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BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks

Rev06

byMilesO'Neal,TripleRAmpRanch
(a.k.a.,HarrisonFordPrefect)

Youdon'thavetobearocketscientisttoworkonguitaramps,butunderstandingafew,simplemathematical
formulasandwhenandhowtousethemisveryhelpful,andattimesnecessary.Thispaperwillintroducethe
basicunits,concepts,andformulas,withreallifeexamples.Thispaperisnotanintroductiontoelectronicsor
tubeamps.Foragoodintroductiontotubeamps,pointyourwebbrowserathttp://www.ax84.com/andlookfor
aTheoryDocumentfortheP1orP1eXtreme.
ExamplecircuitsgenerallycomefromtheKalamazooModelOneasthatisacommonampIamfamiliarwith
andforwhichIhadaccesstorawschematics.ItisgenerallysimilartoatweedChampwithatonecontrol.Afull
schematicisincludedattheendofthispaper;youcanfindmoredetailsonthisampat
http://www.rru.com/~meo/Guitar/Amps/Kalamazoo/.

Contents
BASICALGEBRAICOPERATIONS...................................................................................................3
BasicAlgebra................................................................................................................................3
OrderofPrecedenceofOperations...............................................................................................3
PREFIXESANDUNITS.....................................................................................................................3
Prefixes.........................................................................................................................................3
Units..............................................................................................................................................4
Examples:.................................................................................................................................4
CommonNotation..........................................................................................................................4
TUBEDATASHEETSANDSPECS..................................................................................................7
ReadingDataSheets....................................................................................................................7
VoltageMeasurements..................................................................................................................7
Symbols.........................................................................................................................................7
OHMSLAW........................................................................................................................................8
JOULE'SLAW..................................................................................................................................10
POWER:AREAUNDERTHECURVE.............................................................................................12
ACVSDCANDRMS.......................................................................................................................13
RMSDetails.................................................................................................................................14
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AX84ProjectDocumentation
POWERSUPPLYRATINGS............................................................................................................16
RESISTANCE,REACTANCEANDIMPEDANCE............................................................................17
CapacitanceandImpedance.......................................................................................................17
InductanceandImpedance.........................................................................................................18
SERIESANDPARALLELRESISTANCE.........................................................................................20
ResistancesinSeries..................................................................................................................20
ResistancesinParallel................................................................................................................21
WattageinSeriesandParallel....................................................................................................23
SERIESANDPARALLELCAPACITANCE......................................................................................24
CapacitorsinParallel..................................................................................................................24
CapacitorsinSeries....................................................................................................................24
SERIESPARALLELANDPARALLELSERIES...............................................................................27
SpeakerEfficiency.......................................................................................................................28
VOLTAGEDIVIDERS.......................................................................................................................29
Inputdividers(asimpleexample)................................................................................................29
HeaterBiasDivider(athoroughexample)...................................................................................29
PotsasVoltageDividers.............................................................................................................31
RatiosandPercentages..............................................................................................................31
CIRCUITGAIN.................................................................................................................................32
TRANSFORMERRATIOS...............................................................................................................34
VoltageRatios.............................................................................................................................34
CurrentRatios.............................................................................................................................35
ImpedanceRatios.......................................................................................................................37
Determiningatransformer'simpedanceratio..............................................................................37
HIGH,LOWANDBANDPASSFILTERS.........................................................................................39
BIAS.................................................................................................................................................40
PlateandScreen,CurrentandPower.........................................................................................40
FixedBiasDifferences................................................................................................................42
ScreenStoppersandOtherCurrentLimitingResistors...............................................................42
LOADLINES....................................................................................................................................44
KALAMAZOOMODELONESCHEMATIC.......................................................................................45
REFERENCES.................................................................................................................................46
CREDITSandTHANKS...................................................................................................................46
Reviewers....................................................................................................................................46
EncouragementandDirection.....................................................................................................46
LEGALSTUFF.................................................................................................................................46

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

BASICALGEBRAICOPERATIONS
Mostofthemathweneedtoknowforhomebrewingamps,atleastinitially,issimplealgebra.Ifalgebrascares,
you,fearnot!We'llkeepitsimple,andstickwiththebasicswereallyneedtoknow.Therestofthissectionis
copiedstraightfromPracticalAlgebra,2dCourses.

BasicAlgebra
Thenumericalvalueofaquantityisfoundbyassigningcertainvaluestotheletterscontainedinit,and
simplifyingtheresult.

OrderofPrecedenceofOperations
Theorderofperformingoperationsinalgebraisdeterminedbycertainrules.
1. Inanyterm(14),symbolsofaggregationbeingabsent,raisingtopowersandextractingrootsmustbe
performedbeforemultiplicationsanddivisions.
Thus,2x32 = 18 ;3x2 = 3xx ;while(3x)2 = 9 xx.
2. Symbolsofaggregationbeingabsent,multiplicationsanddivisionsmustbeperformedbeforeadditions
andsubtractions.
Thus,3 + 4 x 5 = 23;5 x 22 - 23 / 4 = 18.
3. Operationsinsidesymbolsofaggregationareperformedbeforethoseoutside.
Thus,8(3 + 4) = 8 7 = 56.(2 x 3)2 = 62 = 36.
4. Otherwise,operationsareperformedlefttoright.

PREFIXESANDUNITS
Prefixes
Alotoftheunitsweusecovermanyordersofmagnitude(powersof10,likefrom.000,001to1,000,000,oreven
lowerandhigher(especiallylower).Ratherthanusescientificnotation(e.g.,3.3x10^7)weuseprefixesthat
designatemultiplesof1/1000or1,000.
Symbol
p
n
u
m
k
M

Prefix
pico
nano
micro
milli
kilo
mega

Multiplier
1/1,000,000,000,000
1/1,000,000,000
1/1,000,000
1/1,000
1,000
1,000,000

Thereareothers,butthesecoverthestandardrangesofthecomponentsweuse.
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AX84ProjectDocumentation

Units
Wewillonlyneedtoreferenceahandfulofunitsofmeasurements.
Symbol
E(orV)

Unit
Volt

I
P
R,

Amp
Watt
Ohm

C
L

Farad
Henry

Z
X

Ohm

Meaning
electricalpotential,a.k.a.electromotiveforce,
oftencomparedtopressure
electriccurrent,oftencomparedtoflowrate
power
Resistancetoelectronflow,measuredin
ohms
Capacitance,measuredinfarads(F)
Electromagneticinductance,measuredin
henries(H)
oppositiontoACelectronflow
Reactance,orimaginarypartofimpedance,
relatedtoacircuit'scapacitanceand
inductance

Yes,itseemsconfusingatfirstto
useEandItodesignatevoltage
andcurrentinequationseven
thoughweuseVandAinthe
values.Butthat'sthestandardand
stickingwithitwillbelessconfusing
inthelongrun.

Examples:
3kVis3kilovolts,or3,000volts.
1mVis1millivolt,or1/1,000thofavolt.
1kis1kilohm,or1,000ohms.
1Fis1microfarad,or1/1,000,000thofaFarad.

CommonNotation
Anyoftheprefixescanapplytoanyoftheunitsintherightcircumstances,butintheworldofguitaramps,
there'susuallyacertainsubsetofprefixescommonlyappliedtoeachunit.
Resistanceandimpedancerangesusuallyrangefromohmsthroughkilohmsthroughmegohms.Theinductors
usedinguitarampstypicallyareinhenries,thoughoccasionallyyouwillrunacrossmillihenries(mH).
Peopleespeciallyseemtogetconfusedaboutcapacitance,becausemostofusaren'tusedtothinkingabout
suchtinyfractions,andbecauseofthevariouswaystheyarenamed.Forinstance,0.001Fisthesameas1nF
isthesameas1,000pF.
Olderschematicstypicallyusednosymbolontheendofresistorvaluesbelow1k(1000),andusedthedecimal
pointasneeded.Thenewerstandard,implementedtoincreasereadability,usesanRontheendofvalues
below1k,andusesanRortheprefixsymbolinsteadofadecimalpoint.Capacitancevaluescommontoguitar
ampsusedtobeexpressedalmostexclusivelyinmicrofaradsorinpicofarads.Nowtheytendtobeexpressed
inwhatevermagnitudeusestheleastdigitswithoutresortingtouseofadecimalpoint.

