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 Post subject: Hickok 600A tube tester question *UPDATE* Meter cap changed.
PostPosted: Aug Tue 09, 2022 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Hey guys... I have a 600A inbound. Bought it off ebay and it seems to have been well cared for. I currently live in Temecula CA. about an hour from San Diego. Can anyone recommend a technician fairly close to my area that could go through this for me and check to see that it's properly calibrated. I of course will pay for time and any parts needed. I looked at the calibration process and thought maybe I would try to do it myself but it looks pretty involved. Thanks in advance. Mike


Last edited by Fret-Shredder on Aug Thu 18, 2022 7:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Tue 09, 2022 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sat 15, 2019 6:43 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Minneapolis, Mn
Calibration usually isn't needed unless major repairs have been done. About the only needed maintiance would be to exercise the controls and switches. When it arrives plug it in and test a few tubes.

DM


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Tue 09, 2022 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
devilsmist wrote:
Calibration usually isn't needed unless major repairs have been done. About the only needed maintiance would be to exercise the controls and switches. When it arrives plug it in and test a few tubes.

DM


Before plugging it in and testing would you recommend I open it up and visually inspect the interior components. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Tue 09, 2022 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 29, 2018 2:41 am
Posts: 501
Location: Portland Oregon
Before plugging it in, I would open it up and look at the capacitors and switches. I would change out the capacitor across meter and the .5 uF (I think) paper cap. I would also clean all of the contacts including switches and sockets and pots.

A large percentage of the issues with these testers are poor connections and bad caps. You may want to probe some of the resistors and replace any that have drifted out of tolerance.

Once you do this, just check your voltages. It’s pretty simple if you have a good DVM and some shunt resistors. I think you need a 250K resistor for checking plate and screen voltages, 120K for checking low screen voltage, and 51K/10K resistors got checking bias. I dial in my meter and signal voltage to spot on and live with variability in the plate and screen voltages. The bias and low screen voltages are simply adjusting a sliding resistor. It really is quite simple.

If you have another tester, check your 83 and 5Y3 for close to same value on both sides of the tube.

You don’t have to look at the pulsating DC voltages, shunt alignment, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Wed 10, 2022 6:55 am 
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Joined: Jun Sat 15, 2019 6:43 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Minneapolis, Mn
I usually advise against a new tube tester user to stay out of the internals as it is too easy to do damage. Just a slip of a test probe could wipe out the meter or a pot, spraying the controls and pots could cause damage it may nerver recover from. The electrolytic on the meter will go open, which is not a major problem and does not cause any damage. The other capacitor is for the leakage test and may well be a poly capacitor, again not causing any problems. Like I previously said don't open it unless you have a verified problem. After repairing these for half a century I have no problems plugging these in and trying them out.

DM


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Wed 10, 2022 10:08 am 
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I would avoid replacing ANYTHING unless you see something like an electrolytic actually leaking or damaged, until you see if the tester works. You can cause far more problems "fixing" things that are not broken in the first place.

There's no reason to embark on a mad rush of component replacements.... it's been just the way it is for years or decades, and can wait a few more minutes while you do some in depth evaluations :mrgreen:

If you are concerned about something going up in smoke, you could slowly bring it up on a variac, but that really should not be necessary for this particular piece of gear.

When you buy a new car, do you start replacing things before driving it for a while? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Wed 10, 2022 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
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Location: Temecula , Ca.
Thanks guys for all the replies. It's in transit and arriving this Friday. I will give it a whirl over the weekend. The unit looks beautiful from the ebay photos. It came from an estate with a fantastic collection of tube radios. I'll report back after I've checked it out. Thanks again for the advice. Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Thu 11, 2022 3:24 am 
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Joined: Dec Sat 28, 2019 3:18 pm
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Location: Corinth, TX, USA
If you are going to shunt a VTVM or DMM to simulate the old 1Kohm/volt VOM, all you need is two resistors: a 251K (closest standard value) resistor to simulate the old "standard" 250 volt range and a 100K resistor to simulate the 100 volt range.

JohnC


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Thu 11, 2022 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 11, 2020 10:43 pm
Posts: 360
Location: Mechanicville NY 12118 USA
TechyMechy wrote:
I would change out the capacitor across meter and the .5 uF (I think) paper cap.

Mine is a .1 600V across the short switch . . . .



Art


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question
PostPosted: Aug Thu 11, 2022 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 11, 2020 10:43 pm
Posts: 360
Location: Mechanicville NY 12118 USA
TechyMechy wrote:
Before plugging it in, I would open it up and look at the capacitors and switches. I would change out the capacitor across meter and the .5 uF (I think) paper cap. I would also clean all of the contacts including switches and sockets and pots.

A large percentage of the issues with these testers are poor connections and bad caps. You may want to probe some of the resistors and replace any that have drifted out of tolerance.

I am on a Hickok repair spree right now - I have a mess of them that need to stop taking up space and finding new homes and producing income :) Almost all of them have problems with the line check reading incorrectly when the plate screen and grid voltages are correct.

Most common culprit is the long thin 215K resistor mounted on the switch board drifting up 10 - 15K or so. Also check the 15 ohm spool resistor nest to it - a few tenths of an ohm error can cause a bad line check reading. This is also not a bad spot to add or subtract resistance to get the line check reading right when you are at the end of your rope and cursing the machine :)

Art



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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Fri 12, 2022 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Got the tester. Looked inside seems to be all original caps and resistors. Powered it up. Line adjust lines up great. Here's the problem. Any tube I test when I push the appropriate test button the needle pegs all the way to the right. Do I need to replace the capacitor for the meter? Oh boy here we go. Thanks for any help. Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Fri 12, 2022 11:10 pm 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Quote:
Do I need to replace the capacitor for the meter?

