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eHam Forums => Amplifiers => Topic started by: KD7HNN on May 27, 2019, 09:03:16 PM



Title: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD7HNN on May 27, 2019, 09:03:16 PM
Hi all,

My original plan was to go solid state amp like one of the Expert amps. I'm still open to going SS, but recently I've seen a few Alpha 78's for sale at a reasonable price so I could go that way as well. If I decide to go the Alpha 78 route to save some money, are there any performance mods I should be looking for the amp to have or is an unmodified Alpha 78 still a good get?

Thank you


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AD4U on May 28, 2019, 04:40:05 AM
I have a Alpha 78. IMO it is a great amp. Tubes are not available so make sure the one you buy has good tubes. If you watch grid current and not try to get more than 1500 watts, the tubes should last a very long time. Some 78's have a high drive board (150 watts in for 1500 watts out) and some 78's have a low drive board (70 watts in for 1500 watts out). A low drive board can be made for several dollars so don't buy the one on the internet for $50.

Dick AD4U


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: N8FVJ on May 28, 2019, 06:03:25 AM
My antenna has 2 to 1 SWR on 75 meters and 1.7 or less on other ham bands. I can tune the SWR lower due to the variable capacitance on the tube amp, thus do not need an antenna tuner. SS amps would not tolerate 2 to 1 SWR and I only have two knobs to tune.

Problem with the Alpha amp is the tubes. NOS are very expensive and used are a crap shoot IMO. There are two Tompson 3CX800 pre-order tubes on ebay for $600 each and not sure of the quality. Only well made tube left are Chinese 3-500z that is known to produce full power after 10 years use. Chinese 3-500Z are only $200 new. For 800 watts PEP out the Heathkit SB-1000, Ameritron AL-80A or AL-80B and Amp Supply LK-450 are great amps. Do not get a AL-80 as it is a poor design with problems.

If you want more power at 1200-1400 PEP out buy a rebuilt Heathkit SB-220. Old Heathkits need a complete rebuild and rebuilt do not cost more than $800 with careful shopping. A Drake L4B is great when rebuilt. A newer amp that does not need rebuilding is a AMP Supply LK-500 series and it has 160 meters. The Heathkit and Drake need a keying replay interface if not already installed. About $30 cost.

The suggested amps are not as pretty as an Alpha, but are much more reasonable regarding costs and especially so over the long run.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W9IQ on May 28, 2019, 06:47:25 AM
I can tune the SWR lower due to the variable capacitance on the tube amp...

Perhaps that is just a figure of speech but the output circuit of the linear does not change the SWR. It simply adjusts the output impedance of the amplifier to be a conjugate impedance match for the input impedance of the antenna feedline. The SWR stays the same after the tuning is done.

- Glenn W9IQ


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: G3RZP on May 28, 2019, 07:45:30 AM
Whichever you go for, get some spare final devices. If tubes, swap them around every couple of years to keep the getters active - and some glass tubes need the plate  to get red to absorb gas.

The number of SS devices (and manufacturers for  that matter!)that come and gone over the years is  very large.....

If it uses through hole mounted ICs any where, get spares of those while you can....


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on May 28, 2019, 08:38:00 AM
The metering on a tube amplifiers are calibrated into a 50 ohm load. You can adjust the Pi network for output impedances other than 50 ohms but the power metering will not be accurate. Most Pi networks will tune a 3:1 miss match but in the case of higher impedances the tank RF voltage can get much higher. This might cause a problem with voltage ratings on capacitors especially the tune cap. You could experience tube or tune cap arcing.

It is best to use a separate antenna tuner and keep the amplifier output impedance at 50 ohms. This hold true for solid state amplifiers as well.  Amplifier with built in tuners have a very limited range they can tune.

As Dick had mentioned the tube on the Alpha 78 are rare. I am surprised all the spares in the radio kingdom have not come on the market with SK sales.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD7HNN on May 28, 2019, 09:18:28 AM
Thanks for the comments, guys. My initial attraction to SS amps was quick band changing. My antennas are pretty resonant, and I have an Palstar HF-Auto tuner if it's needed. The cost of a used Alpha 78 is a significant savings, and I could live with tuning 10/160m. However i'm more than a little concerned about the lack of availability of the tubes.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AD4U on May 28, 2019, 01:43:21 PM
The Alpha 78 has manual tuning on 160-10 meters AND band pass tuning on 80-15 meters. Your choice-  manual tune or change bands and operate. On antennas with low SWR the band pass tuning on my 78 is as good as manual tuning. The 78 will operate on WARC bands EXCEPT 12 meters. Do not operate it there without mods. The 78 will operate on QSK in CW.

I bought my 78 in 1985. It still operates the original tubes. It will easily give 1500 watts on all bands with 75 watts drive - 90 watts drive on 10 meters for 1500 watts. Full output into a dummy load on SSB is 1900-2100 watts with 100 watts drive with still low grid current.

Granted I have many amps and my 78 is not used often, but when I use it with my TS-930S they are still a good combination.

Dick AD4U


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on May 28, 2019, 06:05:46 PM
No way would I go with a Tube amplifier.  If you want to sell a SS amp it is a lot easier to do.  If you just want the more power and not something that requires extra work to tune up or wait to use then SS is the way to go.  Since you say your antennas are fairly resonant then I would certainly go SS.   I love having a 1500+W Radio that just follows me around the bands without a second though.   If you had asked me this question ten years ago I might have hesitated but tubes are going extinct.  And no matter what people tell you about SS finals becoming hard to get when they are discontinued, any amplifier you buy now you can buy extra finals for cheap and put them down now.  Even the SD2933 that everyone thought had evaporated now seem to have an endless supply on eBay thanks to some guy getting a truck load of OEM units. At $10 a piece I bought 10 of them, that will last me through any foreseeable problems.


73s
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on May 28, 2019, 07:57:30 PM
So where would one go to buy a 1500 watt SS amp with a couple of dB head room for $1500?


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: G4AON on May 29, 2019, 01:36:39 AM
Whichever way you go, there are a couple of issues to be aware of...

Solid state amps will not tolerate overdrive spikes and many transceivers have very poor control of the output power when running less than full power. The same overdrive issue applies to tube/valve amps such as the Acom 1000. Several hams moan that their amps are defective, when in fact it's their lousy transceiver that can't control the output power. Don't use the ALC connection to try and avoid spikes from poor ALC.

