IN-18 Going Bad

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4 years 2 months ago #7128 by lcc
Replied by lcc on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
HI did you solve your tube problem and if so what was it ?

steve

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4 years 2 months ago #7131 by Kpangon
Replied by Kpangon on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
No luck solving the problem unfortunately. The power supply of the clock is fine. One of the tubes has developed a distinctly purple hue to it, when compared to the other tube's orange glow. It also has a much higher maintaining voltage compared to the other tubes (165 volts vs the other 5 at about 140 volts). My only thought is that it is slowly leaking, and its electrical properties are changing as the gas leaks out. Is this what I would expect to see if a tube was leaking? Have any of you experienced a leaky tube before?

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4 years 2 months ago #7132 by Pacman223
Replied by Pacman223 on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
did you replace your tube with a spare? did that make the problem go away?

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4 years 2 months ago #7134 by Ty_Eeberfest
Replied by Ty_Eeberfest on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
The only time I ever had an IN-18 leak it went fast. One day fine, next day dead. It was definitely a leak (more like sudden outgassing I guess) because when I checked it with a sparker that I know works with IN-18s there was no sign of gas at all.

Aside from that incident I've been lucky. The only other time I've encountered s leaky tube was an eBay B-7971 that arrived with no gas (and was replaced free at least).

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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4 years 2 months ago #7135 by Kpangon
Replied by Kpangon on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
Yeah, I put in a new set of tubes and they all ran fine. After a few days I decided to put the old tubes back in, and that is when I discovered the one tube was behaving weirdly.

Also, what do you mean when you say you checked the tube with a sparker?

I've decided to try a little experiment to see if I could stop or slow the leaking, if that is the problem with the one tube. Since I figured the most likely spot for it to be leaking would be the seals around the pins, I put a thin coating of clear nail polish around the base of all the pins. I've actually had success with this before. When I first got the tubes I dropped one, and made a short crack about 1/2 inch long on the back of the tube. Since I use clear nail polish for one of my other hobbies (restoring antique fountain pens) I had some right in my desk drawer. Very quickly I sealed over the crack with nail polish and let it dry. After over a year in use that tube still works perfectly, and you can barely notice the nail polish since it's on the back of the tube.

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4 years 2 months ago #7137 by Ty_Eeberfest
Replied by Ty_Eeberfest on topic Re: IN-18 Going Bad
Sparker is a slang term for various kinds of tube testing devices that produce high frequency high voltage at low current. They were mainly used to test vacuum tubes for leaks / gas. With a Nixie tube, if there is neon gas in the tube it will glow when the sparker gets near the tube. If there is no gas at all, no glow. If partially outgassed the glow might be weak or be a weird color.

A plasma ball will serve as a make-do sparker. That I have tried. I have been told (but have not tried) that the cheap personal version of stun gun / taser type devices works too.

Clear polish sounds like a really good idea. Would like to hear what happens. I agree the pin seals are where the leak is occurring.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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