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 Post subject: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 5:18 am 
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Joined: Mar Tue 06, 2018 4:53 am
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Hello. My name is Jack. I was hoping to inquire about the nature of some equipment I've received from an older gentleman who has deceased recently. In order to help the family the best that I can I was hoping to get some questions answered. I hope it's okay to inquire like this, I just joined the forum and read the rules rather briefly.

I received about 500+ radio/electron tubes plus an assortment of stuff I have not yet identified. One is an amplifier I think.

1) Can tubes be interchanged with other tubes of a similar design? So I have a RCA 6BK4B tube, is there a amplifier/radio that takes this make/model or tube but would also work with a similar model? As a comparison, there are brand name prescription drugs but there are also generic drugs which are exactly the same. I'm asking because I want to know if these tubes are going to increase in price in the next 20 or 30 years, or are they going to stay the same? The only reason they would increase is if younger hobbyists take up an interest in old amplifiers yet the supply of tubes remains the same.

2) Which brings me to my next question. Do young people have an interest in anything which would require these radio tubes or is it pretty much only the WW2 generation which still shows interest?

Thanks in advance,
Jack


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 07, 2007 12:44 am
Posts: 1856
Location: Hawthorne, Ca
The 6BK4 is a voltage regulator used in the high voltage section of earlier tube type color TV's and probably doesn't have a use in audio or radio equipment. There are tubes that are used in television that will have a use in audio and radio servicing. Posting pictures of the tubes you have on the forum will help us determine what you have and if any of them are good for audio and radio work. Keep in mind that there are people restoring the old TV's that will need tubes that won't work in audio and radio. Harry


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Pennsville, NJ 08070
I’m most definitely not the WWII generation (end of Baby Boomer generation, born 1967). I am an active collector and tinkerer of tube type radios. So no, there is a cross section of ages still collecting and using tube electronics. Not as many collect and restore TV sets but they are out there too.

As another person said, try to post some pictures of the tubes so we can get an idea of what’s there. Tubes serve different functions electrically, the analogy (to add to yours) is aspirin vs morphine. They do similar tasks but are different classes of drugs. Tubes are like that. You can sub sometimes but not freely as you need to know the original purpose of the tube and how it’s constructed. Continuing your analogy further, you could sub Tylenol for aspirin but Tylenol would be a poor substitute for a pain killer like morphine.


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 5:21 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
Posts: 1078
Location: Dallas, TX
Hello Jack.
Almost always the brand of a tube doesn't matter much as long as the tube type number is the same.
A tube with a particular number can have many applications.
Since your knowledge of tubes is limited I think finding a tube broker would be your best bet. Many sources online also buy them. 500 is a lot to sort through. The value by the way heavily depends on whether the tubes were ever used. If they have been used they are referred to as "pulls" from equipment. If they are old unused tubes still in their box they are called "NOS". There are some tube types that are presently being made in countries like like China and Russia, these tubes are usually the types that are used in audio equipment since there is a larger market for them. Actually NOS tubes of use in audio equipment are the most highly valued. Tubes do not deteriorate in storage in almost all cases. (A very few tubes used a small amount of radioactive material which does decay with time.)

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Tim
It's not the Destination, It's the Journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 33561
Location: Maryland 20709, USA
Hi Jack, and Welcome Aboard.

One critical factor is location.
You might edit your profile so yours shows up on all of your posts.

I suspect your best bet is to contact one of the tube vendors.
My preferred vendor is Vacuum Tubes, Inc., advertised here -->>

The term NOS means New Old Stock. These are tubes that were never installed in equipment. They're usually found in their original cardboard boxes, with the number stamped on one end. These are much more desirable than "used" tubes, which are in unknown condition.

The next factor in evaluating them is the filament voltage. That's the first number of the tube type, usually one or two digits. Radio tubes usually start with either 6 or 12, sometimes 5, 35, or 50. Tube types starting with other numbers (and certain 6 or 12-volt tubes) are generally television tubes which are less desirable.

If you can organize the tubes by those criteria, it will simplify your discussion with potential bulk purchasers.

- Leigh

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http://www.AtwaterKent.info
Click "Grebe Stuff" for Synchrophase info


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 23383
Location: Haledon, NJ, usa
Welcome:
You may want to contact Bob Dobush at www.findatube.com
He is a broker-reseller and he may offer to buy the whole lot from you.