Sadly, the ARRL reviews of transceivers do not show the transmit envelope at reduced power, yet it's an easy test to send a few "dits" on a keyer at 20 Watts output and see how well (or how poorly) the transceiver behaves... All it takes is an oscilloscope to check.

Until you have used diode change over you won't appreciate how nice and fast it is. The Elecraft amps use diode c/o and are a delight to use. The poorest amps use open frame relays for a slow and noisy change over. If you are a CW op, forget those old clunky relay amps.

73 Dave


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K4QXX on May 29, 2019, 05:27:28 AM
My opinion, if you have the money, get a solid state amp.  I have been using a Ten Tec Titian amp for over 15 years and it has served me very well.  I just got a Flex PGXL amp last week and I will never go back to a tube amp again.  Instant on, don't have to tune every time I change bands, etc.  I also use my radio remotely quite a bit and it would be almost impossible to do remote with a tube amp.  I believe these newer LDMOS transistors are much more robust than the older transistors.  Only negative is the price of the amps but my guess is when more SS amps become available on the market, the prices will start coming down.

K4QXX


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W1VT on May 29, 2019, 06:16:50 AM
Those old amplifiers using 3cx400s are over 30 years old.  It is quite likely that they are on their spare set of tubes by now.

I've made 30k contacts using a solid state amp I bought five years ago.  I've gotten a lot of value for my money already!


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: N9AOP on May 29, 2019, 08:37:08 AM
New tube amps the likes of OM Power and ACOM are usually 2/3 the price of the same wattage solid state amps.  I don't see the price of the solid states ones coming down.  Elecraft sells their KPA 1500 for approx $6,000 and they are selling many.  Why would they want to go cheaper.  If FLEX ever gets theirs into mass production, I would expect to see similar pricing. 
Art


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on May 29, 2019, 10:42:17 AM
So where would one go to buy a 1500 watt SS amp with a couple of dB head room for $1500?

Where did the OP mention a $1500 spending limit?


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on May 29, 2019, 01:17:38 PM
For $1500 you can buy a nice used 1500 watt tube amplifier with plenty of reserve power.

The best you can do in a SS device is about 600 watts used.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W1VT on May 29, 2019, 01:19:58 PM
Don't forget that you need a 240VAC line to run a 1500W amplifier.  600W amps are popular because it is possible to run them without one.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on May 29, 2019, 01:28:41 PM
If you're going to go solid state, then go all the way. Get a real solid state amp. Not a tube type. And don't worry about using an antenna tuner on a system. They DON'T trick the radio into thinking it has a resonant antenna. It actually DOES make the SYSTEM compatible and you will transmit all your power. (Minus any feedline loss).

But definitely get a real solid state amp.

A friend of mine bought one of the amps from Israel that uses dual 2 x BLF188, which is running each at 750 watts, with plenty of overhead beyond the 1500 watts. He really like it. They make a 1200w version also. My friend thinks they are great. You can find them on ebay. The 1200w version is around $1500-$1700 (2 different models). The 1500w version; technically capable of 2500w, is around $2300. I'm sure someone will complain about them, but I'm going on a review from an actual user. Nothing more.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on May 30, 2019, 08:58:50 PM
If you're going to go solid state, then go all the way. Get a real solid state amp. Not a tube type. And don't worry about using an antenna tuner on a system. They DON'T trick the radio into thinking it has a resonant antenna. It actually DOES make the SYSTEM compatible and you will transmit all your power. (Minus any feedline loss).

But definitely get a real solid state amp.

A friend of mine bought one of the amps from Israel that uses dual 2 x BLF188, which is running each at 750 watts, with plenty of overhead beyond the 1500 watts. He really like it. They make a 1200w version also. My friend thinks they are great. You can find them on ebay. The 1200w version is around $1500-$1700 (2 different models). The 1500w version; technically capable of 2500w, is around $2300. I'm sure someone will complain about them, but I'm going on a review from an actual user. Nothing more.

Went out and looked at the amp...looks a bit crude.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-LDMOS-LINEAR-POWER-AMPLIFIER-LEGAL-LIMIT-/162503347501

I would go with the RF kits out of Germany for $2800,
https://rf-kit.de/en/Products.php



Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on May 30, 2019, 09:49:51 PM
Here's a good used one on ebay. 1KW, but that's only 1.7db lower gain than 1.5kw. (A lot of people think 1500 watts is so much better than 1000 watts. It's barely noticeable.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TOKYO-HY-POWER-Model-HL-1-5KFX-HF-50Mhz-Linear-Amplifier-Solid-State-Ham-Radio/183830765084?epid=1924623588&hash=item2acd2ade1c:g:kacAAOSw04Vc7p~t (https://www.ebay.com/itm/TOKYO-HY-POWER-Model-HL-1-5KFX-HF-50Mhz-Linear-Amplifier-Solid-State-Ham-Radio/183830765084?epid=1924623588&hash=item2acd2ade1c:g:kacAAOSw04Vc7p~t)

And while some people may be against Ameritron; the ALS-1300 is a very good amp. ALS-1306 if you also want 6m on it. HRO has the ALS-1300 for $2400 and free shipping. The ALS-1306 is $2800.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W1BR on May 31, 2019, 09:45:11 AM
For $1500 you can buy a nice used 1500 watt tube amplifier with plenty of reserve power.

The best you can do in a SS device is about 600 watts used.

I paid $1400 for a used MFJ ALS-1300 last year.  It was used and broken in by a contester and he dealt with all of the initial problems and MFJ service.  It came with a spare power supply module,and extra MRF-150 devices.  The prices are coming down due to the newer models (ALS1306) including 6 meters, which is common on newer rigs.  I still keep the SB-220 as a backup, I still don't fully trust SS amps.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 03, 2019, 02:47:09 PM
Here's a good used one on ebay. 1KW, but that's only 1.7db lower gain than 1.5kw. (A lot of people think 1500 watts is so much better than 1000 watts. It's barely noticeable.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TOKYO-HY-POWER-Model-HL-1-5KFX-HF-50Mhz-Linear-Amplifier-Solid-State-Ham-Radio/183830765084?epid=1924623588&hash=item2acd2ade1c:g:kacAAOSw04Vc7p~t (https://www.ebay.com/itm/TOKYO-HY-POWER-Model-HL-1-5KFX-HF-50Mhz-Linear-Amplifier-Solid-State-Ham-Radio/183830765084?epid=1924623588&hash=item2acd2ade1c:g:kacAAOSw04Vc7p~t)


Wow that was a good deal or who ever got it.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on June 04, 2019, 01:42:07 PM
There's a lot of good deals out there. People just have to be patient and not HAVE TO BUY TODAY.

