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Tube (valve) bases?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by John Perry, May 10, 2005.

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  1. John Perry

    John Perry Guest


    I have an antique radio that I'd like to keep running, but it uses
    tubes. Besides the other obvious deficiencies of tubes, they are
    getting extremely expensive.

    I've put together transistor circuits to simulate some of the tubes in
    my radio, but I don't like having to break dead tubes to get to the
    insides of their bases, and I'd rather not change the chassis. What I
    want is tube bases that I can put my circuits into, and plug modules
    into as if they were tubes themselves. Google, etc. give me only
    sockets and 4-pin bases when I search.

    Anyone know where I can get 7-pin, octal (8-pin), and 9-pin tube bases?
    I once had a set of adapters that brought the pins out to tabs for
    troubleshooting, but they were expensive, and I haven't seen them for
    sale for years.

    John Perry
  2. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    Antique Radio Supply ( has 4-pin and octal
    bases. If by 7- and 9-pin you mean the glass miniature tubes I haven't
    seen anything on the web. Vector used to make little modules that you
    could put circuitry into, they had both 7- and 9- pin versions. Perhaps
    you could find some of them.
  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello John,

    You might want to post the question on:

    That's where a lot of the restorers hang out.

    Regards, Joerg
  4. Hi John
    Check on for a hamfests in your area.
    There you should find all the parts you'll ever need.
    The stuff you want will be dirt cheap or free because the demand is low..
    Good luck
  5. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  6. Some plug-in relays use octal bases and have neat transparent enclosures
    that you can build your circuits into (as long as they don't get too

    You can keep the salvaged relays and use them 'naked' for a different
    project another time.
  7. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  8. Guest

    I wonder if you could get appropriate diameter pins from someone like
    Keystone, and install them in small circuit boards in the tube base
    pattern. You'd end up with a little square or round plate with tube
    base pins sticking out of one side; you could solder your circuitry
    to the pins or to pads connected to the pins on the circuit board.

    Matt Roberds
  9. I have several times used a similar but faster method.

    I find some wires or pins which fit in the holes.
    I press these pins into the contact through a piece of paper.
    Then I spread epoxy glue on the paper, covering the pins as much as
    possible. The glue becomes a solid block, holding all the pins in place.
    With some ingenuity you can add a strain relief if neeeded.
  10. John Perry

    John Perry Guest

    FANTASTIC! I may even do the octals this way (I'd found some before I
    asked this group, but in the future...).

    I've noticed the ms connector pins seem to be about the right size.
    I'll have to get some and try them out. Now, where might I find exact
    specs on the pin sizes...

  11. Ben Bradley

    Ben Bradley Guest

    And when you go, get all the flyers for other hamfests in your
    area, as they're not all listed at the arrl site. If you don't find
    everything you need at one hamfest (or even if you do), you may want
    to go to the next one.
    I've seen good selections of receiving tubes for a dollar each at
    hamfests earlier this year. Older types such as Loctals may be harder
    to find, but I've heard that even those can be cheap when you can find
    If your tubes' type numbers are just two-digit numbers and have
    four-pin bases, then those might be more expensive and harder to find.
  12. John Perry

    John Perry Guest

    Thanks for the help, guys, but I can get all the tubes I want. The
    problem is two-fold: 1) tubes are expensive and relatively shortlived;
    2) I like semiconductors.

    Semis are lower power, lower noise, more stable, cheaper -- what all
    have I left out?

    I can build very good tube emulators for a fraction of the cost of a
    tube, and they'll last essentially forever. And they're not hot, and
    consume no filament power.

    If I should ever want to get rid of my SP-600JX, I'll get any tubes I
    need then. BA enthusiasts generally want to be authentic, which is not
    part of my personality :).

  13. Guest

    After Roger's post, I recalled a post where someone mentioned doing
    something similar for those round multi-pin connectors popular on
    military gear. The individual pins come in a few standard sizes,
    but there are approximately 10**pi different arrangements. He needed
    to make a mating connector for short-term use while the ready-made
    connector was ordered. His process was to attach the right size pins
    to wires and insert them into the connector he had, and then operate
    the equipment to make sure he had everything right. Once he was happy,
    he made some kind of "mold" around the outer shell (wax paper?) and
    squirted RTV silicone in between the pins and the mold. He ended up
    with a "plug" made of silicone with the pins sticking out of it.
    My first thought would be just to use a caliper to measure the pins on
    some old tubes. If you don't need the caliper for anything else, even
    one of those $5 plastic ones would probably work well enough. probably has most of what you want,
    in millimeters.

    Matt Roberds
  14. John Perry

    John Perry Guest

  15. Brad Albing

    Brad Albing Guest

  16. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Are you handy with tools? Why not get some phenolic, some stiff wire for
    pins, some epoxy, and make them?

    Good Luck!
  17. j.b. miller

    j.b. miller Guest

    You could try ( Hammond ) for 'relay bases'. They have
    octal for sure, 11 pinners as well... 7s and 9s I think you're out of
    luck...but... try asking a real ham radio operator where he gets his parts

    hope this helps

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