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How to retension sockets?

1/9/2006 1:56 PM
Ed G. How to retension sockets?
How do I retension my tube sockets? I've got a BFSR and the damn rectifier tube drops out most of the time I haul the thing around. It's gotten to where I just pull it out beforehand for safety. The other power tubes are not much more secure.
1/9/2006 2:46 PM
Rob B.
Basically, you stick a pointed object into the sockets and bend the metal loop that grabs the pins inward. The problem that comes up, is what tool to use. Many metal pointed needle shaped objects are quite brittle and will break off in the pin socket when you apply pressure. I actually use a dissecting pin out of a dissecting kit from my college biology class. I have tried sewing needles unsuccessfully and a supposed dental pick that I bought at a flea market. Both tips broke off. Other proper and improper tools have been discussed here before but it was awhile back. I am sure someone else will jump in with suggestions for tools. Tightening sockets is not rocket science--you should be able to do this even if you lack experience with electronics repair. Making sure that the amp is unplugged and discharging of the filter caps is the only safety issue.
1/9/2006 5:45 PM

There are a couple kinds of socket pins. The more common type is essentially a little cylinder. Actually a flat piece is rolled up. If you look down the pin hole, the contact has the shape of a "C". For those you need to get a point down between the C and the wall of the housing. By wedging something in that space, you are pushing the C closed, thus tightening its grip.  
I use something that looks like a dental explorer, but it is actually an "O-ring Seal Pick" used for getting seals out of brake drums. Mine was made by OTC and I got it at an auto parts store. I have never broken it, and I use it for all kinds of poking and prodding. It is tough.  
But aside from an official tool for the job, I also sometimes use a small jeweller's screwdriver from my set - the kind you tighten your glasses with.  
ANother handy tool is one of those large safety pins like they use on baby diapers. Unbend it and the point is handy. For that matter a regular size safety pin might work.  
The other common type pin is what I call the split pin. Essentially it is a small flat blade with a slot in it - a two-tined fork I suppose. The tube pin pushes between the tines and is gripped that way. You will recognize this type because the little holes in the socket have tiny slots on either side for the blade to sit in. Tighten it the same way though, get outside the blade with somthing sharp and push the tine towards center.
1/9/2006 7:38 PM
Rick Erickson

I use an exacto blade handle with a safety pin tip inserted into it. I use a fairly large safety pin, but not as large as the punk-rockers used to wear - and clip it off just before the bend. These tips can be handy as test lead probes too. I have a pair of test leads that had large diameter blunt tips so  
I cut the tips off, drilled them out on the ends and soldered in the safety pin tips. They don't take solder well so every couple of months I have to re-do them, but they make great probes for poking around pc boards and such. For tight tolerance work they can be insulated with heat-shrink or teflon tubing to keep them from shorting to each other or nearby components.  
1/9/2006 10:07 PM

miniature screwdrivers work well for this also.
1/10/2006 6:18 AM
Doug H
I've used a jeweler's screwdriver to retension octal socket pins. It worked pretty well.
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