Classic Articles

Interesting Vintage Articles

The following is a brief look into some of the classic electronic magazine articles that I have been saving over the last 20-odd years. I’ve saved magazines that go back into the 1940’s, although some of the most interesting articles (shown below) only go back to the 1950’s. They illustrate just how ‘hip’ some of the writers were way back then. Simply ‘click’ on an article that interests you, and read for yourself that there is nothing new under the sun!

A  few of the articles may seem silly and irrelevant, but try to envision the big picture. You’ll learn more than you’d imagine if you experiment with the circuit and/or take the ‘lesson’ further than taught.

Articles that didn’t make the cut

These are great articles that can shed much light for the novice/beginner tube technician befuddled by the hype. However, due to either sheer size, poor scanning quality, or the fact that the article has 10% ‘wheat’ inside of 90% ‘chaff’, I decided not to include it in full here. But I will include the magazine cover and/or article ‘header’ just to show you that they do exist. Read more

The Power Transformer

This is a great introduction in your quest to learn about AC theory, transformer theory, and much more if you read ‘between the lines’. I still have my home made transformer! Electronics Illustrated, March 1965. Other articles from this ‘series’ have taught you to make your own AC generator and automobile-style horn, again with only a carriage bolt, some magnet wire, and a few other odds and ends! Once you have learned this ‘lesson’ and experimented with different grades of bolts (hint, hint) you’ll scoff at the notion that it’s paper bobbins that make a transformer ‘better’.  Read more

Identifying the salvaged transformer

This is a very easy project you can build in a few hours, and then calculate the primary impedance of any output transformer you come across. There have been other methods suggested in various guitar publications, and they all work well. This is an old article I had photocopied years ago and then threw out the magazine! It’s from Popular Electronics, but I don’t have the exact issue to refer to. Because the article uses 6F6s and 6AR5s as examples, I can guess it was originally from the early-to-mid 1950’s. Read more

Regulated Heater Supplies

This is an interesting article from Radio-Electronics, November 1959. Some people don’t like Variacs, others swear by them, but if you do use one, use this circuit to keep your heater supply up to par. Actually, regulated DC heater supplies are used in high gain amplifiers like Mesa Boogie and Soldano for very quiet operation. You may have to juggle with the zener and resistor values, but I’ve given you more than enough to go on. Read more

Uncover the mysteries of Matching

This is a great article from Radio Electronics, December 1966. I’ve seen very few articles in my entire magazine collection dealing with the effects of matching the output tube(s) plate impedance to the speaker load and what is really going on. This is one of them. Read more

Save those defective Transformers

Popular Electronics, April 1955. Shows the frugality of the early electronics experimenter, and illustrates that cost can be everything! If you couldn’t repair the transformer, use the working sections for a different application! Amazingly, these ideas work very well, especially the idea of using a power transformer as an output transformer. Read more

High Resistance Ground

This is an interesting idea for measuring resistance as low as .02 ohms! Useful for detecting poor grounds and ground loops, a major headache for Do-It-Yourself types. Even many vintage amplifiers have ground loops, Marshall being notorious. Well, now you can track them down in a jiffy. Why no tube guru has written something like this, I have no idea. Radio Electronics, October 1962. Read more

Running in a Speaker

It seems that ever since speakers were invented, people had tricks on how to ‘improve’ them with a plethora of ideas. Today, legends about some boutique builders ‘beating up’ their speakers to try and soften them up a little abound. This is one of the safer ideas, but still a little ‘iffy’, so be very cautious if you decide to try it. I don’t like committing any speaker cruelties, and would rather just buy a speaker that sounded the way I wanted it to. This article is presented only for information purposes. From the 1959 annual edition of Radio-TV ExperimenterRead more

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