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Is cathode stripping an issue in CSP+/Taboo III? (Read 383 times)
Rizlaw
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Posts: 78
Is cathode stripping an issue in CSP+/Taboo III?
07/30/13 at 01:56:30
 
I'm not a tube expert, but when I ran across this website/blog

http://tubemaze.info/sound-of-rectifier/

and read the first 3 posts after the Rectifier evaluations, I became interested in the question of whether "cathode stripping" is an issue to be concerned about when using directly heated rectifiers like the 5U4 family in my CSP+ and Taboo III and any other Decware products that use this family of rectifiers.

The 3rd post caught my attention:

Quote:
eicoeico on October 6, 2012 at 10:29 AM said:

A problem caused by directly heated or filamentary cathode rectifiers is known as cathode stripping. Cathode stripping is a highly technical issue, but the basics of it are this: Filamentary Cathode rectifier tubes like 5R4, 5U4, 274B etc can deliver full DC levels only FIVE seconds after powering up an amp in which they are installed. In contrast, it takes TWELVE seconds, more or less, for the input tubes (12AX7, 12AU7, 6SN7 etc) and the output tubes (KT88, EL34 etc) to even BEGIN conducting this DC voltage.. so there are about 7 seconds where full DC levels are applied to the power supply capacitors and the audio input and output tubes… and these tubes are not ready to use/conduct this DC voltage. Thus, when the audio tubes do begin to conduct current at ca. twelve seconds after the amplifier is turned on, the 5U4/5R4 type rectifiers have already been charging the entire circuit with full DC current/voltage levels for 6-7 seconds. This difference in warm-up time causes a huge transient surge of current and electron emission in the cathodes of the input and output tubes as these audio tubes begin emitting electrons and thus conducting current— The audio tubes essentially are “slammed” by the full DC levels that have been present for several seconds before they were able to conduct current. These extreme transient currents and emission levels at the moment when the audio tubes begin to emit electrons and thus conduct current causes cumulative damage to the cathode. This cumulative damage gradually begins “stripping” precious cathode emulsion away as small amounts of the cathode emulsion are literally boiled off the cathode during the brief but intense current spike as the audio tubes first reach operating temperature some 7 seconds later than a filamentary cathode rectifier reaches operating temperature. The damage is rather small each time, but over the course of hundreds of turn-on cycles when the amplifier is powered up it cumulatively contributes to an early death for expensive audio tubes. Cathode Stripping is NOT an issue with triode output tubes like type 45, 2A3, 300B, 6B4G etc because these early triodes are filamentary cathode/directly heated tubes just like 5U4/5R4 etc.. these early triode output tubes reach operating temperature at the same exact time a 5U4 or 5R4 will. To eliminate cathode stripping, indirectly heated/cathode sleeve-type rectifiers like 5V4, 5Z4, GZ30, GZ34, GZ37, 6X5 and many others were developed by tube designers. These tubes, being indirectly heated, take 12 seconds to even begin delivering DC voltage/current, and are only able to deliver maximum DC voltage and current levels to the audio tubes after 18-20 seconds. This is known as a “slow ramp up” of the DC voltage applied to the circuit by a rectifier, and this characteristic of delayed delivery of DC voltage to the audio tubes in an amplifier eliminates the intense current spikes that can stress power supply capacitors and cause cathode stripping in audio tubes. This is why indirectly heated rectifiers such as the legendary Mullard GZ34 are so much in demand. Slow ramp-up of the DC avoids huge transient current spikes, and thus prolongs the life not just of the expensive audio amplifying tubes but also the power supply capacitors and the power transformer itself. In the next section, I’ll go deeper into the indirectly heated rectifiers like GZ34/5V4/5Z4 etc, comparing and contrasting their electrical parameters, and referencing these abstract electrical data to real-world performance Finally, a large percentage of modern tube equipment uses solid state diodes to rectify DC; a diode can deliver full voltage and current in less than a second after turn-on. Well-designed modern tube equipment uses a variety of methods to delay the instantaneous voltage/current delivery of these diodes and thus it is not generally a problem. Likewise, there are delay devices available that allow slow ramp-up of DC levels with filamentray cathode rectifiers like 5U4 for audiophiles who prefer the sound of the directly heated type rectifiers.
(emphasis added)

