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The uTracer Tube Tester and Curve Tracer

Posted on August 14th, by Shaun Merrigan in Electronics, Vacuum Tubes. Comments Off on The uTracer Tube Tester and Curve Tracer

The uTracer Tube Tester and Curve Tracer

I have completed building my uTracer (micro Tracer) computer based vacuum tube tester and curve tracer.  This unit, designed by Ronald Dekker described on his website:

The uTracer is much more than a simple tube tester; it is also a curve-tracer. It measures both the anode as well as the screen currents for a range of specified bias conditions, and arranges the measurements in meaningful sets of curves. From these curves parameters like the transconductance or the output resistance can then be extracted and plotted as a function of bias. Alternatively the uTracer can be used as a tester which extracts important parameters like Ia, Rp, gm and um in your favorite bias point in a matter of seconds

Ronald Dekker makes this tester available as a kit, with detailed assembly and testing instructions.  One of the best aspects of building this tester is that the chassis construction, case and switching arrangement fall under the discretion of the builder.  I choose a Heathkit oriented theme based on an EUW-19 chassis.  The following images document the building process and the final product:


uTracer Assembled and tested PCB in Heathkit Chassis

Sockets and rotary switch arrangement:  Testing the switch matrix.

uTracer Heathkit Theme Switches and Sockets Detail


uTracer Heath Built uTracer Logo

uTracer Heathkit Theme Front Panel Shaun Merrigan


uTracer Heathkit Theme Top View entire unit

Here is the first set of curves I generated with the uTracer using a Type 36 Tetrode

uTracer Type 36 Vacuum Tube Curves

The uTracer worked properly from the first, which is a credit to Ronald Dekker’s comprehensive assembly and testing manual.


Shaun Merrigan

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