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Testing vacuum tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Wxp4759cb, May 23, 2002.

  1. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    How can you test a tube to make sure it is functioning correctly? I have a multimeter.
  2. You have to use a tube tester, and even then the results are questionable. The only true way to check out an amp is to substitute a known good tube in place of the questionable tube and see if it acts / sounds different.

    About the only thing you can do with the multimeter is check the heater continuity, and make sure there are no dead shorts between elements.

  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    what about Vacuum Tube Valley's Tube Tester? seems pretty nice, albeit, expensive. tests all sorts of stuff. anyone use it?

  4. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I think it is way too expensive. I got a nice old B&K tube tester off Ebay for just over $100. Works great.

  5. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Hickok is the way to go. But you are right as far as testing tubes at true voltage is to power them up in an amp.
  6. I'm with Throb'. Tubes can't be tested with a multimeter, excepting heater continuity and inter-electrode short circuits.

    Hobby electronic shops used to offer a tube testing service (in UK). But not anymore:rolleyes:

    In an ideal world tube amp users would carry spare tubes. If you've got spares, try fault finding by substitution.


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