Here you can find information and schematics for some of the projects I’ve done. They are categorized, as follows:
- Automotive Electronics – calibrations and toys
- Electron Tube Audio – tunes via fire bottles
- Home Automation – make your house kinda smart
Although I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, the economics at the time of my graduation lead me in the direction of software development. I did specialize in computer engineering, however my software engineering skills are largely self-taught. Over the past few years, I had been doing nothing with hardware at home (due to living conditions) and little at work (with the exception of device drivers). Since then, I have been trying to resurrect my electronics skills using various hobby-related projects, many of which have been sitting half-completed in boxes.
All of the cutting and milling and drilling is finally done.
Here are all the various bits and pieces, made mostly from scraps, all put together:
More about the build here. Next step is paint….
With a custom power transformer from Edcor, I could finally try this amp with some borrowed 300Bs. This transformer’s primary is tapped so that it can be used with either 300Bs or 45s:
XPWR131 - 330-260-0-260-330 @ 175mA, 6.3 V CT @ 4A, 5V @ 3A
Voltages came in a bit high, even under load. The top row is the Tubelab SE in “45 mode”, with about 25mA per tube. Meters are reading: 660VAC winding, 520VAC winding, B+ at the filter cap. Bottom row is in “300B mode”, running Shuguang 300Bs (not mine) at about 28mA per tube. First two meters got swapped: 520VAC winding, 660VAC winding, B+.
With the 300Bs biased to 80mA, the 660VAC winding gets pulled down exactly to spec: 660VAC. B+ sags to around 370-375 VDC. Supposedly this is the ideal spot for the 300B. These tubes are Shuguang’s aptly-named “300BS”, which have mesh plates and globe-shaped glass. They have a weird blue glow on the glass, presumably from electrons flying through the gaps in the mesh.
With the right iron, the Tubelab Simple SE comes to life. After a sanity-check with cheap Chinese tubes, here is the amp running with JJ 6L6GCs strapped as triodes. The amp sounds sweet with a bit more power than the Tubelab SE.
This coincides with the new speakers that I recently got off of Craigslist: a pair of Klipsch KLF-10s. The horns on these do cause ear fatigue on the Dynaco, but with this amp it is more subdued. I am hoping that the DHTs in the Tubelab SE will be even better.
The basement in currently under construction, so the setup is a bit MacGyver.
So I’ve finally built-up this Tubelab SE, a small, single-ended, 2 watt amp. It’s currently in breadboard form, but it sounds amazing. Awesome detail, impressive bass, and something warm about the sound.
These are the output tubes on my Thomas amp. You can see the blue glow against the glass from stray electrons. This is very common with Sylvania tubes. Behind the blue glow, is the red glowing line from the electron beam hitting the plates (I can’t get the bias to go any lower with this amp). The two together look purple to the camera.
I have read contradictory discussions about blue glow against the glass envelope. Blue glow coming from inside or near the anode or other structures is normal, but some say that blue glow outside of that means a soft vacuum. Sylvania claims the opposite and that fluorescent glow inside the envelope is normal for some tubes. It results from stray electrons bombarding near the glass envelope and will change in brightness depending on the intensity of the signal passing through the tube. This is exactly what I see with these Philips JAN tubes, which are basically Sylvania. In fact when I push the amp really hard well into cut-off, the tubes will flash brightly signaling me to back-off
The “Winged-C” SED EL34s in the Dynakit seem to fluoresce at the screen behind the plate:
09/16/2008: Version 60.17 (based on “Blueberry60”) – Add timing back to AdvanceFromMapWarmFull so that retard window is from 2.5 – 10psi. Also add a couple of degrees before and after that. Scale FuelMonitorScaling down instead of up (duh) to try to match observed mileage. Set StartFuelCompBaro back to stock to try to address insufficient fuel at cold start. Change AdvanceFromRpms under 1500 back to original BB60.
07/07/2008: Version 60.16 (based on “Blueberry60”) – Revert ColdEnrichmentFuelCurveA back to stock since AIS changes seemed to address part of lean startup conditions. Remove more timing from AdvanceFromMapWarmFull to widen range down to -2psi.
Disclaimer: Many of the projects described in these web pages use potentially dangerous voltages, materials, and components. The author assumes no liability for damages incurred through the use or misuse of the information provided herein. This information is provided "as is" and without warranties as to performance of or any other warranties whether expressed or implied. No warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is offered.
Copyright Notice: All contents of these pages are Copyright ©1996-2015 by Russ W. Knize. All Rights Reserved. The information presented in this section may be used for personal, non-commercial use only. Any commercial applications of this design or any part thereof requires previous licensing arrangements with the author and copyright holder, Russ W. Knize.