All rights of photos and text reserved. Usage of photos or text from my blog on other websites or for any other purpose only with prior permission. If you want to use any material from my blog please contact me by email.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tube of the Month: The 836


With last months tube of the month post I started a small series of articles about transmitting type tubes. Although I use a lot of TV damper tubes as rectifiers, there are also some 'real' rectifiers which I like. One of them the 866A which was already covered in an article last year. This months tube is a vacuum rectifier, the 836:

Like the 866A, the 836 is a single diode. Two of them are needed for a full wave rectifier or four oif them for a full wave bridge. It has the same pinout as the 866A, a UX4 base and a medium size cap.

The pinout can be seen on the left. Only two of the base pins are used for filament connections. The plate is brought out to the cap. The 836 is of the indirectly heated type. It has two cathodes which are internally connected to either side of the filament. Unless it is used at the very limits, a 836 has characteristics similar to the 866A. In many applications they can be interchanged. This is especially useful if you build a power supply with the 866A but want to test it with a vacuum rectifier first. Or you only use the mercury vapour tubes at special occasions, when you want to savor the blue glow. Since the 836 is indirectly heated, it has a fairly low voltage drop as can be seen in the plate characteristic curve:

A beautiful tube with a nice large ST (shoulder type) glass bottle which is the same size as a 300B:

With a size of over 16cm and a diameter of about 5.5cm a pair of these looks quite impressive on a power supply! Being a vaccum rectifier the 836 does not need any special precautions like 30sec warm up before plate voltage can be applied or even 30min warm up after they have been in transport. They are as straight forward to use as any other indirectly heated rectifier and provide a nice, slow ramp up of the high voltage output. There is also no restriction with regard to mounting position. While a mercury vapour tube shall always be operated vertically and base down, the 836 can be use din any position. This tube was manufactured by all major companies which produced transmitting tubes. Here is a selection of 4 different 836:

Here is a close up of the logo of an Electronic Enterprises Inc. tube:

The base of a Marshall Electronics 836:

Let's have a closer look at the construction of the tube. The next photo shows the plate structure:

Inside the two tubes in the plate structure are two separate cathode sleeves with the filament inside.

At the top end both filaments are connected by the thick metal wire on top of the ceramic support:

A 836 with the heater lit up:

A close up of the top:

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is the second article of a small series about transmitting type tubes. Over the next month I will cover more tubes from the 800 series, stay tuned!

Best regards


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tube Box Art, Part 8: Arcturus


Today I will show the tube boxes of a radio tube manufacturer who was famous for the beautiful artwork: Arcturus.

I could not find much about the history of this company. It was founded in the 1920ies in Newark, New Jersey, USA. The actual year of their incorporation seems unclear. Some sources state 1927, others 1926. On some of their boxes it says 'since 1925'.

They were famous for the use of an observatory as motif on their boxes, as on this packaging of the 101A (equivalent to the UX201A):

The photo above shows all 4 sides of this stunning box. Another trademark of Arcturus was the use of blue glass for their tubes. Here a photo with one of the 101A unboxed:
The next photo shows 4 boxes of the 37 triode, the artwork has changed a little, but it kept the observatory as the theme:
The tube sin this box are globe shaped 37s, still with the beautiful blue glass:

A close up of the tube:

The top and bottom sides got closed with pieces of cardboards which got attached to the main box with little metal clips as seals:

The tube could not be removed from the box without damaging the seal. This was a way to ensure the tube was unused. The tube could be tested in the box, without removing them. The seals corroded a bit over time but are still intsct on these boxes.

A close up of the seal:

The boxes of a 71A (left) and a 45 (right):

When they changed to ST style tubes no more blue glass was used.

Another style of 45 boxes, still carrying the observatory:

The inner box kas the main motif and is protected by an outer sleeve. More views of this style packaging:

A shot of the packaging with the tube:

The observatory was kept well injto the era of octal tubes. Here a 6SF5 and 12SF5:

Top and bottom of the boxes:

As all the tube manufacturers, they also changed to simpler, less fancy motifs later on, here the boxes of 6AX4 TV damper tubes:

Top and bottom views.

The photo above gives the indication for 1925 as the founding year. I have no information how long this company produced tubes, or if they got acquired by another company at some time.

Best regards