According to the ARRL, there are only 757,602 amateur licenses out there. 384,302 of those are technician only licenses. That means, only about HALF have HF equipment out there. Ham Radio is a pseudo dying breed. As many older hams retire, move to retirement communities where antennas have restrictions, as many die off... as well as there are a lot of people thinking it's COOL to buy Ham Radios, Amps, and other gear, and then find out they aren't really into this new hobby for them; there are a lot of gear that gets sold. Then there's those who have fizzled out of the hobby, because of the poor propagation conditions the last few years.

I bought my Ameritron AL-811H amp; MINT condition; WITH 2 sets of tubes (811 and 572b). And I got the whole thing for $600. I picked up an ICOM IC-756 Pro II, MINT condition, with cables, extra microphone, and original box.... for $650. I picked up a 400 watt solid state amp for $400. Picked up a set of NOS 572b tubes for $100. There's a lot of great deals out there. Ebay, Newspaper, Craig's List, etc. Just need to be patient.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 04, 2019, 02:21:57 PM
There's a lot of good deals out there. People just have to be patient and not HAVE TO BUY TODAY.

According to the ARRL, there are only 757,602 amateur licenses out there. 384,302 of those are technician only licenses. That means, only about HALF have HF equipment out there. Ham Radio is a pseudo dying breed. As many older hams retire, move to retirement communities where antennas have restrictions, as many die off... as well as there are a lot of people thinking it's COOL to buy Ham Radios, Amps, and other gear, and then find out they aren't really into this new hobby for them; there are a lot of gear that gets sold. Then there's those who have fizzled out of the hobby, because of the poor propagation conditions the last few years.

I bought my Ameritron AL-811H amp; MINT condition; WITH 2 sets of tubes (811 and 572b). And I got the whole thing for $600. I picked up an ICOM IC-756 Pro II, MINT condition, with cables, extra microphone, and original box.... for $650. I picked up a 400 watt solid state amp for $400. Picked up a set of NOS 572b tubes for $100. There's a lot of great deals out there. Ebay, Newspaper, Craig's List, etc. Just need to be patient.

On the flip side of that there are less companies today and in other countries Ham Radio seems to be gaining popularity.  A lot of the old soviet states and Russians all had to live on homebrew or crap radios and amps, they are now buying up a lot of the new and used equipment.  I know Ham Radio is also becoming more popular is SA and other parts of the world like Africa.

73s
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KE6EE on June 04, 2019, 05:39:32 PM
Ham Radio is a pseudo dying breed.

That's an interesting phrase. I didn't think I was part of a "breed."

What could "pseudo dying" possibly mean? Pseudo means false.

Is our "breed" falsely dying? Is a zombie one of the falsely dead?

The head spins. I guess it's a pseudo spin, however.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KE6EE on June 04, 2019, 05:48:01 PM
On the flip side of that there are less companies today and in other countries Ham Radio seems to be gaining popularity. 

You've got the numbers on any of those assertions?

As a ham of, off and on, some 60 years' standing, I don't think there are any fewer companies today than there have
been over the decades. There is, certainly, a different distribution of places to obtain gear. There remain, to my mind, quite a wide variety of sources of radio gear of all kinds. 60 years ago I couldn't have imagined that I might buy ham
gear made in Asia or Europe. Which is very simple to do these days.

There may be a difference in the popularity of some technical hobbies in the U.S. as compared to other countries. I see this possibly as a reflection of the deterioration of the educational system here over the past 40 years or so. California
has gone from being by far the best state for public education in the middle of the last century to, at present, at or very near the bottom of all the states.

People in the U.S. apparently read less, students study less and everyone seems to prefer the predigested information they receive on their various screens to the adventure of learning by reading and doing. I would guess that in countries where kids are more literate both verbally and mathematically, they are attracted in larger numbers to scientific hobbies.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on June 04, 2019, 07:10:01 PM
Ham Radio is a pseudo dying breed.

That's an interesting phrase. I didn't think I was part of a "breed."

What could "pseudo dying" possibly mean? Pseudo means false.

Is our "breed" falsely dying? Is a zombie one of the falsely dead?

The head spins. I guess it's a pseudo spin, however.


Ham Radio can NEVER Totally Go away. It's not possible. It's the only form of communications; outside of your immediate area; that can survive any possible catastrophic scenario. It's easy to take down the cellular network; the internet; satellites; power grid; etc..... HF radio can survive all that. Even solid state equipment can survive. So, there will always be a need for amateur radio. Especially HF.

But as a hobby; like before cell phones and the internet; that is dying. It was unique to chat with people from around the country and world. Most of us ham's still think it's pretty cool. But the average person, with the internet and unlimited minutes on cell phones, don't think anything of it. They go online with various online communities and chat world wide any time they want. But should the SHTF; HF amateur radio will be the only thing that gets "Out of town". That's why it's a "Pseudo" dying breed. It will never again have the popularity that it once had. At least not in the USA.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KE6EE on June 05, 2019, 12:25:15 PM
Ham Radio can NEVER Totally Go away.

But as a hobby; like before cell phones and the internet; that is dying. It will never again have the popularity that it once had. At least not in the USA.

I appreciate your complete explanation of your POV. I was really just taking a look at how you
chose to phrase the idea of the supposed death of ham radio via the word "pseudo."

But I do disagree a bit. Ham radio can indeed go away. At least legally it can. A privatization (corporate-oriented) U.S. administration, such as the current one or, really, any previous ones with few exceptions, could easily look at ham
spectrum resources as good opportunities for commercialization. As with oil resources on public lands and many other
resources whose significant use goes beyond extracting maximum dollar.

I don't doubt the possible utility, given emergency conditions, of organized HF radio comms like the various ham/government ones currently set up.

As a hobby, a science-and-engineering endeavor which depends on special access to limited public resources (the spectrum), ham radio is unique and needs support. In a consumerist society like ours in which too few citizens understand anything scientifically-based, lots of curious minds need to kept stimulated. For many of us the communication afforded via HF is secondary to the challenge of designing and using our gear. And of understanding how and why it works. Yes, making contacts can be fun, especially, for me at least, under adverse conditions via CW. But if I want to have a really useful, in-depth conversation about anything important, I much prefer telephones, letters, email and, much better than all the other routes, an extended conversation at a well-set table.

