Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /homepages/11/d132647312/htdocs/Amfone/mkportal/include/SMF/smf_out.php on line 47
Thunderbolt Mods?




 
The AM Forum
October 02, 2023, 12:40:42 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
   Home   Help Calendar Links Staff List Gallery Login Register  
Pages: 1 [2]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Thunderbolt Mods?  (Read 21047 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2021, 04:26:30 PM »


Regarding the tank capacitor voltage handling, I had looked into this a while back.
I looked up how much air gap would need to be for 4KV to arc over and it was something like 0.15mm which is less
than 1mm. I can tell the spacing there is greater than 1mm by eye, so unless I misplaced a decimal, all
should be well for the plate tuning cap to handle higher plate voltages.

http://www.mediafire.com/view/css4yxdpheqm7p2/HPIM0697.JPG/file
Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2021, 07:15:47 PM »

Ok I think I see what happened. That 4 pin plug is NOT KEYED - so you can put it in 4 different ways. I have pin 1 / gnd lined up to the ground pin in the chassis, so that ought to do it. I also marked the connector and socket so you can line up the marks and its now the correct orientation.
Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
Pete, WA2CWA
Moderator
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 8076


CQ CQ CONTEST


WWW
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2021, 11:14:32 PM »

Center to center pin measurement between pins 2 and 3 is greater then center to center pin measurement between pins 1 and 4.
That is the key.
Logged

Pete, WA2CWA - "A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius"
MikeKE0ZUinkcmo
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 438



« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2021, 08:42:14 AM »

Yep, what Pete said.   Its not obvious, but a little time spent looking, and you'll see it.
Logged

Mike KE0ZU

Bold Text and PICS are usually links

https://mikeharrison.smugmug.com/
Opcom
Patrick J. / KD5OEI
Contributing
Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 8242



WWW
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2021, 02:09:14 PM »

Different gas regulator tubes light up as they regulate their specific rated voltage.

Each gas ionizes at a different voltage, so therefore tubes for different voltags have different gasses, and therefore the colorful combination. Orange is usually a neon gas color.

here is a chart from the RCA RC-25 tube manual.


* ab8b.gif (67.09 KB, 1400x1904 - viewed 317 times.)
Logged

Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2021, 08:40:34 PM »

Update on progress.

Had success on 80m loading up with RF from the rigg into the Windom antenna, made sure to limit at 300W because of the balun limitation. Seemed to to not bad, 2 rounds on a net, kind of medium length transmissions both times, good reports - was happy.

Then I tried loading up on 160m with the Dentron MT-3000A tuner, and could not get any dip. The tubes were complaining with orange and red on the plate elements, so stopped that experiment abruptly.

Went back to 80m again with the same settings. Got the dip, about the same plate current and up to 300W carrier again, but the tubes were glowing red after about 5 seconds, and I dont believe I saw that when I did my net the prior night.

After moving the mode switch from TUNE to LINEAR, saw one of the 150V regulator tubes was glowing purple all on one side of the glass - definately not like the others. As per the advice of KB1VWC suspected bias issues, so opened the chassis up and inspected the VR tubes. One of the 150 and also a 105V regulator has white film on the getter area and the other has it on a seperate section away from the getter area, and I am told these are hosed.

I'm suspecting they have seen their day as they seem to be date coded 59-43 and 59-48 on the tube base. 1959 week 43 and 48 respectively as date of build by RCA, so they have earned their keep for sure as they are likely the original tubes in the linear.

I was going to brainstorm  SS jiggery for the entire string, but found some NOS online very cheap so ordered some.

The 2 bad ones are also kind of loose when you move the glass by hand - the socket is for sure not gripping them tight like the othe ones.


 

Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
Pete, WA2CWA
Moderator
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 8076


CQ CQ CONTEST


WWW
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2021, 11:35:11 PM »

Update on progress.

Had success on 80m loading up with RF from the rigg into the Windom antenna, made sure to limit at 300W because of the balun limitation. Seemed to to not bad, 2 rounds on a net, kind of medium length transmissions both times, good reports - was happy.