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
NotationExamples
Resistance

Capacitance

Numeric
Value

Old
Method

New
Method

Numeric
Value

Old
Method

New
Method

2.2

2.2

2R2

0.0022

2200F

2200F

1R

0.001

1000F

1000F

10

10

10R

0.00022

220F

220F

22

22

22R

0.0001

100F

100F

100

100

100R

0.000022

22F

22F

1,000

1K

1K

0.00001

10F

10F

2,200

2.2K

2K2

0.0000022

2.2F

2.2For2200nF

10,000

10k

10k

0.000001

1F

1F

22,000

22k

22k

0.00000022

.22F

220nF

100,000

100k

100k

0.0000001

.1F

100nF

220,000

220k

220k

0.000000022

.022F

22nF

1,000,000

1M

1M

0.00000001

.01F

10nF

2,200,000

2.2M

2M2

0.0000000022

.0022F

2.2nFor2200pF

10,000,000

10M

10M

0.000000001

.001F

1nF

22,000,000

22M

22M

0.00000000022

220pF

220pF

0.0000000001

100pF

100pF

Voltagesrangefrommicrovolts(V)throughmillivolts(mV)throughvoltsthrough(inrarecases)kilovolts(kV).
Vwillusuallybereferencingnoisevoltages.mVwouldincludeinputsignals,higherlevelsofnoise,orpower
supplyripple.Voltsmightbeusedforthelatter,orformostofthevoltagesencounteredinanamp.kVwould
mostlikelyonlyshowupintermsofspikes,althoughahandfulofreallybig,homebrewampsbasedonhigher
poweredtransmittertubeshavebeenbuilt.
Currentstypicallyrangefrommicroamps(A)throughamps(A).Aisagainprobablynoise.mAcoversalmost
everythingelseinatypicalguitaramp.AnythingdealingwithA(anampormore)isprobablyeitherafuseoron
thewallvoltagesideofthings.It'sraretofindanythingratedformorethanafewampsinaguitaramplifier.
Voltageandcurrentnotationsummary
Name

Notation

Meaning

CommonTubeGuitarAmpUsages

microvolts

1/1,000,000thsofvolts

Noise

millivolts

mV

1/1,000thsofvolts

Inputsignal,noise,PSUripple

volts

0999volts

Mostvoltagesinatubeguitaramp

kilovolts

kV

1,000sofvolts

Abadspikefromthewallorinanoutputcircuit

AX84ProjectDocumentation
Voltageandcurrentnotationsummary
Name
megavolts

Notation
MV

Meaning

CommonTubeGuitarAmpUsages

Miilllionsandmiilllionsofvolts Lightningstrike!

microamps A

1/1,000,000thsofanamp

Noise,controlgrids

Milliamps

mA

1/1,000thsofanamp

Mostcurrentsinatubeguitaramp

Amps

0999amps

Powerwiring,biggerfilamentcurrents,output
transformersecondaries

kiloamps

kA

Thousandsofamps

You'don'tevenwantthisinyourhome,muchlessin
youramp!

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

TUBEDATASHEETSANDSPECS
ReadingDataSheets
VoltageMeasurements
(allWRTcathode!)

Symbols

AX84ProjectDocumentation

OHMSLAW
ThemostimportantandcommonlyusedoftheseformulasisknownasOhm'sLaw.Simplystated,thecurrent
througharesistorvariesproportionatelywiththevoltagedifferenceacrosstheresistor.Thelawcanbe
expressedinthreeways:
(1a)R = E / I

(1b)E = I * R
(1c)I = E / R

Solongasweknowanytwoofthesevalues,wecandeterminethethird.From(1a)itshouldbeclearthatif
eitherthevoltageorcurrentinacircuitrisesorfalls,theotherrisesorfallsinproportion.
Examplesfromcommonusage:
Ex.1a)Ifyouneedtodrop15Vafterthefirstcapacitorinapower

supply,andthecurrentdrawaftertheresistorR12isexpectedto
be7mA,whatsizeresistorisneeded?
E
I
R
R

=
=
=
=

15V
7mA = 0.007A
E / I
15 / 0.007 = 2142 =~ 2200 = 2.2k

Ex.1b)Ifa12AX7preampcircuithasa100kplateresistor,andplatecurrentin

a12AX7triodeistypically0.5mA,whatisthevoltagedropacrosstheplate
resistor?
I
R
E
E

=
=
=
=

0.5mA = 0.0005A
100k = 100,000
I * R
0.0005 * 100,000 = 50V

Thismeansthatthevoltageattheplatewillbe50Vlessthanthevoltagecoming
intotheresistorfromtheB+supply.SoifthepreampB+is155V,theplate
voltagewillbe105V.Inrealitythecurrentdrawvariesbetweentubesandthose
tubes'operatingpointsinanygivencircuit.IntheModelOne,typicaldrops
acrossthepreampplateresistorsare,indeed,inthe45Vto50Vrange.

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
Ex.1c)IfthepowerampstagecathoderesistorR10measures150ohmsandthe

voltagedropacrossthatresistormeasures8.25V,howmuchcurrentisthetube
pulling?
R
E
I
I

=
=
=
=

150R
8.25V
E / R
8.25V / 150R = ~0.055 = 55mA

(Forfuturereference,ina6BQ5/EL84withtheplateat250Vandthescreenjustbelow
that,~5mAofthat55mAisscreencurrent.)
WhiletechnicallyresistanceappliestoDCvoltages,theformulashereworkidentically
forimpedance(resistancetoalternatingcurrent,seebelow).
Asyouusetheformulas,payattentiontotherelationshipsbetweenthevalues.Overtimeyouwillgetafeelfor
theseandtheywillbeveryhelpful.Forinstance(1b)tellsusthatforaconstantvoltage,astheresistancegoes
up,thecurrentmustcomedown,andastheresistancegoesdown,thecurrentmustcomeup.Ifwevarythe
current,theresistancelikewisevariesinaninversemanner.Lookfortherelationshipsinallthings
mathematical,notjusthere.
[OhmsLawTriangle]

AX84ProjectDocumentation

JOULE'SLAW
AnotherverycommonlyusedequationisJoule'sLaw,oftentermedthepowerequation:
(2a)P = E * I

Onecommonuseistodeterminethestaticplatedissipationofacircuit,especiallyapoweramp.Iftheplate
voltageofa6BQ5/EL84is250Vandtheplatecurrentis50mA,howmuchpoweristheplatedissipating?
Ex.2a)E = 250

I = 50mA = 0.05
P = E * I
P = 250 * 0.05 = 12.5 watts
Sometimesyoudon'tknowboththevoltageandcurrent,butyoudoknowoneoftheseandaresistance(or
impedance,seebelow)value.Inthesecases,youcoulddeterminethemissingvaluefromthetwovaluesyou
haveusingtheappropriateversionofOhmsLawabove.Butifyoudon'tneedtoknowthatvalue,youcan
alwayssubstituteforthemissingvaluebasedonOhmsLaw:
(2b)P = E * I and E = I * R so P = (I * R) * I = I^2 * R
(2c)P = E * I and I = E / R so P = E * (E / R) = E^2 / R

Forquickexamples,let'susethenumbersinthecorrespondingexamples
fromOhmsLaw(1band1c):

The^symboldesignates
raisedtothepowerof.So
E^2isreadasEsquared.

Ex.2b)P = I^2 * R = 0.0005^2 * 100,000 = 0.025 watt = 25mW

P = E * I = 50 * 0.0005 = 0.025 watt = 25mW

Ex.2c)P = E^2 / R = 8.25^2 / 150 =~ 68 / 150 = ~0.45 watts

P = E * I = 8.25 * 0.055 = ~0.45W

resistorstypicallycomein1/4W,1/2W,1W,2W,3W,5Wand10Wratings(therearelargeronesaswell).We
needtopickresistorsthatcandissipateatleastthepowerwecalculated.It'sagoodideatousesomething
largerthantheminimumyoucangetbywith;otherwisesurges,defects,and/
orenvironmentalissuessuchasheatbuildupinachassiscancausethe
Theauthorhaslong
resistortoexceeditsratingandselfdestruct.Soinexamples2ba1/4Wor
speculatedthatpartofthe
1/2Wwouldbemorethansufficient;a1Wshouldbeenoughforexample2c,
tonalwarmthofclassic
witha2Whavinganevenbettersafetymargin.
tubeampsisafunctionof
howthecomponentsactas
Standardengineeringpracticeistodoubletheexpectedpowerduetothe
theampheatsupdueto
thermalcoefficientofresistance.Resistanceisafunctionoftemperature,and
trappedheatfromthetubes.
byjouleheating,afunctionofpowerdissipation.
10

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

[OhmsLawWheel]

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AX84ProjectDocumentation

POWER:AREAUNDERTHECURVE
[DCvsACpoweronplates]

12

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

ACVSDCANDRMS
Thefollowingdiscussionappliestovoltage,currentandpowerbutwewillfocusonvoltageforpurposesof
discussion.VoltagesaretypicallydescribedasDCvoltages,ACPeakvoltages(0topeak),ACpeaktopeak
voltages(negativepeaktopositivepeak),orRMS(rootmeansquare)voltages,whichareakindofaverage
equivalentforACvoltages.Thelatter(RMS)isthemostcommonmethodofreferringtoACvoltages.The
calculationsforconvertingbetweenpeakandRMSvoltagesbelowrefertosinewavesonly;thevaluesfor
triangle,squareandotherwaveshapesaredifferent.MeterstypicallymeasureACasRMSvoltages.
Conversionbetweensinewavevoltagesisstraightforward.Toconvertfrompeakvoltage(eithersideonanAC
voltagefrom0topeakorthevoltageoutofanunfiltered,fullwaverectifier)toRMSvoltagewejustmultiplyby

or0.707:

(3a)Erms = Ep * 0.707
Ex.3a)Ifwemeasurea353Vpeakbeforetherectifierdiodes,whatisourRMSvoltage?

Erms = Ep * 0.707 = 353 * 0.707 = ~250V

Conversionofpeaktopeakvoltagesishalfthat,whichisthesameasmultiplyingby

1
2 2

or0.354:

(3b)Erms = Epp * 0.354


Ex.3b)Ifwemeasurea705Vpeaktopeaktopeaksinewavebeforetherectifierdiodes,whatisourRMS

voltage?

Erms = Epp * 0.354 = 705 * 0.354 = ~250V


ToconvertfromRMStoeitherpeakvoltage,wecandividebythesameconstantsormultiplybytheir
reciprocals.
(3c)Ep = Erms / 0.707 or Erms *
(3d)Epp = Erms / 0.354 or Erms *

= Erms * 1.414

2 2 = Erms * 2.828

Ex,3c/3d)IfweuseanoscilloscopeormetercapableofsuchmeasurementstoobservethepeakACvoltage

fromthewall,whatwouldthatvoltagebe?Whataboutpeaktopeak?