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To be a man, Be a non-conformist, Nothing's sacred as the integrity of your own mind.
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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 7:21 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
Posts: 1078
Location: Dallas, TX
One thing that will damage tubes is mechanical shock and vibration. Also do not handle the tubes more than necessary, the tube numbers can sometimes easily rub off rendering them nearly useless.

I've bought tubes at ABC Tubes. Here is the link to the index.
http://www.abcvacuumtubes.com/vacuumtubes_tubelist.html
The tube prices range from $ 3 to over $ 50.

Obviously the tube dealers have to make a profit and cover costs. You might only get $ 1 for a tube they sell for $ 3. The tubes will have to be tested at some time, the dealers are supposed to do that before they sell them, part of their costs.
I doubt that most dealers would buy pulls. I've gotten a box of over 50 pulls for $15 at an auction. I had to put in the time to sort and test them. Many of them tested good.

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Tim
It's not the Destination, It's the Journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Pennsville, NJ 08070
Leigh wrote:
Hi Jack, and Welcome Aboard.

One critical factor is location.
You might edit your profile so yours shows up on all of your posts.

I suspect your best bet is to contact one of the tube vendors.
My preferred vendor is Vacuum Tubes, Inc., advertised here -->>

The term NOS means New Old Stock. These are tubes that were never installed in equipment. They're usually found in their original cardboard boxes, with the number stamped on one end. These are much more desirable than "used" tubes, which are in unknown condition.

The next factor in evaluating them is the filament voltage. That's the first number of the tube type, usually one or two digits. Radio tubes usually start with either 6 or 12, sometimes 5, 35, or 50. Tube types starting with other numbers (and certain 6 or 12-volt tubes) are generally television tubes which are less desirable.

If you can organize the tubes by those criteria, it will simplify your discussion with potential bulk purchasers.

- Leigh


To add to what Leigh said, some odd number filament voltages can still be radio tubes. Examples are 19T8, 19C8, 14GT8, 14JG8, which I have seen or used in AM/FM Zenith radios. Also I have seen sets use others too.


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Tue 06, 2018 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Jun Fri 19, 2009 6:34 pm
Posts: 8063
Location: Long Island
Quote:
1) Can tubes be interchanged with other tubes of a similar design? So I have a RCA 6BK4B tube, is there a amplifier/radio that takes this make/model or tube but would also work with a similar model? As a comparison, there are brand name prescription drugs but there are also generic drugs which are exactly the same. I'm asking because I want to know if these tubes are going to increase in price in the next 20 or 30 years, or are they going to stay the same? The only reason they would increase is if younger hobbyists take up an interest in old amplifiers yet the supply of tubes remains the same.


Tubes were classified by number of electrodes (diode, triode, pentode, etc.) and by their general power handling capability. Thus a power rectifier is one form of diode while a video detector is a different form of diode. So you could have two tubes that are diodes but they are built differently and not interchangeable. Tubes were usually optimized for particular applications while they can sometimes cross over into other uses, it's not always possible to pick a tube up and use it for something different. For example, some color TV horizontal output tubes were also used as RF amplifiers in some ham transceivers. But you cannot take a tube like a 6BK4 (a color TV high voltage regulator) and make an audio amplifier out of it--at least not a good amplifier.

It is possible that old TV tubes which are considered relatively worthless today may increase in value in the future as supplies of desirable tubes dry up and equipment is adapted to use less popular types. But by how much is anybody's guess! If it was possible to know what will go up in value and be desirable in 20 or 30 years, we all would've bought Apple stock 20 years ago when it was $3.56 a share. Sigh. It is a safe bet that in that time frame, there will be some young people who become interested in tubes and the equipment that uses them, but most kids today don't care for anything that can't be controlled with a cell phone app. So I would not expect there to be very high demand for common tubes going forward. You really need to figure out what you have, then you can decide the best course of action for selling or holding onto them.

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Thomas A. Edison


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Wed 07, 2018 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 06, 2018 4:53 am
Posts: 2
Ok. I went ahead and pulled a few out of the box and snapped some photos for those of you suggesting that I do so. Maybe you can tell me what that rectangular device is, perhaps an amplifier?

Pictures down below, but I will post some tube numbers below, maybe you can tell if they are radio or television tubes. At this point I'm thinking I might have both and then I can figure out the best way to approach this.