Then I tried loading up on 160m with the Dentron MT-3000A tuner, and could not get any dip. The tubes were complaining with orange and red on the plate elements, so stopped that experiment abruptly.

The frequency range of the stock Thunderbolt is from 3.5 to 30 MHz. Why would you try to load it up on 160 meters?


* tbolt-1.jpg (91.42 KB, 1193x646 - viewed 279 times.)
Logged

Pete, WA2CWA - "A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius"
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2021, 12:52:12 AM »

I heard additional inductance and capacitance would be all it needs , in line after the amp to the tuner, (with the Tbolts settings wide open) so I thought my Dentron Tuner would be able to compensate, but I guess not.

Apparently a bigger plate choke is needed than whats in the Thudbolt , for starters.
Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
Pete, WA2CWA
Moderator
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 8076


CQ CQ CONTEST


WWW
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2021, 12:58:49 PM »

I heard additional inductance and capacitance would be all it needs , in line after the amp to the tuner, (with the Tbolts settings wide open) so I thought my Dentron Tuner would be able to compensate, but I guess not.

Apparently a bigger plate choke is needed than whats in the Thudbolt , for starters.
If you really wanted to do this, you might start by reading this article in January 1991 Electric Radio:
"Modifying the Johnson Desk Kilowatt for 160 Meters"
It's for the desk KW but there are lots of similarities between it and the Thunderbolt.
Logged

Pete, WA2CWA - "A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius"
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2021, 11:57:20 AM »

Ok alot of new progress, some good, some not so much.

The NOS tubes are in and lighting nicely.

Noticed when the amp was in LINEAR mode, one of the new ss diode I put in for the
negative bias supply went out. I took them both out, they were 600 piv rated which ought to have been fine.
I put in 2 1N4007's which are 1kv piv. Ran it again in LINEAR at idle, and checked them, not getting warm so thought ok. Later on everything died, and the 5a fuse for the filament xfmrs blew. Originally there was an 8a type in there with a sagging metal strip behind the glass, meaning it was close to blowing.

After studying the schematic, when in LINEAR mode the switch places the full screen supply voltage right to the grid via the bias cable pin 4. In standby, we already have the -180v from the other supply on the grid. The result is naturally a high drain of current from the negative supply, which explains the bown fuse, blown diodes and removing the tube for diodes.

Johnson placed a 270k /1Wresistor on the mode switch between terminal 6 and 5 to remedy this condition I believe. I have one that measures 280k / 1w and placed it in, and so far after longer operation times, no more fuse or diode blowing.

So I believe that glitch is resolved.

I had taken note that during the vreg tube flakeyness, one of the 4-400A's was glowing red during the 300W pep operations. I though likely bias related, but even with the issue stabilized, one tube stil glows red. If I remember right my first good test on 80m with 300w yielded no red glow from either tube, which made sense as this is
not alot of work for the tube.

I do have a spare set and will swapping the current tubes to each others socket and see if the issue follows, as a clue to whats going on.

I did notice the tube not glowing too red had a clip on the base that was not touching the metal base, so I fixed that.
I also took the metal straps off the anodes, and shined them up nice as they were a little corroded. After that the tube seemed to glow red at a slower time than before. I am also seeing on long SSB transmissions the reflected power climb up gradually and at some point the forward power will go past 300w as the tube stays red longer. Once it kools down, I can repeat this cycle over and over where my fwd and reflected power are back to normal till the tube stays red for too long. I was told its kinda normal for some redness in these tubes at their optimum settings but I think this is maybe a weak tube.

I can work 300W in the tune mode like this and the tune glows much less red if even at all. I will have t check again
but I think eventually the problem cycles up again after a longer time even withth e greatly rediced bias on the tubes in that mode.



 
Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2021, 03:35:54 PM »

One of the set screws in a 4-400A heat sink was loose, so that explains why one tube was more eager to glow red
under low power levels - starving for plate current mose likely.

