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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2018 11:33 am 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
The cause in this case is more likely to be misalignment of the plastic front of the meter. The zero adjust screw is probably not aligned precisely where it should be. Hopefully the needle has not been bent.

Also could be some "static effect" ... wipe the front of the meter plastic with a damp towel and leave it damp. If it now works, static was the issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2018 11:06 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn, NY 11217
I agree that it is likely the zero knob is not in alignment. That said the tape issue puzzles me. I would try an exact knife and heat gun to loosen the glue. And be careful.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: May Wed 30, 2018 7:45 pm 
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Posts: 21
I wiped the meter down as advised and it did move somewhat back towards 0, I believe it is sitting about half way between 0 and 1 now. I am still going to remove it to see if the adjustment is misaligned.

I finally fixed the 6BL7GTA socket, the rivets gave way and the socket pushed into the hole when I was reinstalling the tube. So I drilled out the rivets and put in some standard bolts and nuts. I added a drop of glue on both threads so the nut doesn't walk off.

So I can finally put the tubes back in and check the voltages suggested earlier in the thread!

Image

Also here is a full shot of the bottom after repairs/replacement parts:

Image

Full Size: https://www1.picturepush.com/photo/a/16 ... 056-sm.png


Edit: I got the meter's face back off using an X-ACTO knife and I adjusted the metal screw to move the needle back to 0. The needle isn't bent and wasn't/isn't touching the face. Now my question has to do with how and where the plastic face should adjust the metal mechanism

I know there is a flat head screw that you can adjust with the face off. Then there is that metal loop below that and from the face I had on hand, it seemed like the plastic adjustment on the face would go into the lope vs. line up with the metal flat head screw adjustment.

Can someone clarify this for me? How is the plastic housing adjustment supposed to go onto the meter and into the adjustment mechanism. My adjustment on the plastic face has a small cylindrical plastic foot which seems like should go into the metal loop. Please confirm or correct me on this!

The plastic face adjustment looks like this:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: May Wed 30, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 12549
Location: Mpls, Minnesota
The tab on the faceplate screw goes into the loop, this is used to zero the meter. Do not adjust the meter screws, they adjust the meter armature bearings.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Fri 01, 2018 4:31 am 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
With no electricity on the meter, if you push the needle to 1 from 0, should the needle return on it's own back to 0?

I realized a very simple fix to this problem with adjustment misalignment. I removed the adjustment screw from the broken original panel and the locking washer/Chinese handcuff to hold it. This solved any issue with the difference in their size. However I did adjust the screw you said not to, so I need to know how the meter action should be without power.

That adjustment is pretty simple, it adjust how easily the needle will move, small fan may move it at one setting and hold at another. It's like a tension adjustment.

My restore is complete, I only now need to fix a broken corner on the button's lower board. It's held in place already but needs support. I am going to use a 2 part epoxy and a plastic right angle to fix it. All components were tested and replaced where needed, heat shrink used all over, etc. Pics to come soon on the site, but the unit is in bare form right now, entire face panel is removed.

Note: to remove the face panel you have to first remove the meter, a major screw is hidden behind the meter. Remove the diode/power connection on the back of the meter and then remove the 4 corner bolts and lift it straight out. You'll then find a large bolt behind the meter, flush with the face panel.

Edit: I noticed the meter panel background that looks like just paper is actually a piece of metal. Is this to shield the needle itself from magnetic fields behind the panel?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Fri 01, 2018 9:03 am 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 6897
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
the needle should move freely from end to end. If you move it to the top end by hand, it should return by itself to the left side. There should be no friction at all. The needle bearings are set so there is usually a minute amount of "slop" in the needle; it's a precision adjustment. Since you changed it, I'd start by loosening it a fraction of a turn at a time until it has no friction for it's entire travel.

The metal meter face could be to provide some shielding, to add some mechanical stability/support to the entire movement, or both.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Sun 10, 2018 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
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Thanks for the info, I have the meter acting as you have described.

