Tube Lore/TubeData
Two Handy References

By Ray Bintliff

From Antique Radio Classified

Two new offerings have crossed the editorial desk at A.R.C. Tube Lore by Ludwell Sibley and Tubedata from Sonoran Publishing. Although Sibley's book is the subject of Alan's excellent review on the opposite page, some additional thoughts about the book occurred to me that may be of interest.

In his first chapter, Trends in Tube Design, Sibley describes some innovative tube designs that were introduced starting in the mid-1930s. He packs a lot of information into that short chapter, and it is interesting and easy reading indeed. The short lived Nuvistor is one of the unique tube designs described in this chapter.

In Alan's review, he noted the absence of information regarding the use of TV vertical deflection tubes in audio application. Sibley has provided such information on six triodes in an errata sheet insertion. In addition to noting some corrections, the errata sheet also includes additional information on tubes for Rogers of Canada, as well as tube substitutions and auction prices.

The book reflects the author's excellent knowledge of vacuum tubes and his diligent research.

Like Tube Lore, Tubedata is a handy reference that can expedite your journey through the jungle of existing tube data. But, there are some differences. Tubedata is furnished on a 3.5 inch floppy diskette for IBM compatible computers. It contains 27,000 entries and includes European, American and Russian tube types. Also included are military tube types from the U. S., Great Britain and Sweden.

Although a DOS program, Tubedata will run under Windows. The program is easy to install and use. Its computer requirements are modest--an IBM compatible PC with at least 4 MB of free space on its hard drive, and VGA graphics.

The data and format has a European approach that may require American readers to readjust their thinking, but it is not a difficult transition to make. For example, some abbreviations used with tube characteristics are different from those used in the States. "Va" is used to denote anode voltage instead of the "Ep" (for plate voltage) used in the U. S. Tube pinouts may cause some initial confusion, but just remember that an anode and a plate are the same thing.

Since Russian tubes are included, some combination keystrokes are used to generate the Cyrillic characters that differ from the Latin alphabet. A useful set of instructions that explain this and other features is included with the disk.

The search feature is easy to use and the screen displays two windows so that data for two tube types may be called up at the same time. This dual display capability is useful for making side-by-side comparisons of tube data. Typically, the displayed data include basic characteristics, such as filament voltage and current, maximum plate voltage and current, transconductance, etc., as well as the manufacturer, the year, and the source(s) of additional information. The referenced sources cover a wide range of U. S. and European publications. Coincidentally, one of the publications often cited is Tube Lore.

For most tubes, base diagrams (pinouts) are also included.

Tubedata is a comprehensive listing of tube types from worldwide manufacturers, including the U. S., Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Germany, and Russia. It is an ideal aid for radio and tube collectors, circuit designers and others. Created by Åke Holm in Sweden, the disk is distributed in the U. S. by Sonoran Publishing, 116 N. Roosevelt, Suite 121, Chandler, Arizona, 85226. It retails for $39.95 and is sold by A.R.C. and other vendors.

(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Ln., Acton, MA 01720)


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