6AX5GT
6DQ5
RCA 80
RCA 76
6AD7G
6BK4B
CONRAC 6JB6A
RCA JAN CRC-5V4G

https://ibb.co/hcWzcn
https://ibb.co/bwT1q7
https://ibb.co/mMmMq7
https://ibb.co/dCQQHn
https://ibb.co/djsSV7
https://ibb.co/fxf33S
https://ibb.co/eYpViS
https://ibb.co/jtwzcn


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 12:12 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 33561
Location: Maryland 20709, USA
The 80, 5V4, and 6AX5 are rectifiers, used in receiver power supplies. The first two could also be used in TV sets, although the tubes came out long before televisions existed.

JAN means Joint Army Navy, a designation for military tubes of World War II vintage.
CRC is the JAN designator for RCA.

I don't know of specific preferred functions for the other tubes. Perhaps someone else does.

Your box is almost certainly a small audio amplifier with push-pull outputs.
It might be rated 10 watts or something like that. Depends on the tube types.

- Leigh

_________________
73 de W3NLB
http://www.AtwaterKent.info
Click "Grebe Stuff" for Synchrophase info


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 14, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 11384
Location: Carmel, Indiana
From what I've seen, every tube that you've listed and shown photos of are considered fairly abundant and of low value, a few bucks a piece at best if you try to sell them separately. I'm assuming this collection of tubes came from someone who repaired radios and TV long ago. Based on this assumption, I'm also guessing that most of the tubes are either pulls (some reboxed) and used tubes. You may wind up getting only about $0.10 to $0.25 a piece if you try to sell the whole bunch at once on Craigslist or Ebay.

This list of what this dealer is willing to pay for NEW tubes should give you an idea on just what your stash of tubes may be worth.

https://www.vacuumtubesinc.com/2016bid.pdf

You can also look up the completed Ebay auctions of both new and old, tested and untested, versions of various tubes to get an idea of what they command and why.

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Michael Feldt
www.indianaradios.com


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
Posts: 1078
Location: Dallas, TX
If all the tubes are in boxes and look as clean as the ones in the pictures you posted then I think
they are NOS, which is good for you.
To maximize their value handle them gently and as little as possible. Keep the boxes in good condition they will help a buyer have confidence that they are NOS.
Unless you intend to use them yourself I wouldn't concern myself with their uses. Some could be radio receiver tubes, TV tubes, audio tubes, radio transmitter tubes or industrial/scientific tubes. What matters is condition and tube type(number). Because there is a moderate demand for audio tubes, used in guitar and hi-fi amps and the like, they generally demand the higher prices. However this leads to them still being manufactured in Russia, China and I think the Czech Republic, so there is a continuing supply of them. They are marketed as JJ Electronics, Electro-Harmonix, Sovtek, TAD, etc.
Antique Electronic Supply (tubesandmore) and others sell them.
The future is very hard to predict. When stereo FM broadcast came out it did not obsolete the older monophonic radios you could still use them, when color TV broadcast began it didn't obsolete B/W tvs you could still use them. There was a push many years ago for the US to convert to metric measurement, that didn't happen. When digital TV broadcast came out it did obsolete the analog over the air tv reception. (BTW, if you come across a NOS picture tube that is marked 15GP22 and it is in working condition it is worth over $ 1000.)
I would sort the tubes according to numeric-alpha order (for convenience of the buyer if nothing else) then contact one or more tube dealers. There is a list of them in a 'sticky' at the top of this forum's category. If at all possible bring the tubes to the buyer, that way his price won't be lowered by the "Pig in a poke" risk he would have to take. Some of them travel, the ABC tubes guy is going to be in North Carolina and Ohio soon.
So put you supercomputer to better use than predicting what a tube will be worth in 20 years, let the dealer worry about that. Do you think he would be selling his tubes if it would be better to hold on to them?
Also cancel you Hawaiian vacation, those are not boxes of gold.

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Tim
It's not the Destination, It's the Journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Received a Bunch of Radio Tubes
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Pennsville, NJ 08070
You won’t be able to quit your day job with that collection but there most definitely are useful tubes that would have some demand and worth getting into the hands of other collectors. I hope you are able to either find a tube buyer who will take them or you could list the whole lot on eBay and sell the lot of them. Either way it would be a shame to not get them into circulation so someone can use them.


Joe


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