I was curious, has anyone ever seen a capacitor tester that looked like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Custom ... 3218998338

Image


Image


Is this a homebuilt unit that was based on a capacitor analyzer that anyone recognizes? Do you think it's meant to go to a VMM or an Oscilloscope? Or is this simply a resistor/decade box and a capacitor box combined into one? I can't see that it measures any of the normal things seen on vintage testers. So it's just a HQ resistors + capacitor decade box? Or am I missing something?

Also I just got the pre-programmed ICs to make my EDS 88A capacitor DCR and ESR tester (in circuit or out). I am excited to make that, as I will be choosing the majority of the capacitors and resistors. Does anyone have any suggestions on what capacitors to go with if you had a huge stock of NOS capacitors? Dipped Ceramic Sprague caps? Or should I go for Orange Drops whenever possible? I also have Panasonic redish mylar film capacitors that go down to low values. My Sprague caps going up to 4 uF in orange drops, makes it possible to cover almost all caps in the unit. I will post the parts list and the other info on Hallman Labs in the Document Round Up Section. I will be using Dale resistors everywhere in the EDS 88A.

I am most curious about this vintage home-brew looking tester that someone did a very simple yet elegant design using great parts.


Last edited by HallmanLabs.com on Jun Sun 10, 2018 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Sun 10, 2018 11:37 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 6897
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
That substitution box looks home made to me, and a very nice job indeed. I suppose it *could* have been a commercial one that simply got re-boxed by the owner, but doubtful.

One improvement I might make, were I to build one, would be to use ceramic rotary switches instead of phenolic. Of course there are now better capacitors and resistors available but I'd bet most of the ones in there are ok. Some papers, that should be checked. I have enough of these type things from heath, knight, GR, etc ... all of them need re-capped and checked, so gladly I don't have to build one from scratch :)

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Mon 11, 2018 9:13 pm 
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Posts: 2701
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HallmanLabs.com wrote:
Here is a link (my site) to the labeled TO-6A schematic: https://zosoncsu.files.wordpress.com/20 ... n-labs.pdf
Link did not work for me...
Cheers,
Roger

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Thu 28, 2018 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
Okay guys/gals, first thanks to all of you who have stepped in here to help out someone trying to start up their own business and a hobbyist/professional review website (view reviews soon).

PAnyway, I finally buttoned up the TO-6A with everything like I described and showed. The capacitance test seems to work fine, but when I put in a large 450V electrolytic 100uF and hold down F while turning up the voltage until the meter goes to set. Well I got it to do that once or twice the first time I had it back together, but since then it seems this happens instead.

I hear what sounds like a microscopic firecracker and I immediately know, damn it, I have something arcing. I realized last night that I probably ruined a 400V Mallory capacitor by giving it 500-600V.

When I ran the voltage up with no capacitor in but the same button combinations, it would show up to 750V. Before I couldn't get this thing to show me any voltage worth a damn, so these are massive steps in the right direction. All from checking the entire system, component to component (haha, have fun doing this!). The arc happens when I bring the voltage past say 250V on a 400V and I see the meter will jump around and then sometimes it will just out of nowhere ping and I kill the test. I have it set to the recommended settings as discussed in calibration and manuals.

So what do you all think is happening? Should I hook up one of my oscilloscopes? If so which one? Digital (SDS 1202X-E) 200 MHz 2 Ch or a Hitachi Analog CRT 100 MHz 2 Ch? Both can take 400Vpk-pk and more.

I have enough diagnostic equipment that I should be able to "be your hands" haha. Guide on me what to check for! Thanks as always! I am really itching to get this new ebay venture going to see if it pays off anything like I think it will.

PS: I posted my 3rd full length (6500 word) review entitled "Burson Audio's Play DAC/Amp combo vs. a dedicated rig w/ ES9038Pro + Sparkos Labs op-amps + Singxer SU-1 clone (FUN01) + balanced end to end S.M.S.L. sAp-10. I was shocked at how well the Burson Play does with their top of the line op-amps in place, even vs. a potent competition setup like I have. You can find way more at http://www.HallmanLabs.com there is a header at the top of the page with drop downs (Reviews -> 3rd Review). Thanks for those who check it out, views help keep me going (it's surely not for the money).

