B&K 600-606 tube tester

This article discusses repair and calibration of the B&K 600 / 606  tube testers.  Both models can share the same tube setup data book, and therefore both models are functionally equivalent.    Model 606 will be example shown in this article.  Electrical voltages are present, repairs should only be attempted by a qualified technician. Copyrighted 2010 TubeSound, all rights reserved.

Cosmetically, these models look like a little brother to their larger siblings — B&K 700 and B&K 707. Model 600 shares the same color scheme with Model 700, and model 606 shares the same color scheme as model 707. The wood case construction is similar also.

Electrically, models 600 and 606 are very similar (though not identical) to the “Switch” section (bottom panel) of the 700 / 707, employing the same grid leakage test and very similar tests for Emission Quality and Shorts.

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Signal Corp I-177 tube tester calibration

This article discusses repair and calibration of the Signal Corp I-177  tube tester.   Serious electrical voltages are present, repairs should only be attempted by a qualified technician. Copyrighted by Bob Putnak, all rights reserved.

Introduction

Signal Corp I-177 tube tester

Signal Corp I-177 tube tester



I-177B with MX949A adapter

I-177B with MX949A adapter

Model I-177 is a very old US Military dynamic mutual conductance tube tester that was used during World War II years.  The War Department Technical Manual is dated August 1944, and the tester calibrated in this article is dated April 1945. The unit is extremely well-built.  Due to its age and high signal voltage, the tester is only suited to test the “antique tubes” and military tubes of its era, and does not even have a 9-pin miniature socket.

MX-949A/U socket adapter kit for I-177 models

MX-949A/U socket adapter kit for I-177 models

The MX-949A/U socket adapter kit (an extra accessory that expands the capability of I-177 models) provides sockets to test “newer” tubes.  That said, the 5.0vac signal voltage of the I-177 tester is not suited for testing many of these newer tubes and can damage small signal tubes or provide less-than-ideal readings.  That said, the I-177 does an excellent job of testing the “antique” tubes of its era.

Repair

The fundamentals for starting the I-177 project: all knobs and the meter itself are indexed at zero, check all resistors and potentiometers for accuracy and replace where necessary , replace the 0.1 mfd capacitor, clean all sockets/switches/leaf-switches/pots/rheostat with Deoxit to the extent possible. I would specifically note that the I-177 has 7 carbon resistors.  Expect that most (if not all) of these carbon resistors will have increased in resistance and will need replaced.  The remaining resistors are either wirewound or precision types, and while they should be tested, it is unlikely that any would be defective.  Inspect all wiring (AC power cord, and also each wire connection at every tube socket pin).  Remove both bulbs (#81 fuse bulb and neon shorts lamp), clean bulb connections and sockets, reinstall.  The #81 fuse bulb must be only a #81 bulb (no substitutes).

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B&K 607 – 667 Tube Tester

BK 607 tube tester

BK 607 tube tester

B&K 607 case

B&K 607 case

This article discusses the solid-state B&K 607 / 667  tube testers.  Both models use the same tube setup data book, and therefore both models are functionally equivalent.    Model 607 will be example shown in this article.  Electrical voltages are present, repairs should only be attempted by a qualified technician. Copyrighted, all rights reserved.

This series was B&K’s clone of the Sencore Mighty Mite TC162.  While the circuits are not 100% identical, they are close enough to be considered functionally identical.  The B&K 607 weighs slightly less than 6-lbs (without setup book or manual), and size dimensions are: 34 cm L x 24.5 cm W x 11 cm D.  The case folds open and easily accommodates a full size 8.5 x 11 inch setup chart and service manual as shown in the photo above.

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1940 Jackson modernization bulletin

I recently found a February 1940 Jackson tube tester modernization bulletin. This bulletin explains the modernization options available for Jackson tube tester models 627, 627-C, 630, 633, 634, 634-C, 634-D, 635, 637, 680. It also includes the wiring diagram to install a Loctal socket into models 627, 630, 633, 635, 680.

Very interesting bulletin for anyone collecting or repairing vintage Jackson tube testers. I have scanned this 4-page document into a PDF for your benefit.

[ Download the Jackson 1940 Modernization Bulletin PDF ]

To summarize the bulletin:

  • Models 634 and 637 sold in 1940 were already modernized at the factory
  • Models 634 and 637 sold in their first year (1939) can be easily modernized by the owner (see my article on Jackson 634 for modernization data to install 9-pin miniature socket into these models).
  • Models 627, 630, 633, 635, and 680 could be sent back to the Jackson factory and modernized for $5.00 (model 633) or $6.50 (models 627, 630, and 635, which dated from 1938), or $12.50 (model 680). All five of these models had to modernized at the factory because they required installation of a supplementary high-voltage filament transformer, among other parts.
  • Models 427-A, 435-A, 535, and 580 were too obsolete to be modernized because “no provision for the high voltage filament types can be made. Miniature types cannot be tested.” Jackson noted that these models were “as much as five years old”, which dates them between 1935 and 1940. Jackson recommended upgrading to the new 1940 models of 634 and 637.

If you are only interested in the Loctal socket modernization wiring diagram, see the accompanying thumbnail photo (click photo to enlarge).

Jackson modernization diagram for adding a Loctal socket

Loctal socket modernization

Repair & calibration Sencore Mighty Mite

TC130 Mighty Mite

TC130 Mighty Mite

This article discusses repair and calibration of the older tube-based Sencore Mighty Mite tube testers that use the 12AU7A tube inside, such as model TC130, TC136, and TC142. I will also discuss the most common problem that causes “faulty” Grid Leakage detection. High voltages are present, repairs should only be attempted by a qualified technician. Copyrighted, all rights reserved.

TC130 Mighty Mite case

TC130 Mighty Mite case

Introduction

Sencore Mighty Mite testers employ a Cathode Emission test circuit, with short detection and industry-best 100-Megohm leakage detection. The leakage detection circuitry is really the reason that every technician should own a Mighty Mite as part of his/her tube testing arsenal.

All Mighty Mites are designed to test newer tubes. You will not find any antique sockets (such as 4-pin, 5-pin, 6-pin, 8-pin large, etc.) Socket configuration consists of Octal, 7-pin miniature, 9-pin miniature, Nuvistor, novar, Loctal, and Compactron.

Each model has a roman numeral designation: TC130 = Mighty Mite III. TC136 = Mighty Mite IV. TC142 = Mighty Mite V. There are no practical differences among them.

The older Sencore Mighty Mite tube testers have tube circuitry inside, whereas newer Mighty Mites (such as TC154 and TC162) are transistorized. Otherwise, their functionality is comparable. Some units have a CRT picture tube wire harness with socket attached. This harness is very bulky, so common sense would suggest to remove it. It serves no practical purpose and only clutters up the case. Some models have a few pin straighteners on the front panel.

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