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For over 35 years, Radio Electric Supply has supplied the world with electron tubes for every application.  We still offer the worlds greatest selection, unparalleled service and integrity unmatched anywhere.

Over TEN MILLION tubes in stock!


2003 - 2005
All rights reserved.
Radio Electric Supply, Vacuum Tubes Div.

 

 

 

 


Frequently Asked Questions:

Here is where you get the answers about buying vacuum tubes, radio tubes, and learn about the terminology we use in this business.  We stock and sell more radio and vacuum tubes than any other company in the world.  See an answer we missed?  Write us here.


Click the question to get the answer!

Am I safe to buy an equivalent or substitute vacuum tube? Are they exactly the same?

Is it OK to buy a 30 year old radio tube? Don't they lose their vacuum or anything?

What is the difference between NOS and NIB? Aren't they the same thing?

Will you ever run out of a radio or vacuum tube I need?

What is the difference between a G tube and a GT? Can I use them interchangeably?

Are prices going up as NOS tube supply gets smaller?

Do I need to buy a socket and do you sell them?

I found the same tube at one of your competitors. I prefer to buy from you because I have used you before. Will you match or beat their price?

Are vacuum tubes made in China or Russia safe to buy?

Doesn't everybody use transistors today?

What are your hours? I don't see them anywhere on your website?

Don't the companies today make the old model vacuum tubes?

How do you test vacuum tubes?

What tester do you use?

Glass tubes are fragile right? How do you pack them so they don't break?

I need a vacuum tube that is not listed on your website. Can you help me locate it or a compatible substitute?

Why do some tubes have two different types of numbers on them? For instance I have a 12AU7A that also has ECC82 printed on the tube.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Am I safe to buy an equivalent or substitute tube? Are they exactly the same?

Normally equivalent vacuum tubes such as a 6J5 or 6J5GT or 6J5G are electronically the same. They may have a different construction, i.e. metal versus glass, or a different glass shape. They will perform the same. Substitute vacuum tubes are not exactly the same electronically but will perform the same in most circuits. We will not ship a substitute tube without first checking to see the application it is to be used in.

Is it OK to buy a 30 year old tube? Don't they lose their vacuum or anything?

The beauty of a vacuum tube is that all the electronic components are sealed in a vacuum. Unless something happens to the tube to cause it to lose it's vacuum, it will function as well today as when it was made decades ago.

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What is the difference between a G tube and a GT? Can I use them interchangeably?

The only real difference is the shape of the glass envelope. Electronically they are the same and can be used interchangeably with no problems.

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What is the difference between NOS and NIB? Aren't they the same thing?

NOS stands for new old stock and NIB is New In Box.  Normally they are the same, but occasionally you will find NOS tubes in generic white boxes. This can be due to the fact that the original box deteriorated over time (particularly with early globe tubes), or that the tubes originally came packaged in bulk for use by industry.

Will you ever run out of a tube I want?

Yes, on occasion. We have the largest stock of New Old Stock tubes in the world, but this does not guarantee that we will always have what you want in stock.  Some tube numbers are in such high demand that the available stocks are being rapidly depleted. The good news is that we are adding thousands of tubes to our inventory every day and a tube that is out of stock today may well be available tomorrow.

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Are prices going up as NOS vacuum tube supply gets smaller?

Yes and no. Like any free market commodity prices go up and down based on supply and demand. If a supply is getting smaller but there is little demand for a tube, the price may well go down.

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Do I need to buy a socket and do you sell them?

Normally you would not need to buy a socket since you are replacing a tube in an existing piece of equipment. If you are building from scratch, or making a modification that requires a different socket then you will need a socket. We carry a wide variety of new and used sockets, and we are more than happy to point you in the right direction if there is a socket that we cannot supply.

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I found the same tube at one of your competitors. I prefer to buy from you because I have used you before. Will you match or beat their price?

Our philosophy is to have the lowest price of any of the major tube suppliers. We will match prices with anyone who actually has that tube in stock at that price.  Because of the volatile nature of some tube prices it is common to find a price on someone's web page but they do not have that tube in stock, and may not have for some time.  Rest assured that when they get another one for sale it will be priced in line with the current market.

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Are tubes made in China or Russia safe to buy?

Yes, very much so. Some excellent vacuum tubes are being made in China and Russia today. We stock only those tubes we know to be reliable.

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Doesn't everybody use transistors today?

No. Many applications perform better with vacuum tubes. High end audio systems are exclusively vacuum tube based. In many cases it is cheaper for a corporation to re-tube existing equipment than to purchase all new transistorized equipment.

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What are your hours? I don't see them anywhere on your website?

You may place your order 24 hours a day by email or on this website.  If you prefer to to talk to us on the phone we can be reached M - F between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Eastern time. It is also possible to catch us in the evening if we are working late.  If we are here, we answer the phone.

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Don't the companies today make the old model vacuum tubes?

When the majority of electronics went to transistors, the tube manufacturers found that is was no longer economically feasible to maintain expensive tube producing facilities.

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How do you test vacuum tubes?

We have a number of tube testers that check mutual conductance, shorts, gas, and grid leakage.  Normally a vacuum tube that passes these tests will function perfectly in your equipment. Every tube is tested before it is shipped and we guarantee them for 30 days.

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What tester do you use?

We have 14 different testers including a pair of Hickok 118B cardmatics that have been converted to a computerized database.

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Glass tubes are fragile right? How do you pack them so they don't break?

Although tubes are made of glass, they are remarkably resilient. We pack every box with utmost care to insure that your tubes arrive to you intact.

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I need a vacuum tube that is not listed on your website. Can you help me locate it or a compatible substitute?

No problem. We are always willing to help locate tubes for a customer. Chances are that we probably have it in stock anyway. There are several different numbering systems for tubes and you may be searching under the wrong number. Or it could be a tube that we have in stock, but have not yet inventoried for our list.

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Why do some tubes have two different types of numbers on them? For instance I have a 12AU7A that also has ECC82 printed on the tube.

The ECC82 is the European numbering system and the 12AU7A is the US system. There a quite a few tubes that have both numbers printed on them, but many will only have one or the other number. They are the same tube, no matter what numbering system is used.

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Vacuum Tubes are our Specialty!
(Dale)

 

Every tube is hand tested before it is shipped to the customer.

We guarantee every tube we sell for thirty days except for breakage, open filaments or operation outside manufacturer's specifications.

For over 35 years our customers throughout the world have looked to us for performance, support, and integrity.

At Radio Electric Supply, you can expect service, prompt delivery, and great customer support every day.



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