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Old 17th Aug 2019, 6:02 pm   #1
robinshack
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Default When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Only title that I could think of really.
For many decades I have been accumulating/collecting valves.
Accumulating is I think where, well, just accumulated. Maybe no specific reason other than "might come in handy one day" OR, a finite resource, get them while you can!
Collecting I think is because of a specific interest, usually of historical context.
Well. Collecting first. I am very interested in WW2 technology and achievements, mostly RAF. hence, I have quite a few different makes and styles of EF50 (and all the other numbers they come as). Plus, a few radar related valves. And of course loads of spares for my 1155s!
Accumulated. Everything else valve wise i put under this banner. From spare valves for gear that I own, to unusual types, that I maybe never heard of, to ones that I think "may be useful....one day". Also ones that the audiophools covet and pay a premium for! (I am a pensioner, like a lot of others on this wonderful forum)..
SO, after seeing the recent "for sale" offer by David Simpson, yesterday, I took down a large box from my garage shelf marked as "stabilisers". I was staggered just how many valves were within.
SO, today, I spent a few hours quickly looking through about half of my OTHER valves for "stabilisers". About another 50 were found.
This brings my total to nearly 250 I imagine?
By "stabilisers" I also include voltage reference tubes. Note! First time I wrote "Tubes"!
As I only have (estimated) 3000 or so valves in total, I am amazed just how many stabilisers I accumulated over the decades.
I do not know why!
Yes, I have maybe 200+ NOS ECC81, but few ECC82 and fewer still 83.
I wonder, does anyone else have this valve "collecting" instinct or "obsession" that they find has got out of control without even realising?
Rob
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 7:22 pm   #2
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

I’m doing the same with transistors. I have about 3000 of the damned things. Fortunately they take up a lot less space than valves!
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 7:27 pm   #3
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

It sounds like you're getting ready for a hard-nosed review of your valve needs. Look at your radios and list the types they use, include any sets you intend to get. Add in types for anything you intend to build. Decide how many of each type would be sufficient for spares, and that's what you really need.

The rest you might as well use to augment your pension. If the audiophiles choose to sponsor a holiday for you, then enjoy the holiday.

I keep a spare set for RA17/117 because I seem to keep fixing them for other people, I'm building up a spare set for my EA12, and thanks to generosity on this forum I'm now OK for spares for my AR88. I'm not intending getting any more valved receivers and I'm not into valve audio. Anything I intend building is solid state. I just happen to think that designing good things with semiconductors is a different subject to valves and can be somewhat more difficult, but I've worked on these skills and I reckon I'm OK.

My other valves are going to people who need them. I don't have much to get audiophiles needing a cold shower, but maybe a few ECC83 and a pair of new boxed KT thingies. I only paid 50p for the KT88s back in the eighties. I might just give them away to a needy guitarist and blow a raspberry in the general direction of the phools.

I've built up a lot too much clutter, but some of the RF parts... big transmitting variable capacitors and roller-coasters, I intend to use.... sometime!

David
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 7:27 pm   #4
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

If you've got 250 stabilisers, how many EF80, EF91 and EB91s have you got?
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 8:03 pm   #5
robinshack
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Err EF80, about 100+ all used! My air rifle was stolen, so it would have been less!
I have about 10 maybe Mullard, NOS boxed.
Been looking at ebay prices (completed) of various stabilisers and certainly most are not cheap!
I think maybe less than 1% of my total stabilisers should fulfill my future needs if I am honest.
But, I don't like parting with such things, but will have to....very soon! IF i sell most now, when I DO want actually want one or two, if I am not carefull it could cost me dearly.
My same reasoning makes me hang on to maybe 10,000 resistors and 2,000 caps! Maybe 500+ pots and a few 100 switches as well.
Larger equipment, I still have my un-restored Ekco AD65, a lovely Marconi 42 "Cathedral" rx plus an ex RAF TR1196F that need some attention. Then there are 3x R1155 in various states as well as a 52 set rx, loads of USA Command gear as well!
However, my greater interest in my model railway needs may make the choice easier for me. But then, I already have 40+ locos!! Luckily, I am not on a model railway forum with the same dilemma!
Rob
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 8:08 pm   #6
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Probably quite a few hundred transistors and perhaps two hundred valves. I do spend more time in designing / constructing circuits with old technology rather than refurb though. And only one stabiliser! 10 EF91 and 6 EB91 / equivalent - No EF80.
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 10:26 pm   #7
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

