Re-tensioning this type of tube socket

barely real

Member
Messages
100
My amp has power tube sockets that have contacts like this:


The tutorials I've seen for re-tensioning sockets always refer to sockets that have these contacts:


Is it possible to re-tension the type of sockets my amp has? 2 of the sockets have a much looser grip on the other two and I'd like to tighten them up...
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,026
I have some of those. Are they really loose? If so, you could try to remove one and see how it goes outside of the socket.
 

Jeff Gehring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,176
Warning: if the socket is a cheap one of recent manufacture, I've seen some of those fork-lug type contacts that were made of the metallic equivalent of jello. NO spring tension there, and once they splayed out the socket was junk, since the metal would just pooch right out again even if you removed the lugs from the socket and bent them inwards.
 

barely real

Member
Messages
100
They're PCB mounted (from an Ampeg VL-1002) so if I was to remove them to try to bend the contacts then I guess I might as well just replace them altogether once they're out. Hopefully I can find a drop-in replacement that has the more typical/robust contacts to swap the two loose ones out for. I've never had an issue with the other two sockets, so I'm not sure if I should risk unnecessary PCB soldering if they've held up for the past 24 years of the amp's life.
 

Tone Meister

Member
Messages
3,268
Warning: if the socket is a cheap one of recent manufacture, I've seen some of those fork-lug type contacts that were made of the metallic equivalent of jello. NO spring tension there, and once they splayed out the socket was junk, since the metal would just pooch right out again even if you removed the lugs from the socket and bent them inwards.
Yep ^^
 

Kyle B

Member
Messages
5,073
If you're doing one, might as well do 'em all. False economy not to. Belton makes a decent PCB mount socket that seems to match the footprint of cheaper ones.
 

barely real

Member
Messages
100
Hmm, while I'm at it, does anyone know where to get "normal contact" PCB octal sockets in black? Something like this, only PCB mount:
 

Steppin' Wolfe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,059
barelyreal, I have a modified plastic-handled screwdriver that works on any socket. I worked the blade down almost to a point but left some of the square edges there on the taper. That way, I can get the point down on the outside of any kind of 'clinch' in the socket and use a little pressure to retension things. No problems. With the sockets in t eh second picture, we are looking to change the diameter of that pin contact. With the first type you show us, we are looking to push those blades just a little bit closer to each other....so you would put the pint into one side there and lightly adjust that blade toward the center of the pin hole.
 

Kyle B

Member
Messages
5,073
Yep.

According to the specs it looks like a direct drop in, but have you had any luck re-tensioning them? I'm concerned that they're essentially non-serviceable like my current sockets...Any idea?
It's been 24 years since you've worried about that. Renew the sockets and I suspect you'll be in a nursing home b4 they are an issue again ;)
Honestly, I do this stuff as a hobby - I don't do enough of them to mess around with partial repairs like spraying solvent into scratchy pots or retensioning non-vintage sockets. I believe in just replacing with new stuff (when possible). These sockets are pretty nice, it's not hard to unsolder the old sockets. ..
..
But ... I do alotta soldering... so I'm good at this stuff. How's your skills??
 

barely real

Member
Messages
100
Yep.

It's been 24 years since you've worried about that. Renew the sockets and I suspect you'll be in a nursing home b4 they are an issue again ;)
Ahahah ok, fair enough! My soldering skills are good enough for pedals, but my experience with amps is pretty limited. I know tube sockets are more critical than anything in a 9v pedal, so I'll have to get my act together before starting this project. I've had problems with desoldering on PCBs in the past and having traces lift, so that's something I'll really need to take care with.

Thanks for your help!
 

Kyle B

Member
Messages
5,073
Ahahah ok, fair enough! My soldering skills are good enough for pedals, but my experience with amps is pretty limited. I know tube sockets are more critical than anything in a 9v pedal, so I'll have to get my act together before starting this project. I've had problems with desoldering on PCBs in the past and having traces lift, so that's something I'll really need to take care with.

Thanks for your help!
":)

BTW, no shame in seeking out a tech ;)
 

barely real

Member
Messages
100
In case anybody ever needs to replace the sockets on their Ampeg VL, I thought I'd post an update. The normal Belton PCB sockets fit perfectly in the chassis holes and the pins line up on the PCB, but the pins aren't quite long enough to make it through the PCB. So I had to return those and order the long pin version. The pins on these are too long, so they stick out a bit past the PCB. They're not in danger of shorting on anything whatsoever, but it is a little ugly. Really solid feeling sockets though, which I definitely don't anticipate wearing out any time soon.
 

Kyle B

Member
Messages
5,073
In case anybody ever needs to replace the sockets on their Ampeg VL, I thought I'd post an update. The normal Belton PCB sockets fit perfectly in the chassis holes and the pins line up on the PCB, but the pins aren't quite long enough to make it through the PCB. So I had to return those and order the long pin version. The pins on these are too long, so they stick out a bit past the PCB. They're not in danger of shorting on anything whatsoever, but it is a little ugly. Really solid feeling sockets though, which I definitely don't anticipate wearing out any time soon.
Glad it worked out for you! Thanks for the update :)
 




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