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WallVoltageConversions
RMS

Peak

PeaktoPeak

120

Ep=120/0.707

170V

Epp=120/0.354

339V

240

Ep=240/0.707

339V

Epp=240/0.354

678V

RMSDetails
Theaboveformulasaregreatforsinewaves,butthey'rereallyjustshortcuts.TheyderivefromtheRMS(Root
MeanSquare)formula.RMSisreallybasedonstatisticalsampling,soitwillworkforotherwaveformsaswell.
ThegeneralequationforRMSis:
(3e)

Erms= [E 2 ] where[]denotesthearithmeticmean.

Thearithmeticmeanisasimpleaverage,whereyouaddupalistofnumbersanddividebythenumberof
numbersinthelist:

(3f)

x=

x1x2x3 ...xn
n

sowemayexpand(3e)to

(3g)

Erms=

E12E22E32 ...En2
n

Thisformulainturnisreallyanapproximationofacalculusfunctionwhichwewon'tworryabout.
Statisticalsamplinginthiscasewouldmeancheckingthevoltageovertimeandsavingthereadings.For
accuracy,youneedtocheckthevoltageveryfrequently.Butthere'snorealreasontogetintothatlevelofdetail
intheworkwe'redoingwithamps.IfyoucareaboutanRMSvalue,say,observedonascope,youcanalways
estimatebasedontheclosestwaveformtypefromthefollowingtable.
ConversionMultipliersforWaveShapes
Conversion

SineWave

SquareWave

TriangleWave(Isoceles)

PeaktoRMS

0.707

1.0

0.58

RMStoPeak

1.414

1.0

1.73

14

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
[Plates:ACvsDCvoltage,howACPPswingstosupply]

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AX84ProjectDocumentation

POWERSUPPLYRATINGS
ThevalueofaDCvoltageproducedbyapowersupplywillvarydependingonthetypeandefficiencyofthe
filters,aswellastheloadonthepowersupply.
[FILLINWITHDRAWINGSOFTYPESOFRECTIFIERSANDFILTERS]
Forthebesttoolaroundforlearningaboutpowersuppliesandhowthingsworkwithinthem,downloadacopyof
DuncanMunro'sexcellentPSUDesignerathttp://www.duncanamps.com/psud2/index.html.(Thisonlyworks
withWindows,sadly,butisgoodenoughthatIkeepaWindowssystemaroundjusttorunthisandDuncan's
ToneStackCalculatoravailableatthesamewebsite.)

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BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

RESISTANCE,REACTANCEANDIMPEDANCE
Resistance,perse,appliesonlytoDC.TheACequivalentis
impedance.Whilewetypicallyrefertoimpedancesinohms,asifthey
weresimpleresistances,theyreallyhavetwocomponents,aresistive
componentandareactivecomponent,referredtoasreactance,which
arisesfromcapacitanceorinductanceinacircuit.
Animpedance,Z,isformallydefinedas
(4a)Z = R + jX

wherejistheimaginarynumber

Electricalresistanceisdefinedas
impedingtheflowofelectricity.
Everythingcanbeconsideredto
haveresistance,evenconductors.
Thewiresweuseinbuilding
ampshaveresistance,albeit
usuallysolittlecomparedto
everythingelsethatwedon'tcare.

andRandXaretheresistiveandreactivecomponents.

Atthefrequenciesusedinguitaramps,giventhevaluesofthecapacitorsandinductors(chokes,transformers)
weuse,theresistivecomponentisusuallynegligible,andwecanpretendthatthereactivecomponentXisthe
actualimpedanceZ.(Actualresistivecomponentstendtovaryaccordingtocomponentconstructiondetails,as
well.)

CapacitanceandImpedance
CapacitivereactanceXcisinverselyproportionaltothesignal
frequencyfandthecapacitanceCaccordingtotheformula:
(4b)Zc =~ Xc = 1 / (2 *

* f * C)

Atlowerfrequencies,acapacitortendstowardbeinganopencircuit,at
higherfrequenciesittendstowardbeingashortcircuit.Capacitors
blockDCandpassAC,passinghigherfrequenciesbetterthanlow.
Togetafeelforhowimpedancechangeswithfrequencyand
capacitance,let'slookathowwellvariouscapacitorsshuntstandard
powersupplyfrequenciestoground.We'llevaluateat100Hzand
120Hz(thedoubledfrequencyratesofstandardwallpower
frequencies,comingoutofafullwaverectifier).Olderampstypically
hadfirstfiltercapsof10For20F.Today'ssolidstaterectifiersare
farmorelikelytouse47For100Fcaps,sowe'llevaluateforallof
these.
Ex.4b)Z = 1 / (2 *

* f * C)

Acapacitorisformedwhentwo
conductorsparalleleachother
andanelectricalchargeforms
acrossthem.Theabilitytostore
achargeinthisfashioniscalled
capacitance.Technically,
capacitanceistheratioofstored
chargetovoltage.Besidesthe
componentswecallcapacitors,
anytwoparallelwires,leads,or
othersurfacescarryingelectrical
chargeshaveacapacitance.
Thereisevencapacitance
betweentheinternalcomponents
inatube,suchastheplateand
grid.Theseareverysmallbut
haveaslighteffectontoneas
theyformRCnetworkswithboth
internaltubeimpedancesand
externalcircuitcomponents.

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AX84ProjectDocumentation
Frequency 10F

20F

47F

100F

100Hz

159

79

34

16

120Hz

132

66

28

14

Atenfoldincreaseincapacitanceisaccompaniedbyatenfolddecreaseinimpedanceatthesamefrequency.A
basicinspectionoftheequationtellsusthatifthecapacitanceisinvariant,atenfoldincreaseinfrequencywould
likewiseresultinatenfolddecreaseimpedance.
NOTE:AproperlyfunctioningcapacitorhasaninfiniteresistancetoDCsinceDChasafrequencyof0:
(4d)Zdc = 1 / (2 *

* 0 * C) = 1 / 0

Regardlessofthecapacitorvalue,youstillendupdividingby0,whichgivesaninfiniteresult.
[AddexampleusingKalamazootonestack.]

InductanceandImpedance
Inductanceistheratioofamagneticfluxtothecurrentcausingit.At
audiofrequencies,thisprimarilyoccursincoilsofwire,especiallythose
woundaroundanironcore.InductivereactanceXlisdirectly
proportionaltothesignalfrequencyfandtheinductanceLaccordingto
theformula:
(4e)Zl =~ Xl = 2 *

* f * L

Atlowerfrequencies,aninductortendstowardbeingashortcircuit,at
higherfrequenciesittendstowardbeinganopencircuit.Thus
inductorspassDCandtendtoresistAC,passinglowerfrequencies
betterthanhighfrequencies.

Inductorsfoundintubeguitar
ampsareprimarilychokes,for
powersupplysmoothing,and
transformers,forchangingvoltage
andcurrenttovaluesmore
appropriate,orforimpedance
matching.Somemultiband
equalizersalsoincludesmaller
inductors.

Togetafeelforhowimpedancechangeswithfrequencyandinductance,let'slookathowwellvariousinductors
shuntstandardpowersupplyfrequenciestoground.We'llevaluateat100Hzand120Hz(thedoubledfrequency
ratesofstandardwallpowerfrequencies,comingoutofafullwaverectifier).We'lltrysomecommonvaluesof
1H,4H,10Hand12H.
Ex.4e)Z = 2 *

* f * L

Frequency

1H

4H

10H

12H

100Hz

628

2.5k

6.3k

7.5k

120Hz

754

3k

7.5k

9k

18

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
Atenfoldincreaseininductanceisaccompaniedbyatenfoldincreaseinimpedanceatthesamefrequency.A
basicinspectionoftheequationtellsusthatiftheinductanceisinvariant,atenfoldincreaseinfrequencywould
likewiseresultinatenfoldincreaseinimpedance.
NOTE:Aproperlyfunctioninginductorhasa0resistancetoDCsinceDChasafrequencyof0:
(4d)Zdc = 2 *

* 0 * L

Regardlessoftheinductorvalue,youstillendupmultiplyingby0,whichgivesa0result.
[Markusrecommendsapracticalexample.]

19

AX84ProjectDocumentation

SERIESANDPARALLELRESISTANCE
NOTE:Thefollowingappliesequallytoimpedances.

ResistancesinSeries
Todeterminetheresistanceofresistorsinseries,youjustaddtheresistancevalues.
(5a)R = R1 + R2

Thisappliesnomatterhowmanyresistorsyouhaveinseries.
(5b)R = R1 + R2 + R3 + R4 ...