Maybe, but not because of the problem you state. For the moment, please change nothing. That is NOTHING ... until you fully understand what the problem is.

There are any number of issues that can cause what you are seeing. The most common is dirty switches. Unplug the tester, and exercise EVERY button and switch and control a few dozen times. Then do it again. I'm guessing this will clear up the issue, but you're not done yet.

If this does fix it, you will then need to actually use some contact cleaner. DO NOT SPRAY stuff all over the switches... that can cause yet more problems. Read up on how to properly clean switches... there are many threads here on how, so I'm not going to type it all just yet.

See how the exercise above goes, then let us know if it's still acting that way.

Oh yea, while power is unplugged, remove and reinsert the tubes in the tester once or twice. If you like you can put some iso alcohol on a paper towel, and wipe the pins of the tubes. Don't spray the sockets yet please.

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https://www.bbtvtestequipment.com


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Fri 12, 2022 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Barry... that seems to have made a difference. The needle pegs then comes down. I'm testing a 5Y3 at the moment and it only reads ENGLISH. One other thing I just noticed is the fuse lamp is lit a tiny bit on top. Is that ok?


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Fri 12, 2022 11:52 pm 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
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The fuse lamp is going to glow sometimes, at times brighter than others. All the current that's being used by the tester flows through it, so for any tube that consumes relatively high current compared to, say, a 6AL5, the fuse lamp will light up somewhat.

Experience will tell you how much is too much. It's good to have a few spares ;-)

The tester should not peg, then come down, so there's still something going on. Most likely still dirty switches. Read up on how to safely clean them. Hopefully someone's got links; I do not, but search the forum. This has been dealt with many times in the past.

best...

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https://www.bbtvtestequipment.com


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Fri 12, 2022 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Ok. Thank you. I appreciate your input.


Barry H Bennett wrote:
The fuse lamp is going to glow sometimes, at times brighter than others. All the current that's being used by the tester flows through it, so for any tube that consumes relatively high current compared to, say, a 6AL5, the fuse lamp will light up somewhat.

Experience will tell you how much is too much. It's good to have a few spares ;-)

The tester should not peg, then come down, so there's still something going on. Most likely still dirty switches. Read up on how to safely clean them. Hopefully someone's got links; I do not, but search the forum. This has been dealt with many times in the past.

best...


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Sat 13, 2022 12:34 am 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Anybody got a link on how to clean the switches on my Hickok 600A? I searched but didn't see a specific thread on the procedure. I was hoping it was as simple as spraying a little Deoxit D5. Thanks. Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Sat 13, 2022 1:44 am 
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Location: Pasadena CA USA
Location: Pasadena CA USA
First of all DO NOT SPRAY any cleaner on anything. To make a long story short, spray a bit into a container, dip a toothpick into the cleaner and dab at the switch contacts with this wet toothpick. Work the switch to let the movement and the cleaner do the cleaning. Get the cleaner only on the contacts, not the body of the switch. Others will have their favorite way, but this is mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Sat 13, 2022 5:17 am 
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What he said ... you can also use a Q tip for areas of switches that are exposed.

Rather than search the forum for threads on switch cleaning, I'll give a partial synopsis here: you CAN spray the switches... but if you do, you have to make sure that whatever you spray on them is not going to make the problem worse. For instance, the shorts test is so sensitive in tube testers, that sometimes leakage paths on switches can upset those tests... and leakage paths can be created by residue from some cleaners, and that in combination with dust and dirt ...

anyway ... ONE safe way is to use isopropyl alcohol as your spray ... the technical type, NOT the stuff you might find at a drug store which is full of "other stuff" that can be harmful to switches. Spray the switches, work them, then use an air blast (from a can, not an air compressor) to blow most of the alcohol off. Take a care where you blow the stuff TO however; for example, not on an adjacent switch lol.

If you like you can then leave the tester out in the hot sun for a few hours to bake. That's probably optional.

You can, after this, use some Deoxit D5 with a toothpick or Q tip if you like. It may also be helpful to lube the detents on any rotary switches with some light, non migrating grease.

An alternate method that I use, is to use electrical contact cleaner (plastic safe) instead of iso alcohol. Sometimes I follow this up with iso alcohol, sometimes not.

Ok, there you have a few methods for safe switch cleaning. Just don't SOAK the switches, and you should be OK ..... a career in cleaning switches says the above does actually work. And if you, or someone in the past, has improperly cleaned any switches in there, usually the damage can be reversed with the above methods.

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https://www.bbtvtestequipment.com


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Sat 13, 2022 8:24 am 
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Joined: Oct Wed 05, 2011 12:35 am
Posts: 48
Location: Temecula , Ca.
Thank you fellas for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. What's crazy is the more I have been testing with it the better its behaving. I will still get in there with the toothpick method and take my time and do a little deeper cleaning. Cheers guys. Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Hickok 600A tube tester question. **UPDATE** Problem.
PostPosted: Aug Sat 13, 2022 10:44 am 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
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That makes sense. The more you use it, the more exercise the switches get, and the more moisture bakes out of it and its components

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