So I think, unlike you, that ham radio could die out via political/corporate capture. It could be ground to pieces as a very useful approach to understanding one of the most important physical forces, radiation. It provides a tie to the great achievements of modern physics via Faraday's work and Maxwell's consequent equations. I don't want this aspect of ham radio to disappear although it certainly vulnerable.

As for the popular desire to be able to talk to others for all sorts of practical and entertaining reasons, no one sensibly
can dispute the utility of the cellphone/smartphone. The negatives about phones and internet connections have to do
with privacy, the pernicious effects of advertising, the promotion of politically-expedient but destructive "news" and views.

Time for lunch. I don't expect ham radio to disappear before dinner. At least not today.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 05, 2019, 03:24:04 PM
People in the U.S. apparently read less, students study less and everyone seems to prefer the predigested information they receive on their various screens to the adventure of learning by reading and doing. I would guess that in countries where kids are more literate both verbally and mathematically, they are attracted in larger numbers to scientific hobbies.

Reading your post reminded me of my Father telling to me in the 1970's how much his father hated the 1910's.
He was up in arms about cars and all the other new tech that was coming out.  He thought everyone was becoming stupid because they could no longer ride a horse or care for farm animals.

Anyway your assertion about the education of students today is dead wrong!  I am an EE and CE and have been so for 30 years.  If I gave you any of my nieces or nephews high school homework and asked you to do it you would stop thinking the way you do.  I am pretty good at Math and when i look at their homework I am like Christ this is the same kind of math questions we did in University and these guys are doing it in 10th grade.

Just so you know just how much thing have progressed and how much smarter kids are today, did you look at this from a few days ago?

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/31/sport/scripps-national-spelling-bee-winner/index.html (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/31/sport/scripps-national-spelling-bee-winner/index.html)

Thats the first time in history that they have not had a clear winner but in fact eight Kids exhausted the Dictionary of all the hard to spell words.  They ended up paying out $400,000 in prize money instead of $50,000.   Now you show me the national spelling bee results from 1950 or 1960 or whatever you consider to be the golden age of education and show me results like that.


73s
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 05, 2019, 07:41:37 PM

People in the U.S. apparently read less, students study less and everyone seems to prefer the predigested information they receive on their various screens to the adventure of learning by reading and doing. I would guess that in countries where kids are more literate both verbally and mathematically, they are attracted in larger numbers to scientific hobbies.

As an added bonus since you think American students are so dumb today, you should watch this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Y5j74uv427g (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Y5j74uv427g)


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KE6EE on June 06, 2019, 07:42:57 AM
Anyway your assertion about the education of students today is dead wrong!

Not particularly dead nor wrong (for that matter). I am fortunate to have attended public schools and
name-brand universities during a time when education was well-funded in California and this state had
the best system in the country. Now California's schools are at the very bottom of the performance list.
This is an example of a general educational failure in the U.S.

You cite particular examples of what you consider to be outstanding problem-solving among very small
groups of U.S. students.

I'm talking about the performance on the whole of the U.S. student population: our kids don't read well and they
are not highly numerate.

A couple of examples, one of them a spelling bee, cannot deny a well-documented trend.

I suggest a bit of research. You'll find many studies comparing educational performance among various countries
such as the quote below:

"The United States may be a superpower but in education we lag behind. In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in Finland came out on top overall. Finnish 15-year-olds did the best in science and came in second in math. Other top-performing countries were: Hong Kong, Canada, Taiwan, Estonia, Japan and Korea."


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on June 06, 2019, 08:57:46 AM
Interesting to note that out of 68 amplifier manufactures listed in the review section only 19 are still in business and about 5 of those are in question.

Maybe not bad considering the list goes back to th 60's.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 06, 2019, 11:20:52 AM

"The United States may be a superpower but in education we lag behind. In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in Finland came out on top overall. Finnish 15-year-olds did the best in science and came in second in math. Other top-performing countries were: Hong Kong, Canada, Taiwan, Estonia, Japan and Korea."

Sorry to Hijack the thread again but I just wanted to point out that the in almost all the countries you are talking about the population is much smaller than the USA and therefore they can pour a lot more resources into educating each student.  On top of that some of the countries like Japan and Taiwan have absolutely horrid education systems that one could only equate to education slavery.  The child either does really well in school and then spends every waking moment studying for national exams and or is marked for life as being a common laborer.  It's also interesting that most of these countries still send their best kids here to America for their university education  ???

As I said if you think education in the US is so bad and it was so good in the past I suggest you do some of your grand children's homework and get back to us.


73
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 06, 2019, 11:27:30 AM
Interesting to note that out of 68 amplifier manufactures listed in the review section only 19 are still in business and about 5 of those are in question.

Maybe not bad considering the list goes back to th 60's.

As I was pointing out to KE6EE the amount of companies has dwindled a lot from the hay days of the past.  One can try and count Chinese equipment as bringing back balance but the truth is they don't make much HF stuff and the stuff that they do make is not usually of very good in one way or another.  I have Wouxun and Baofeng HT's and while they feel fairly durable and work ok, the interface is a complete mess to work with.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: GREYLINE on June 06, 2019, 12:36:08 PM


Sorry to Hijack the thread again but I just wanted to point out that the in almost all the countries you are talking about the population is much smaller than the USA and therefore they can pour a lot more resources into educating each student.  On top of that some of the countries like Japan and Taiwan have absolutely horrid education systems that one could only equate to education slavery.  The child either does really well in school and then spends every waking moment studying for national exams and or is marked for life as being a common laborer.  It's also interesting that most of these countries still send their best kids here to America for their university education  ???

As I said if you think education in the US is so bad and it was so good in the past I suggest you do some of your grand children's homework and get back to us.


73
Rob

You apologized for hijacking this thread but you did it anyways. Then you did it again.

I'm also interested in this topic, and found some of the early comments very helpful. Then it went south quickly.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: N9AOP on June 06, 2019, 08:13:47 PM
Unfortunately all too many threads degenerate into nothing like the original post or anywhere close.  The one exception might be the Ten Tec forum.  If it degenerates or too many posters say nasty things about that company the thread gets locked.
Art


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AH7I on June 09, 2019, 04:26:30 AM
Hi all,

My original plan was to go solid state amp like one of the Expert amps. I'm still open to going SS, but recently I've seen a few Alpha 78's for sale at a reasonable price so I could go that way as well. If I decide to go the Alpha 78 route to save some money, are there any performance mods I should be looking for the amp to have or is an unmodified Alpha 78 still a good get?