Forinstance,ifyouconnecta100Kresistoranda220Kresistorinseries,youget320K.
Ex.5a1)R = 100k + 220k = 320k

Ifyouneedavalueyoudon'thave,youcanputsmallervaluesinseriestogetit.Forinstance,ifyouneeda
200kresistor,youcanusetwo100kresistors:
Ex.5a2)100k + 100k = 200k

Youcouldalsousefour47kresistorsasanapproximation(orfour47kresistorsanda10kresistortogetcloser):
Ex.5b)47k + 47k + 47k + 47k = 188k

47k + 47k + 47k + 47k + 10k = 198k


Eachresistorwillhavethesamecurrentthroughit,buteachresistor'svoltagedropwillbeproportionaltoits
shareoftheresistance.
(5c)Er1 = Er * (R1 / R)whereRisthetotalresistancefrom(5a)

Er2 = Er * (R2 / R)

Forexample,ifyouhave300Vgoingthrougha100kresistor(R1)anda220kresistor(R2)connectedinseries
Ex.5c1)Er1 = 300 * (100k / 320k) = 300 * 0.3125 = 93.75V
Er2 = 300 * (220k / 320k) = 300 * 0.6875 = 206.25V

Thesumofthevoltagesthusequalstheoriginalvoltage,justasthesumoftheresistancesequalstheoverall
resistance:

20

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
Ex.5c2)93.75V + 206.25V = 300V

From(5c)weknowtheratioofvoltagesacrossresistorsinseriesisproportionaltotheratiooftheresistances:

E1

(5d)

R1

E2

E1

and

R2

E2

R1
R2

ThisapplieswhetherR1andR2aretworesistors,oroneresistorandatotalresistancevalue.Thesame
appliestothevoltages.
Foranynumberofresistances,ifthevaluesarethesame,wecanjustmultiply:
(5e) R = R1 * N

ResistancesinParallel
Thisisabitmorecomplex.Thegeneralequationforparalleledresistorsisthe
reciprocalofthesumofthereciprocalsoftheresistances.Ifthatsounds
complicated,justrememberwhattheformulalookslike:

(5f)

R=

1
1
R1

1
R2

1
R3

Thisworksregardlessofhowmanyresistancesyouareparalleling.
Let'ssayyouwanttoparallelthree6BQ5outputtubesforasoupedupModelOne,
andyouwanttoknowthetotalplateresistanceifeachtube'splateresistanceat250Vis38K:

Ex.5f)

R=

1
R1

1
1
R2

1
R3

1
1
=
=12667
1
1
1
0.0000260.0000260.000026

38k 38k 38k

Whenyouarejustparallelingtworesistances,youcansimplifythisto

(5g)

R=

R1R2
R1R2

If,forinstance,youwanttorunparallelpreamptriodes,youcouldgiveeachtriodeitsownplateresistorof100k,
oryoucouldconnecttheplatesanduseoneresistorwithavalueequivalenttotwo100kresistorsinparallel:

21

AX84ProjectDocumentation
Ex.5g1)

R=

100k100k
100k100k

10000M
=50k (47kisthecloseststandardvalue)
200k

(Justrememberthatyouhavenowdoubledthecurrentthroughthisresistor,andrecalculatetheresistor's
wattagerating.)
Theformulasapplywithunequalresistancesaswell.Forinstance,ifwewanttodropthevalueofacathode
resistorjustalittlefrom1.5K,wemightseewhateffectparallelinga10Kresistorhas:

Ex.5g2)

R=

1.5k10k
1.5k10k

15M
=1300R
11.5k

Ifwewantedaspecificvaluenearthisone,wecouldalsotrytheequationwiththenearest,standardvalue
resistorsaboveandbelowthe10Ktoseewhatwecameupwith.Howdoeschanginganyofthesevalues
changetheoverallvalueinrelationtotheotherresistor(morerelationships!)?
Goinghigheroneithervalueraisestheoverallvalue.
Goingloweroneithervaluelowerstheoverallvalue.
Changingthesmallervalueimpactstheoverallvaluethemost.
Changingthelargervalueimpactstheoverallvaluetheleast.
Thegreaterthedifferenceinvalues,themorethelowervaluedominatestheoverallresult,andvice
versa.
Thegreaterthedifferenceinvalues,themorechangingthelowervaluedominatestheoverall
change,andviceversa.

Eachresistorwillhavethesamevoltagethroughit,buteachresistorwillcarrycurrentproportionaltoits
resistanceperOhmslaw.
Whenthevaluesofalltheresistancesinparallelarethesame,theresultsimplifiestothevalueofoneresistor
dividedbythenumberofresistorsparalleled:
(5h)

R=

R1
N

whereNisthenumberofresistorsinparallel

Let'sreworkexample5g1usingthisformula:
Ex.5h)

R=

100k
2

=50k

Thestandardsymbolfortworesistancesorimpedancesinparallelistwoverticalbars.Soifwewantedto

22

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
referenceR2paralleledwithR3inanequation,wewouldwriteR2||R3.

WattageinSeriesandParallel
Untilnow,wehavelookedonlyattheresistance,Buthowdoesthisaffectwattage?Itdoesn'treally;the
wattageperresistoriscomputedusingJoule'slaw.Buttherearetimesweneedaspecificwattageratingina
resistoranddon'thaveit;whatdowedothen?
Thesimplestthingistobuildaresistorpackwiththeappropriateratingfromsimilarresistors.Forinstance,ifwe
needa100Kresistorwithatleasta3Wrating,butonlyhave2Wresistorsavailable,whatcanwedo?
Weknowthatifwehavetworesistorsofthesamevalue,thenputtingtheminseriesdoublesthatvalue,and
puttingtheminparallelhalvesthatvalue.Sowestartbyseeingifwehavetwo50K2Wresistors(probably47K
or56K)touseinseries,orifwehavetwo200Kresistorstouseinparallel.Ineithercasesincetheresistors
havethesamevalue,theywillhavethesamevoltagedropacrossthem.Sincethesamecurrentwillflow
througheachresistor,thewattagedissipatedwillbethesame.Ineithercaseitwillbehalfofwhatwewouldsee
withasingleresistor,sowecanusewhicheverwehavetheresistorsforaseachwilldissipateof3W,or
1.5W.
Ifwedonothaveidenticalresistors,wecantrytofindvalueswecanputinseriesorparalleltomakethevalue
wewant.Justrecallthatinseriestheywillhavethesamecurrentbutdifferentvoltagesacrossthem,butin
parallelthevoltagesarethesamebutthecurrentvaries.Wecanthenapplyequation(2a),(2b)or(2c)basedon
thevalueswehaveavailable,anddeterminethepowereachresistormustdissipate.

23

AX84ProjectDocumentation

SERIESANDPARALLELCAPACITANCE
Whiletheformulasaboveworkforimpedanceaswellasresistance,sometimeswejustwanttoknowthevalue
ofcapacitorsinseriesorparallel.

CapacitorsinParallel
Whenyouputcapacitorsinparallel,youjustaddthecapacitancevalues.
(6a)C = C1 + C2

Forinstance,wemightwanttodoubleuportripleupthesecondstagecapacitancein
aKalamazoopowersupplytoreducehum:
Ex.6a)C = 10F + 10F = 20F

C = 10F + 10F + 10F = 30F

Eachcapacitorwillhavethesamevoltageacrossit.Sincethereisnoactualcurrentflowinginaproperly
operatingcapacitor,wedon'tusuallyworryaboutthat.Theoneplacewemaycareisinpowersupplies.Alarge
capacitorcanlookreasonablyclosetoashortcircuitatlowfrequencies,sowemayneedtodealwiththecurrent
flowinginandoutofthecapacitorasifitwereflowingthroughthecapacitor.Thecurrentincreases
proportionallywiththesizeofthecapacitor,andinverselyproportionallytofrequency.Youcanworkthisoutfor
yourselfwithohmslaw.

CapacitorsinSeries
Thecapacitanceofcapacitorsinseriesiscomputedusingthesame
approachasforparallelingresistors.Thegeneralequationforseries
capacitanceisthereciprocalofthesumofthereciprocalsofthe
capacitances:

1
(6b)

1
C1

1
C2

1
C3

Thisworksregardlessofhowmanycapacitorsyouareparalleling.
Eachcapacitorinseriesshouldseethesamevoltagepotentialacrossit.Themostcommonuseofseries
capacitorsinguitarampsistoprovideahigherworkingvoltage,usuallyinapowersupply.
Forinstance,ifyouneeda600Vcap,butallyouhaveare500Vcaps,youcan
usetwoormoreoftheseinseriestogetthevoltageratingyouneed.For
instance,ifyouwant~47F/300VonthefirstPSstage,butallyouhaveare
24

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
200Vcaps,canyouusethem?Theanswerisyes,ifyouhave100Fcaps:

C=

Ex.6b1)

1
1
1

100u 100u

1
1
=
=50uF
0.010.01 0.02

Notethatwedidthisusingconsistentunits,F(microFarads).Wecanaseasilydothiswithdecimalnumbers,
afterdeterminingthat100Fisthesameas0.0001F:

C=

Ex.6b2)

1
1
1

0.0001 0.0001

1
10k10k

1
20k

=.00005=50uF

Sinceeachofthesegetsanequalshareofthevoltage,wecaneasilycomputethevoltagepercapacitorEc:

(6c)

Ec=

E
N

whereE=totalvoltage,N=numberofcaps

Applyingthistoexample6b1,weget:
Ex.6c)

Ec=

300
2

=150V 150V/capacitoriswellwithinthe200Vratings

Thiswouldremaintrueevenifeachcapacitorhadadifferentvoltagerating!Inthatcaseyouwouldneedto
makesurethatEcdidnotexceedthevoltageofthelowerratedcapacitor.
Inthiscase,it'sagoodideatoplacearesistorinparallelwitheachcapacitortohelpequalizethevoltage.In
powersupplies(themainplacethishappensinguitaramps),220kisisagoodvaluetostartwithifyouaren't
surewhattouse.Ifthecapsareofdifferentvoltageratingsyoushouldprobablyuseresistorsofdifferentsizes,
indirectproportiontothevoltageratingsofthecaps.Forinstance,ifyouwereputtinga200Vcapanda350V
capinseries,youmightuse220Kand330Kresistors.
Whenyouarejustusingtwocapacitorsinseries,youcansimplifyequation6bto

(6d)

C=

C1C2
C1C2

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AX84ProjectDocumentation
Let'sreworkexample(6b1)usingthisequation:

C=

Ex.6d)

100u100u 10000u
=
=50u (47isthecloseststandardvalue)
100u100u
200u

Whenthevaluesofallthecapacitancesinseriesarethesame,theresultsimplifiestothevalueofonecapacitor
dividedbythenumberofcapacitorsinseries:

(6e)

C=

C1
N

whereNisthenumberofcapacitorsinseries

Let'sprovethatthisworksforthepreviousexample:
Ex.6e)

C=

100u
=50u
2

Whileweusedexampleswithidenticalcapacitances,theformulasapplywithunequalcapacitancesaswell.
Seethefinalexampleunder"Resistancesinparallel"foranexample.

