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Question about oxidation on tubes (with pics)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 



I have a question for you tube (valve) experts out there:


In the pics I have a new Chinese stock tube (first top tube) and an Amperex tube (bottom tube). I'm not even sure what oxidation on tubes looks like, but can you tell me if the Amperex tube on the bottom would benefit from using a product such as DeoxIt?


The reason I ask is I heard a little bit of crackling last night while listening on my tube amp and I was curious if the Amperex tubes should be cleaned? I don't think it was the headphones. I just want opinions before I go spend 17 bucks on a little bottle of DeOxit when I may not really even need it. I haven't heard the crackling since last night.









post #2 of 12

I have an stainless brush and a brass brush. I start with the stainless and regular alcohol, then I swap to the brass brush and repeat. Be careful and gentle, you could also use 000 or 0000 steel wool.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I don't have a steel brush, but that can be remedied quickly. So looking at the pics, would you say the Amperex tubes require a good cleaning? I am just curious as how to tell...the metal contacts do look less shiny than the new Chinese tubes.

post #4 of 12

You can use a pencil eraser on the pins. Sometimes, I even use the edge of a scissor blade. Just dont bend the pins with to much pressure. The goal is to remove the crud. I work in a circle around the tube outside then inside.

post #5 of 12
I give tubes a quick wipe with 0000 steel wool.

Don't get too hung up on oxidation. It's mostly a cosmetic issue.

I fiddle with old radios (usually 50-70 years old) and a little oxidation isn't a big deal. I usually ignore it unless there's an obvious degradation. You don't need golden ears to hear it, either.
post #6 of 12

Deoxit is good for long term protection and better contact, but it's not ideal for cleaning pin tubes.

What the others mentioned above will get the job done nicely.

You can also can use an emery board. Be careful not to bend the pins.

Silclear will improve contact.

post #7 of 12
I have heard reports of people over at Audiogon (if I am not mistaken) saying that SilClear in fact causes sound degradation over time, usually the span of 6 months to 1 year time.. So you might want to periodically clean the contacts and holes if you're using SilClear. Not sure if I should give SilClear a try myself... Hmmm...
post #8 of 12

Those pins don't look that bad to me.  Most of my tubes look like that.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ok, well this is all great info. I think I'll give the steel brush/wool a try first. It sounds like DeOxit isn't really required for this. Thanks everyone.

post #10 of 12

I just press them into red scotch brite a few times and the pins are shiny and new :)

post #11 of 12

If you plan to do more tube rolling in the future you should invest in some DeOxit. Radio shack sells this pack: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2104746


You use the red one to clean and the gold one afterwards to prevent future oxidation. I highly recommend it. I find pipe cleaners to be the best applicators. And generally I like light colored pipe cleaners so I can see how much stuff I am getting off the pins. It's a strange fascination I have (like looking at q-tips after I clean my ears)

post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by PanamaRed View Post

IIt's a strange fascination I have (like looking at q-tips after I clean my ears)

Eww.  Do you smell them too?  biggrin.gif


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