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RCA JAN 83 rectifier tube flakes

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  • RCA JAN 83 rectifier tube flakes

    Just purchased a 50's Military Hickok TV series tubes tester. It has a USN GE 5Y3WGTB and a RCA JAN 83 in it. The 5Y3 is sweet, but the big bottle 83 has flakes shaking around in it, as well as stuck to the inside of the bottle. I can see where they came from, mostly from one of the diode section shields? I don't actually know what they are called. Also, the bottom of the inside glass has something going on, on one side. Are these problems? The tester seems to work, but I have no way to verify it is accurate, and it is acting a little uneven at times. I went inside looking for possible electrolytic to replace and found this. Also, I just noticed a bit of fog inside the bottle, this cannot be a good thing.
    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

  • #2
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H


    • #3

      All it takes is for a flake or two to get in between the plate and cathode, and your tube shorts, doing no favors to the transformer.
      Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


      • #4
        Guys.... the 83 is mercury vapor rectifier. The debris & "fog" seen inside = mercury metal.

        If it works, don't fix it, leave it alone. And expect to see a purple glow inside, also normal in mercury vapor tubes.

        Some years ago, also for a tube tester, I had to find a replacement, the 83 in it really was kaput. No luck with that. I subbed a pair of 1N4007 and got on with life.

        I see there are some up for offer on eBay. I've also tried chasing down 83's at the usual suspects - US and Canada tube dealers - to find they're "in the catalog but currently unavailable" so good luck with that.

        More to read up on the 83:

        Antique Radio Forums ? View topic - 83 Rectifier

        In any case, don't break the glass & sniff up the vapor, guaranteed bad for you! As in permanent brain damage.
        Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.


        • #5
          There are NOS available on eBay, but not inexpensive. So, I am still confused as to whether I should replace or "leave it alone".
          It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....


          • #6
            Originally posted by Randall View Post
            There are NOS available on eBay, but not inexpensive. So, I am still confused as to whether I should replace or "leave it alone".
            Knowing it could be replaced with a couple of 1N4007, wouldn't recommend sweating it too much. Try what's suggested in Antique Radio Forum: let your 83 warm up its filament, no hi voltage on the plates, see if that gunk inside the tube settles down to a glob or 3 of liquid mercury at the tube base. Then test it and if you get equal or near equal current on each plate then you're good to go. And if not, break out that pair of '07s, solder 'em in, and discard your shagged-out 83 at Home Despot or Lowes in that bin where we're s'posed to toss worn out CFL lamps.
            Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.


            • #7
              Looks like the 83 can take some pretty high voltages, way more PIV than a single pair of 1N4007s could accommodate
              So before turning traitor and fitting silicon rectification, best to check the max Vac off the PT HT winding, eg unloaded with the 83 removed; if up near / past 350Vac then more than one pair of 1kV diodes are needed.
              My band:-


              • #8
                I get seeing the mercury inside the tube, but that one plate looks like it's lost a sizeable chunk of its outer layer of metal. I don't think we should be seeing that white section, when the rest of the plates look evenly covered. I say chuck it.

                But not before getting out the mercury and having some fun first... >:O

                "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
                "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
                "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -


                • #9
                  This SS kit seems to be designed for and tested in your application, feedback is good:
                  "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey


                  • #10
                    2 sides to the argument of replacing the 83 with SS. I vote no. I have a I-177B military tester and did lots of reading on this. Like was said, let the tester stand normal upright for a few minutes, power on. The mercury will get splattered all over if stored or used on it's side. If you go solid state, you are taking a load off the power transformer, which has a lot of sag to begin with, some of your reading may be off. They are not that expensive anyway.
                    Antique Radio Forums ? View topic - WTB- for an 83 tube