So, all you tube experts, is this something to be concerned about? If not, why not? Undecided
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« Last Edit: 07/30/13 at 01:58:58 by Rizlaw »  

System 1: Computer/Linux OS > Audiophileo 2 > W4S DAC-2 > Woo WA-2 / CSP3 > Taboo III > Omega 3E / LCD-2.1/ Beyer DT-990/DT-1350
System 2: Yamaha PX-2 (Shure Ultra) / Oppo DV983H > Classe CAP2100 > Thiel 7.2
System 3: Fisher:R200/X202B > Magnapan MMG
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Rizlaw
Senior Member
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Posts: 78
Re: Is cathode stripping an issue in CSP+/Taboo III?
Reply #1 - 08/01/13 at 03:44:38
 
O.K. 30 views and no answer. After doing a little more research, I found this (I highlighted what I believe is the pertinent part):

Quote:
From: "Barry Ornitz" <ornitz@usa.net>
Newsgroups: rec.antiques.radio+phono
Subject: Re: Discussion topic - full wave rectifiers
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 19:28:25 -0500

"John Byrns" <jbyrns@enteract.com> wrote in message
news:jbyrns-0601010739440001@207-229-151-64.d.enteract.com...
> In article <3A5772BC.60FC@xs4all.nl>, tgale@xs4all.nl wrote:
>
> > When you replace such a rectifier with semiconductor diodes, at the
> > moment of switch-on there is (a) a potentially damaging H.T. inrush
> > current into the reservoir / filter capacitors, followed by (b) these
> > capacitors, since there is yet no 'load', are operating at well above
> > their design voltage, and (c) H.T. is applied to the other stages
> > before they are properly warmed up, with possible side-effects
> > depending up the set's design.
> >
> > Silicon diodes can be substituted, but my recommendation is to include
> > (a) series resistors as appropriate and (b) some form of time delay
> > (e.g. a diode, resistor, electrolytic and a relay) before the H.T. is
> > applied.
>
>
> I agree that a series resistor should be used, but is a time delay really
> necessary?  Look at all the sets, both American and European that were
> built with selinum rectifiers instead of vacuum rectifiers, and they seem
> to suffer no ill effects even though their design is otherwise identical
> to sets using vacuum rectifiers.


One common argument used by tube rectifier aficionados is the so-called
cathode stripping effect where high voltage applied to the plate of a tube
before the cathode has warmed up can strip the cathode of emitting
material.

Unfortunately, this effect only occurs at high voltage, typically above 10
kilovolts.  It is not a factor in small receiving or transmitting tubes.
If it really were a problem, it would destroy the tube rectifiers which
have plate voltage applied immediately at turn-on.


The only purpose a time-delay on turning on the high voltage can provide is
for the remaining tubes to be warmed up so they draw some current
immediately from the power supply.  This slightly reduces the stress on the
high voltage capacitors.  It is actually far superior to use properly rated
capacitors and forget about the time delay.  Besides most electrolytic
capacitors have surge voltage ratings well above their normal operating
voltages.  This is typically 50 volts or more.

       Dr. Barry L. Ornitz     WA4VZQ     ornitz@usa.net


http://yarchive.net/electr/tube_time_delay.html

http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=214991

So, if this is correct, I am no longer concerned.
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« Last Edit: 08/01/13 at 03:49:30 by Rizlaw »  

System 1: Computer/Linux OS > Audiophileo 2 > W4S DAC-2 > Woo WA-2 / CSP3 > Taboo III > Omega 3E / LCD-2.1/ Beyer DT-990/DT-1350
System 2: Yamaha PX-2 (Shure Ultra) / Oppo DV983H > Classe CAP2100 > Thiel 7.2
System 3: Fisher:R200/X202B > Magnapan MMG
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