26

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

SERIESPARALLELANDPARALLELSERIES
Sometimeswehaveanetworkofcomponentsinvolvingbothparallelandseriesconnections.Themost
commoncasewecareaboutinvolvesspeakercabinets.Withjusttwospeakers,theymustbeineitherparallel
orseries.Whenmorethantwospeakersareinvolved,therearemorepossibilitiesforwiringthem.Theseextra
possibilitiesareseriesparallelandparallelseries.
Wewillstartwiththecommonproblemofconnectingfourspeakers.First,let'srevisitwhathappensifwe
connectthemallinseriesorparallel.
Resistancesinseriessimplyadd(orwecanmultiplybythe
numberofresistancesifthevaluesarethesame).Ifweputfour
4speakersinserieswegeta16load.
Ex.8a)R = 4 * 4 = 16

Ifweputthosefour4speakersinparallel,weget1ohm.
Ex.8b)R = 4 / 4 = 1

Thefirstexamplemightbeuseful,butthesecondalmostcertainly
wouldn'tbe.Thereareplentyofampslookingfora16load,butI'veneverrunacrossaguitarampexpectinga
1load.Apossibleexceptionwouldbearequirementforanimpedancemismatch(seeTransformerratios
below).
Isthereanyotherloadwecangetwiththesespeakers?Yes,wecangeta4ohmloadbyusingeitherseries
parallelorparallelseries.
Inthefirstexample,wehooktwospeakersinseries,thenhooktheothertwo
inseries,thenwirethetwosetsinparallel.
Ex.8c)R = (R1 + R2) || (R3 + R4)

R = (4 + 4) || ( 4 + 4) = (8 || 8)
= 8 / 2 = 4
Wecanalsohookthespeakersupinparallelseries.Inthiscasewehooktwo
speakersinparallel,hooktheothertwospeakersinparallel,thenwireboth
setsinseries.Theresultingimpedanceisidentical.
Ex.8d) R = (R1 || R2) + (R3 || R4)

R = (4 || 4) + (4 || 4) = (4 / 2) + (4 / 2)
= 2 + 2 = 4
Bothconfigurationshavethesameresulttheimpedanceofasinglespeaker.
27

AX84ProjectDocumentation
Summaryimpedancetablefor4speakers
Configuration

Impedance

Series

Z*4

Parallel

Z/4

SeriesParallel

ParallelSeries

Wemustalsoconsiderthewattage.Ifallfourspeakerscanhandlethesamewattage,thenthetotalwattageis
4xthewattageofonespeaker.Thisisbecauseeachspeakerdissipatesthesamewattage.Theuglycorollary
isthatifthespeakerscannothandlethesamewattage,thetotalwattagethesetcanhandleis4xthelowest
wattagerating.Thismeansthatifyouhave4100Wspeakers,youcanconnectthemanyofthesefourways
andtheywillhandle400W(4 x 100W).Butifthreeofthemare100Wandoneis25W,thesetcanonlyhandle
100W(4 x 25W)regardlessofwhichwaytheyarewired.Ifyoudoubtthis,Iencourageyoutodothemath
yourself,usinganyvoltage,currentandimpedancevaluesyouchoose.(Personally,I'duse10V,1Aand10
justtokeepthemathsimple.)
Iftheimpedanceofallthespeakersisnotthesame,themathismorecomplex.You'llneedtodothemathfor
eachsetofparallelorseriesspeakers,thencomputetheseriesorparallelresultsrespectively.Youwouldn't
normallydothisbutitcanbeusefulinsomecases,suchaswhen:

theonlyspeakersavailablearemismatched
ithelpsmatchspeakerwattagetousage
youwanttouseanoddnumberofspeakers

Ineachcase,drawouttheconfiguration,determinetheparallelandseriessegments,anddothemath.

SpeakerEfficiency
[efficiencyvswattage]

28

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

VOLTAGEDIVIDERS
[Intermissionwithapplicationofseveralthingswe'velearned]
Onecommonformofseriesresistancesusedinguitaramplifiersisthevoltagedivider.You
shouldrecallthatthevoltagedropacrossresistorsinseriesisproportionaltotheratioofthe
resistances.Wecanusethistodetermineavoltageatadividermidpoint,ortodesigna
dividertogetacertainvoltage(assumingaconstantcurrentload).

Inputdividers(asimpleexample)
First,let'sdetermineavoltagebasedonthevaluesoftworesistances.Acommonexample
comesfromthewaymostguitarampinputsarewired.Typicallythesearewiredsothat
oneinputprovidesfullvoltage,butpluggingintoadifferentinputmightutilizeavoltagedividerforalowered
inputvoltage.
ConsidertheModelOne'sinputs;pluggingintoinputonegivesyoufullvoltage.The
resistorattachedtoinputtwoisnotinthecircuitasit'snotgrounded.Butplugginginto
justinputtwosendsthevoltagethroughR2andR1toground,withatapinthemiddle
feedingthepreamp.Howdoesthisaffecttheinputvoltage?
Thevoltageacrosseitherresistorisproportionaltothatresistor'spercentageofthetotal
resistance.Sincewedon'tknowtheactualvoltages,we'lljustusethepercentagesfor
now.(We'lluseEintheequation,butstillreferencepercentages.)
Ex.7a)R = R1 + R2 = 47k + 47k = 94k

Er1 = E * (R1 / R) = 100% * (47k / 94k) = 100% * 0.5 = 50%


Sowhatevertheinputvoltageis,weendupwith50%,or1/2ofit,goingtothegridofthepreamp.Atypical
guitarpickupsignalis100mV;50%of100mVwouldbe50mV.

HeaterBiasDivider(athoroughexample)
Wecanalsousethistodesignavoltagedividertogiveusacertainvoltage.
OnecommonexampleistoprovideaDCelevationforaheatercircuitfor
humreduction.ThebesthumreductionisoftenfoundwithDCelevation
over50V.Wherecanweget50V?Wecanuseavoltagedividertogetit
anywherewehaveahighervoltage!Acommonplacetogetthisvoltageis
offthefirstB+tap.IntheModelOnethatisaround260V.Let'ssayyou
wanttousea75VDCheaterelevation(morethan50V,butsafelywithinthe
100Vmaximumdifferencebetweencathodeandheaterofa6BQ5/EL84.
ThevoltagedividerinquestioniscomprisedofresistorsR1andR2.(C1is
29

AX84ProjectDocumentation
therejusttomakethingsashumfreeaspossible,anddoesn'treallyaffectthevoltagevalue.)The75Vwill
thereforebeacrossR2solet'scallitE2.Solongastheratiobetweentheresistorscorrespondstotheratio
betweenthevoltageswewant,anyvaluesofresistorswilldo.Thelimitingfactoriscurrent;ifwemakethe
resistorstoosmall,thecircuitapproachesashortcircuit.Wedon'twantmuchcurrenttoflow,sowearbitrarily
planfor1mAthroughtheseresistorsasitmakesthecalculationseasier.Ohmslawgivesusthetotalresistance
R (R1 + R2)acrossthedivider:
Ex.7b)R = E / I = 260V / .001 = 260,000 = 260K

Fromthistotalresistancewecandeterminetheindividualresistancesusingthetotal
voltage(260V)andthenthevoltageratioofthedesiredvoltage(75V)tothetotal
voltage(260V):
Ex.7c)R2 = R * (E2 / E) = 260k * (75 / 260)

= 260,000 * 0.288 = ~74,880 = ~75k


Usingtheseriesresistanceequation(5a)wecandeterminetheotherresistor'svalue:
Ex.7d)R = R1 + R2

so

R1 = R - R2 = 260k - 75k = 185k

75kisacommonresistorvalue(yay!)but185kisnot.Infacttheclosestvalueis200k.Whatwouldthatdoto
ourvoltage?
Ex.7e)R = R1 + R2 = 75k + 200k = 275k

E2 = E * (R2 / R) = 260 * (75k / 275k) = 260 * 0.27 = 70V


whichiscloseenough(especiallysincewepickedthevoltagearbitrarilyfromarange!)
Ifwewanttobringthatvoltagebackupabit,howcanwedoit?Sincethevoltagesareproportionaltothe
resistancevalues,wecanincreasethebottomvoltagebyeitherincreasingthebottomresistorvalueor
decreasingthetopresistorvalue.Let'stryincreasingthebottomvaluefirst.Thenextcommonvalueupis82k.
Ex.7f)R = R1 + R2 = 82k + 200k = 282k

E2 = E * (R2 / R) = 260 * (82k / 282k) = 260 * .29 = 75VBingo!


Alternativelywhathappensifwelowerthevalueofthetopresistortothenextlowest,commonvalue(150k)?
Ex.7g)R = R1 + R2 = 75k + 150k = 225k
E2 = E * (R2 / R) = 260 * (75k / 225k) = 260 * .33 = 86V

ThisisstillOK,especiallysincethecathodeisreallyelevatedby7Vto8V,whichreducesthepotential
difference(whichwe'veignoreduntilnow).Theonlydownsideisthatbyreducingtheoverallresistancewe
uppedthecurrentslightly.
30

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

Ex.7h)I = E / R = 260V / 225k = 260 / 225,000 = 0.00116 =~ 1.2mA

Thisdifferenceisnegligible.
Wecanpickanyofthese,butlet'spickthe82k/200kversion.(Why?Whynot?)
Wealsoneedtoconsiderwhatpowerratingtheseresistorsneed.Wecangetthecurrentandweknowmostof
thevoltages,sowecaneasilygetthemissingvoltage.Rememberfromexample7fthattheseresistancesgive
us75VforE2.
Thecurrentwillbethesamethroughbothresistors,soweonlyneedtocomputeitonce:
Ex.7i)
I = E / R = 260 / 282k = 0.0009 = 0.9mA

E1 = E * (R1 / R) = 260 * (200k / 282k) = 260 * 0.71 =~ 185V


P1 = E1 * I = 185V * 0.9mA = 185 * 0.0009 =~ 0.17W
P2 = E2 * I = 75V * 0.9mA = 75 * 0.0009 =~ 0.07W
Sowecangetbywith1/4Wresistors,but1/2Wor1Waremorecommoninthetubeamp
worldandprovideanextrasafetymarginagainstsurges.

