Sunday, March 3, 2019

Project - Solar Powered Vacuum Tube Display

One of my hobbies involves the reviving of antique radios. I suppose it's basically just a natural extension of what intrigues me - that marriage between wood and electronics.

Back when they were new, antique radios were considered to be a major purchase for a family and as such they were traditionally considered fine furniture. As a result the cabinets that housed the electronics for these radios often were built out of expensive woods like walnut or oak and were built to a high level of craftsmanship.

I always took a lot of joy in restoring an old beat up cabinet to it's previous glory and to have the electronic bits inside sing once again.

Back in those days there were no transistors, instead the function that transistors handle today were manged by vacuum tubes. While vacuum tubes certainly worked quite well (in fact audiophiles today swear that the best sound come from vacuum tube amplifiers) and their glow was always a welcome sight, they did have a tendency to burn out after a while.

During my radio rescue efforts, I had managed to accumulate a bit of a collection of defunct vacuum tubes. Now personally, I had always found the design of these tubes to be quite interesting and I never could bring myself to throw them out. 

Now I didn't really want them to just still in a box in a closet somewhere, so why not put them on display?

With this project I think I managed to give these old tubes a place of honor with the added bonus of restoring some of that glow they used to give off.  

I am also very proud to say this project was a runner up in the Instructables 2017 Solar Contest.

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