If you want more stabilisers, I have plenty of NOS ones here. Why there are so many of them around is a mystery as I have only ever seen them used in a few military sets. Maybe there was an industrial application for them?
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 12:02 am   #8
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Do stabilisers ever need replacing, other than through breakage?
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 3:44 pm   #9
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Most gas stabilisers will run for thousands of hours before the internal resistance (i.e.the "impedance" of the discharge) caused by changes to the composition of the gas used therein rises to an un-acceptable level. They then exhibit poor regulation, and sometimes a reluctance or failure to "strike", and this makes replacement neccessary
The life expectation is governed somewhat by the gas purity, but mainly by the operating current. I have known of several that have had operating lives of many years. Tony
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 8:03 pm   #10
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julesomega View Post
Do stabilisers ever need replacing, other than through breakage?
I had to replace the type 5651 in my Tek 310A oscilloscope because the running voltage had risen from 87V to well over 100V so I could no longer set the PSU output correctly. The equipment had clearly had many hours of operation.

Edward
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Old 25th Aug 2019, 1:05 pm   #11
Robert Gribnau
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Quote:
I wonder, does anyone else have this valve "collecting" instinct or "obsession" that they find has got out of control without even realising?
Rob
Hello Rob,

I had a period like that stretching for some 10 years, resulting in more than 850 new valves, more than 1250 used valves which i all tested and tested ok, and two boxes of 10-pin valves (PFL200, PCL200, etc.) and power valves (PL519, PL508, etc.) which i did not count (estimated: 300) and test yet. On top of that my music and measuring equipment contains an other 125 valves.

A big part of my used and tested valves, and all of the untested 10-pin and PLxxx valves, i saved from being thrown away by the museum where i was a volunteer for some years. Sorting them all out took me 2 days and made our livingroom unusable for anything else during that time. But i enjoyed it a lot, even with my sore knees from our stone floor.

I keep a good record of all my new and tested valves. I even noted down all the factory codes (if any).

Must be the autistic part in me...

About 5 years ago i realised that i was never going to be able to use all my valves. There is just not enough time for it left. Since then i maybe bought 5 or so.

Designing projects with lots of valves helps a little though. I am currently working on a two channel microphone preamplifier with stabilised power supply with 11 valves in total. And i finished a headphones amplifier with 9 valves some months ago.

Both projects involve a 0B2 voltage stabiliser. But i do not come close to the number of stabilisers you have gathered.

Greetings,
Robert

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Old 26th Aug 2019, 10:18 am   #12
David Simpson
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Rob,
Didn't realise that my sale advert had prompted you to examine your valve interests & stock.
In the past I've occasionally delved into my collection & flogged a handful on the Forum or ebay. But more recently I've also started a thinning out of surplus shelf occupying equipment. So then I thought - all I really need, valve-wise, are enough to hold as spares for the items I'm keeping or possible future project acquisitions. Plus a few interesting valves which lend themselves to DC testing/graphing etc., and a few standardised ones, (I've still some of those 6AQ5's/6AU5's going free).
But lo & behold - in the last 6 weeks or so, folk knowing of my valve collecting/testing exploits - have handed over huge boxes full of loose manky valves. Most from "Silent Key" clear-outs. The sad aspect of this reminds me of my "Sad Times" thread back at the beginning of the year. In a way thankfully, many of the valves(some like - KT88's, QQV06-40's, even a PX4) were totally duff or weak"Pulls" which some poor old chap had kept loose instead of dumping them over the last 60 years. Jesus ! - my poor old AVO MK3 needs a long rest. And you should have seen the look on the face of the mannie at the council's skip-site last week !
Talking to other folk, these old hoards, are becoming more frequent in recent times. So perhaps those of us who are past 3 score years & ten should take note before we too become octogenarians.

Regards, David
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 10:58 am   #13
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

A good point David. Most of my valve collection consists of "pulled" TV valves in dubious condition and obscure US military "tubes" for which I have no use.