Some more pitfalls encountered when trying to tune on 40m - likely should not have with that loose anode, but before I discovered it , was too late. This NP 600V / 0.5u F cap leaked oil -

https://www.mediafire.com/view/olwnysxze66bw2j/oil_cap.jpg/file

Apparently a mod, was hooked from ground effectively in parallel with C116. Measures a bit high ESR, so tossed it.
Looks like its only in effect when the LINEAR mode is selected. Someone speculated its an anti-humm mod on the screen supply.

I dug into the wiring more and updated the schematic with my findings, and
cleaned it up a little:

https://www.mediafire.com/file/c59nbazluuk0tqk/TBOLT_KA2PTE_.pdf/file


So they have lifted the cathode of the final tubes from ground, and are
running the plate meter through
that, which explains the current reading at idle. Though almost 75mA through
the screen seems kinda alot.

I have included my ss diodes in place of the tube, they are 1N4007's and I
put small resistors in line
with them to hopefully act as fuses. I also replaced C104 which looked like
it was original with a 150uF
as per the schematic. This is 5x higher than the original but tests so far
seem to show its ok. Theres about -188V on that cap now which is the standby bias.
Im told the extra 30 or so volts ought not matter much from the manuals -150V
and the tube sheet says the max is -500v.

The (2) 1K resistors are now shown after tracing them out. Apparently making
a higher voltage drop than R116
was when in TUNE or LINEAR mode. I believe this is the AB2 to AB1 mod but
cant fully understand how
limiting the current to that 75V regulator tube does the trick.


Right now with no plate volts and the 4-400A tubes removed entirely my
screen volts is 367 (from terminal 1 on the mode sw) with no plate current
at all in TUNE mode.

In CW mode the 75V neon tube goes off, which I believe is normal and screen
volts jumps to 519. Move to LINEAR position and the screen is
519V. No grid or screen current at all , which I believe is expected as
there are no tubes. These voltage readings are a little over the ones
in the manual, so I guess they are acceptable.

When I leave things as they are and put one or more tubes, this is where
there are issues now that werent there before.
They seem not to change with the bias cable in or not, but for safety I left
it in so there is negative bias on the tubes.

So now with still no plate volts and one 4-400A tube _IN_ a socket the screen as
measured on terminal 1,  is
67V in TUNE, and 204v in LINEAR or CW. In CW there is 100mA
of current on the plate meter, screen current is about 25mA with no grid
current. In LINEAR its 50mA of plate current with about the same screen
current. In TUNE there is perhaps about 2x what was normal plate current,
which is the "needles width" reference I was told is normal (by another thudbolt owner)  
- I guestimated to be  10mA so its now maybe 20mA or so.

Maybe the plate current meter was sticking, but when I worked the amp with decent results,
never saw idle current on the plate. When I put in a decent RF signal, then keyed into TX,
then I got plate current.


UPDATE: I concluded 1 or more the NOS tubes I bought may have reached the end of their life. So have some more on the way.
Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2021, 01:41:41 PM »

Well lots of progress since last post. Thanks also to the people who are helping via the PM's, greatly appreciated.

Found some connections on the VR tube termnals were breaking down from the heat causing a short to other wires running near them. Fixing that has stabilized the tube output. Still had too much current draw in LINEAR or CW, and concluded the 4-400A's were biased like a diode because the grid bias was not making it there, due to an open L8.

While in there decided to check C10, which was completely invisible - amazing the amp worked at all with it like that. Then found nearly all the coupling caps on the Sw2 array were shot as well. With max coupling there was perhaps 300pF, which explains when I tried to load on 40m - the amp self destructed.

I have updated the schematic quite a bit in the previous download link. They have made the plate curent meter the cathode current meter and placed (2) 0.01 caps from the cathode to ground....I guess trying to bypass the cathode since the ammeter is now sort of a resistive load - not 100% sure the idea of that.

Also T103 had been updated with the voltage connections. Im told I ought to wire it to 120 from 110, and was curious if anyone knows which 2 wires are for the 120v connesitons? Theres one black wire, and (2) white / black striped ones.

Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2021, 01:41:50 PM »

Set this aside a while back as I learned I have a parasitic happening from tuned grid to plate when in tuned grid mode with the selector. The 2nd new RF choke had smoked again, arousing suspicion....and there was a popping noise from one of the tubes that preceded it.

Before I risk another RF choke, I took KB1VWC's advice and am setting about replacing all the RF bypass caps in the chassis which are 0.005uF, rated at a voltage unknown as the manual does not give a voltage. Here is a picture of one of them:

https://www.mediafire.com/view/vhyal4a0pwxbcdz/HPIM0855.jpg/file

I have a load of Xicon (p/n: 140-202p9-472k) class 1 ceramic disc caps I bought yrs ago which are 2kv rated at 0.0047uF and started installing , but wanted to double check in case these ought to be RF rated? I believe class 3 are RF rated, but not sure if that matters much.


Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
KA2PTE
KA2PTE
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 107



WWW
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2023, 11:05:12 AM »

Been a while since I fired up the Tbolt. Gonna use if for my special event station in June, so I opened it up and modified the filament switch so its now a DPDT center off. The down posiiton disconnects the screens of the 400A's
for neutralizing mode and I drilled a hole in the top cover above the neutralizing cap for easier access.

I placed in a set of JAN type 400A's I picked up last year in nearly factory condition that have thorium coated
filaments and reconfigured the regulator tubes so there are (3) 150 and (1) 100 for a screen of 550V which
seemed to be the best result I saw so far in past tests.

I noticed the filament to the new tubes is a higher voltage, so they glow a low white color now, and the
voltage on them is about 5.3V and I want to get it down to 4.9 somehow. I calculated a 4.5 ohm 18W resistor
fed to the primary ought to bring the 120V there down to about 111V so I may try that method.

I set about neutralizing last night, but since there is 3400V on the adjuster from the plate supply, I had to
turn the power off, then move it up or down and see if it changed the reading on the wattmeter. It was too
awkward doing it that way, so I loaded up into a dummy load for a max of 600W. I noticed the corner tube
was the only one with the plate turning red, so apparently it was doing all the work, hence the 600W max
power out.

I killed plate power, put the cap at max, then backed off 1 turn and now the other tube was red like the other
and I could now redip with more drive and saw about 1100W on the wattmeter to the dummy load.

When I unkeyed the 80m test signal, I noticed the plate current stayed where it was and the tubes continued
to glow red? I killed plate voltage, and they stopped drawing power. I guess they were self-oscillating perhaps
due to the neutralize cap still needing tweaking, so I re-tested after backing off another 2-3 turns from the current
setting, and when I unkeyed the drive signal, the tubes no longer stay active.

I had thought perhaps my T-R relay stuck, but I keyed and unkeyed and could hear it operating while the
tubes stayed running so I guess they were self oscillating.

Tue procedure in the manual says to look for grid current as the way to neutralize and to be on 20m.
I was on 80m, so if I operate on other bands, will there be a conflict?









Logged

==================
EF Johnson RF Tube Linears
==================
https://groups.io/g/johnson-tube-linears
wa2tak
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 91


« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2023, 10:41:37 AM »

In my junk box, I have a solid state "Semtech SA 7477 7823" which replaces the 866.
Alas, I Googled this and found nothing?

I did find this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/374321329464
Logged
wa2tak
Member

Offline Offline

Posts: 91


« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2023, 11:24:20 AM »

Found this info on SOLID STATE RECTIFIER REPLACEMENTS:
https://www.kevinchant.com/uploads/7/1/0/8/7108231/international_rectifier_ss_replacements.pdf
Logged
Opcom
Patrick J. / KD5OEI
Contributing
Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 8242



WWW
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2023, 03:44:02 PM »

I've had on of those amps before and never had neutralization issues. But mine ran 2000-2500V. The semtech should be an 866 replacement.
Logged

Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
Pages: 1 [2]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

AMfone - Dedicated to Amplitude Modulation on the Amateur Radio Bands
 AMfone 2001-2015
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.07 seconds with 18 queries.