Fantastic news for CRT lovers and preservationists: Andy King, CRT tech, console modder, and creator of CRTDatabase.com, has just made some important updates to his site! For the first time, thorough, clear, and useful information on CRT testers/restorers is available.
As passionate as I am about CRTs, I recently decided to make the plunge and purchase a CRT Tester: an as is/parts or repair B&K Precision 467 purchased from eBay. I knew based on the unit’s age alone (it was built sometime in the mid–late ’70s) that it would need some work before I could put the venerable piece of kit into service. But as my collection of CRT televisions, professional monitors, computer monitors, arcade monitors, and projectors grows—much to the distress of my wife—I knew I’d want a working tester at my disposal. I dreamed of testing every tube in my home, generating accurate data on the condition of the tubes themselves and repairing shorts and tired guns; however, as I set to work, I found that it was a non-trivial process getting it repaired and restored. None of the actual repairs and calibrations were particularly difficult, but finding the necessary information, then parsing it, was a royal pain.
But now, thanks to King, one need no longer patch together information on these oft-misunderstood devices from twitter posts, forum threads, long and unscripted YouTube videos, and old and unclear manuals. Now one only need visit the new guides on CRT Database.
When asked to describe the importance of these pages, King described a similar experience to mine, and said:
When I first started using CRT testers, all of the known information was scattered all over the internet…and there was tons of anecdotal information where it was unclear who was correct vs. who was just regurgitating incomplete or wrong information. I was fortunate enough to meet a few people who could point me in the direction of better info sources and answer some of my questions, but largely my understanding had to come from a lot of experience as well as trial (and the occasional error).
My hope with this documentation is that people can hit the ground running and have a much better knowledge of how these testers work so that we can better work together to preserve good tubes. A lot of people find CRT testers intimidating and the learning curve too steep. [It’s a] tragedy…how many perfectly good tubes have been scrapped due to incorrect assumptions on their condition. CRTs will never be produced again so we have to spread the knowledge as widely as possible on how to properly evaluate their condition so the serviceable ones can be preserved. Step 1 of that process is gaining a better understanding of how tubes themselves work and therefore how they can be properly tested.
Obviously there are not enough quality CRT testers left for every single enthusiast to own one, but that shouldn’t stop people from trying—especially CRT techs/repair people. If we can collect enough to at least have major areas of the world covered with people who can test CRTs, we should be able to make a difference.
At the time of writing, the main guide, as well as the B&K Precision 467/490 (the 490 is a re-issue of the 467) guide is mostly complete; sections on the destructive features (restoration/rejuvenation) as well as guides for the B&K Precision 490b and the Sencore CR-7000 are in progress and should be completed soon. King is an expert in using the B&K Precision 467 and is working with experts on both the B&K Precision 490b and the Sencore CR-7000 to assure the most useful, accurate, and complete information is made available in those upcoming guides.
If you appreciate this kind of documentation and would like to support King writing more of it in the future (as well as hosting costs on his site), visit his Patreon at: https://www.patreon.com/andyking.
And of course, let’s test some tubes!