I have set aside valves for the sets on the "to do" pile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simpson View Post
Talking to other folk, these old hoards, are becoming more frequent in recent times. So perhaps those of us who are past 3 score years & ten should take note before we too become octogenarians.

Regards, David
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 11:44 am   #14
David Simpson
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Right enough Graham, Pulls are a PITA. I've actually kept about 3 or four shoebox quantities of wee boxed B7G/B9A TV types from recent hauls. Knowing that there was a tendency by some folk to pop pulls back into new purchase boxes, I'm guessing that there might well be several dozen duff ones. But as the drunken Actress said to the Bishop - "A yoke is a poke, but juck a fantomime", or words to that effect, regarding subjecting my old VCM to more hours & hours of testing.
Right, breaktime over - back to more hours & hours of grass cutting.

Regards, David
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 11:47 am   #15
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Giving them away to other people is a nice easy way to reduce your stock holding. Why not try it.

Mike Barker recently auctioned a good few of my unwanted valves and raised me 1419 a nice welcome amount involving only a little work on my part. Thank you Mike. Well recommended.

Jim
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 1:54 pm   #16
David Simpson
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Aye Jim, I've donated valves to Mike in the past. Also, surplus valves from our wee gang of vintage enthusiasts up here in the far North all go into a communal store for anyone of us to dip into.
A few years back, I remember, near Aberdeen, a silent key disposal team discovered a Bagington sized haul of stuff in containers. More recently, an auction house discovered a huge garage of vintage military other stuff, but that went mainly for Mega Bucks on the internet to international bidders.
This sort of thing will probably go on for a few years yet.
Long may we move valves around our fraternity, just make sure a certain Italian creep doesn't get his hands on them.

Regards, David
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 1:21 pm   #17
robinshack
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

I started sorting a few more boxes of used valves, as I know 85a2, oa2, may have been in them.
Low yield so far, but 100s of ex tv valves! Been too hot to continue and other more pressing jobs as well.
When finished, I will see if any interest in the used tv types on here, but would need to be collected. Would be foc.
The stabilisers and references would be worth selling, but probably in small quantities because of postage.
Will decide after I have some idea of types and quantity.
Might be a little while though.
David, which did your waste valves go into.
I would have only small electrical or landfill as a choice at our centre. Our recycling people are suspicious if they don't recognise what you dump. Most are too young to know what a valve is!
Rob
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 4:55 pm   #18
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

Valves would go into small electrical, though they're not extremely polluting when you just throw them in the trash. However, I hope even the TV valves fetch some interest. Often, they're a good alternative for audio valves that had their prices driven up. A set of PL36, PL500, PL504, PL509 etc. make a nice push pull output stage, no need to spend money on EL34 or EL522. Keep in mind they're beam tetrodes, though. A PCL805 can be used instead of an EL86 in a SRPP output stage. Philips even did that in one of their last hybrid tv designs. PL508 might be a good choice for such a circuit as well, not sure.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 6:37 pm   #19
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

I asked the skip-site mannie where he wanted those big boxes of duff valves to go - the big WEEE steel container or the lightbulb's smaller plastic lidded bin ? He said - put them next to the full neon tube bin!
Obviously, the big PL500 series were all tested & decent ones saved.
I think that the mindset of that older generation of vintage enthusiasts, who are now being "Silent Key'd", followed a wartime mantra of not disposing of anything - "just in case" so to speak.
But hey, don't feel bad about skipping a few hundred duff old manky valves. There is enough anecdotal evidence of the MOD dumping thousands of WS19's, 1154/55's , and many other items of radio/radar equipment (complete with valves), in the North Sea & other places after the war.

Regards, David
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 3:02 pm   #20
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Default Re: When an interest in valves becomes out of control without realising!

My interests are primarily NOT valve equipment, but other vintage electrical equipment.
I therefore sold almost my entire (modest) supply of valves.
A large box of "pulls" from scrapped TV sets fetched 25 for the lot.
A much smaller box of NOS TV valves fetched another 25.
More interesting were some large rectifiers, these have a screw base like an electric lamp for the directly heated cathode and a top cap connection to the anode.
1 amp, 6,000 volts. Heater many amps at 4 volts.

A neighbour paid a very good price for these.
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