Thank you


Consider operating habits for HF.
Do you need QSK.
Are you going to run contests or work DX.
Phone or CW
Amp on all the time or only when needed.
160 and or 6 m in the same amp desirable or not?

I have a 500W solid state amp with QSK. If I buy another amp, it will be solid state.
I only turn the amp on when needed and then I do not want to wait for a tube to warm up.

The solid state parts are getting cheap enough that single band amps are starting to look attractive.
 


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: G4AON on June 09, 2019, 05:07:47 AM

Consider operating habits for HF.
Do you need QSK.
Are you going to run contests or work DX.
Phone or CW
Amp on all the time or only when needed.
160 and or 6 m in the same amp desirable or not?

I have a 500W solid state amp with QSK. If I buy another amp, it will be solid state.
I only turn the amp on when needed and then I do not want to wait for a tube to warm up.

Same here, I’ve had valve/tube amps in the past, the last being an Acom 1000 which was as good as they come, but for the past 8 years I’ve been using an Elecraft KPA500 and it has been a solid performer.

Here in the UK the widely ignored power limit is 400W and the KPA500 is ideal for me. I wouldn’t consider anything other than a QSK capable solid state amp, one with diode c/o rather than relay switching too.

Factory support from Elecraft is legendary, I fitted a mod kit as a precaution and replaced an incorrectly fitted ic (U8 on the control panel, which causes ALC issues on all the early amps to at least my serial #573). Those minor rework issues are long past.

73 Dave


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6YE on June 12, 2019, 11:04:50 AM
I believe AH7I posed great questions.

I currently have Alpha 91B, Drake L4-B, and Yaesu VL-1000 Quadra amplifiers. I have previously owned Henry 2KD-5, Heathkit SB-220, Ameritron ALS-600 amplifiers. It really depends on YOUR personal criteria. I like the ease of the solid state VL-1000 and ALS-600 but I also love my brute-strength Alpha. Obviously waiting 180 seconds to operate the GU-74Bs and the resultant heat in the shack is no big deal, to me. Remember, choose according to your wants.

Good luck in your quest.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS and CW RULES 


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W3PH on June 13, 2019, 11:21:34 AM
 
I currently have Alpha 91B, Drake L4-B, and Yaesu VL-1000 Quadra amplifiers. I have previously owned Henry 2KD-5, Heathkit SB-220, Ameritron ALS-600 amplifiers. It really depends on YOUR personal criteria. I like the ease of the solid state VL-1000 and ALS-600 but I also love my brute-strength Alpha. Obviously waiting 180 seconds to operate the GU-74Bs and the resultant heat in the shack is no big deal, to me. Remember, choose according to your wants.


Another amp attribute that's underappreciated:  on tube amps, vernier dials on tune and load so you can just keep a list of the settings for each band and dial them in quickly.  I have an Alpha 9500 that I got a good deal on, and I love its auto-tune, but I also have Alpha 76PA, SB220 and SB200 amps, and none of those have verniers, so no quick band change plus they can be a little fussy on the higher bands and gear drive would be helpful.  A little thing, but convenient.

/Paul W3PH


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AH6LE on June 16, 2019, 04:16:41 PM
I built a pair of 6 and 2 meter LDMOS kilowatt amps a few years ago. I'll NEVER go back to tubes

http://ah6le.net/index.php/vhf-solid-state-kilowatts (http://ah6le.net/index.php/vhf-solid-state-kilowatts)


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K4RVN on June 16, 2019, 06:17:11 PM
Buying an old amp  which could be more than 30 years old with no certain source for replacement tubes which are expensive anyway seems foolish to me. It could be a boat anchor real soon. That amp i believe uses three tubes. My two cents is to buy you a newer tube amp or a new solid state. A used tube amp or a new solid state with a warranty would be my suggestion.  It is your decision but you asked for comments and I am posting mine. Good luck and enjoy the hobby.



Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 16, 2019, 08:11:18 PM
I built a pair of 6 and 2 meter LDMOS kilowatt amps a few years ago. I'll NEVER go back to tubes

http://ah6le.net/index.php/vhf-solid-state-kilowatts (http://ah6le.net/index.php/vhf-solid-state-kilowatts)

That was my same reaction when I got my first SS amp.  I just love them now and will never go back to tunes.   I have way too many SS amps in my collection, but I love them all.



Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on June 17, 2019, 09:00:38 AM
This is an interesting quote:

“Sorry to Hijack the thread again but I just wanted to point out that the in almost all the countries you are talking about the population is much smaller than the USA and therefore they can pour a lot more resources into educating each student. “

Oh really. Even though a much smaller country has less students they also have a much smaller economy.  The United State pours more money in its K-12 education than any other country.  In 2010, the United States spent 7.3 percent of its gross domestic product on education, compared with the 6.3 percent average of other OECD countries. It is not the class size but the money per student.

Our culture is the reason our education system lags so many countries. If students spent as much time studying as they do following twitter, we would be in a much better place.

I worked after high school and did not start collage until I was 23. My perspective on what was being tought had a comletly different view from the younger students with minds full of mush. And that was 50 years ago.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: MM0IMC on June 18, 2019, 08:30:36 AM
That's a real shame, as they are really nice amplifiers!  :-[


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KA4DPO on June 23, 2019, 10:23:11 AM
The AL-80B is a prime example of a 1 KW amplifier that is rugged and relatively inexpensive.  The 3-500 tube is a workhorse that seldom wears out if not abused.  Also, the AL-80B is simple in design and is about as much power as you would ever need unless you want to ionize your own layer.

I would avoid amps that have automatic microprocessor control, especially some older microprocessor controlled amplifiers might be difficult, or even impossible to get parts for if you need to repair one.  I would stick with a manually tuned amp in any case because they are pretty simple to repair, and I don't need to QSY on fly. 

I don't dislike solid state, and I firmly believe it is the future.  I just don't want anything on my bench that I can't repair myself. 


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W5CPT on June 24, 2019, 01:58:16 PM
I know I am a little late to this party but...  I have been asking myself the same question the OP did. I joined the Ameritron Amplifier Users Page on FB just to see what others are saying. In the few months I have read that page, I have decided to stay Tube(s). Too many ALS-600s & 606s making the trip back to the Mother Ship for various problems.  I even tracked one that made 2 trips back and shortly later was listed here on Eham & QRZ for sale.

