RCA Radio Tubes

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RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:36 pm

I've noticed the following tubes in some RCA table radios; 36AM3A, 18FX6, 18FW6, 18FY6, 34GD5

I haven't picked up any of these radio and was wondering if anyone else has and if so, do any of you have these tubes for spares?

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:47 pm

Yep. A Cameo. Built in Richmond, Indiana. It has all Arvin tubes in it. There was another "weird" complement besides the one you mentioned. 36AM3B, 18FX6, 18FW6, 18FY6 and 32ET5. That is the one I have. Great little cheap clock radio. Probably made by Arvin. I have plenty of spares, should you have the occasion to need one. I have no idea why these strange numbers were introduced. To circumvent a patent, perhaps? I have seen an Arvin, and a Bulova with this tube complement. I have not seen an RCA.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:51 pm

I saw a real nice Bulova clock radio in a local antique shop a few weeks ago with a $15 price tag. I decided to walk around a bit and think about it, no more than 10 minutes, but when I got back it was gone!

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:10 pm

I have a Bulova clock radio.  The frau cabbabed onto it, since it was "cute."  It has the traditional 35W4, 50C5, 12BA6, 12BE6, 12AV6 tube complement.  It is a good performer.  We have it on the dresser in our bedroom here in AZ. If you need tubes for that strange tube complement, let me know. I won't use them all in three lifetimes.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Dr. Radio on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:15 pm

Ya want the real scoop?

This was the supposed "new" AA5 line-up introduced by RCA. You see RCA was the giant evil corporate conglomerate that "controlled" most, if not all of the licenses granted to the major radio manufacturers. RCA could see the writing on the wall in the late 1950s realizing that the giant pile of money wouldn't always be pouring into them with widespread, new transistor designs just on the horizon. My understanding was this was a "last gasp" for something new to be introduced into the market place and grant licensing for. This "line-up" consisting of the 36AM3A, 18FX6, 18FW6, 18FY6, 34GD5 was introduced in about 1960.

What was the big selling point? The heaters were redesigned for 100 mA operation, so there was less current draw, and I've even seen this as advertised as "cooler running" tubes.

Pin-outs are the same, but characteristics (besides voltages and currents) are slightly different, so they got different suffixes.

Here's a bit of trivia; supposedly there is "controversy" whether or not the 36AM3A or 36AM3B rectifier tube can support the traditional 6.3v dial lamp.

I have never seen any radio using this "new line-up" have a dial lamp. If anyone has an example, please let me know!

And there ya go.
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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:20 pm

I figured it had SOMETHING to do with RCA. I have never seen an RCA radio with that complement. Go figure. And, no, my Cameo does not have a dial lamp. It has the "B" rectifier. I knew that complement was late in the tube days, but not just how late. Thanks, Doc, as usual, for the great information.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:22 pm

Very interesting Doc, thanks for sharing, I wondered why they had "non-standard" tubes!

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

I have a silvertone with that line up. I believe they were meant to be the tube's last gasp before transistors set in for good.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Bill Cahill on Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:58 pm

And, my Silvertone does not have a dial light.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:05 pm

My Cameo does not have a dial light.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:39 pm

Dr. Radio wrote:Ya want the real scoop?

This was the supposed "new" AA5 line-up introduced by RCA. You see RCA was the giant evil corporate conglomerate that "controlled" most, if not all of the licenses granted to the major radio manufacturers. RCA could see the writing on the wall in the late 1950s realizing that the giant pile of money wouldn't always be pouring into them with widespread, new transistor designs just on the horizon. My understanding was this was a "last gasp" for something new to be introduced into the market place and grant licensing for. This "line-up" consisting of the 36AM3A, 18FX6, 18FW6, 18FY6, 34GD5 was introduced in about 1960.  

What was the big selling point? The heaters were redesigned for 100 mA operation, so there was less current draw, and I've even seen this as advertised as "cooler running" tubes.

Pin-outs are the same, but characteristics (besides voltages and currents) are slightly different, so they got different suffixes.

Here's a bit of trivia; supposedly there is "controversy" whether or not the 36AM3A or 36AM3B rectifier tube can support the traditional 6.3v dial lamp.

I have never seen any radio using this "new line-up" have a dial lamp. If anyone has an example, please let me know!

And there ya go.
Assuming you got your info from Tube Lore, Lud flubbed up on this one...

