A Dekatron Tube Tester


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Having accumulated a fair few dekatrons over the years I thought it was about time that I built a simple tester to make them spin. This dekatron tester is aimed specifically at counting and computing tubes with an octal base, be they British, American or Soviet.

This page and its documentation describes my version of the Dekatron Tester. It is (almost) fully open design all released under a Creative Commons ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

So you can roll your own entirely or you can buy a complete kit or or a minimal kit or a fully assembled tester - all described below or in the documentation.

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Tester Powered Up

Using the Dekatron tester with the Sgitheach CRT Tester you configure the tester as follows:

The Dekatron tester is plugged into the CRT tester jacks as follows (assuming you are using the CRT Tester case):

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It is not necessary to use the CRT Tester as the power supply. Any power supplies that deliver +300V HT supply and +600V DC supply are likely to be entirely suitable. Here is the Dekatron tester being operated by a small adjustable EHT DC power supply and my trusty Heathkit IP17 PSU set to provide 300V DC HT.

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Documentation - Eagle files, manuals, photos, STL files, lots o' stuff in general are availabe on the CRT Tester dropbox.

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Kit Availability and Prices

The electronics kit is available in two forms:

Minimal Electronics Kit

This is the bare PCB only. You will have to buy all the remaining components. I bought them from Farnell (Element14), Digikey and a few parts from Ebay. If you are going down this route then I assume you know what you are doing…

Price: £??? plus postage and insurance

Complete Electronics Kit

This is the kit when assembled (you get it in pieces!) with all the SMD parts fitted and all the through hole components and the complete case kit (laser cut 5mm thick clear acrylic, 3D printed parts, nuts, bolts, wire, pin receptacles, banana plugs … everything).

Price: £??? plus postage

I have been asked for a kit with the SMD parts unfitted. I have found that it is far quicker to solder paste a board, pick and place all the SMD parts then pop it in a reflow (toaster) oven, than it is to pick the SMD parts and put them all in bags. It also uses less resources as I'm not printing labels and using polythene bags. So to say the least I am reluctant to supply a SMD unfitted kit.

Built and Tested

I am also willing to completely build and test the Dekatron tester - please contact me for a cost.

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Please contact me using the following email address with any questions or enquires about ordering or postage.

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