The other SS amps are mostly out of my price range so I am going to live with my AL-811, which works well, until I find a bigger amp. I am going to have to get an electrician in to run a 220V line as the prices of the two 3-500 tube amps is too attractive to pass up.

My 2¢


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KW6LA on June 24, 2019, 08:31:07 PM
 <<<<<The AL-80B is a prime example of a 1 KW amplifier that is rugged and relatively inexpensive>>>>>

  Bang for buck, I don't know how you can do better. After repairing my 811h many times, its got more into it than my AL -80B $$$$$
  Was fun learning to work on that Amp, but the 80B is rock solid @ 800 watts SSB. Been running it hard including AM for 6 years now.
  I don't see it missing a Watt on the meter. Just what you need to heat the shack on a cold Winter day.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on June 25, 2019, 07:38:03 AM
I know I am a little late to this party but...  I have been asking myself the same question the OP did. I joined the Ameritron Amplifier Users Page on FB just to see what others are saying. In the few months I have read that page, I have decided to stay Tube(s). Too many ALS-600s & 606s making the trip back to the Mother Ship for various problems.  I even tracked one that made 2 trips back and shortly later was listed here on Eham & QRZ for sale.

The other SS amps are mostly out of my price range so I am going to live with my AL-811, which works well, until I find a bigger amp. I am going to have to get an electrician in to run a 220V line as the prices of the two 3-500 tube amps is too attractive to pass up.

My 2¢

KPA500/KAT500 combo on a secondary market will be close to to a new ALS-606. Ameritron devices simply do not have enough self control and protection NEEDED for solid state amplifier to work reliably.

Keep in mind that any tube amplifier with similar service functions and protections isn't cheap either.

The only real difference is that many tube amplifiers survive abuse for few seconds, when solid state one fail instantly. That is why tube amplifiers of older design still have buyers - people THINK that they will recognize and correct their own fault within that grace period.



Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: G3RZP on June 25, 2019, 01:31:48 PM
The Acom 1500 with its 4CX1000 trips very quickly if anything is wrong - it almost seems that if you pass wind the wrong way, it trips!


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on June 26, 2019, 12:23:59 PM
The Acom 1500 with its 4CX1000 trips very quickly if anything is wrong - it almost seems that if you pass wind the wrong way, it trips!

This is an example of tube amplifier which is NOT cheaper than solid state one with the same power output. You will not find it on used market for $1000 or less.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on June 26, 2019, 01:12:34 PM
With tetrode amplifiers you have to increase the load so the screen current limit does not trip.   A lot of hams just tune for maximum output and as a result the screen current is overly high.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KB2FCV on June 27, 2019, 12:35:12 PM
I could see a solid state amp being beneficial if you are changing frequencies frequently and quickly, perhaps in a contest situation.

I am not a contester. I chase DX and hop into pileups mostly. I might be changing TX frequency a little as I try to work em' but for the most part once I'm tuned up I'm good for the duration until I work em'... then I'm done with the amp.. or I'll move to another band to chase them elsewhere.

I still haven't felt the need to go to anything solid state.. as my current amp works and does the job as needed. Most of the time it's off.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on June 27, 2019, 02:53:01 PM
Most of the time it's off.

Here is THE difference. Those who have solid state amps keep them ON all time. Amplifier becomes an extension of transceiver: they work exactly like with standalone transceiver, just have 500-1000 watts output all the time.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on June 28, 2019, 08:27:08 AM
<<<<<The AL-80B is a prime example of a 1 KW amplifier that is rugged and relatively inexpensive>>>>>

  Bang for buck, I don't know how you can do better. After repairing my 811h many times, its got more into it than my AL -80B $$$$$
  Was fun learning to work on that Amp, but the 80B is rock solid @ 800 watts SSB. Been running it hard including AM for 6 years now.
  I don't see it missing a Watt on the meter. Just what you need to heat the shack on a cold Winter day.

Bang for the buck, definitely. But that can be quite misleading. For instance, I would not pay NEW PRICE for either the AL-80B or for an AL-811H amplifier. $1700 and $1100 respectively is too much to pay in my opinion. Amplifiers; especially tube amps, are very simple units. They only charge that much because there are people willing to pay that much. You can find EXCELLENT SHAPE used AL-811H and AL-80B amplifiers in the $600-$800 price range "Respectively".

And for what it's worth, I've had an AL-811H amplifier for a number of years. If you don't abuse it; and if you put in some G-811, SV572-160, or 572b tubes (G-811 and SV572-160 are very inexpensive); the AL-811H amp will last a life time. Are the problems with some AL-811 amps bought? Sure there are. There isn't an item you can find for sale from radios, to cars, to computers, etc.... that someone doesn't say SUCKS and doesn't work well. But the majority of the AL-811 amps work perfectly fine. Assuming the operator knows what they're doing. Most problems are BECAUSE of the operator. Not because of the amp. The AL-811H has been around for more than 20 years; has a very high review score; is easy to use and repair if necessary; and puts out a decent amount of power. (And with the 572b tubes, can easily push rated limits).

So definitely get an AL-80B amp if you can find one USED in the $800-$900 price range. (They DO EXIST). But don't be shy about getting an AL-811H USED in the $600-$650 range if you're willing to spend $88 for a 4 pack of SV572-160 tubes; or if you happen have some 572b tubes sitting around. With those tubes, the AL-811H is almost indestructible. And you'll get 800 watts without stressing the amp or tubes at all. Especially tuning it up for those that don't know what they're doing.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K7JQ on June 28, 2019, 10:31:11 AM
The Acom 1500 with its 4CX1000 trips very quickly if anything is wrong - it almost seems that if you pass wind the wrong way, it trips!

Not true! I've passed wind many times in the shack, and not once has my Acom 1500 tripped ;D. In fact, there is nothing on the LED screen that denotes such a fault. But I have occasionally activated the VOX on my xcvr ;).

73,  Bob K7JQ


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K7JQ on June 28, 2019, 11:46:52 AM
Obviously, there is no right or wrong when choosing between the two technologies. It all depends on your operating preferences, budget, and somewhat on your xcvr and antenna system.

In recent years, I've had two of each. SS...Ameritron ALS-600, and THP HL-1.5 KFX. Tube...Acoms 1000, and currently 1500. I liked them all.

Solid State is great for no-tune and instant-on capabilities. But they are *generally* more susceptible to problems from overdrive and power spikes from your exciter, and antennas that present SWR's in excess of 1.5:1 (power fold back) and 2:1 (protection faults). If your antennas are not low SWR broadbanded, you must have a tuner. I've heard that no matter how fast the protection systems are, finals can still be blown in some units. I've never experienced catastrophic problems with my SS amps, just a few minor soft faults here and there.