Sylvania registered the original line up of 18FW6, 18FX6, 18FY6, 32ET5 & 36AM3, this is documented in the JEDEC registration #2334 dated 12/15/58... On June 13 1960 RCA registered the higher output 34GD5 along with the 100ma 20EZ7(also it's lesser voltage brethren, covered by JEDEC 2843)... RCA also registered the 36AM3A, that came about on 9/19/60(JEDEC #2961)... Sylvania countered on 12/12/60 by re-registering the full line up with a 20 second controlled warm up heaters as "A" versions and the 36AM3 as "B"(JEDEC #3068)... This where the dial lamp controversy begins, as the 36AM3B is capable of supporting a lamp where as the earler versions were not...

As far a radios that actually used a dial lamp with these tube I don't remember seeing one...

And the demise of tubes in the late 50s??? In the two years(12/15/58 to 12/12/60) Syl & RCA were playing around with the registrations of these tubes there were 731 other registrations with JEDEC... Many of those were multiple registrations so actual count was no doubt much higher...
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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Dr. Radio on Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:48 pm

Very interesting. Thank you for the input.

I will stand by my "demise of tubes" statement--even in the late 1950s.

Delco produced it's very first all transistor car radio in 1957 for installation in select Cadillacs. I believe Chrysler had Philco build all transistor radios as early as 1955.

General Electric was building all transistor AC powered clock radios as early as 1961. I have a collection of these very first ones. Motorola was already perfecting semiconductors for jobs that could only be done by tubes (HV supplies for TV for example) at this time.

To me it was still a last gasp for something "new" in the nothing-has-changed-a-lot AA5 system and all the licensing/$ that come with it.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Guest on Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:01 pm

In 1957 Ford eliminated the vibrator with a switching transistor. In 1960 all transistor radios were an option, soon after that tube radios were gone from Fords.

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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:02 pm

Dr. Radio wrote:Very interesting. Thank you for the input.

I will stand by my "demise of tubes" statement--even in the late 1950s.

Delco produced it's very first all transistor car radio in 1957 for installation in select Cadillacs. I believe Chrysler had Philco build all transistor radios as early as 1955.

General Electric was building all transistor AC powered clock radios as early as 1961. I have a collection of these very first ones. Motorola was already perfecting semiconductors for jobs that could only be done by tubes (HV supplies for TV for example) at this time.

To me it was still a last gasp for something "new" in the nothing-has-changed-a-lot AA5 system and all the licensing/$ that come with it.


OK but were were still selling Hybrid TVs at Sears as late as the Bicentennial year, for something that was on the way out, 25+ years is a long time...

MEZLAW wrote:In 1957 Ford eliminated the vibrator with a switching transistor. In 1960 all transistor radios were an option, soon after that tube radios were gone from Fords.

Actually that was a audio output transistor driven by a space charge tube, usually a 12K5(though I believe the Ford used a different type)... There were some radios that used a power osc to produce high voltages, but from '57 on, almost everything were true 12v radios(especially OEM) using "front end tubes" optimized for 12v...

Tung-Sol announced the low voltage lineup in 1956, consisted of 12AC6, 12AD6, 12AE6, and the transistor driver 12K5.... By '58/'59 the driver tube had been replaced by a low power driver transistor, generally leaving radios with four tubes inside... Those low voltage types enjoyed a huge growth for a few years... Ford switched to total solid state in most '63 models, though Econoline & Falcon used radios that had two mutli-section tubes(12FR8 & 12FX8)...
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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:20 pm

35Z5 wrote:
OK but were were still selling Hybrid TVs at Sears as late as the Bicentennial year, for something that was on the way out, 25+ years is a long time...

Oops put my foot in my mouth on that one, I should have better counted fingers & toes, but it's been too cold to go barefooted... Tubes were history in a little over 15 years, not 25...
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Re: RCA Radio Tubes

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:53 pm

Delco's first transistor radio was made for a 1956 Corvette. The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado used a transistor radio for the front seat and for the rear seat. There were two tube radio chassis under the front seat to operate the seat memory, interior lighting system, and the hood and trunk actuators. 1959 was the first year for 12 volt tubes in Delco car radios across the board. They were a none-too-successful stopgap until transistor radios could be introduced across the entire GM line. This plan was fully implemented by 1965. 1963 GM cars had all transistor radios, with the exception of Wonder Bar sets. These sets used a tube for a trigger for the Wonder Bar, thru the 1964 models. 1965 Delco Wonder Bar sets were 100% transistorized. GM cars used tube Guidematic Headlamp dimmer systems and Twilight Sentinels, thru 1964. These components were solid state as well by 1965.

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