserving and use the rest.  When I am gone they will be somebody else's problem.  How I got all these tubes would make the subject of a short story sometime.

How about now?  Way back when the Internet was in its infancy, there was a forum that predated ARF.  There was a man on there who was interested in an old Kennedy amp I had.  He said he would trade "a few" tubes for my old amp.  How many? I asked.  "A couple hundred" was the reply.  Fine, says I.  I carefully packed the amp and sent it to him in Pennsylvania.  He received the amp in fine fettle and said the tubes had been shipped.  A few days later, a freight truck pulled up in front of my shop.  The driver got out and told me he had a shipment from this man in Pennsylvania for me.  I said, fine, just put the box on my desk.  He advised me that I did not need a desk, I needed a forklift.  A forklift?  Don't you know what you bought? asked he.  Yeah, says I, two hundred vacuum tubes, enough to fill a box.  The driver opened the trailer door and pointed to three large boxes, about the size a washing machine would come in.  "I'd say you got your money's worth.  There is at least two hundred in there."  There was a touch over 30,000. I borrowed the neighbor's forklift and here we are.  I sorted and bin boxed every one of them.  I have new, used, good, bad, young, old TV, radio almost every number ever created, including some radar tubes and a couple kinescope tubes.  I asked the guy why he sent so many.  He told me he was going thru a divorce and did not want his wife to have them and send them to the landfill.  So he boxed them up and shipped them to me.  He would not take a dime extra and I have not heard from him since.
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

Harbourmaster

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 05:46:41 PM »
HOLY SMOKES!  No pun intended. 


Best use of Jobber parts boxes EVER!
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 05:57:34 PM »
Napa remodeled a store not far from my shop.  They gave me all their used bin boxes.  I got some lockset boxes from Lowe's and some plumbing parts boxes from Lowe's.  There are nine shelves, 32 feet long, doubled.  So that makes 396 feet of shelves 12 inches wide, crammed from floor to ceiling.  All the industrial, radar and kinescope tubes are in another shelf on the other wall.
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

TC Chris

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 06:30:29 PM »
Whoa, am I jealous!!  Not only a wealth of tubes, but neatly organized in a space that looks clean & dry, with some old radios visible in the background.  Very nice.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 07:35:14 AM »
The upstairs in my garage is 14'X50'.  That is 700 square feet, with just a path to walk thru.  Totally crammed full otherwise.  Fans, Mixmasters, and radios.  And tubes.   ;)

A few TV's record players, tape recorders, my old Tek scope.  Nothing rare, nothing nice, just junk nobody else wants that has given me a lifetime of pleasure tinkering with it.  The purists and the snoots would back a dumpster to the window and start pitching.  This picture was taken in 2012 and I have put up more shelves and straightened up a bit.  But only a bit.   ;)
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

danrclem

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 08:35:20 AM »
Wow!  That sure is a lot of tubes.   ;)  I've probably got four or five hundred but quite a few of them are TV tubes.  A lot of them aren't worth selling but I've got some that are quite valuable too.

Choppinrice, it would be hard to list all of the tubes that have uses in audio and especially hard for me because I'm limited in my knowledge of tubes.  It would probably be better if you made up a list and posted them here and then they could be looked over and hopefully you will get some advice on which ones to keep.

choppinrice

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2018, 05:04:48 PM »
Well I'm not the lucky type as I had to pay for mine. But I'm sure that I will not have to buy tubes again. I can sell off the shortwave stuff, keep the Heathkit vtvm's and signal generators.
Is there a big book of tubes or something like it to help sort these out?
What are considered valuable to people with more money than brains? I don't mind dealing with ebay to off some of these just don't want to sell what I should be keeping for hobby work. Don't want to keep any TV only tubes. What would be a good tube tester to get? How do you match tubes? What's with the black grey thing? Guide me people.

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 09:52:59 PM »
The first thing to do is find what your interest is.  There are thousands of types of tubes.  Having what you need 100% of the time is not likely, even if you have as many as I do.  I do not have a spare 30A5, for example, and I have a radio that uses that type.  I cross-referenced it in my tube manual and found a 35W4 will work in its place.  A good tube substitution manual might help you as you start out.
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

choppinrice

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2018, 12:35:59 AM »
My interest is only in the HiFi tube stereos and consoles. HiFi with TV maybe but it would have to knock my socks off as I like these new 55 inch jobs. No table radios or shortwave or Ham etc. Maybe Guitar amps for my Bro-in-law but that is pushing it. So I want to keep any that are used for HiFi and Amps and tuners.

I peeked in three cases and about 1000 units per of the small Rca Type tubes. I'm sitting on 70 various size boxes packed and another 7 or 8 extra large service cases also packed. So yea It could very well be the size of your collection. There are cases mixed with larger tubes that have a connector on the top of the tube. Most tube boxes are complete some look brand new some look like years of shelf wear but with a spotless tube inside. All popular brands.