PotsasVoltageDividers
Apotentiometer,orpot,isavariableresistor.Inmostcases,itiswiredassomeformof
voltagedivider.Avolumecontrolistypicalofthis.Theresistanceacrosstheendterminalof
thepotRisdividedintotworesistorsR1andR2bythewiper.Asyoucanseeinthe
schematictotheright,atypicalvolumecontrollookssimilartothevoltagedividerfromthe
previousexample.

RatiosandPercentages
Whenreferringtoavoltagedivider,weoftenrefertotheratiobetweentheresistorsorvoltages.Forthevoltage
dividerbiasingthefilamentcircuit,weget:

Ex.7j)

E1
E2

185 2.5
= =2.5: 1
75
1

Wealsorefertovoltagedividersasratioscomparedtotheirwholes,oraspercentages.Intheaboveexample,
whatistheoutputvoltageEoexpressedasaratioorpercentageoftheinputvoltageEi(thewhole)?
Ex.7k)

Eo=

75

2
= =0.29 = 29% of Ei (For Ei of 260, Eo = 0.29 * 260 = ~75V.)
260 7
31

AX84ProjectDocumentation

CIRCUITGAIN
Voltagegainsinseriesmultiply.Soifyouhaveonepreampcircuitfollowinganotherpreampcircuit,thetotal
voltagegainAwillbethegainofthefirststage(A1)timesthegainofthesecondstage(A2).Iftherearemore
thantwostages,thegaincontinuestomultiply.
(8a)A = A1 * A2
(8b)A = A1 * A2 * A3 ...

EachofthepreampstagesintheModelOnehasafairlymodestgain
of25,sothetotalpreampgainis625.
Ex.8a)A = 25 * 25 = 625

Asseenintheblockdiagramofthecircuit,wecanthuscalculatethe
actualsignalvoltageatanystageifweknowtheinputvoltage.Amodestsignal
fromasinglenoteorlightlyplayedchordmightonlyproduce10mVfromthe
guitarpickup.Afterthefirststagethisbecomes250mV.
Ex.8a1)Vo = Vi * A1 = 10mV * 25 = 250mV

Afterthesecondstagethisis6.25V.

V1andV2represent
tubesinschematics.I
don'tknowwhyVisused
forthat;perhapsitstands
forvacuumtube.

Ex.8a2)Vo = Vi * A2 = 250mV * 25 = 6250mV = 6.25V

Thisturnsouttobethemaximumsignalforthe6BQ5gridatour
operatingpoint(convenientlythedefaultgiveninevery6BQ5data
sheetontheplanet!)todrivethetubetofullpowerwithout
appreciabledistortion.Sincemostguitarstodayarecapableofwell
over100mVoutput,itshouldbeclearwhytheModelOnecan
producelotsofcrunchyattitude!
Inrealitythereissomelossbetweenstages;thecouplingcapandgridreferenceresistorsactasfrequency
dependentvoltagedividers.We'llcomebacktothatbrieflyinthesectiononhighandlowpassfilters.
Additionally,wecanaddvoltagedividersbetweenthegainstages.Werecallfromthesectiononvoltage
dividersthatavolumecontrolisavoltagedivider.Howdoesthe
volumecontrolaffecttheoverallgain?
Atitsminimumsetting,thevolumecontrollets0%ofthesignal
through.Atmaximum,itlets100%through.Atitsmeasured
midpoint,itlets50%through.Toseetheimpactofthesesettings
32

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
onoverallgainweconverteachpercentagebacktoadecimalnumber(thisisdonebydividingthepercentage
by100)andmultiplythatbythepreviousstage.Let'scallthisthereductionfactor.
(8c)A = A1 * R%/100 * A2

Gain1

ReductionFactor

Gain2

OverallGain

25

25

25

0.5

25

312.5

25

1.0

25

625

Currentgainsinseriesmultiplyaswell,butingeneralaguitarampisa
voltagemultiplier;exceptionsaregenerallydriverstages,includingthe
poweramplifier,reverbdrivers,andcathodefollowers.Ifyouever
cascadecurrentamplifiers,justremembertheconceptsarethesameas
forvoltagemultipliers.
Voltagegainstagesinparalleldon'tmultiplyorevenadd;thesignals
superimposeononeanother.Inthiscase,however,currentdoesadd.If
youhavetwostagesinparallelwiththesamesignals,eachproducing
5mA,youwillhave10mAdrivingthenextstage.Butthevoltagegainwillbeexactlythesameasifyouhadonly
onestage.

33

AX84ProjectDocumentation

TRANSFORMERRATIOS
TransformersarenamedsobecausetheytransformthevaluesofanACcurrent.Theytransformvoltage,
currentandimpedance,thoughwearetypicallyonlythinkingofoneortwooftheseatatime.Agiven
transformerdoesthesethingsataspecificratio,whichisdependentonthenumberofturnsineachwinding.
Aratioisjustawaytolookathowtwonumbersrelateproportionately.A10to1ratio(writtenas10:1or10/1)
means10ofsomethingversus1ofsomething.Atransformerwitha25:1windingratiohas25timesasmany
windingsontheprimaryasithasonthesecondary.
Withapowertransformer(a.k.a.mainstransformer),weareprimarilyconcernedwithtransformingvoltage.With
adriver(outputorreverb)transformerwearemainlyconcernedwiththeimpedanceratio.(Inreality,theyall
interact.)
Forourpurposes,theonlyelectricalparametersthatarefixedarethemaximumvoltageandcurrenteach
windingcanhandle.Whenwespeakofa120Vpowertransformer(PT),wesimplymeanatransformer
designedtohandle120Vintotheprimary.Thetermdoesn'tmeananythingelse;westillhavenoideahow
muchcurrentitcanhandle,orwhatvoltagescomeoutofthesecondaries.It'sahandylabel,notarealdefinition
ofthetransformer.Peopleoftenaskwhatimpedancetheiroutputtransformer(OT)has,butatransformer
doesn'thaveanimpedance,perse.Ithasanimpedanceratio.

VoltageRatios
Thevoltageratioofatransformerisdirectlyproportionaltotheturnsratio.Atransformerwith1,000turnsonthe
primarysideand200turnsonthesecondarysidehasaturnsratioof5to1,whichwewriteas5:1.Thistellsus
thatthevoltageratioisalso5:1sincetheyareproportional.
(9a)

Ein
Eout

Nin
Nout

or

Ein
Nin

Eout
Nout

Soifweknowtheinputvoltagewecandeterminetheoutputvoltage,andifwewantaspecificoutputvoltage
wecandeterminewhattheinputvoltageneedstobe.

(9b1)

Ein=Eout

(9b2)

Eout=Ein

Nin
Nout
Nout
Nin

Converselyifweknowtheturnsononeside,andbothvoltages,wecandeterminetheturnsontheotherside.

34

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

NoutEout

(9b3)

Nin=

(9b4)

Nout=

Ein
NinEout
Ein

Itmayseemlikewedon'treallycareaboutthisunlesswearewindingourowntransformers,butsometimes
wedo.Forinstance,peopleareoftenconfusedastowhytheirheatervoltagesarehigherthantheyexpect(at
leastintheUSA).ButapplyingtheseprinciplestothePTbasedonoldandnewwall(mains)voltages,it
suddenlymakessense.
OldertubeampsweredesignedandbuiltwhenUSAwallvoltageswerelowerthantheyaretoday.Mostamps
fromtheGoldenEraweredesignedaroundawallvoltageof117VAC.Today'swallvoltageistypically
125VAC.Whateffectdoesthishaveonthefilamentvoltage?Wecouldconvertthevoltageratiotoawhole
numberwindingratio,thenconvertthattoanewvoltageratio,butlet'sjustskiptheintermediatestep:wecan
godirectlyfromonevoltageratiotoasecondthesameway:

(9c)

Ein1
Eout1

Ein2
Eout2

Thesamesetofvariantsderiveforthisasfor(9a).
Let'sstartbycomingupwiththewalltofilamentturnsratioforaPT.Theoldwallvoltagewas117,thenew
wallvoltageis125.Theoriginalfilamentvoltagewas6.3sowhatshouldweseetoday?
Ex.9b1)

117
6.3

125
E

so

E=6.3125/117=6.31.068=6.7V

Evenoldertransformersweredesignedwhenmanyareasonlyhad110VAC,resultinginahigherratioand
higherfilamentvoltagetoday.
Ex.9b2)

110 125
=
so E=6.3125/110=6.31.136=7.1V
6.3
E

Theseformulasworkforanyvoltages;theyapplyequallytohighvoltagewindingsandtovoltagesindriver
transformerssuchasOTs.

