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  #1  
Old 09-04-2011, 10:59 PM
Dawg Dawg is offline
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Last year for vacuum tube type radios and TV's?

I always thought by 1970 vacuum tubes were done for inside of radios and TV's....but I recently had a guy tell me they were using vacuum tubes in TV's (not the picture tube) as late as 1974....?

Does this sound right?

Were stereos and radios also using vacuum tubes this late?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:00 PM
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Later than that...
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:10 PM
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Most of the big makers offered "value-line" TV sets that used some tubes up through 74 or 75. There were only a handful of companies making solid state color sets in '70-RCA, Motorola, I guess Sony and maybe some other Japanese companies. Sylvania might have been the next. The last tube chassis TV is generally considered the GE portacolor; I think production may have officially ended around '77 but several people have reported seeing later production dates, even into 1980. I have also read of some el cheapo bw sets that used a tube hv rectifier being produced up until 80 or even later. As for radios/stereos, the only ones with tubes beyond about 68 would have been special high-end equipment, I believe. (you can still buy such creatures today)
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:12 AM
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TerrySmith TerrySmith is offline
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I remember around 1974 - 75 my dad bought a new Sears- Silvertone 25" color TV, it was the very last tube set sold in our local Sears store. A plain set, just a metal cabinet with painted on woodgrain. What a piece of junk it was, a year or so in the thermister went up in smoke, and while I had the chassis out I noticed it came new with a REBUILT CRT!

It was definitely not Japanese built, probably a Warwick. 4 or 5 tubes on the chassis and series strung.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:54 AM
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Average consumer radios: Solid state AC operated table radios started to become common by the mid '60's; however, there were some tube radios made at least through '69. Zenith made a cheap plastic cased AM/FM tube set for the '69 model year ("Z" line) and a friend has a rather nice '68 Zenith AM table set with a tuned RF stage. And, I've seen a few Japanese tube sets that looked like they could have been from the early '70's. I have a few ultra-cheap Japanese 5-tube AM sets that were available during the mid-to-late '60's. These usually cost under $10 when new.

Console stereos and portable record players: Most major makers had switched to fully solid state console stereo's by '65-'66. From the '63-'65 period, some companies made hybrid models that contained a tube tuner and SS amp. There were some smaller companies that offered low end tube models into the late '60's. Most portable phonographs switched to solid state by the mid '60's; however, some cheaper record players (mainly kiddie "one tube wonders") contained tubes through around 1970 and some classroom record players used tubes into the early-to-mid '70's. I have a 1970 Rheem-Califone tube type classroom record player and Newcomb made some combination record player/PA systems for school use that used tubes well into the '70's.

TV's: Most major companies offered tube color and B&W TV's at least through '74-'75; however, most of these later sets used a mix of tubes and solid state components. GE was probably the last hold out, with their porta-color sets that were basically all tube and offered at least through '77. Also, GE was still making tube-type B&W portables in the '75-'76 era. I've heard of some cheap B&W portables that contained a tube or two being made into the '80's; but, I've never seen one. I think it would be safe to say that the GE porta-color was the last major tube set. RCA discontinued their tube sets at the end of the '74 model year and Zenith made tube sets through '75.

It's interesting to note that the first solid state battery operated portable TV was the Philco Safari from '59. A couple of years later, Sony got in on the act with a SS B&W portable. Then, Motorola released it's solid state "works in a drawer" color set in '67 and RCA introduced it's solid state CTC40 in '69. I think Zenith held out until '71 for their first solid state color set and Magnavox waited until '72-'73 for their first SS color set.

The first SS color sets were rather expensive; therefore, not as many of these were sold vs. tube-type sets. By the mid '70's, it had become cheaper to produce a reliable solid state color TV and that's probably why tubes hung around in TV's for several more years after they were discontinued in radios and record players. A friend told me that he went TV shopping somewhere around '73 and he ended up buying a Zenith hybrid console. He said that the dealer had an identical looking solid state console; but, it was $100 more than the hybrid set. He said given that both TV's had the same quality of picture, he could wait a few seconds for the picture to come on and save $100.

Last edited by radiotvnut; 09-05-2011 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:49 AM
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Chad Hauris Chad Hauris is offline
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I know that Rowe jukeboxes used tubes at least into the early 70's and I think they may have offered the option of a tube or solid state amp then into the mid 70's (until the selection circuitry began to be computerized). They still even used a 5U4 rectifier tube/7868 output tubes with a solid-state phono pre-amp.
I have a McGohan tube type PA amp which I think is from 1974, also a Bogen PA amp from '74, they also use 7868's.
Hammond organs with tubes were made up through '74 too.