Tube amps are *generally* more forgiving with the above mentioned scenarios. Many tube amps don't need tuners if SWR's on your antennas are less than 3:1. Personally, I don't have a problem with a three minute warm-up period. The advanced tune-up procedure on my Acoms require about 10-15 seconds to change bands and tweak a little for maximum output. Even being a contester, no big deal. Prices will be higher on tube amps with protection circuits and "auto-tune" features included, about the same now as SS amps with built-in or external tuners

Determine your own operating preferences and other limitations, and make a choice. Life is too short for QRP ;).

73, Bob K7JQ


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: WY7CHY on June 28, 2019, 01:16:25 PM
There's definitely a place for both. I have had just about every type of amp around. Currently, because of Electricity limitations in my house/shack, I can't use some of the amps I've used in the past. Currently I use an AL-811H with 572b tubes in it. No problem getting 800w PEP out of it. Simple to tune. I have a cheat sheet for load/plate. Literally takes me about 5-10 seconds to tune the amp. Except for the 80m band, I can pretty much tune the amp in the middle of all bands and use it across it. (I only do voice, so: e.g. I tune it to 14.250 and use it across the entire 20m voice. Or to 7.225 and use it across all the 40m voice.

I also have a pseudo home brew Solid State 300-400w amp. (Pseudo, as in repaired and modified a broken SS amp). Just enough to get that 5-6db jump when you need it. Requires a lot less input power, but once I lower the output of my transceiver, the amp is pure plug and play. Auto switches bands, etc. Has protection if I push too much drive. Was mainly my mobile amp, but I don't do mobile any longer, so I use the amp in the shack with a DC power supply.

Definitely pro and con for both technologies. But in my opinion, the ONLY REAL ADVANTAGE of a SS amp, is if your a big time DX hunter who is bouncing around different bands constantly. But anyone is going to sit on the same band for at least a little while, will find that with experience, tuning a manual/tube amp can be down very fast. Like I said, I can tune my AL-811H in approximately 5 seconds. So there is no real advantage to the SS amp for me. I use the SS amp mainly if I want to sit at home during crappy winter weather, and bounce around the bands. When 17/15/12/10m were more active for conditions, I used it a lot. With mostly 80/40/20m, I mainly just use the AL-811H amp.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W9AC on July 06, 2019, 07:43:12 PM
Either way, study the cost of ownership after the warranty period expires.  One of the most popular 1500W solid-state amps will now go back to the factory for the third time in a year.  It's now out of warranty.  I won't disclose the manufacturer.

Two weeks ago, a surge event at my remote site took out the amp's USB control board.  Cost to the owner?  USD $99/hour + $480 for a new USB board.  It's not only power tubes and final transistors that can be expensive to replace.  Just because it's solid-state doesn't mean it will last forever.  And anyone who is worried about tube obsolescence needs to look at the component lifecycle of solid-state devices.  Here today, gone tomorrow...just like some power tubes only on a shorter lifecycle. 

My remote site is bonded to the Motorola R56 specification.  It's rare but some stuff just gets through.  The manufacturer could have used "consumable," off-the-shelf, plug-in USB hardware, but didn't.  Making matters worse, when the USB port failed, it failed shorted and took out the USB power bus on my PC.  The bus is on the PC's motherboard.  A new PC arrived and took many hours of my time to get it provisioned. 

This now means I can never, ever leave USB connected 24/7. Not at $99/hour and $480 for a USB control board.  And, I don't want to be running to my insurance company every time a USB port fails.  USB will now only be used for occasional firmware updates.  Fiber-optic Ethernet transceivers are in place and will be used to isolate LAN/WAN control. 

Cost of ownership?  Study it carefully and look for the unobvious.  We need to be asking: "if X, Y or Z, fails, what's the impact on the repair cost, shipment, and repair time." 

Paul, W9AC


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on July 06, 2019, 08:45:26 PM


Cost of ownership?  Study it carefully and look for the unobvious.  We need to be asking: "if X, Y or Z, fails, what's the impact on the repair cost, shipment, and repair time."  

Paul, W9AC

Computer controlled tube amplifier can fail exactly the same way.

Out of warranty repair is always expensive. What would you do if your 2 years old $3000 OLED TV dies? Complain about your inability to fix it without paying manufacturer's authorized service?


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: W9AC on July 07, 2019, 05:05:47 AM


Cost of ownership?  Study it carefully and look for the unobvious.  We need to be asking: "if X, Y or Z, fails, what's the impact on the repair cost, shipment, and repair time."  

Paul, W9AC

Computer controlled tube amplifier can fail exactly the same way.

Out of warranty repair is always expensive. What would you do if your 2 years old $3000 OLED TV dies? Complain about your inability to fix it without paying manufacturer's authorized service?


Just one reason why I rarely post on eHam.  In this instance, you missed the overarching point.  I'm suggesting that when making a decision about an amp to purchase, study the cost of ownership.  End of point.

Paul, W9AC
 


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: K6AER on July 17, 2019, 06:20:21 PM

"Out of warranty repair is always expensive. What would you do if your 2 years old $3000 OLED TV dies? Complain about your inability to fix it without paying manufacturer's authorized service?"



Why would anyone pay $3000 for an OLED TV?


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on July 17, 2019, 09:08:31 PM

"Out of warranty repair is always expensive. What would you do if your 2 years old $3000 OLED TV dies? Complain about your inability to fix it without paying manufacturer's authorized service?"



Why would anyone pay $3000 for an OLED TV?

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lg-65-class-oled-e9-series-2160p-smart-4k-uhd-tv-with-hdr/6346311.p?skuId=6346311 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lg-65-class-oled-e9-series-2160p-smart-4k-uhd-tv-with-hdr/6346311.p?skuId=6346311)   ???

I am not even talking about this https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-77-class-oled-a9g-master-series-2160p-smart-4k-uhd-tv-with-hdr/6331600.p?skuId=6331600 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-77-class-oled-a9g-master-series-2160p-smart-4k-uhd-tv-with-hdr/6331600.p?skuId=6331600)




Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on July 19, 2019, 11:28:25 AM

"Out of warranty repair is always expensive. What would you do if your 2 years old $3000 OLED TV dies? Complain about your inability to fix it without paying manufacturer's authorized service?"



Why would anyone pay $3000 for an OLED TV?

