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Gary Steinbaugh (AF8L) is an ER contributor and a professional electronics engineer that enjoys working with electron tube equipment, and who realizes that just because the technology is now “vintage” does not mean that it’s not useful, lots of fun, and can provide an opportunity to learn a different side of electronics. The book is specifically written to explain what a tube tester is, how it evaluates a tube, and gives examples of tube testers that can be built at home by an experimenter of average ability. The author also specializes in power supply construction and there are several excellent projects.
I especially enjoyed his introductory chapter “Electron Tubes: An Overview.” Gary starts with statements about how tube-based equipment can have certain advantages, even today, then gives a brief historical outline. The chapter concludes by translating in-depth electron tube engineering terms into useful information that non-engineers can easily understand. It’s written in a friendly manner, not “stuffy” like a college text.
In 222 pages and 18 chapters many fun and useful projects are described. There are many color pages throughout the book, making it sparkle. The power supply projects are not simply uninspiring contraptions built on square aluminum chassis, but are reminiscent of some projects in Bill Orr’s Radio Handbook during the late 1950s that were very attractive. An example is the “Dual High Voltage Regulator.” This is a color photo in the book.
Another real surprise was seeing three fully functional one-inch CRT scope projects built into beautiful clear acrylic cabinets. This has taken homebrew projects to an art form. The chapter titled “Construction Techniques” contains information on working with acrylic panels, glass, laminating panel labels, and working with aluminum sheet that has been gathered from years of homebrew construction.
There has never seen so much good, practical construction information in one place before. It’s like having a master craftsman working beside you, ready with advise.
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