Tube Tester Restorations

how I do it


LINKS eBay Feedback/Auction INFORMATION CONTACT updated 8/13/2017


Sorry but I no longer offer any restoration or calibration service.


Many if not most of the vintage tube testers being sold as calibrated.....ARE NOT! I say this because there's a very important part of the calibration procedure that is almost always overlooked.

The reason this adjustment is not done is because it is omitted in what little calibration procedures there exist. Even the most detailed procedures I've seen in the Hickok calibration procedures omits this adjustment.

I have serviced, calibrated and sold a fair number of tube testers over the last 15 years and have yet to find one with this overlooked adjustment properly set. This means that if you are using a tube tester that has not been thoroughly calibrated..............you may be discarding good tubes.

My tube tester service includes a good cleaning inside and out, replacing any paper capacitors and any resistors that are out of Torrance. I clean and test all the sockets, controls and switches and of course, the tubes used internally. I check the meter for smooth, stick free operation and make sure the roll chart works as it should (its normal to experience some backlash one some of the late edition Hickok charts to because of their extended length).

Finally I perform the calibration and then test a variety of tubes with known  values to complete the service before posting for sale.

If you are technical person with a unit in question or one who sells & calibrates tube checkers, contact and I'll be glad to share this info. This overlooked adjustment, is not always a simple procedure on most tube checkers. Most require a component change rather than make a simple adjustment.


Here's what I do to all the tube testers I offer
for sale as restored and calibrated:

First, I clean the piece inside and out, not just a quick wipe off of the obvious, but a thorough cleaning. I remove the knobs & clean them and  the panel as best possible even the hard to get at places. I do the same to the under side and the inside of the case. I also clean the crud that collects under the knobs! Then comes the technical stuff:

1. Check the meter movement to make sure it doesn't stick or hang up.
2. I Make sure the all important fuse lamps are the correct ones. Then I check the tube sockets to make sure they are not loose or worn out and replace the ones that are.
3. Clean all controls and switches and check for smooth and non-intermittent operation.
4. Check the roll chart to make sure it's intact and rolls smoothly.
5. Check and replace leaky capacitors when necessary. The same applies to other components such as resistors, AC cords etc. I unusually install a 3 wire cord for safety sake.
6. Inspect for poor soldering and loose connections, correct when necessary.
7. Complete calibration, then make sure it test's weak tubes weak and good tubes good, compare Gm readings on the Mutual Conductance units (I have a variety of tube with known values I use for this test). The calibration includes; (applies to Mutual Conductance testers only):

There are other little detail items I do that are too numerous to make a point of, I do all I can to make sure you get a tube tester you can depend on to perform as it was designed.

The cleaning and restoration performed does not always end up in a product that will look like new, but you will get a unit that is clean inside and out and will perform like new. Many of the old units were beat up pretty badly and came from shops that were not very sanitary. So regardless of the wear and tear I promise to clean them completely and before offering for sale, they will work properly. This I guarantee.

Sorry but I no longer offer any restoration or calibration service.


© C.E. Clutter


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Northwest Vintage Radio Society

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