I have posted tons of photos of the TO-6A if anyone needs them for reference one day. I'll also host them on my site itself soon.

https://ws6zep89.picturepush.com/album/ ... lated.html


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Thu 28, 2018 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Monterey California USA
If this is just static electricity holding the meter pointer then rub a dryer fabric softener sheet over the meter face and/or wash with mild soapy water with dish washing soap in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Fri 29, 2018 1:14 am 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 6897
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
If something is arcing you should be able to see it. Repeat your test in a dark room and watch inside the electronics. Don’t touch.....lethal voltage exists in there. I’ll check my schematics tonite but I suspect that the unit cannot produce 750 volts. Stand by this evening

Update: According to the manual, the maximum this unit can provide for the cap under test is 600V. If I am reading your post correctly, you said you had 750V somewhere? Where and how ?

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jun Fri 29, 2018 10:15 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
I read 700Vrms across the binding terminals. However, with a cap in there I have been barely able to break 400V. I am going back over the TO-6 calibration guide by DavidK (now that I am familiar with operation and the hardware used).

I tested for insulation resistance earlier today and it acted similar to how the leakage measurement did. Also when I shutdown after flipping to discharge + no buttons engaged w/ all variable components set to min values, my TO-6A meter won't come down to absolute 0, from where it keeps stopping, the 0 on the larger resistance scale. If I rub my finger across exactly where the needle is, I could get it to come much closer to full 0. So, I then tried the wet rag trick already mentioned multiple times here, but it didn't bring it any further down. I was able to get the adjustment screw to bring it to about 0.4 on the V-A scale. I know from previous help that it should return to 0 and it was just hours before being put back together. It doesn't matter I left the fascia out of the TO-6A meter right? It seemed plastic, so I figured it wasn't providing any shielding + with it removed I could be sure the adjustment was in before applying new silicone.

Today I noticed the voltage (through a TrueRMS 20k count) with a 450V spec Mallory Plascap (when holding down the middle white button and dialing up the voltage) seemed to jump around more than I would have expected it to. I did read in the manuals/guides that the capacitors themselves can cause this and may jump around for some time before settling on their voltage. For a while the resistance was still inside the max and I was reading 20M-30M ohms for the cap with the voltage only about 1/4 the way up. I noticed that if I bring the meter to set and leave the voltage in the same position after releasing the white button (and killing most of the voltage when button is released (according to my digital meter)), it won't being to go down until I lower the voltage on the dial more. Are you supposed to leave the dial where it is after the needle is resting on set or do you return it to the min voltage after releasing the white button that applies the voltage for the internal resistance test?

I read/measured the 750V just as I read the voltage above, remember that was with no load on the binding posts except for the multimeter.

With regard to the discharge, I am going to test it out tonight with a friend who is going to watch the bottom while I watch the top/main area, will keep light low (I also have a RFI/EMI meter, lol). I was unable to cause it to spark today, perhaps it was the variac doing that, or that specific test cap. In any regard it only happens with the voltage control set to max while in the 60-600 range.

Will post back tomorrow or tonight on the discharge issue, find out which device is doing it.

quote="engineer"]
HallmanLabs.com wrote:
Here is a link (my site) to the labeled TO-6A schematic: https://zosoncsu.files.wordpress.com/20 ... n-labs.pdf
Link did not work for me...
Cheers,
Roger[/quote]


Appears it was accidentally deleted, I will get it back up and post link ASAP, sorry about that.

Here you go: https://hallmanlabs.files.wordpress.com ... n-labs.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2018 6:05 am 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
What resistor besides the 150k ohm shunt resistor (R13) could cause all voltage ranges to read too high? Keep in mind, all these max reads below are after checking all the components once already. A lot of the fundamental stuff is working, for example, I can monitor the voltage and see that when I flip from test to discharge, voltage drops to 0. Also, I am able to get the meter to stay in the correct starting position of absolute 0 on the meter along with acting how it should during the leakage test. As I already mentioned, it seems the capacitance tests are working fine across all ranges. However, these voltages below are far too high and I need to find the cause. R14 and R15 are what the calibration guide says to check, but i have checked those once before already.

