What is the best tube tester?

Posted on Dec 11, 2020

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Tube Tester

Choosing the best tube tester for detecting the condition of the vacuum tube can remain the optimal function of the relevant applications. Read more.

What is the best tube tester?

Depending on the requirement of the test, the best tube tester for one test may not be perfect for another. Choosing the best tube tester for detecting the condition of the vacuum tube can remain the optimal function of the relevant applications. But, how to choose the best tube tester? In this article, we will introduce the fundamental usage and formation of the tube tester. Before investing in a tube tester, read this article and you won’t be disappointed with the results from the tester you buy.

Although being gradually replaced by the transistors, the vacuum tubes, which are the targets of the tube tester, still exist in some of the applications such as televisions. Therefore, whether to choose the best tube tester not only defines the good or bad the conditions of the vacuum tubes are, but also makes a difference in improving the convenience of the users.
 

:: Read more : How to Choose the Right Tube Checker for Tube Testing?

What is a vacuum tube?

A vacuum tube is used to control the current that flows in an electronic device. It consists of a grid that wraps around the anode and cathode. In the center of the tube, there is a heater that is used to heat the cathode during operation. These components are all covered by a glass tube, and the space inside the tube remains in a vacuum state, which results in the naming of this device. Despite the name of the vacuum tube, this device is not like a normal tube, which is long and thin. Instead, the size of a vacuum tube is much bigger that confines its usability nowadays.

The invention of the vacuum tubes was in the 19th century, when the light bulbs showed up at that time. The inventor Thomas Edison unexpectedly found the effect happened when he added an electrode inside the light bulb. After that, the effect caused by the circuit from the electrode in the bulb-like device is called the thermionic emission. Through the research and experiments conducted by Owen Richardson, John Ambrose Fleming, and Lee De Forest, they reinforced the function of the vacuum tubes used in the later years.

Since then, the vacuum tube has gradually developed as the practical component in the electronic devices. They were widely applied for computers, televisions, radios, telephone systems, and radar equipment, etc. During World War I, when the communication between the allies made or broke the war, the radios were important equipment at that time. Therefore, some of the radio operators created the first tube tester, which was simply designed but owned basic testing function for the vacuum tubes. Only when the vacuum tubes used in the radios are well-functioned, then they could ensure smooth communication from one ally to another.

However, this device has not been enough for the relevant applications recently. As mentioned above, the vacuum tubes are not like the normal tubes, which come in long and thin shapes. The volume the vacuum tubes take up one device makes the device bulky and heavy. In the age when people pursue lightness and convenience of electronic devices, the vacuum tubes are not the perfect choices and are eliminated on the market. Instead, the transistors that come in smaller sizes take the place of them, since they are ideal for fitting the modern design of the electronic products.

In some cases, vacuum tubes are still in use as long as the older electronic devices are well functioned. For the purpose of maintaining these devices, a tube tester is indispensible in measuring the function of the vacuum tubes. Now let’s know more about the tube tester.
 

How does a tube tester form?

The best tube testers may come in two main types, including the emission tester and the mutual conductance tester. The emission tester is applied for detecting whether the vacuum tube works or not, while the mutual conductance tester reveals more details about the function of the vacuum tubes. As a result, although made with a similar design on the interface, the construction of the emission tester would be relatively simpler than the mutual conductance tester. On both types of tube testers, the interface consists of the switches, knobs, sockets, chart, gauge, and power supply.

● Switches
The switches are used for initiating and turning off the tube tester. On some models of the tube testers, the operators are allowed to adjust the testing parameters by pressing the switches instead of turning the knobs. As the power supply is offered, the tube tester can work for conducting the measurement for the vacuum tubes.

● Knobs
The main difference between the emission tester and mutual conductance tester is the knobs each device contains. Since the mutual conductance tester shows more results regarding the measurement, it contains knobs used for adjusting the bias, filament, line, plate, and screen voltages. As for the emission tester, only knobs for adjusting filament voltage can be seen on the interface.

● Sockets
The sockets are used for placing the vacuum tubes during the measurement. There are a series of sockets that come in different sizes in order to accommodate the sizes of the tubes. When conducting the measurement, it is important to fit the tube with the right size of the socket, so as to make sure the smooth operation of the tube tester.

● Chart
The vacuum tubes are named with combinations of letters and numbers instead of merely letters or numbers. Depending on the model of the tube, the corresponding parameters such as the filament voltage would be different from one another. Therefore, the chart is used for checking the requirements of the parameters, and allows the operator to do the adjustment.

​● Gauge
The gauge contains a pin that moves to show the results as the test is conducted. The results are presented as the numbers on the scale where the pin points on. In addition, the scale is divided into green zone and red zone, which represent whether the tube is well functioned or not. In the advanced form of the tube testers, the gauge would also include scale for line and leakage test.
 

How to choose the best tube tester?

Now we have had the basic knowledge about the usage and the formation of the tube testers. Here we are going to tell you how to choose the best tube tester for the optimal results of the measurement.

● Testing requirements
As far as we know, the tube testers are divided into emission testers and mutual conductance testers. The former is used for testing whether the tester works or not, and the latter covers more details of the measurement. When choosing the best tube tester for you, check what you need first.

● Easy to apply
The misuse of the tester may lead to the wrong results of the measurement, so whether the tester is easy to apply is another factor you should consider when making the decision.

● Easy to read
The results of the readings are shown on the gauge with the pin points to the numbers on the scales. Before buying the tube tester, make sure the readings are easy to read, and the results can be ensured correct without problems.

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