OLED and LED TVs are a bad comparison  ;)
Unless the screen breaks these TVs can be fixed by just about anybody that has a little knowledge.   Each one typically contains 5 or 6 boards in it.  Depending on what the TV is doing or not doing it's pretty easy to figure out which board is dead.  Typically the boards are cheap, from $40 to $160 depending on which board it is.  Just go to www.shopjimmy.com and order the board by part number or make and model and then whack her in when she arrives and attack back the ribbon cables.  BTW it is very easy to know which board is bad, most of the time without even opening the TV.

73s
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on July 19, 2019, 05:02:35 PM


OLED and LED TVs are a bad comparison  ;)
Unless the screen breaks these TVs can be fixed by just about anybody that has a little knowledge.   Each one typically contains 5 or 6 boards in it.  Depending on what the TV is doing or not doing it's pretty easy to figure out which board is dead.  Typically the boards are cheap, from $40 to $160 depending on which board it is.  Just go to www.shopjimmy.com and order the board by part number or make and model and then whack her in when she arrives and attack back the ribbon cables.  BTW it is very easy to know which board is bad, most of the time without even opening the TV.

73s
Rob

Just checked my 5 years old ($3K worth back then) plasma TV: none of the boards available at that site.


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on July 23, 2019, 03:42:37 PM


OLED and LED TVs are a bad comparison  ;)
Unless the screen breaks these TVs can be fixed by just about anybody that has a little knowledge.   Each one typically contains 5 or 6 boards in it.  Depending on what the TV is doing or not doing it's pretty easy to figure out which board is dead.  Typically the boards are cheap, from $40 to $160 depending on which board it is.  Just go to www.shopjimmy.com and order the board by part number or make and model and then whack her in when she arrives and attack back the ribbon cables.  BTW it is very easy to know which board is bad, most of the time without even opening the TV.

73s
Rob

Just checked my 5 years old ($3K worth back then) plasma TV: none of the boards available at that site.


Plasma TV technology is dead!  People are literally giving them away if your willing to pick them up.  The picture on them is good, much better than LED but not nearly as good as OLED or QLED. The main downsides to Plasma are power consumption, heat and weight, and not to mention that they cant make them (in a practical manor) in 4K.
You can still get boards for the last releases from Panasonic but only about half the boards.

What model TV do you have and what is the problem?  Also if you already know the boards number please post it, I will see if I can locate it for you.


73s
Rob


Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: AC2RY on July 23, 2019, 07:54:25 PM

Plasma TV technology is dead!  People are literally giving them away if your willing to pick them up.  The picture on them is good, much better than LED but not nearly as good as OLED or QLED. The main downsides to Plasma are power consumption, heat and weight, and not to mention that they cant make them (in a practical manor) in 4K.
You can still get boards for the last releases from Panasonic but only about half the boards.

What model TV do you have and what is the problem?  Also if you already know the boards number please post it, I will see if I can locate it for you.


73s
Rob

Technology is dead, but the picture quality of the last plasma generation (from 6 years ago) is only now was reached by OLED (not QLED - which is still LCD will all their issues applied). Thus the TV purchased 6 years ago for $3K can now be replaced by new OLED TV  for the same money - still $3K.

There is nothing wrong with my two plasma TVs, I just want to make a point that $3K TV gets obsolete if it fails after 5 years. Thus I do not see a reason to complain when $3K HF amplifier gets obsolete if it fails after the same 5 years. Manufacturer's now do not stock spare parts after last sold unit is out of warranty (usually 1 year, rarely two). We just hope that solid state amplifiers are robust enough to have LOW PROBABILITY of failure within 10 years of service and thus unlikely need digital circuit boards to be replaced. Analog circuit boards could likely still be repairable at component level by third party vendors.






Title: RE: Solid State vs. Tube. Still deciding, but have a question.
Post by: KD8MJR on July 23, 2019, 11:01:36 PM

Technology is dead, but the picture quality of the last plasma generation (from 6 years ago) is only now was reached by OLED (not QLED - which is still LCD will all their issues applied). Thus the TV purchased 6 years ago for $3K can now be replaced by new OLED TV  for the same money - still $3K.

There is nothing wrong with my two plasma TVs, I just want to make a point that $3K TV gets obsolete if it fails after 5 years. Thus I do not see a reason to complain when $3K HF amplifier gets obsolete if it fails after the same 5 years. Manufacturer's now do not stock spare parts after last sold unit is out of warranty (usually 1 year, rarely two). We just hope that solid state amplifiers are robust enough to have LOW PROBABILITY of failure within 10 years of service and thus unlikely need digital circuit boards to be replaced. Analog circuit boards could likely still be repairable at component level by third party vendors.


I use to do and still do for some of my older wealthier customers Home Theater installations and Calibrations.  Plasma's got beat almost from the start by OLED.  The first OLED I installed was an LG C6 about 3-4 years ago and that blew away the Panasonic VT60 that it replaced and would have still easily blown past the ZT60.
The 1080P blurays upscaled to 4K resolution alone was a night and day difference and the blacks are on Par or better with the old C6 vs the VT60.

As for QLED I think you need to look at the latest models as those limitations that you are talking about are not nearly as visible.  The variable targeted back lighting makes the blacks  just a bit less black than the current OLEDs.  I recently bought an LG C9 and a Sony A8G to replace an LG C7 and a Panny Plasma I still had in the bedroom.  They are both miles ahead of Plasma technology.  Trust me I was one of the biggest Plasma proponents but after setting up and calibrating my first 4K OLED I realized the war was over.

As for circuit boards you can get just about any board for Sony, Panasonic, LG and others on eBay.  It may take a couple of months for one of the companies to get in a TV with the needed boards and strip it, but I have used eBays alert system to buy boards that I could not find on Shopjimmy.   BTW I have repaired a few Main boards from TV's.  Most of the time it is the HDMI interface chip that dies due to induced voltage from the cable box during lightning storms.  It's not that hard to fix, but going any deeper into repairs is simply not worth it.

As for the 5 year amplifier life expectancy versus a TV, that is an Apples to Oranges comparison.  My Living room TV between the Kids using it and US gets about twelve hours a day of run time, that would be almost 13,000 hours of run time in three years.  My Amp will probably see about 1000 hours of run time in 5 years.  I certainly expect it to last longer than 5 years.  MY THP 2.5KFX is at least seven years old and it still looks and works like new.  I would expect nothing less from a device with this low level of complexity so long as it is not abused.


73s
Rob