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Wire - Any good sources?


 
12/1/1999 8:38 PM
PurpleP
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Wire - Any good sources?
Unless I am just way off, it seems to me that wire is rather expensive. I am talking about the standard solid core 18 ga. stuff from Alpha or Belden.  
 
The teflon jacketed or irradiated heat-resistant stuff would really be dreamy, but that's even MORE money.  
 
It occurs to me that there must be a better source for this most critical part of any project. Anyone got ideas?
 
12/1/1999 10:44 PM
Doc
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Good wire can be expensive, unless you can buy large spools and be able to use them. Belden and Alpha are known brands with good product quality control. You can't go wrong with them. 18 gauge is pretty heavy for anything except a heater supply in a tube amp. Keep in mind the voltage rating and heat sensitivity of the insulation on whatever wire you buy. For instance, you can use the 22 ga.solid copper wire from Radio Shack, but it's untinned (harder to solder) and the insulation melts when you try to solder it.  
 
Sometimes you can find good wire at electronics surplus outlets, or even clip used wire from an old test instrument like a Tektronix oscilloscope. One of these scopes will give you plenty of tube sockets and enough wire for a couple projects. You have to put in lots of time disassembling the old equipment, though. You know, time vs. spending money.
 
12/1/1999 11:53 PM
Dave Stork
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Sometimes you can find good wire at electronics surplus outlets, or even clip used wire from an old test instrument like a Tektronix oscilloscope. One of these scopes will give you plenty of tube sockets and enough wire for a couple projects. You have to put in lots of time disassembling the old equipment, though. You know, time vs. spending money.  
 
 
Sorry... just had to chime in when I saw this. The old Teks are classics and I am totally opposed to the idea of raping them for guitar amp parts! If you own one and you don't want it, sell it to a collector, or someone who restores old Teks. Then use the money to buy wire!  
These old scopes have a "following" and they deserve a better fate.
 
12/2/1999 7:15 PM
Doc
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Dave:  
 
I agree with you 100% about saving a Tek scope that's in decent shape. Tek laboratory grade scopes are examples of extreme craftsmanship and reliability. The design & construction are truly amazing. I have a few of the smaller 'portable' tube types, model 310's & 310A's, which I restored, hold dear, and refuse to give up using. If you have room, the large dual trace 500 series scopes are worth having.  
 
Recently I found some that were already reduced to carcasses, I guess from borrowing necessary parts to repair some that were not in such bad shape. I don't condone just grabbing any old instrument that obviously has a useful purpose, needing only some minor electronic repairs and calibration. But if you find something that's beyond practical repair, you might as well put the remains to good use. The one I was picturing had no tubes, no cabinet panels, no knobs, and bad CRT. I should have been clearer on that point. Thanks for pointing it out.  
 
Regards,  
Doc
 
12/3/1999 6:14 PM
Dave Stork
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Thanks for the clarification. I guess I had this mental image of scores of Ampagers buying working or repairable 535s and 547s and ripping the tube sockets out of them, and it upset me a little :)  
 
Having said that... If I were to come across an old Tek that was trashed and stripped beyond all hope of redemption, I would definitely consider doing something with those cool porcelain terminal strips :)
 
12/6/1999 6:51 PM
Doc
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Funny you should mention the porcelain terminal strips, Dave. That's exactly how it all started... I went looking for some of those terminal strips at the electronics surplus store, figuring I'd pay $1 apiece for them. The guy pointed to a few scope carcasses, and said I could have my pick for $5 each. I looked good & hard, and decided that one 585 had the most large terminal strips for the money. When I got it home and started the tedious task of carefully removing all the components to get at the fragile porcelain strips, I saw wire harnesses and tube sockets, and even a few nice sized heavy aluminum sub-chasses for use as experimentation/ development platforms. The small components between the strips have leads cut short, but they'd be excellent in a circuit on a pcb. All I wanted was a handful of porcelain terminal strips.  
 
I guess you know those terminal strips need to be soldered with silver-bearing soft solder. Plain tin/lead alloy will eventually pull all the silver plating from the metal notch and ruin it, so Tektronics cautions against using regular solder when repairing or replacing components on these terminal strips.
 
12/6/1999 7:55 PM
Dave Stork
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I guess you know those terminal strips need to be soldered with silver-bearing soft solder. Plain tin/lead alloy will eventually pull all the silver plating from the metal notch and ruin it, so Tektronics cautions against using regular solder when repairing or replacing components on these terminal strips.  
 
 
Yes... in fact, some old Teks still sport their original roll of spare silver-bearing solder, hidden inside the chassis :)
 
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