Tube Amps / Music Electronics
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|5/9/2005 3:47 PM|
||Recommended Test Equipment|
I am looking for advice about what test equipment people have found useful. I finally (hopefully) fixed the intermittent problem in my Tek 453A scope.
I need a new multimeter, and don't have much more than about $150 to spend on one.
I would also like to know which Tektronix scope probes are recommended for guitar amp work.
Lastly, for a signal generator I have a non-working Heathkit signal (sinewave) generator (the 3 tube IG-72). Is this worth fixing? (In the past I created test tones on the computer with some shareware programs and burned them to CD and used a portable CDs headphone output to drive the input of the guitar amp when testing it.)
|5/9/2005 5:19 PM|
My FLuke is still by my side after 20+ years. Fluke is a good solid brand. Others may have success stories with out brands for you to consider. I consider it a necessity to get one with high current scales - 10A or more. SOme low end models only do low current.
Our audio work is about the least demanding application there is for scope rpobes. Get the most basic ones. You need the X10, and I prefer the switchable X10/X1 type. I am a big believer in not buying cheap tools, but over the decades, I hav egotten great service from basic cheap commodity scope probes - the kind you can get all day for about $30. SOmetimes I get them from a pparts supplier, and other times I order from Probemaster.
You need a real signal genny. Test tones on a disc do not allow you to sweep. If I want to wring a buzz out of something, I apply a signal and sweep it up and down to find the resonant spot. I then leave it set there. Can't do that with set tones. Why not fix up the old guy. Or watch ebay or your local ham fests for something used that works.
|5/9/2005 7:50 PM|
I've also been using the same Fluke multimeter at work for many years and it is bulletproof. Bought Radio Shacks best meter on sale recently for home and have been happy with it, unlike cheaper ones I've bought from them in the past....too soon to tell if it will last, but the meter and the probes are definately much better quality than their cheaper ones.....RS products seem to vary from excellent to absolute crap in my experience.
If you want another DIY project you can build a good signal generator from a XR2206 chip, they are only about $5, and will output sine, triangle, and square waves, there is a data sheet at http://www.exar.com/product.php?ProdNumber=XR2206&areaID=7
also some plans for generators based on the chip out on the web....and some commercial kits too
|5/10/2005 4:45 PM|
I like test equipment. Some may consider it a waste of time and money, but it's good clean fun. You can probably get a manual for the Heathkit, and get experience fixing that!
For a retro blast, buy a VTVM. They're cheap, and can do things no Fluke can do. I'd look for a DVM that can also test capacitance. They are out there. Getting a feel for test equipment takes hands-on practise, so no one can give you any shortcuts.
That 453 is a great 'scope. Any probe will work, but since the price difference is small, go for the original 100Meg set. Once you have a signal generator and a functioning 'scope, you can do most troubleshooting. You may want to add a capacitor tester, or an ESR meter. Then maybe a Variac. That's about as complete a bench as you'd need. Oh, make sure to have a few decade boxes.
|5/10/2005 5:12 PM|
||Re: Recommended Test Equipment (Droopy?)|
Droopy, any idea where to find decent decade boxes? I'd like to get one with at least 1/2w resistors in it, and also another for capacitors. Nowadays, it seems you can find a decade box with all 1/4w resistors in it, but what use is that for tube stuff! I suppose I could make my own bu if the price is right, it would be easier to buy one.
|5/10/2005 6:55 PM|
You can easily build one, but I found many at say the Ham Radio Swap Meet. You can use more than one! I have capacitor decade boxes, and even a zener diode decade box for when I feel like experimenting with diode clipping. You can find decade boxes all over eBay. Stay away from the antique General Radio boxes. Go for the modern ones from Sencore; they tend to have both 1-watt and 20-watt resistors. There's a Clarostat 225-watt decade box on eBay right now, but those get big bucks. There's a Heathkit IN-17 also, and I believe those are at least 1/2-watt, if not 1-watt resistors. I know my Heathkit IN-12 has 1-watt resistors. Capacitor boxes are always a crap-shoot, because half of the capacitors are most likely leaky.
I would look at Ham Radio Swap Meets, or even ask the old TV repair shop down your street. I'll bet they haven't used their decade box in years. There was an old TV shop that closed up here a few weeks ago. I walked in, and right passed the people clamoring for cheap TV's and VCR's. I asked about the service department. It seems no one else had asked, and for less than $500 I walked out with two oscilloscopes, a Variac, a signal generator, a frequency counter, and two tube testers. All still had the original boxes and manuals. Ya' just never know.
|5/11/2005 12:32 AM|
Thanks for the info Droopy. After you gave me the info a while back on the cap testers, I ended up getting a nice TO-6, so maybe I'll look around and see whats availble on ebay. I've asked the local repair guys and surplus stores and no one has any nowadays. I've got most of the test equipment now that I want, except for decade boxes. I've thought about building one in the past, but not sure where to find the switches that can switch lots of positions like you see on the decade boxes.
I've got the TO-6 cap leakage/ESR checker
a Senior volt-ohmyst VTVM,
2 Tek 2335 100mhz scopes,
a funtion generator,
a distortion analyzer,
a Heathkit audio generator,
a trueRMS B & K DMM
another basic RS DMM
and a couple other things too.
I'm not sure if they all work, or how to use all of them, but it will be fun to learn once I get a proper bench setup. Thanks again for your help and suggestions.
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