Hickok 6000 calibration

This article discusses repair and calibration of the Hickok 6000 tube tester. Models 6000A and 6005 are the same with only minor feature differences that are not relevant to tube test calibration, therefore the discussion is applicable to those models as well. Serious electrical voltages are present, repairs should only be attempted by a qualified technician. Copyrighted by Bob Putnak, all rights reserved. Introduction

Hickok 6000

Hickok 6000

Hickok 6000A

Hickok 6000A

Hickok 6000 series is a compact mutual conductance tube tester. Most Hickok tube testers fall in two categories: those that use a 5 vac signal voltage and those that use a 2.5 vac signal voltage. Otherwise, most Hickok’s are remarkably alike (except for the really expensive models such as 539C or 752…). The 6000 series in the the 2.5 vac signal voltage group. The compact size of the 6000 is a welcome asset to any technician’s workbench because space is always at a premium. The 6000 series also has a replaceable socket panel.  One panel has an older compliment of sockets (4-pin through 9-pin-miniature sockets); the other panel has a newer socket compliment (compactron & novar sockets instead of the antique sockets).  This system allowed easy replacement of worn out sockets — the customer simply purchased a new panel from Hickok. The setup chart configuration for the Shunt control gives “Good-Bad” readings, which were previously called the “English” readings in older Hickok testers.  In fact, the Shunt control was named “English” on older models.  The chart also provides a micromhos score for tubes that have transconductance (ie – not rectifiers, not diodes, not thyratrons…), and the Shunt control must be repositioned to the red dot on the Shunt control that is appropriate for that micromhos reading.  For example, if the chart says “2000” and you had some reason to benefit from knowing the micromhos score (which is seldom the situation), you would ignore the chart’s shunt number and instead set the shunt control to the red dot near “73” which is the 3000 micromhos range.  For most testing needs of a technician, the good/bad scale is convenient and appropriate. hr

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RSP-1 replaceable socket plate

RSP-1 replaceable socket plate

Vintage is approx 1957. The 6000 sold for $182 in 1958. Dimensions: 17 x 12 x 8 (inches) and weight 16-lbs. Model 6005 is the same tube tester but integrates multimeter functions. Model 6000A has basic transistor testing capability, which I doubt that anyone uses today. The 6000A has the newer socket panel with compactron and novar sockets, but without the antique sockets (4-pin, 5-pin, etc.)   The socket panels are not interchangeable between 6000 and 6000A due to a different connection plug on the underside.  As a sidenote, this socket panel makes it very difficult to install socket-savers if you still want to close the case lid.  It can be done, but it requires a lot of work and creative thinking.  See my article [HERE].

Repair and Calibration A thorough explanation of the Hickok test method, calibration voltages, and the equipment that was used to make those voltage measurements is in a United States military document TM 11-6625-274-35 for military TV-7 series of tube testers.  This information is applicable to most Hickok tube testers (not all), with the caveat that some models use 2.5 vac signal voltage instead of 5.0 vac.  It explains the voltages for the plate, screen, grid, signal and the method used to obtain those measurements. A factory calibration document for the 6000 series also exists (and has one typo mistake) and closely follows the voltages in the military TM document. (more…)

Solid state replacement for #83 tube

I am frequently asked by B&K and Hickok owners to explain how to replace a #83 tube with a solid state version. This question is popular because #83 tubes are scare and expensive. Other benefits are increased reliability (no tube to wear down), less heat generated inside the tester case, and less load on the power transformer. So, if you want to Do-It-Yourself, I will explain how these replacements are made.

I will preface this tutorial with a few caveats: First, this procedure is easier to implement with B&K testers than Hickok testers. Hickok factored in the load that the real #83 tube has on the power transformer, and sometimes you cannot properly set the line without circuit modification. Keep this in mind if you plan to try it with your Hickok — you may be getting in over your head. Hence, substitution may be more effort than it is worth, especially when some Hickok buyers do not want the modification and would have to undo the circuit mods that were made. This leads to the second caveat: not everyone feels that the solid-state substitution works ‘excellent’ in Hickok’s. In fact, some “purists” will not even use a Hickok with a solid-state #83 replacement. They cite the fact that silicon diodes have less voltage drop than a tube rectifier, and feel that the tube test results will not be “pure.”

Personally, I always use a solid-state replacement for B&K testers. For most Hickok, I prefer to use a real #83 tube only because circuit modifications are sometimes necessary, which makes going back to a real #83 difficult for the tube tester owner or future buyer.  This problem is particularly true for the “red-case” Hickok’s.

That said, I have no disapproval with using a solid-state #83 in a Hickok model that lends itself to working well, and have found that any tube “test score” differences are trivial. In my opinion, the people who argue about small test score variations are really over-thinking the purpose of testing a tube — the end-result is NOT a test score, but to ascertain whether the tube will work satisfactory in your circuit. Common sense and practicality are important.

Here it goes…

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Hickok 6000 socket saver installation

This article will discuss my method of professionally installing a socket saver into the socket panel of a Hickok 6000 / 6000A / 6005 tube tester, and is designed so that (1) you cannot even see that a socket saver is installed, (2) the case lid will close normally, and (3) the socket saver is easily replaceable when it wears out.

The Hickok 6000-series of tube testers use a plug-in socket panel instead of individual sockets affixed to the chassis. The socket panel protrudes upward, and there is no extra room between the socket panel and the case lid. Therefore, traditional installation of a socket saver (plugging it into an existing socket) is unacceptable for these testers because the case lid will not close.

Fortunately, if you are willing put forth effort, you can have your cake and eat it too! This project will demonstrate a 9-pin miniature socket saver installation, but the process can be adapted for other sockets.

When you are finished, here is what you will accomplish:

Hickok 6000 after professional installation of socket saver

Photo above shows Hickok 6000 after my method of professionally installing the socket saver. It is impossible to see that a socket saver is even installed!

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Hickok 530/530B/510X Tube Tester manual

Redone from scratch, a new product from us at TubeSound. A new manual package for the Hickok 530, 530B, and 510X tube testers. Includes schematics and ballast setup chart. The product covers all three models (530/530B/510X).

Benefits include: all instructional text being newly transcribed into computer by hand; factory text errors & grammatical errors corrected; factory addendums integrated into the text; and page layouts enhanced for much improved readability. The readability and presentation of this product is “Light Years” better than the original document!

Hickok 530-530B-510X remastered manual -- $9.99 free ship USA


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