I picked this lot up to give me something to do during my recovery as Ebay is easy for me. I just want to keep a good assortment to cover most brands of consoles. Maybe trade some for a good tester or barter for stuff. Have to wait till the Doc tells me I can lift to see everything I have here. I'll keep a eye out for 30a5 for you.

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2018, 07:23:06 AM »
If you have a large quantity already on hand, what I did was to sort them all alpha-numerically.  Then got some bin boxes and put them all in bin boxes.  Shelving is easy and fairly inexpensive if you use some imagination.  I used 1/2" MDX for shelving.  It was cheaper buying a 4'x8' sheet and ripping that into 1' panels, so that is what I did.  After you know what types of tubes you have, then you can decide what types you would like to keep.  I have threatened to dumpster the ones I don't want, but there is always somebody who can use them if you look hard enough.  Offer the ones you don't want for really cheap or even free to other hobbyists.  Then, if you don't get any response, you can feel better about doing something more drastic.  I don't know how you would know which tubes belong to only stereo.  If you collect one brand, like I do with Magnavox, then maybe it would be easier to just have tubes for Magnavox on hand.  If you collect all brands and all types, then you might need more types on hand.  I have never regretted having thousands of tubes at my disposal. 

You could get an RCA tube manual off ebay.  A tube manual will tell you what job each tube is designed to do.  Rectifiers, audio output, horizontal output, that type of thing.  Remember, too, that sometimes TV uses audio tubes in the vertical sweep section and stereos use TV tubes in the tuner.  RCA used a 6CG7/6FQ7 in their amplifiers and also used it in the vertical section of their TV's.  Magnavox uses a 6EA8/6U8/6GH8 in their tuners that is also used in the color or chroma sections on color TV sets.  Old TV sets are addictive, flat panels notwithstanding.  There is something about them.  Like using an old stereo.  There is something about them..... ;)
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

Bill

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2018, 06:26:32 PM »
I chuckle when I hear your tube story Greg.  I think I would have pooped my pants when I saw what was in that truck.  And now Choppinrice may have the same size collection.  Nice!

I see something in your photos that I am jealous for and want!   ::) 

Bill

danrclem

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 06:55:44 PM »
Here's a list that I found of useful audio tubes.  I'm sure there are a lot not included and there are many that go by different numbers and or letters.

6SL7, 6SN7, 6GH8, 6U8, 6DJ8, 6EU7, 12AU7, 12AX7, 6AQ5, 6AS5, 6BQ5, 6CU5, 6V6, 6L6, 6550, KT77, KT88, KT120, 8417, 7408, 7355, 1619, 35L6, 50L6, 45's, 2A3, 300B, 26, 80, KT90, EL37

electra225

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 11:17:05 PM »
If you are dealing with Magnavox you need to add 5Y3, 5U4, 6BA6, 6BE6, 6AL5, 12AT7, 6CA4, 6AG5.  You need to have multiples of 6V6 and 6BQ5.  You need to have a five gallon bucket full of 6EU7's.  We probably should add 6AQ5 and 5AR4 to that list.  6BM8's were used in Pioneer tube integrated amps.  Don't forget the ubiquitous 7189, 7199.

What did you see, Bill?  The corner of one of my 6-RF-9's?
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

Motorola Minion

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Re: What tubes do you hoard?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 09:09:42 AM »
Here's a list that I found of useful audio tubes.  I'm sure there are a lot not included and there are many that go by different numbers and or letters.

6SL7, 6SN7, 6GH8, 6U8, 6DJ8, 6EU7, 12AU7, 12AX7, 6AQ5, 6AS5, 6BQ5, 6CU5, 6V6, 6L6, 6550, KT77, KT88, KT120, 8417, 7408, 7355, 1619, 35L6, 50L6, 45's, 2A3, 300B, 26, 80, KT90, EL37

That is a good start of list. I bought a load of tubes (mostly loose, arranged by number in cigar boxes) from a radio guy who also sold me two TV's in his effort to downsize. I went thru them and gave him back all the radio tubes such as 6A8s, 6K7s including some 45's, which I already have good ones for my low-boy Temple and GE H-51. Not many buyers would be that honest but I am plush with old radio tubes and he had a radio collection of his own.

I have probably 10,000 in boxes and 10,000 loose, untested. Out of all the tube collections I have seen or acquired, 90% of them are TV tubes.

Types added to list above for Hi-Fi are 6CG7, 6FG6, 6E5, 6C9, 7868, 7591 and the uber-rare 6GW8(ECL86)
Tubes - Magical - Tubes

Dave