Question: Are old vacuum tubes worth money?

Some older Western Electric tubes unused or the original box will sometimes sell for over a thousand dollars at auction. Any early vacuum tube with a “tip” (the little glass nub on the top) and a brass base has some value to collectors even if its just usable for display.

What do you do with old vacuum tubes?

Contact the Global Electronics Recycling Network. This group maintains a network of electronic recycling organizations in many countries. Use its website to locate an electronics recycling organization near your home; you can find out the drop-off location and the cost of disposing of your vacuum tubes.

How do you know if tubes are old?

Sometimes you will hear strange sounds, loss of power, or heavily distort sound. These are signs that a tube is failing. Often power loss that seems like the amp is performing at half power or less will be one or more bad power tubes, or even a dying phase inverter tube.

Are vacuum tubes obsolete?

In most applications, the vacuum tube is obsolete, having been replaced decades ago by the bipolar transistor and, more recently, by the field-effect transistor . However, tubes are still used in some high-power amplifiers, especially at microwave radio frequencies and in some hi-fi audio systems.

How do you test a vintage vacuum tube?

Put the tube into your guitar amplifier, tester, or other tube-using machine. Turn on the machine to activate the tubes, and look for an orange, red, or purple glow. If the heated filament inside the tube glows orange like a setting sun, its usually a sign that the tube is healthy. The filament may be hard to see.

Are old radio tubes hazardous?

None of these tubes are hazardous unless they are broken. Tubes with bakelite bases have a small amount of lead in the solder that connects the wires to the pins. The only people that have to be licensed to work on electronic equipment are those who repair transmitters and those involved in public safety.

What is a matched pair of vacuum tubes?

Some companies offer matched sets of replacement tubes. This means that the tubes have been tested — the plate current draw is measured under normal operating conditions — and each tube in the set has been determined to have the same current draw.

How do I know if my preamp tubes are bad?

Preamp tubes usually cause problems through noise or microphonics. If noise, you will hear hiss, crackling, popping or similar issues. If you hear squeal, hum or feedback, it is typically a microphonic tube. Noise from microphonic tubes will typically increase with a volume increase.

What do bad tubes sound like?

A faulty tube will sound duller than the other tubes or sound like it has components rattling inside. This is a clear sign that the tube has failed and needs a replacement. Keep in mind, Its rare that more than one tube will need replacing.

When did they stop using vacuum tubes in TVs?

Beginning in the mid-1960s, thermionic tubes were being replaced by the transistor. However, the cathode-ray tube (CRT) remained the basis for television monitors and oscilloscopes until the early 21st century.

When did they stop using vacuum tubes?

Red hot again. Vacuum tubes fizzled out in the 1960s thanks to the invention of the transistor, but new research could fire-up the technology once more.

Are amp tubes supposed to glow?

A: That blue glow is just a side effect of a power tube — a fluorescent glow in the blue spectrum. The tube is fine! It actually indicates that the vacuum inside the tube is very good, which is what allows this phenomenon to occur. It will not have any effect on the performance or tone of the amp.

Do vacuum tubes have mercury?

Re: Vacuum Tube Dangers There are no miniature tubes containing mercury. The only ones youre likely to encounter are the 83 or the 866. There is no cadmium in any vacuum tube.

How do you clean old radio tubes?

This can be accomplished with any number of contact cleaners or with good, clean Isopropyl alcohol (96-99% pure if possible; DONT use rubbing alcohol - it contains minerals and oils that tubes dont like).

Do vacuum tubes have to be matched?

Power tubes require matching because the way they amplify signal can create exceptionally bad sound if they are poorly matched, but pre-amp tubes generally arent used this way and so matching them is unnecessary.

How important are matched tubes?

Power tubes are electrically matched so each tube will have the same amount of “idle” plate current and amplification characteristics when used in an amplifier. Matched tubes also receive extra quality checks to reduce the possibility of getting a faulty power tube that may have slipped by the manufacturer.

How often should preamp tubes be replaced?

You should replace them when they are dead. There is no set rule for how long they last, but in general, they last longer than power tubes. Maybe twice as long or better life expectancy for power tubes. They are also self-biasing of course, so dont be afraid to change them yourself.

How do you know when to replace preamp tubes?

How do I know when my tubes need replacing? Power tubes like EL34s and KT88s are good for about 2500 hours or more. But may go longer in an amplifier with a conservative design. Small signal tubes with numbers like 12AX7, 12AU7, and 6922, and rectifier tubes like 5AR4 may go 10,000 hours.

How long do audio tubes last?

Power tubes like EL34s and KT88s are good for about 2500 hours or more. But may go longer in an amplifier with a conservative design. Small signal tubes with numbers like 12AX7, 12AU7, and 6922, and rectifier tubes like 5AR4 may go 10,000 hours. So you get years and years of enjoyment.

How often do tubes need to be replaced?

You can expect a conventional amplifier tube to have a service life ranging up to 10,000 hours. Tubes with military specifications are built to last up to 100,000 hours.

Are old tube TVs worth anything?

Pretty much. If its an old cathode-ray tube or rear-projection TV, its unlikely to find many takers. Many new small TVs cost very little, so used older models might not be worth much. If your TV is only a few years old, its probably worth something.

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