Tubs of Tubes

Yesterday, I got a call from a guy whose website I’m working on. He says he’s calling from the Ann Arbor Reuse Center and that they have two tubs full of vacuum tubes there. He asked, “Do you know anyone who might want them”?

“How much are they asking for them”? I reply.

“Ten cents a piece.”

“How many are thereâ”?

“I’d guess about two hundred.”

“Well, tell them I’ll give him 20 bucks for all of them.”

He tells them that I’ll give them $20 for the lot. I hear some mumbling. He comes back on the line and says they’re negotiating. After a minute or two, he says, “OK. You got them. How do I get to your house”?

I gave him directions, and in about 15 minutes, he pulls up to my house, gets out, opens the hatch, and pulls out two plastic tubs and a cardboard box with vacuum tubes in them. I can tell he was way off in his estimate. There must be at least 400 tubes in all.

Tub of Tubes

There’s nothing really exotic–most of them seem to have been taken out of old TV sets–but I did find a couple of 6J6s. These are the tubes used for the single-tube transmitter I have been thinking about building. In one of the tubs, there was even a socket for the 6J6.

There are also a bunch of 6KS7s. According to the RCA tube manual, these tubes were often used as RF or IF amplifiers. That sounds like the beginning of a receiver project, doesn’t it? In fact, 6SK7s were used in the receiver section of the ParaSet, a “spy radio” used during WWII.

And, of course, there are a bunch of rectifiers to make a power supply. Now, all I have to find some cheap transformers. Anyone know a good source for them?


  1. stuart looney says:

    Hello Do not know what voltage of power transformer u loking for, but I have a good used one will send u postpaid for $24.00 I live in VA

    Here is info

    250-250 @ 70 ma. d c
    5 v. @ 2 Amps
    6.3 v. @2.5 amps

    Let me know if interested

  2. Thanks, Stuart. I’ll keep this in mind for when I get started on this project…..73, Dan

  3. I started scouting around the net for a power supply for the one-tube transmitter. Here are a couple of links:
    * Steve’s Tube Pages (power supplies) – http://members.aol.com/sbench101/#Power
    * Radio Daze – http://www.radiodaze.com. Sells new transformers at reasonable prices.
    * Power Supplies for Tube Synthesizers – http://www.cgs.synth.net/tube/ps.html. This page details a unique design using back-to-back filament transformers.
    * N5ESE’s 145 Volt Regulated Power Supply for Tube Circuits – http://www.io.com/~n5fc/bplus.htm. This supply provides a regulated +145 VDC plus 12.6 VAC and 6.3 VAC outputs for the filaments.
    * Jeff Duntemann’s Homebrew Radio Gallery – http://www.duntemann.com/radiogallery.htm. This page describe a homebrew power supply capable of a number of different HV outputs.

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