Maximum Voltage Read in Each Range:

0V-6V : 12V
6V-60V: 100V
60-600V : 750V+

Does anyone have a list of good places to take voltage measurements from when checking for functionality? I remember someone mentioned across the rectifier, which pins and which tube?

(All of these maxes being the voltage with only my volt meter plugged in and voltage set to max on the dial, these values above is what I read in Vdc)

I am wondering if I messed up a connection when putting a part back on, it would be easy to make that mistake. So, if anyone knows what could cause the above behavior, please let me know.

Note: I found the cause of the arcing, it was a loose solder connection in one of those old school pegs that are filled with solder, I missed one when I was restoring bad parts.

Thanks as Always!


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2018 11:23 am 
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Joined: Aug Sat 02, 2014 3:59 am
Posts: 1206
Location: Brooklyn, NY 11217
What is your line voltage?


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2018 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
110 to 120V @ 60 Hz

What does the calibration guide mean when it says to "adjust" the shunt? The shunt is a fixed resistor, so does it mean to replace it with a different value to give the correct full range voltage? Or is it R14 and R15 you adjust the values for?

Can someone tell me which tube is handling rectification? I assume it is either the 6C4 or 6AB4. Based on my searching Google, it looks like it's the 6C4, but would like verification, along with which pins to read across (is it plate to cathode?)


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2018 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
I'm starting to feel that you'd be way ahead of the game purchasing a cap tester that has already been restored and calibrated. This type of instrument is really not a 'first experience' type of thing ..................Not meaning to insult or anger you in any way but some of the posts and questions are of the type that tells me you sort of need to start with the basics. You're essentially requesting a course in beginning (tube) electronics so you can fix a rather tricky instrument ... it seems to be an exercise in futility.

If you want to test capacitors, buy a fully restored and working unit, and then commence a self teaching course on tube electronics by first reading everything you can find on TUBES and the circuitry that goes with them.

my 2c and advice offered with the best of intentions.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2018 8:40 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 12549
Location: Mpls, Minnesota
Barry H Bennett wrote:
I'm starting to feel that you'd be way ahead of the game purchasing a cap tester that has already been restored and calibrated. This type of instrument is really not a 'first experience' type of thing ..................Not meaning to insult or anger you in any way but some of the posts and questions are of the type that tells me you sort of need to start with the basics. You're essentially requesting a course in beginning (tube) electronics so you can fix a rather tricky instrument ... it seems to be an exercise in futility.

If you want to test capacitors, buy a fully restored and working unit, and then commence a self teaching course on tube electronics by first reading everything you can find on TUBES and the circuitry that goes with them.

my 2c and advice offered with the best of intentions.

I would have to agree, You have to start with basic electronics and then fully understand how the unit you are working on functions before attempting any repair.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2018 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Mar Fri 30, 2018 2:52 pm
Posts: 21
Barry H Bennett wrote:
I'm starting to feel that you'd be way ahead of the game purchasing a cap tester that has already been restored and calibrated. This type of instrument is really not a 'first experience' type of thing ..................Not meaning to insult or anger you in any way but some of the posts and questions are of the type that tells me you sort of need to start with the basics. You're essentially requesting a course in beginning (tube) electronics so you can fix a rather tricky instrument ... it seems to be an exercise in futility.

If you want to test capacitors, buy a fully restored and working unit, and then commence a self teaching course on tube electronics by first reading everything you can find on TUBES and the circuitry that goes with them.

my 2c and advice offered with the best of intentions.



I currently have 3 years in electrical engineering at a top 20 engineering school (in the US), so I already know all of the basics. When I ask a question like which resistor or component could throw off the all 3 voltage range maxes besides the shunt, it shows I don't know the ins and outs of tube equipment. Tube equipment is far from the basics in 2018. However, I have worked with tube equipment for years (mainly modding) but it has been far from my main focus.

