handling tubes

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gutsofgold
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handling tubes

Post by gutsofgold » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:46 pm

I know tubes get really hot, as do halogen light bulbs which can not come in contact with bare skin. So is it safe to handle tubes with your bare hands?

meblumen
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Post by meblumen » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:52 pm

Yes, why wouldn't it be, just don't do so when they are hot. Generally it's a good rule of thumb not to disturb tube gear when it's warm/hot anyway. But yes, feel free to touch your tubes all you want.

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Post by Scodiddly » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:57 pm

Let the tubes cool down a bit before trying to pull them out of the sockets. But don't worry about skin grease or anything like that - they don't get as hot as regular light bulbs, let alone halogens.

JMorken
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Post by JMorken » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:08 pm

A similar question: what precautions should you take with tube gear and temperatures?

For instance, let's just say that I live in the frozen North (dakota) and that when my band gets to a gig and unloads the trailer it's -10F outside and the amps have been in the cold since that morning. We wait as long as we can to plug them in and warm them up, but sometimes that's not much time. Any thoughts? Are we just asking for trouble? So far nothing has blown up or shorted out.

A funny side: it's so cold sometimes that my drum hardware frosts-over when I take it out. You can lick it like a flag-pole and make your tung stick (a-la christmas story). :D

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Post by AGCurry » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:25 pm

JMorken wrote:A similar question: what precautions should you take with tube gear and temperatures?
If you think about it, tubes and point-to-point wiring are more able to withstand temperature changes than are transistors and printed circuit boards, as expansion and contraction can not have as much of an effect.

We never had trouble with our Fender or Peavey tube amps in the Rocky-Mountain winters of the 1970s.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:09 pm

Output tubes and Rectifiers will always run extremely hot (wide open voltage). Unlikely your preamp tubes will run hot unless you've got alot of gain dialed in.

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Post by meblumen » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:11 pm

AGCurry wrote:
JMorken wrote:A similar question: what precautions should you take with tube gear and temperatures?
If you think about it, tubes and point-to-point wiring are more able to withstand temperature changes than are transistors and printed circuit boards, as expansion and contraction can not have as much of an effect.

We never had trouble with our Fender or Peavey tube amps in the Rocky-Mountain winters of the 1970s.
I would be more concerned about your actual instruments. Guitars and such don't always take to kindly to the drastic temperature changes.

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Post by JMorken » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:16 am

I would be more concerned about your actual instruments. Guitars and such don't always take to kindly to the drastic temperature changes.


Guitars usually get to ride in the van. Last weekend when we brought our gear inside, our bass player's amp was literally dripping with condensation off of the faceplate. A little extreme, but it was an especially cold day (-30 with windchill). That got us worried. We bring the heads in the van sometimes, but the combos have to stay in the trailer.

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Post by KennyLusk » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:47 am

For hot tubes and "tubes in tight places" :lol: a tube extractor is only like $10. Look here under tube accessories I think. http://tubesandmore.com/
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Post by Coco » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:19 am

JMorken wrote:A similar question: what precautions should you take with tube gear and temperatures?

For instance, let's just say that I live in the frozen North (dakota) and that when my band gets to a gig and unloads the trailer it's -10F outside and the amps have been in the cold since that morning. We wait as long as we can to plug them in and warm them up, but sometimes that's not much time. Any thoughts? Are we just asking for trouble? So far nothing has blown up or shorted out.

A funny side: it's so cold sometimes that my drum hardware frosts-over when I take it out. You can lick it like a flag-pole and make your tung stick (a-la christmas story). :D
Bringing in maps from the cold into a warm environment will create condensation on your transformers, circuit boards ect. Condensation = water so think about it. I would let them warm up to room temperature and go from there. Just sayin'.
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Post by Coco » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:23 am

In regard to touching tubes with your bare hands; I'm sure it's ok but I've been told not to more than once. Same as your halogen comparasin. You are not supposed to touch halogen bulbs with your fingers due to oils from your fingers impregnating the glass and leading to a premature bulb failure and I've been told the same goes for tubes.

It could be complete snake oil but I never try to touch tubes with my bare hands. I always use a clean rag to do that when installing or removing.
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Eric Rottmayer
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Post by Eric Rottmayer » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:44 am

what about cleaning old tubes? I've just come into a ton of oldies and they are
coated with dust/dirt...should I clean them or not? will it make a difference in
sound performance? I've heard of a tube-specific cleaning solution...D10 or something?

thanks.

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Post by ??????? » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:50 am

Coco wrote:In regard to touching tubes with your bare hands; I'm sure it's ok but I've been told not to more than once. Same as your halogen comparasin. You are not supposed to touch halogen bulbs with your fingers due to oils from your fingers impregnating the glass and leading to a premature bulb failure and I've been told the same goes for tubes.

It could be complete snake oil but I never try to touch tubes with my bare hands. I always use a clean rag to do that when installing or removing.
You were absolutely 100% misinformed. Extra caution never hurts... until you drop the $75 NOS Mullard because it slipped from the grip of the paper towel you were holding it with :D

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Post by Angie » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:31 am

brad347 wrote:
Coco wrote:In regard to touching tubes with your bare hands; I'm sure it's ok but I've been told not to more than once. Same as your halogen comparasin. You are not supposed to touch halogen bulbs with your fingers due to oils from your fingers impregnating the glass and leading to a premature bulb failure and I've been told the same goes for tubes.

It could be complete snake oil but I never try to touch tubes with my bare hands. I always use a clean rag to do that when installing or removing.
You were absolutely 100% misinformed. Extra caution never hurts... until you drop the $75 NOS Mullard because it slipped from the grip of the paper towel you were holding it with :D
No, Coco, has not been misinformed. You should never touch a lighting instrument lamp for the same reason.

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Post by GooberNumber9 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:16 pm

First off, any high-end type of lamp, mercury light, HID bulb, etc. is a very different animal from an audio tube. You can blow a mercury bulb to pieces just by hitting it with a squirt gun (fun if you don't get caught). You can't do the same with an audio tube.

Here's a quote from a audiophile site:
"Contact with oils and dirt from your hands build up on the glass envelope of the tube, eventually causing it to run hotter than it should, shortening its life. If you have to remove or replace a tube, use the gloves provided to handle it. Do not touch the vacuum tubes with bare hands."

Personally, I don't believe there is any problem with handling a tube with your bare hands other than getting burned if it's hot. I've always handled my tubes with my bare hands and I become dissatisfied with the tone long before they wear out from surface buildup (?!!?) I'm sure everyone has their own thoughts on this. If you really don't want to get finger oils on a tube (maybe if it's very valuable I would avoid it), you could get finger cots from a photo supply store. They are like condoms for your fingers and will let you keep oils off of surfaces and also help you keep a grip on things.

Todd Wilcox

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