CurrentRatios
Currentratiosworkjustlikevoltageratios,onlytheyareinverselyproportionaltowindingratios.Thismeans
theyarealsoinverselyproportionaltovoltageratios.(Ifthisseemsoddjustrememberthattheamountofpower
outequalstheamountofpowerin(ignoringanylosses).SinceP=E*I,ifPremainsthesame,Imustgodown
35

AX84ProjectDocumentation
ifEgoesup,andviceversa.
(9d)
(9e)

Iin
Iout
Iin
Iout

=
=

Nout
Nin
Eout
Ein

Partofpickingapowertransformerisknowinghowmuchcurrentitwillhavetohandle.Ifweknowthecurrent
loadsofthesecondaries,wecandeterminethecurrenttheprimarymustcarry.TheModelonehasthree
tubeswiredfor6.3Vfilaments:
Tube

Filament
Current

6X4

0.6A

6BQ5/EL84

0.76A

12AX7/ECC83 0.3A
Thesumofthesecurrentsis1.66Aat6.3VAC.Measuredandderivedcurrentsintheampworkouttoabout
57mAonthehighvoltagesecondaryat500VAC.Thepilotlampisnegligiblesinceit'saneonlampandwe'll
ignoreanylosses.Sohowmuchcurrentwillthisamppullfromthewall?
Ex.9e1)

Iin=

1.66A6.3V

=1.66A0.054=0.09A =90mA
117V
0.057A250V
=0.057A2.137=0.122A=122mA
Ex.9e2) Iin=
117V
Addingthesetogether,weget212mAcurrentdrawnfromthewall.
Onemightexpecttopullslightlylesscurrentattoday'swallvoltages,butthat
wouldassumethatfilamentsbehavelinearlywithvoltagechanges,andthat
tubesdoaswell.Neitherisnecessarilytrue,pluswefudgedalittle;the
currentdrawonthesecondarieswasmeasuredattoday'swallvoltageandthe
filamentcurrentassumedthestandardfilamentvoltage.Thedatasheets
don'ttellushowfilamentcurrentvarieswithvoltage.

Justforcompleteness,we
canapplyJoule'sequation
(2a)todeterminethatthe
ModelOnepulls~25Wfrom
thewall,eventhoughitonly
produces5Wto6Wof
audiopower.

Rememberthatvoltageratiosandcurrentratiosareinverse.Soifyouhavetwicethevoltageonthesecondary
youwillhavehalfthecurrent,andviceversa.

36

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

ImpedanceRatios
Ifwetreatthenumbersinaratioasadivisionproblem,wecanalwaysreduceittoN:1.Forinstance,a10:5
ratiois2:1.anda10:3ratiois3.3:1.Rememberingthiswillmakethefollowingabiteasier.
Outputtransformersaretheprimaryplacewecareaboutimpedanceratios.(Areverbdrivertransformeris
essentiallyalowerpowerversionofanoutputtransformer.SomeGibsonampsusedtransformersforphase
inverters;impedancematchingcomesintoplaythereaswell.)Anoutputtransformer(OT)matchesthe
impedancerequiredtoproperlyloadtheoutputtubes(typicallyafewthousandohms)totherealworldloadofa
speakerorgroupofspeakers(typicallybetween2and16ohms).
A6BQ5at250Vand50mAontheplateandsomethingcloseto250Vonthescreenshouldhavealoadof
about4500ohms,asspecifiedinthedatasheets.ThisisextremelytypicaloftheModelOne,theAX84P1,
andmostsingleended6BQ5amps.Theseampsalsotypicallyusean8ohmspeaker.Soweknowthe
impedanceratioweneedis4500:8or562.5:1.
Ifweuseadifferentspeakerimpedance,itreflectsadifferentloadbacktotheprimaryinaproportionalmanner.
Thereflectedratioisthesame;theratioshavetobeequivalent.Sowejustsolvebysettingoneratioequalto
theother.
(9f)

Zp1
Zs1

Zp2
Zs2

Let'ssaywewanttousea4ohmspeakeronour4500:8transformer.Applyingequation(9f)weget
Ex.9f)

44500 4
4500 N
=
= 4500=2250
so N =
8
4
8
8

Sotheimpedanceratioisnow2250:4.Yes,thisisreallythesameratio,butthenumbersreflecttheimpedances
theampseesundertheseconditions.Sotheloadonthe6BQ5platewitha4ohmspeakerandthis
transformeris2250ohms.Whilethisislowandwillstressthetubeabit,it'sstillsafe.(It'salwaysbetterto
mismatchlowwithtubes,buthighwithtransistors.Withtubeampsanopenoutputmaybefataltotheamp;with
transistorsashortcircuitacrosstheoutputisinevitablyfataltotheamp.)Thisiswhymanybuildersliketouse
transformerswithmultipleoutputtaps;thisallowsustouseany(standard)speakerimpedancewelikeandkeep
thecorrectloadontheoutputtube(s).

Determiningatransformer'simpedanceratio
Theimpedanceratioofatransformerisalwaysthesquareofitswindingratio.

(9g)

Zp
Zs

Np
Ns

or

Np
Ns

Zp
Zs

whereNisnumberofwindings.

37

AX84ProjectDocumentation

Acommonproblemisdeterminingtheimpedanceratioofatransformerfromadonoramp,orsimplyonethat
satinadrawerorpartsboxsolongwe'velostorforgottenthespecs.Howcanwedeterminethis?
1.
2.
3.
4.

Induceaknownvoltageintoonewindingofthetransformer.
Measurethevoltageinducedontheotherwinding.
Writethesevoltagesdownasthevoltageratio.
Applyequation(9g)togettheimpedanceratio.

Ex.9g)Wefindanampchassissomeonehasthrownout.Ithasnotubesandnomarkings.The

transformerlooksbigenoughtohandlemaybe8to10watts,basedonotherswe'veseen.Wehookthe
secondaryofthisOTtothefilamentwindingofapowertransformerwehavelayingaround.Usingour
meter,wemeasure6.7VgoingintothesecondaryofthemysteryOT.Thenwemeasuretheoutputonthe
primary;weget201V.Thevoltageandwindingratiosarethusboth201:6.7or30:1.Wehaveseveral
speakercabinetshandy;whatwouldbetheimpedanceratioforeach?Usingthefirstformof(9g)wegeta
baseimpedanceratioof

Z 30 2
=
1 1
or900:1.Wecanmultiplethisbyeachspeakerimpedancetoshowtheratiowiththecorrespondingprimary
impedance.Forinstancewithan8ohmspeaker,wewould

9008 7200
900 N
=
=
so N =
1
8
8
8
or7200:8.
2

1800:2

3600:4

7200:8

14400:16

Youwouldthenlookthroughtubedatasheetstoseewhatthismightfit,oryoucouldplotloadlinesfortubesyou
wanttouseandseeiftheyfitwiththistransformer.Fortherecord,youcouldprobablyusethiswitheithera
6BQ5or6V6withthe4or8ohmspeaker,thoughtheimpedancewouldbealittlehighforthe6BQ5.Youcould
probablyusea6L6withthe2or4ohmcabinets.Theruleofthumbisthatyoucanalwaysgoup100%ordown
50%safelysolongasyouaren'tpushingeitherthetubeorOTtoohard.

38

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

HIGH,LOWANDBANDPASSFILTERS

generalmakeup
3dbpoints
slopesvscomponents,graphing
millercapacitancewithgridresistors

39

AX84ProjectDocumentation

BIAS
Buildonexample1c:

biasvoltageandcurrent

platevoltageWRTcathodevoltage

wattageacrosscathoderesistor

tube,plateandscreendissipation

applyingohm's&joule'slawstocathoderesistorsinseries(w/pots)

Thereareseveralwaystodeterminebiasforastage:
1. measure/calculatetheplateandgridcurrents
2. measure/calculatethecathodeandgridcurrents
3. theoscilloscopemethod
Wewillignorethethirdmethodhereasitdoesn'treallyrequireanymath.1

PlateandScreen,CurrentandPower
WhileyoucaninsertanammeterandmeasureDCcurrentdirectly,mostofthetimewemeasureavoltagedrop
andapplyOhm'sLaw.Forinstance,inastagewithaplateloadresistor,youmeasurethedropacrossthe
resistorandcomputethecurrentfromtheresistanceandvoltage.Controlgridsinthesestagestypicallydon't
drawenoughcurrenttoworryabout.
Inastagedrivingatransformer,youcanmeasurethestaticDCcurrentfromaplatetotheB+tap;nomathis
involved.DonottrytomeasureACcurrentthisway.Donotplaytheamporrunasignalthroughitwhen
measuringthecurrentthisway.
Inapentodestageyoualsomeasurethescreengridcurrent,typicallyby
measuringthevoltagedropacrossthescreenstopperandcomputingfrom
there.Ineachcaseyoushouldcomparethemeasuredorcalculatedcurrent
againstthespecs,thencomputethestaticdissipationandcomparethattothe
specs.
Forinstance,standard6BQ5/EL84datasheetsincludethefollowing
specifications:

Maxplatevoltage(300V)

MaxGridNo.2(screengrid)voltage(300V)

MaxGridNo.2inputpower(2W)

1 Nevermindthattheauthorbelievesituseless!
40

Alwaysstartwiththe
publishedspecificationsin
thedatasheets.Asyou
gainexperienceorgrowto
trusttheexperienceof
others,youmayrelyon
suchexperientialspecsas
well.

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

Maxcathodecurrent(65mA)

Platedissipation(12W)

Note:mostothertubes'datasheetsdonotincludeamaximumcathodecurrent.
Thecathodecurrentisequaltothesumoftheplateandscreengridcurrents(youmaysafelyignorecontrolgrid
currentunlessrunningwellintoclassAB2.)
Let'sdothemathforourModelOne.
Wecouldmeasuretheplatecurrentdirectly,butthatrequires
insertinganammeterintothecircuit.Sincewehaveacathode
resistor,wecaneasilycomputethecathodecurrent:
Ex.15a)

Ik=Ek /Rk =8.25V/150=55mA

That'slessthanthemaxcathodecurrent,sowe'reofftoagood
start.Weknowthatplatecurrentiscathodecurrentlessscreen
current,butsincewedon'thaveascreenstopper,howcanwe
getthescreencurrent?Wecancomputeitfromthedifference
incurrentsthroughR12andR11.R12carriesthecurrentforthe
screenplusthepreampstages,butR11carriesthecurrentonly
forthepreampstages.Thereforethedifferencebetweenthe
twoisthescreencurrent.

