Best Vacuum Tube Evarr!

Posted by admin on August 10th, 2014 filed in Hacks, Steampunk

Back at the Kolbenova fleamarket, I got another steampunkish looking thing. I first thought it was a relay, but on second look, it’s not even vaguely similar.

6X6C 6h6s vacuum tube

I consulted a former classmate and electronics expert, who told me it’s a “tube”. Well yeah, I can see that, but what is it? Then I realized that he meant a vacuum tube… Duh! I didn’t know they could look like that.

After closer inspection, the tube has a tiny yellow sticker saying “л” and it’s labeled “6X6C”. Though the X looks like two mirrored C’s glued together. A quick web search informs me that it’s a Soviet 6Х6С vacuum tube. I learn that the label actually reads “6h6s”: The “Х” is an Cyrillic “h”, which identifies this as a dual signal diode. And the “С” is a Cyrillic “s”, which stands for “glass larger than 22.5mm diameter” (indeed, it’s 35mm). The “L” (л) sticker should have been a dead giveaway that the other letters are Cyrillic, too! The first “6” simply means 6 Volts. (Read more about Russian tube designations here.)

This type of duodiode has 8 pins on the bottom, but one seemed to be missing. The depicted base schematic tells me to start counting pins clockwise at the index notch. Now I see that pin 6 is not in use, it’s missing on purpose.

My electronics expert suggested I should identify the filament, because that’s the part that glows, if it still works. Page 3 of this vacuum tube table shows me that for this type, pin 2 and 7 are labeled “f” — filament? Since I didn’t have a voltmeter to meassure the resistance between pin 7 and 2, we decided it would be a good idea to… just put some current onto these two pins and get over with it. :-D

The spec says 6 Volts. Where do I get 6 Volts on a Sunday afternoon? … *looking around* … Hmm… My Bluetooth keyboard and mouse contain two Mignon/AA batteries each… 1.2V * 4 = 4.8V… Dang, not enough. Bah, trying it anyway!

OK. I have 4 loose batteries which need to be in series. Nothing a bit of sticky tape couldn’t fix. Next, wire: Luckily, any good Steampunk always has bits of brass and copper wire lying around. :-) Here’s the full setup. (Also note the stylish Portal-themed insulation!)
6X6C 6h6s vacuum tube glowing
Et voila, it glows:
6X6C 6h6s vacuum tube glowing small
Well, at least for a few seconds. :-)

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