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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Ten Tec Centurion Help

Reviews Summary for Ten Tec Centurion
Ten Tec Centurion Reviews: 55 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $1895.00
Description: Full QSK, a pair of 3-500Z tubes for 1300 watts PEP on SSB.
Product is not in production.
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K8AC Rating: 4/5 Oct 8, 2016 10:35 Send this review to a friend
Solid amp with some problems  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I acquired my Centurion from an SK's estate in July, 2016, so my comments are directed to the amplifier with 25 years under its belt. As of the summer of 2016, there are no parts available from the new Tentec and they are not in a position to service the amps. You can no longer telephone Tentec for troubleshooting help. So, if you have a Centurion with a problem, your options are to fix it yourself or send it off to one of the experienced guys who currently repair amps.

There were a couple of problems with the amp when I first got it - the idle plate current was 100-200 ma. , and the plate and grid current were reading much lower than they should. Except for the very earliest Centurions, there should be zero plate current in CW mode when the amp is not being keyed. But, it's quite common to see 100-200 ma. due to damage to components on the QSK board and the Filament-AC board. The damage can be caused by a tube short or by any other HV fault (including the cabinet interlock switch). If you're looking at a Centurion, you should turn it on and see what the resting plate current is. Repairs are not difficult depending upon your technical knowledge.

There were multiple versions of the Filament-AC and QSK boards and you'll need to find the schematic that matches your boards. The Centurion manual available on the Tentec site has the schematics for the latest board versions. There are no boards available from Tentec.

While the amplifier will operate OK with the damaged tube bias circuitry, it will put out a tremendous amount of heat. In my case, the external cabinet temperature at the cooling air exhaust was 198 degrees F with the high idle current, and measured only 98 degrees F after fixing the bias circuit.

The second problem is that the meters may not be 1 ma. movements that the amplifier was designed to use, so the meter shunts may not be correct and the meter readings may as a result be innaccurate. You can correct the shunt values or you can obtain new meters from the original supplier. If new meters, you'll have to create your own printed scales and apply them to the meter face(s).

If you are lucky and don't have these problems, the Centurion is a solid amplifier, especially for CW where the QSK works well. The cooling fan is relatively quiet. I've run 600-650 watts output in RTTY contests with no problems. The tuning is smooth with the Jackson Bros. drives. The manual is very good and includes board layouts, schematics and a troubleshooting section. The keying line voltage and current are low and you should be able to key the amp with any modern transceiver. I've had no problems with arcing or parasitic oscillation. I'd have rated the Centurion a 5 were it not for the idle bias problem - a problem that all of them will have eventually.
W3SCA Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2016 07:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Amp!!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I now own two Centurions, one white face and now a black face I recently purchased. I use them almost every night and switch between my 425 Titan and these amps. They are wonderful amps for the $$ and it is hard to go wrong with them. One thing I am noticing is a potential issue with a few of the components on the QSK board. On both of my amps when I select "operate" on the OPR/Standby switch, the amp goes into transmit with around 20ma of plate voltage with no exciter power being applied. I have worked around this by running the amps in QSK mode instead and they work fine. I am in the process of ordering the parts to correct the issue, but these amps are true workhorses and I love the 3-500Z tubes!!
K0ZR Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2016 16:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Amplifier  Time owned: more than 12 months
Even though this amp is no longer in production, it is a great unit. I wrote a review in 2007 heralding its many virtues. I still own the amp, use it all the time, and find it absolutely great to operate. It's a shame it is no longer in production - my opinion.
W3HKK Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2014 18:37 Send this review to a friend
Quality used amp  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought a 15 yr old Centurion Model 422 in Jan, 2014, from an estate sale for $1200. Built in 1999, it apparently has the original 3-500's, as they are a little soft, but still put out between 700 and 1100 w. cw into my variety of antennas. I run it in the 600-800w range except when chasing the rare ones.

Amp has a nice solid look and feel. Switches and knobs are firm and precise. Only sign of aging besides the finals is a bit of extra noise from the cooling fan bearings during start up. Not serious Not annoying, but its there.

Amp has been forgiving of numerous brief mistakes: mostly tuning up on wrong band. My new TT Model 238C high power manual antenna tuner matches all 7 antennas for 160-10m. quite well.

Fine amp with plenty of life left in it.
KQ0C Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2012 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Fabulous Easy Amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this amp as a backup for my sometimes tricky Alpha 9500. And what a backup it is... extremely easy to tune, fast warm up, and essentially all the power you ever need. Every Ten Tec product I own impresses me.
K9CRT Rating: 3/5 Nov 16, 2012 08:28 Send this review to a friend
History Of Transformer Trouble  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a well built table top near legal limit amp, however several after a few years in service have shorted transformers. I was able to do the work myself but a replacement transformer from T.T. was $600 shipped to my door . If t.t. does the work expect a bill with shipping both way and labor, parts $1000+. In addition for the cost of this amp it should include chimneys for the tubes instead of a cheap muffin fan which also had to be replaced in my amp after a few years of service which is a nightmare to replace they must have installed this fan first and built the amp around it. IMHO you get more for a lot less $ with a AL-82 including more power a heavier transformer and chimneys for the 3-500 tubes.
K4AAZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2012 19:46 Send this review to a friend
Pricey but nice  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased a used 422B Black Face from Ten Tec two years ago ,A pricey amp , but very nice. All the good things everybody says about this amp seems to be true,a fine addition to any Ham Shack...Pat..K4AAZ
W5SSS Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2012 11:25 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased a new Centurion 422B and a new 238 tuner directly from Ten Tec about 5 years ago....I have never had a moments problem with either....the amp easily delivers 1250 - 1300 watts on all bands....Ten Tec has purposely regulated the output to around 1300 watts which assures long tube life as long as you keep grid current within limits....also, in my opinion, the 422B is unboubtedly the best looking amp on the market....Joe, W5SSS
K7NSW Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2011 21:44 Send this review to a friend
WOW!! - SO FAR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received my new Centurion today. Am very impressed. This amp is built like a tank - as noted earlier by someone else in this group. The power transformer is very impressive. Alpha builds theirs for continuous service so they are massive. T-T does not build to that service level so I was not expecting an Alpha transformer. But the one I received sure comes close. Not yet fired the amp up. Need to install it in my station, get oriented to it, etc. Installing 10 meter mod went smoothly. Required opening up the cabinet so I had a very close-up look. High quality parts. PC boards look very good. No loose parts rattling around. Before shipping to me a T-T tech ran it on all bands and included a performance sheet with it disclosing how it performed on each band and the operating data for same. Looks like this amp will have a long life. Price is now 3 kilobuck level. From all appearances it looks like it is worth every penny. Like I said, so far so good. I rate it 5 out of 5 on out of the box condition and apparent construction quality. I'm about to have a good time!
K8JHR Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2011 18:49 Send this review to a friend
Excellent - Solid - Easy  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is built like a tank, is easy to operate, and does the job well with no futzing or worries. Just plain easy to use and nearly fool proof to operate. The only negative, is I wish it had a quieter cooling fan. I guess they get HOT, so they need a substantial fan and all that moving air makes noise... but that is the only item on my wish list. Instructions are clear, and it is easy to set up and operate.

--- James -K8JHR ---
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