Ex.15b)

Ir12=Er12/R12=15V /2200=0.0068
Ir11=Er11/R11=90V /100000=0.0009
Igs=Ir12Ir11=0.00680.0009=0.0059
Igs=6mA

There'snopublishedspecformaxscreencurrent,sowemoveontoscreenpower.
Ex.15c)

Egs=E Ek=245V8.25V=236.75V
Pgs=EgsIgs=236.75V6mA=236.750.006=1.4W

Thisislessthan2W,sowe'restillOK.
There'snopublishedspecformaximumplatecurrent,butwestillneedthecurrenttocomputethestatic
dissipation(wattage).Oncewehavethatandtheplatevoltagewithrespecttothecathode,wecancomputethe
platepower.

Ip=IkIgs=55mA6mA=49mA
Ex.15d) Ep=EppIk=2508.25=241.75
Pp=EpIp=241.75V49mA=241.750.049=11.8W

41

AX84ProjectDocumentation
Platepowerisjustunder12W.Somepeoplearenervousrunningthisclosetothestatedmaximum,butthis
reallyisn'taproblem.Firstoff,thisisn'tanAbsoluteMaximum,butaDesignCenterMaximum,sothere'ssome
wiggleroom.Secondly,it'sawellknownfactthatNOS6BQ5sandmostrecent6BQ5scanhandlemorethan
12Wstaticdissipation.2
Onelastthingtocheckinacathodebiasedampisthepowerthroughthecathoderesistor.
Ex.15e)

Pk=EkIk=8.25V55mA=8.250.055=0.45W

A1/2Wresistormightbeadequatehere,butthatwouldbepushingthings.A1Wor2Wresistorhasmoreroom
forsurges;thismeanslessdrift,longerlife,andlesslikelihoodofablownresistorintheeventofapartialshort
ormildcurrentspikes.Atthesametimeadeadshortinthetubewouldhaveareasonablechanceofblowing
theresistorbeforetheOTdied.

FixedBiasDifferences
Therearenorealcomputationaldifferenceswithfixedbias,butthereareshortcuts.
Inafixedbiasamp,thecathodeisat0V,sotheplateandscreenvoltageswithrespecttogroundarethesame
astheplateandscreenvoltageswithrespecttothecathode.That'sonelesscalculationforeachofthese.
Tomorereadilymeasuretheplatecurrent,youcouldinserta1resistorbetweentheplateandOT.Thenyou
couldmeasurethevoltagedropthereandcomputethecurrent.Butmostpeopleinserta1resistorbetween
cathodeandground,measurethatvoltage,anddothecalculationsfromthere.Thevoltagedifferenceatthe
cathodeistrivialenoughtoignoreinallcommonguitarampcircuits.Themainadvantagehereisthatyouare
measuringalowervoltage;sincemosttestpointsareexposed,thisreducestheriskofdangerousshocksunder
normaloperatingconditions.Italsomeansyoucanusealowerwattageresistor!
Let'spretendwerebuildaModelOnewithafixedbiassupplyanda1cathoderesistor.Let'sfurtherassume
thatwestillsee250Vfromplatetoground,andwemeasure55mVacrossthat1resistor.
Ex.15f)

Ik=Ek /Rk =55mV /1R=0.055/1=0.055A=55mA

Thecoolthingaboutthisisthatthecurrentisthesameasthevoltage,sowecanskipanotherstep.Youmight
wanttoadda1resistorinserieswiththecathoderesistorinacathodebiasedampjusttosimplifythemath!

ScreenStoppersandOtherCurrentLimitingResistors
Ifthere'snoscreenstopperyoucanusuallydothemathasabove.Butsomeampsrunthescreenoffthesame
tapastheplate.Inthiscasethereisnowaybesidesammeterinsertiontogetthescreencurrent.Addinga
screenstoppersolvesthisproblemsinceyoucanthenuseOhm'sLawtodeterminethescreencurrent.You
couldusea1resistorhere,butabiggerresistorisagoodideasolongasitdoesn'talterthetonetoomuch.
That'sbecausealargerscreenstoppercanactasacurrentlimitingresistor.
2 Theauthorroutinelyrunsthesetubesat13Wto14Wwithnoproblemsandlonglifetimes.You'llhaveto
considertubelifetimeandcostanddecideforyourselfhowhotyouarecomfortablerunningthem.
42

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
Howdoesthatwork?
Ingeneral,itworksbecausethevoltagemustvarywiththecurrenttosatisfyOhm'sLaw.
ConsiderthescreensupplyresistorR12intheModelOne
schematic.Whatwouldhappenifthescreentriedtodrawtwice
thecurrent?WeknowfromEx.15bthatthecurrentthroughR12
is7mA,ofwhich6mAisscreencurrent.Ifthescreendrawstwice
thecurrent,or12mA,wewouldhave13mAthroughR12.By
Ohm'sLawthiswouldchangethevoltage.
Ex.15g

Er12=Ir12R12=13mA2.2k
Er12=0.0132200=28.6V 27V

Thislowersthescreenvoltagefrom245Vto233V.
Ex.15h

E=260V 27V=233V

Sincethescreenvoltageisnowlowerwithrespecttotheplate
voltagethanitwas,itattractslesselectrons,whichmeansless
currentflows,sothescreencurrentdropsandtheplatevoltagerisesbackupuntilahappymediumisreached.
Thisisgoingtobeatalowervoltageandhighercurrentthanbefore,butitwon'tbeasdrasticasinitially
expected(2xthecurrent).

43

AX84ProjectDocumentation

LOADLINES
BorrowfromStephenKellerandwhoeverhadtheotherintrodocstarted

44

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)

KALAMAZOOMODELONESCHEMATIC

45

AX84ProjectDocumentation

REFERENCES
1. ChrisHurley,etal,AX84websiteandBBS:http://www.ax84.com/
2. MilesO'Neal,KalamazooAmpFieldGuide:http://www.rru.com/~meo/Guitar/Amps/Kalamazoo/
3. StephenKellerandDavidSorlien,AX84P1eXtremeAmpTheoryofOperation:...
4. JosephVictorCollins,Ph.D.,PracticalAlgebra,2dCourse,AmericanBookCompany,1911
th
5. F.LangfordSmith,RadiotronDesigner'sHandbook,4

edition

,WirelessPress/RCA,1952

6. RCAReceivingTubeManualRC29,RCA,1973
th
7. TheRadioAmateur'sHandbook,55edition

,AmericanRadioRelayLeague,1977

CREDITSandTHANKS
Reviewers
AlanOlson,JefferyBiesek,ChristianCloutier,JeanMarcDavid,PedroFerreira,RobHall,JoeKerr,Mark
Lautizar,AlanR.Olson,MarkusvanAardt

EncouragementandDirection
ChrisHurley,StephenKeller

LEGALSTUFF
Copyright2008MilesO'Neal,Austin,TX.Allrightsreservedexceptasdesignatedherein.

THISDOCUMENTATIONISPROVIDEDFREEOFCHARGEFORNONPROFITRELATEDPURPOSES
SUCHASEDUCATIONALORHOBBYUSE.REPRODUCTIONOFTHISDOCUMENTFORCOMMERCIAL
USEISSTRICTLYPROHIBITEDUNLESSPERMISSIONISPROVIDEDBYTHECOPYRIGHTHOLDER.

NOLIABILITYCANBEACCEPTEDFORERRORSINTHISDOCUMENTATION.FURTHERMORE,NO
LIABILITYCANBEACCEPTEDFORLOSSESINCURREDDIRECTLYORINDIRECTLYARISINGOUTOF
THEUSEOFINFORMATIONINTHISDOCUMENT.

ALLTRADEMARKSBELONGTOTHEIRRESPECTIVEHOLDERS.

``Icanspell,butIcan'ttype.''(author)

46

BasicMathforTubeAmpGeeks(rev06)
EveryDocumentneedssomefineprint!Thisdocumentisprovidedasis;nowarrantyisexpressedorimplied.Thisdocumentmaynotbelegalinalljurisdictions.Beautyisintheeyeofthebeholder.Myfirstborndaughterhaslotsof
Barbiesinthehouse,butnoneofthemhasever,tothebestofmyknowledge,complainedthatmathishard!

WHEREDOITGO?
BothfromAlanOlson:
1.Explainhow"standard"resistorvaluesarecalculated.Experiencedampbuildersknowstandardvaluesfor
10%andmaybe5%toleranceresistors,butinexperiencedbuildersprobablydonot.Thecalculationofresistor
valuesisnottoohardgeometricallyspacedvaluesovereachdecade.Thenumberofstepsperdecade
dependsonthetolerance:1%96steps,2%48,5%24,10%12,and20%6steps.Themultiplicative
factoris10^(1/steps).Forexample,10%tolerance12steps,themultiplicativefactoris10^(1/12)=1.21153.
Thestandard10%valuesarethen:
10x(1.21153)^k,k=0..11,or[10,12,15,18,22,27,33,39,47,56,68,82].
Explainaudiotaperedpotentiometers.Theresistancetapeislogarithmic,buttherearedifferentkindsof
tapers.Youcanalsosimulatealogtaperusingalineartaperpotandashuntresistoragoodexample
ofseriesparallelresistorcombinations.
HavenotaddedideasfromMarkLyet!

47