I hate tubes/valves

Okay, yeah, they are way retro-cooler than solid-state shit. However, most of you are too young to have experienced the heyday of the electronic tube/valve, but there was a time when these objects sat in the places transistors and integrated circuits would eventually occupy. They were a remnant of the 19th century which lasted in use well into my adulthood. Younguns who are still baffled may compare them with the black chips on their electronica, except really limited, but the Edison Effect is still wicked cool.

Anyway, if a radio or TV was on the fritz (another technical term) I had to pull the tubes and test them on the machine by the front door of the pharmacy. Odds were 50:50 that they would fail the test, good or not, wasting my money.

Much later, I went into the shop, claiming that my cat had barfed on the XYZ tube and I needed a new one.

“How do you know that’s the right one,” asked the tech.

“Because it’s arcing (producing a visual flash–which it was NOT supposed to do, ever) even when I turn the TV off.”


People who were familiar with repairing crappy tech grew taciturn. Today one cannot visually determine the bad chip unless it is REALLY bad and starts melting.

Tomorrow my challenge will be cooling a brilliant video projector on a seagoing yacht and deciding the more economical route: cooling it with the ambient, and salty, air, or creating an entirely-new HVAC zone that gets filtered, cool air but never gets warm air. The former buys a new $25K projector every year. The latter lets the latter survive a few years but creates a new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) zone without the warm air, which is expensive.

Appendix A: Yes, I’m back dismissing $25K as a minor yearly expense. I love this business!

Appendix B: True story: On typical jobs I define on the drawings the heat created by a projector and note that the zone needs to draw off X amount of heat. On one job the HVAC guys simply made the projector housing another HVAC zone so the projector was cooled in the summer but warmed in the winter. It was ages before we figured out why the projector kept getting so hot it shut down in the winter.

This a pretty damn specific rant and honestly I didn’t understand about 60% of it.

Ha ha. I understood about 60% because my boyfriend restores vintage electronics for a living. We’ve been together about 3 years now. In about 3 more years I might understand the rest. :stuck_out_tongue:

I understood the OP, but I don’t see the rant. What particularly are you mad about?

Hard to believe that there are still people in this world who buy tube audio devices on purpose.

Sounds like a job for a split ductless system.

I was the in-house engineer at a video production company. The ancient equipment in this place generated so much heat that we needed to run the air conditioner for the equipment room in the winter.

Apart form the lack of reliability, running expenses, getting shocks from anode caps, removing shattered glass envelopes from tight valve bases, getting scorched fingers from heaters and large volt droppers, having to constantly remake cooked out soldered joints, have difficulty sourcing associated components to withstand the much higher voltages, just what is your beef with valves?

Valves are fantastic, in guitar amps, and thats about it.

Yep. Friend of mine got his guitar-playing son a Marshall tube amp for Christmas. Sweet-sounding machine, I must say.

BTW, can someone point to a site that describes what typical tube components do, exactly? I’ve always wondered.

I thought this was going be a rant about the internet. Isnt it just a series of tubes and valves?

Interconnected tubes.

Audiophiles will go out of thier way to spend the most money for the goofiest, most unreliable, ugliest device possibly imaginable. Invariably, exposed tubes are part of the design.

I loves me some tubes in my guitar amp.

Ewwwww!! People who split their ducts are freaks!!

No ducts are involved, therefore no ducts are being split.

<Looks up at the thread title again, then shakes his head>

I need new glasses and/or I need to get my mind out of the gutter.

I read that thread title as “I hate tuba’s vulva”.

I DO miss that extremely hot/burning dust smell you used to get when you turned on something with vacuum tubes in it that had not been turned on for awhile…

Yes, it is a rather nostalgic scent, isn’t it? Imagine attending an event where there are several hundred tube televisions in operation at the same time. It tends to stay in your memory.

Yep, love my Fender tube amps. Got a reissue Blackface Twin that has more tubes than you can shake a stick at.

Wordman does a wonderful job in this thread of describing tubes, what they do and why.


You didn’t win the thread, exactly, but you sure won something. I just can’t quite figure out what.