There must be something about 1974 which really prompted most makers of all kinds of devices to drop tubes, maybe tubes themselves began to become more expensive due to less overall demand? Or solid state devices somehow became more cost-effective?
I know some PA/Jukebox makers still used tubes because they thought they were tougher and less prone to sudden failure than solid state devices. Although Seeburg began to use solid state amps very early, like around '63 or so.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerrySmith View Post
I remember around 1974 - 75 my dad bought a new Sears- Silvertone 25" color TV, it was the very last tube set sold in our local Sears store. A plain set, just a metal cabinet with painted on woodgrain. What a piece of junk it was, a year or so in the thermister went up in smoke, and while I had the chassis out I noticed it came new with a REBUILT CRT!

It was definitely not Japanese built, probably a Warwick. 4 or 5 tubes on the chassis and series strung.
That was against the law, even back then. The dealer couldn't sell the set as new. You could have called Sears on that one. They would have had to give your money back.
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:18 PM
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sampson159 sampson159 is offline
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once at a warehouse sale for sun tv,i purchased a daewoo 27 inch set still in the box.got it home,unpacked and turned it on.shorted crt!took it back and the tech there tried to lower the screen control to eliminate the retrace lines.he sent it back.when i came home that evening i saqw the lines and took it back myself.the tech removed the back and there was a rebuilt crt!they replaced it and problem solved.i paid 85.00 for this set and although it was very low,i did expect a new set.it worked approx. 13 years before it was sold at a yard sale
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:43 PM
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wa2ise wa2ise is offline
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My grandmother bought an RCA CTC39X all tube set in 1975. Probably on clearance sale. She put a fair amount of hours on it, soap operas and evening TV shows. Early 80s we replaced a few of the tubes in it. It got tossed in the early 90's though...
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:55 PM
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My first brand new TV was a 1968 12" Motorola B/W portable, the model with the handle moulded on the side of the TV. This TV was tube type, but the dealer also had a similar 12" Motorola solid state model for $10 more. For a 16 year old kid, $10 was a big amount of money back then, and I agonized a lot trying to decide if the reliability and high tech of solid state was worth the extra $10. I ended up buying the cheaper tube model ($89). It wasn't a bad decision as that tube TV lasted 17 years with daily use and never had to be serviced. It was still working when I gave it away, so who knows how long it lasted? At least my my case, tube technology proved pretty reliable.
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:10 PM
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Here in Italy we stuck with tube based equipment longer than most other western countries, virtually all large screen Italian made TVs were still all-tube in the late 60s and some cheap large screen B/W sets based on a late 60s Zanussi hybrid chassis were still made as late as 1980

Also Philips made a cheap portable reel to reel tape recorder as late as 1969, the EL3572
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:11 PM
Geoff Bourquin Geoff Bourquin is offline
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Looking back from the SS era, we had an all solid state (except for the 1B3) Magnavox B&W 21" console that Mom and Dad got in the very early '70s. By '74 it had suffered a shorted yoke, and a shorted audio out transistor in '77, and the CRT was replaced once in about '77 or '78, and was more than ready for replacement again by the late '80s when I fixed up a CTC72 set for them and the old B&W went to the giant pit at the end of 18th St.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:59 PM
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Newest tube set I ever had was a 12" b/w GE with the SF chassis in a puke-green plastic cabinet from 1974. Never had a tube set new enough to have the click-stop uhf tuner - which I think was used starting in '75?
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:13 PM
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I also had one of those later SF chassis 12" GE B&W's in a woodgrain plastic case. I think it had a click-stop UHF tuner. I used to have a '74 Wells-Gardner built 25" Truetone color hybrid console that had the click-stop tuner. I don't know when click stop UHF tuners were required; but, I've seen sets as early as '73 that had them.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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I remember an oddball 12" B&W Magnavox that must have been one of their last tube sets. It had a vertical osc/output tube (IIRC, 17JZ8) and a horizontal output/damper tube (IIRC, 38HE7). It used a solid state "stick" HV rectifier and it had a couple of modules for the sound and IF.

I also had a 12" Motorola "handle on the side" B&W set that claimed it was "solid state" on the front; however, it had some sweep circuit tubes in it. I guess that one was a "friday job".

The first RCA and Motorola solid state color sets still used an HV rectifier tube and I've seen many solid state B&W sets that still had a tube for the HV rectifier. I think the Philco Safari and the '60's era Sony portable B&W's used several subminiature tubes in an HV multiplier circuit.
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