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Valve Tester - Recommendations

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by effinity, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. effinity

    effinity ya memba

    I'm interested in buying a valve tester, initially to check a couple of 6SJ7's out but with wider capabilities.

    Is it realistic to be thinking in terms of up to £100 Or should I seek out a local valve specialist as it's going to be ad hoc?

    I'm in Chorley, Lancs.

    Thanks, Steve
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    You’ll be incredibly lucky to find a valve tester for £100 let aline one that works! I bought the little Orange Amps one (about £350) recently, but I don’t think it does 6SJ7s. Its very limited in the valves it tests, just common guitar amp ones, but it does all the ones I use aside from rectifiers so was worth the investment.
    effinity likes this.
  3. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    I have seen 1? 2? come up for sale in the past 12 months (on Paybay, of course). IIRC they went for something like £400 or so, certainly no less.

    Arkless is the man for details, but for very many valves, the commercial testers are testing a million miles from the conditions they run under in hifi, so are EXTREMELY dubious as to how useful/relevant they are.

    One of the trade contributors here mentioned that he had built a more relevant tester, hopefully they will find this thread and contribute.
    effinity likes this.
  4. effinity

    effinity ya memba

    Yeah.......I should have done a search before posting the thread, there's quite a bit of coverage on the subject I see :)
  5. David W Brown

    David W Brown pfm Member

    Like to see how you get on with that fella. I bought one a few years ago. It's passed quite a few known dead valves. I'm rather suspicious of it.
  6. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I don't have one and don't want one... and I have a mate who has several and would just give me an Avo or Mullard if I asked.... And this from someone who does this for a living.... I don't own a chocolate fireguard either!
    effinity and Vinny like this.
  7. effinity

    effinity ya memba

  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    So far it has indicated a quad of ‘worn’ Sovtek EL84 that I’d run before fully rebuilding the Leak (some resistor values were well out at that point so may have stressed them). Everything else has passed. It found a few ECC81s, 83s etc with less than perfectly matched triodes (which still sound fine). I haven’t actually got any dead valves on hand to test. I just wish it did rectifiers!
  9. David W Brown

    David W Brown pfm Member

    Aye, got my eye on that AVO4 on fleabay at the moment, instead of borrowing a friends MK3 every now and then ;-)
  10. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    We had an AVO mkIII at a place I used to work - it never got used and that was in the days when most of the kit was still valve. Substitution is a better bet unless you want to sell valves in which case quoting test figures, however meaningless, give potential buyers a bit of confidence.
  11. brecklandboy

    brecklandboy pfm Member

    Substituting valves with no test measurements seems like a rather 'hit and miss' approach to me. Presumably with this methodology you would ascertain the 'goodness' of a particular valve by ear if it works or possibly by the fuse blowing on your amplifier if it doesn't .

    I particularly would not recommend this practice with potentially suspect heavy duty rectifier valves such as GZ34 , 5U4G types as you could easily cause some costly damage to equipment in the event of failure.

    Valve testers may not be ideal for evaluating some valves types but a 'tested' valve from a decent tester like an AVO is surely a better option for most hi-fi enthusiasts than an untested one especially if you are intending to install it in expensive equipment.
  12. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    I should have pointed out that it`s best to use known good valves for substitution.

    I`ve never broken any equipment by fitting a duff valve, with power devices it obviously pays to observe voltages and watch for arcing when first fitting them.

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