Best books on Vacuum tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by raul, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. raul

    raul Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    earth
    what books would you recommend for learning about how tubes work in a circuit? there are so many...which ones are best? what about the old electronics books for the 60's and 70's? are those good? or are modern ones better?
     
  2. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

    Messages:
    1,059
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Tejas
    I have one of the military Basic electronics books in print.
    TP me if you are interested in buying it. That way you can
    take it with you to read it and aren't stuck on the computer.

    I've sold a couple to TGPers that I pick up at yard sales and such
    and the've been quite happy with them.
     
  3. fabiomayo

    fabiomayo Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    Niteroi - RJ, Brazil
    A LOT of old books here:
    http://www.pmillett.com/tecnical_books_online.htm

    I have 'Valve Amplifiers' by Morgan Jones on order per other's recommendations.
    I own The Ultimate Tone volume 1 - good read, requires a few basic knowledge
    on some topics and also explain things quite well from the start on others. I thought
    it was worth the price (if only they'd returned my emails I might even buy another volume).
    A good, more basic reading is Dave Hunter's 'Guitar Amp Handbook'.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    One of the grandaddy's is Theory of Thermionic Vacuum Tubes by Chaffee. You'll find it in a lot of the bibliographies of later works. Very technical, but goes into depth about what makes a vacuum tube do its thing. For another early work, look for Theory and Applications of Electron Tubes by Reich. If memory serves, both are available on line somewhere (I found mine on FleaBay and old book shops). After you digest those, the stuff you find in the Radiotron Designer's Handbook (RDH4) makes a heck of a lot more sense.
     
  5. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

    Messages:
    6,187
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Normal Heights, Calif
    All listed above are great. I would also advise a good RCA Tube Manual. The versions are listed as R-(a number). Higher numbers are later versions and have more data that would be of interest to guitar amp people. R-27 is a good one.

    Very few older books are bad, but they can be hard reads sometimes. I like to read any of the old ones I come across. Might be something new inside. I recently read a Sam Facts Handyman book that was pretty awful though.
     
  6. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Another thought on the general topic of tube-related reading: what's your real objective?

    A basic understanding of how a vacuum tube operates is pretty easy to come by. I'll call this the "neat to know" level.

    Slightly more in depth is an understanding of a tube's operating parameters and expected values in a given circuit. Let's call this the "technician's" level. To get what's going on here, it's assumed that the reader has a good grounding in circuit operation and problem diagnosis.

    Finally, there's what I'll call the "designer's" level. Here the assumption is that you've got the prerequisite training in mathematics and physics (and, I should add, an ear for it ;)) to understand how to set up the circuit so the tube operates the way you want it to (as opposed to the technician who's only expected to understand what someone else designed).

    I'd argue that books like Chaffee and RDH4 are geared towards the designer. Kevin O'Connor's series strikes me as half technician half designer. Same goes for the RCA Receiving tube manuals, though these tend more towards "technician". For "neat to know" there are all kinds of threads right here on TGP that walk through the basics of "how tubes work" in layman's language.

    So the point is really to decide how far down the rabbit hole you want to go and choose your reading with that in mind.
     
  7. epluribus

    epluribus Member

    Messages:
    9,171
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    What about Hack? :)

    Seriously, that's a terrific point, Todd, nice how you put the recommendations in context that way.

    One thing I would add that doesn't qualify as a book...get a good guinea pig. Navy NEETS is a terrific start-from-scratch manual, but it went straight in one side of my brain and out the other till I tried each concept out on actual wires as I went. My recommendation for a 10X gain in effectiveness is, after you get a good book, get a cheap orphan amp, a few feet of jumper leads, and the real turbo-charger--a breadboard. (Soldering iron and DMM not included, but both very inexpensive.) Now it takes much longer for all the knowledge to get out the other side of my brain. (Capacitance! :))

    --Ray

    Alternatively, something like a RatShack Learning Lab can take you into lots of solid-state stuff too--like making your own pedals. Got mine at a yard sale for ten bucks. Yahoo!
     
  8. raul

    raul Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    earth
    thanks for all of the advice on books and learning. i now have about 3 kits i'm going to slowly work on...a Maxitronix 130 - 1 kit, an Elenco siren and LED kit and a few kids learning kits that teach basics at a kid level, which is what i need. i'm new to this stuff and the ease in which these materials are presented is great.

    went out and got the Forrest Mims Getting Started In Electronics book. and i'm on the hunt for a good copy of an RCA tube book. i found someone local who may be able to get me one..,oh, i also found the Navy Basic Electricity book at Barnes and Noble for 12 bucks...

    i want to learn as much as my little brain can take...building and fixing pedals and working on my amps...and what ever else i may want to work on. gadgets seem like fun, but adictive. and, maybe even work with my wife on her movie projects. that would be nice. productions always seem to need someone who can work on electronics...
     
  9. Jason Carter

    Jason Carter Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,626
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    The Boot
    This is a good place to start. It is the NEETS training manuals used by the military:

    http://www.zianet.com/nmamars/downloads/neets.htm

    After you digest that information, try some of these books:

    Inside the Vacuum Tube - John Rider
    Valve Amplifiers - Morgan Jones
    Building Valve Amplifiers - Morgan Jones
    TUT1 - KOC
    Pricipals of Power - KOC

    I'm really digging Richard Kuehnel's new book

    Vacuum Tube Circuit Design: Guitar Amplifier Preamps

    If you have not checked out Randall Aikens site it is great place to visit.
     
  10. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

    Messages:
    17,118
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Location:
    NJ...GSP135
    Best I've ever read.
     
  11. raul

    raul Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    earth
    does anyone know if the Navy Basic Electricity book, is the same information as the Navy NEET modules? for some reason, i think they may be different. is that so? in the Basic Electricity book, i don't see the chapter on tubes.
    Is there an actual book version of the Navy NEET modules? rather the pdf format?
     
  12. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    If it's the one I'm thinking of, you've got the book used for a self-paced course the Navy runs (ran?) called "Basic Electricity & Electronics", also known as "BEEP School", though I've no idea where the "P" comes from. I've long forgotten the contents of the book (I took the course in 1981), but what made it so effective was the inclusion of practical exercises. You'd read a bit and then go play with an example circuit. The test for each section was to go troubleshoot an intentionally broken example circuit, calculate circuit values, etc. (I recall getting really tired of playing with multivibrator circuits...).

    The NEETS modules were/are a whole 'nother kettle of fish -- intended for self-paced study for folks out at sea. You used to be able to order them in hardcover (I still have most of 'em that way), but have no idea if you still can.
     
  13. raul

    raul Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    earth
    i really like the content of the NEET modules. i'm going to hunt for a book version so i wont have to be sitting in front of a computer every time i want to look at them. plus, i just love books.
    still, the Basic Electricity book is pretty cool.
     
  14. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

    Messages:
    6,187
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Normal Heights, Calif
    So many jokes, so little time. The P comes from "Basic Electricy & Electronics Program"
     
  15. Jason Carter

    Jason Carter Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,626
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    The Boot
    Raul,

    I had Kinkos/Fedex make me some copies of the sections I wanted to read.


     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice