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scavenging vacuum tubes
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Allan Adler
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by solid state devices. I know
that one can still purchase vacuum tubes and their sockets. What I'm
wondering is whether it is still possible to scavenge vacuum tubes from
things that people throw out and leave on the street for trash pickup.
If so, what things would be likely candidates for scavenging vacuum tubes?
--
Ignorantly,
Allan Adler <ara@zurich.csail.mit.edu>
* Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT CSAIL. My actions and
* comments do not reflect in any way on MIT. Also, I am nowhere near Boston.
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cbarn24050@aol.com
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 19 Sep 2005
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

Allan Adler wrote:
Quote:
Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by solid state devices. I know
that one can still purchase vacuum tubes and their sockets. What I'm
wondering is whether it is still possible to scavenge vacuum tubes from
things that people throw out and leave on the street for trash pickup.
If so, what things would be likely candidates for scavenging vacuum tubes?

When I was young I used to do that, I had a huge box of them by the
time I was 16. Sadly when I reached 20 I had to chuck them. They make
good targets if you have a pellet gun.
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hhc314@yahoo.com
electronics forum addict


Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

Allan, is this something that you are interested in for fun or for
profit? If for profit, most scavenged used tubes are not woth the
space they take up in storage. Some are.

Forget anything that you find in an old TV set, since the tubes in them
are essentailly worthless even if they are still alive.

Old radios are quite another issue, and by old I mean prior to 1940 and
preferably battery powered such as the old Atwater Kents and their ilk.
Even used tubes from early Philcos are in demand by restorers. Tubes
from these old guys, whether working or not are very collectable.

Imaging tubes from old TV cameras are also very collectable,
particularly image orthicons, ikonoscopes and earlier designs.
Collectors buy these and make display items out of them. Today,
depending upon their rarity, this type of tube will sell for at least
$100 and frequently more. Yuppies who were born well after these tubes
were obsolete seem to get pleasure from displaying them on their desks.

Grab onto anything unusual. Large old transmitting tubes for example.
The larger and more interesing, the better. Ionization type vacuum
gauge tubes are also very popular, if you can snatch them from the
hands of aspiring physicists. :-)

Kindest regards, Harry C.




Allan Adler wrote:
Quote:
Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by solid state devices. I know
that one can still purchase vacuum tubes and their sockets. What I'm
wondering is whether it is still possible to scavenge vacuum tubes from
things that people throw out and leave on the street for trash pickup.
If so, what things would be likely candidates for scavenging vacuum tubes?
--
Ignorantly,
Allan Adler <ara@zurich.csail.mit.edu
* Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT CSAIL. My actions and
* comments do not reflect in any way on MIT. Also, I am nowhere near Boston.
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Allan Adler
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:44 am    Post subject: Re: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

hhc314@yahoo.com writes:

Quote:
Allan, is this something that you are interested in for fun or for
profit? If for profit, most scavenged used tubes are not woth the
space they take up in storage. Some are.

Purely for fun and experimentation.
--
Ignorantly,
Allan Adler <ara@zurich.csail.mit.edu>
* Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT CSAIL. My actions and
* comments do not reflect in any way on MIT. Also, I am nowhere near Boston.
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Allan Adler
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:19 am    Post subject: Re: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

Allan Adler <ara@nestle.csail.mit.edu> writes:

Quote:
Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by solid state devices. I know
that one can still purchase vacuum tubes and their sockets. What I'm
wondering is whether it is still possible to scavenge vacuum tubes from
things that people throw out and leave on the street for trash pickup.
If so, what things would be likely candidates for scavenging vacuum tubes?

The only substantive reply to my question was based on the assumption
that I was looking for valuable or rare tubes. I just want to get a few
tubes to experiment with. I still don't know where I can find them by
scavenging contemporary discarded electronic devices. Are they really
no longer scavengeable? If so, I'm aware that one can still purchase
tubes from contemporary suppliers and that they aren't expensive. I'd
just rather get them by scavenging them.
--
Ignorantly,
Allan Adler <ara@zurich.csail.mit.edu>
* Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT CSAIL. My actions and
* comments do not reflect in any way on MIT. Also, I am nowhere near Boston.
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Michael Black
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 251

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:35 am    Post subject: Re: scavenging vacuum tubes Reply with quote

Allan Adler (ara@nestle.csail.mit.edu) writes:
Quote:
Allan Adler <ara@nestle.csail.mit.edu> writes:

Vacuum tubes have largely been replaced by solid state devices. I know
that one can still purchase vacuum tubes and their sockets. What I'm
wondering is whether it is still possible to scavenge vacuum tubes from
things that people throw out and leave on the street for trash pickup.
If so, what things would be likely candidates for scavenging vacuum tubes?

The only substantive reply to my question was based on the assumption
that I was looking for valuable or rare tubes. I just want to get a few
tubes to experiment with. I still don't know where I can find them by
scavenging contemporary discarded electronic devices. Are they really
no longer scavengeable? If so, I'm aware that one can still purchase
tubes from contemporary suppliers and that they aren't expensive. I'd
just rather get them by scavenging them.

At this point, you will come across very few discards lying on the sidewalk
that have tubes in them. It's well past the time, decades ago, when
people were still routinely using them, so they've long been tossed out.
People would toss them because the equipment had broken down and it was
no longer worth repairing, or toss them because they'd rather switch
to solid state equipment.

What remains is not likely to be tossed, because enough time has passed
that people would now see them as collectables. The owners will mostly
know that it is valuable in some way, be it money or just rarity at
this point.

That's not to say you won't see the occasional tv or radio that uses
tubes, but it will be quite rare. I think it's been about a decade
since I came across a tv or radio that had tubes in it. I did see
a couple of oscilliscopes a few years back that had to date from
the tube era, but you aren't likely to see those in the garbage very
often, whether they have tubes or don't.

Keep in mind that in the tube era, the average household have very
little electronic equipment. A tv set or two, a radio or two, and
maybe some sort of stereo system (or just a portable record player).
There just wasn't the level of electronic gadgetry back then. It
was the coming of solid state, and especially of ICs, that made
it feasible to get a lot into a small space, which meant a lot
of new consumer items. The IC and microprocessor became so
cheap that not only were there a lot more gadgets around the
house, but even pretty dumb things had clocks and such built in.

35 years ago, when I got interested in electronics, I never
saw much more than tv sets and radios waiting for the garbage trucks.

Even if you do come across such things, many of them were "AC/DC",
ie they ran right off the AC supply with no transformer, and in
order to do that they ran the tube filaments in series, and in order
to do that the tubes would have different filament voltages that
when added up would require little or no dropping resistor from
the AC line. So even for experimenting, the tubes from such
consumer equipment weren't so useful, because you'd not be
duplicating the tube lineup, and then would have to fuss with
a 50 volt filament for that tube, and a 35 volt filament for
that other tube, and so on.

Michael
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