I am sorry if my questions on this item seem dumb to you, but I am trying to point out ANYTHING that might correct the problem with the voltages. This is holding up starting my store, so I threw out any idea I had that could cause what I am seeing. I am sure some of it will sound dumb to myself when I find the problem, but why does that prevent someone from helping? Is asking how to measure voltage across the tube rectifier really that dumb of a question?

I may have located a handful of soldering location mistakes and like I said, mixing up which pad I soldered to (just once) will obviously throw it off.

Very little help was offered after I started asking technical questions about the unit vs. structural. Such as requesting simple reference voltages from anyone who owns a working TO-6/TO-6A.

Very simple request and would take a few minutes for someone who is a "veteran" of the TO-6.

Getting tired of seeing people judging intelligence based on questions, that is asinine.

BTW, this was a working unit when it was shipped, but the seller sent it in a box that caused the meter face to break and a few other issues. So, I already tried to buy a working TO-6A for $250 (got it for $200 because of the damage to the meter) and I have no intention of buying another.

I already own multiple cap testers including DIY models I have done like the EDS 88A and I have the Extech 380193 LCR meter, MESR-100 (100kHz ESR meter), etc. The only reason I care about the TO-6A is because it has a great reputation in the vintage community and I know it encourages prices when people see one used.

Edit: I found a missing resistor, R3 330K 1/2W!!! Probably went searching for a replacement resistor and got side tracked. I am pretty sure the fact I am missing R3 is pretty important detail, haha. Adding R3 did bring all voltages down a notch.

0-6V: now reading a max of 8.8V vs 12V earlier
0-60V: now reading a max of 79V vs 100V earlier

I still haven't had anyone confirm if you let off the button F after dialing in voltage, should a volt meter read 0V when releasing it? I ask because mine seems to sit near the voltage as when F was pressed. If you push in button G, H, or J and switch to test, but you don't press the F (the white button) and then dial up the voltage, should you read any voltage without pressing F?


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 Post subject: Re: Need Help on Diagnosing a Sprague Tel-Ohmike TO-6A
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2018 10:15 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 6897
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Quote:
I currently have 3 years in electrical engineering at a top 20 engineering school (in the US), so I already know all of the basics.

I've worked with plenty of degreed engineers that could design stuff I could never hope to design myself, but were rather lost when it came to fixing anything. That observed, if you are asking "which is the regulator tube", you do NOT know all the basics. Some of your other posts indicate the same shortcoming in practical experience and/or knowledge of tube electronics. As you doubtless know by now, tubes are quite different than semiconductors of any type.

I was careful to not use the word "dumb" in regard to any of your posts. none of them indicate 'dumbness' .. merely lack of experience. The only really dumb question is the one that does NOT get asked.I suppose the natural question is, if you know so much about this stuff, why do you need us at all? :-D

My point was, and still is, if a would be tech cannot identify which tube in a device is the regulator tube, perhaps some basic self teaching is in order before trying to solicit advice on how to fix something. How would you approach the would-be vacuum cleaner repair tech that asked "which part are the brushes" ?? There's no basis upon which to even begin an education in an online forum with such a basic lack of awareness of the devices in question.
Code:
Very little help was offered after I started asking technical questions about the unit vs. structural. Such as requesting simple reference voltages from anyone who owns a working TO-6/TO-6A.Very simple request and would take a few minutes for someone who is a "veteran" of the TO-6.Getting tired of seeing people judging intelligence based on questions, that is asinine.

Comments on the above in reverse order .... no one was judging your intelligence. Your lashing out in this way indicates some insecurity on your part. I was very polite and simply pointed out that your questions reflected a need for far more education in tube electronics than could possibly be given in a forum. Next up, there are no "veterans" of a TO-6. Once restored, they generally stay restored, and no one in my 50 some years of repair work can remember exactly all the details you seem to think we keep at our fingertips. I've personally worked on probably 300 different devices since I restored my TO6. And finally, no one is under any obligation to "offer help" here. This is a forum, not a business. We don't get paid :)

So all that said, I stand by my original post. I do wish you the best of luck, and hope you get your unit fixed.

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