Tube Cross-reference and Selection Guide.

Tube Cross-reference Guide.

This addition is long overdue. There are links to tables of equivalent of European and World War II military type numbers. There is also a page describing the reasoning behind the European valve numbering system.

European and 4 digit number to USA. This page cross references both ways. European and 4 digit numbers are listed in the table. If you find an error or omission be sure to let me know.

The European System Explained. The European system of valve type numbering is largely incomprehensible to tube hobbyists who reside in North America. However, there is method in their madness. This explanation provided by Mike (Mac) McCarty should make it much clearer.

A cross reference for those WW II VT numbers is in the works. Watch this space.

Tube Selection Guide.

Let me begin by saying what the Tube Selection Guide is not. It is NOT a place to look up the characteristics of a tube you already know the number of. There are plenty of those on the WWW already and it doesn't need another one. One of the best is Franks Electron Tube Data Sheets.

This page is to help you find a tube to serve a particular application. For example suppose you need a combination triode diode with a triode μ of 50. Someone experienced in tubes might know exactly where to go in the tube manual to find it. On the other hand a newcomer to tubes might spend an hour or more paging through a tube manual looking for such a tube. (We have spent many hours going through the tube manual to save you the work.) Here all you have to do is go to the triode/diode page and look down the μ column until you find a value, or one as close as you can find, to 50. If you don't find one with exactly 50 it probably doesn't exist.

The data in the tables may seem to be somewhat incomplete. This is deliberate. A complete listing of parameters would make the tables so wide they would be very difficult to read. These are quick scan tables and after you find the tube or tubes that fit your qualifications you should go to a tube manual or Franks Electron Tube Pages to find the details.

Thanks for the help.

Thanks goes to, listed in alphabetical order, Jonathan (Ed) Edwards, Mike (Mac) McCarty, and Tim E. Smith, for their help in paging through the tube manual and typing in data. This project would not have been possible without their help.

If You Think a Tube is Missing.

If there is a tube that you think should be in the list but it is not, you can contribute. Don't just drop me an email saying "I think you should add a 6 _ _ _ to the list". Except for routine maintenance I've done all the work I'm going to do on this project. Also don't just send me the data sheet and expect me to type in the data. NO. Here's what to do.
  1. Look up the data yourself and type it into your computer.
  2. Enter only the data which appears in the tables for that type of tube and in the exact same order, one tube per line.
  3. Separate each piece of data from the others with a comma (,).
  4. For example 6ZZ4, Triode, H, 6.3, 0.3, 12, 1.5, 250, 1800, 90, 50k, 7 pin mini.

Send these data as part of the body of an email message, as an attached txt file, rtf file, doc file, or even an xls file. If you send it as an xls file leave out the commas. Send them here.

If You Want Your Very Own Copy.

If you want a copy of the tables to look at on your own computer you can download the spreadsheet from here. Tube Selection Guide. One advantage is that you can sort the data by any column. Looking for a pentode with a low Rp? Sort the Rp column in ascending order and the lowest ones will be at the top of the list. Have fun.

How to read the tables.

The column headings should be self explanatory to someone acquainted with tube terminology. An entry of N. A. or N/A means the information is Not Available. If an entry is not applicable the entry will be a dash (-) or completely blank. If the tube number is in red it means that type is currently being manufactured somewhere in the world.

here are the links.

Rectifier Tubes. On this page the term FW stands for full-wave and HW for Half-wave. The rectifier section of the 117 volt heater tubes are listed here. The power amplifier sections are listed in the power tube table.

Gaseous Voltage Regulator Tubes. These were the Zener diodes of the tube age.

Small Signal Diodes. This page covers tubes such as the 6AL5 that are not intended for use as power rectifiers but as low level diodes for example, an AM detector.

Single Triodes. A single triode is not a triode that is looking for a mate, it is a tube with one triode in the envelope. That is to distinguish it from double triodes, triodes with diodes, and triodes with pentodes in the same tube.

Triodes with Diodes. There are a lot of triodes with diodes. Apparently some are made to be used as an FM detector. None are for power rectification. A typical set of ratings is PIV of 100 volts and current of 1 to 5 mA.

Duo Identical Triodes. There are a lot more than the 12A_7 series.

Duo Dissimilar Triodes. I used to think there was only one duo dissimilar triode until I compiled this list.

Tetrodes. Tetrodes are supposed to be obsolete but you wouldn't know it by looking at this list.

Sharp Cutoff Pentodes. Sharp cutoff pentodes are used in everything from audio preamps to FM and TV receivers.

Remote and Semi-remote Cutoff Pentodes These tubes are used when AGC/AVC is required. There are so few semi-remote cutoff tubes it wouldn't be worthwhile to make a separate page for them.

Pentodes with diodes. I was surprised how many of these there are. As with the triode/diodes the diodes are low power. The 117 volt heater tubes that are a rectifier and a beam power amplifier in the same envelope are not listed here. The rectifier sections are listed in the rectifiers chart and the power sections are listed in the power tubes chart.

Pentodes with Triodes. There are many of these and they are all different.

Converter, Modulator, and Control Tubes. This is admittedly a catch all page for things that wouldn't fit anywhere else. The page contains listings of tubes that are variously known as heptodes or pentagrid converters. There aren't very many of these so the chart contains sync separator, gated beam detector, and beam deflection tubes.

Power Tubes. You'll find everything from a 3V4 to an 833A. The 117 volt heater beam power amplifiers that also have a rectifier in the same envelope are listed here. Their rectifier sections are listed in the rectifier table.

12 Volt Car Radio Tubes. An unique subset of tubes are those that were designed to operate with a plate supply voltage of 12 volts. These were used in car radios before transistors were developed that would perform well enough in radio circuits to be used in the difficult environment of an automobile. In such radios a transistor was used to produce the audio power necessary to be heard over the noise of a car. These tubes are scattered throughout the other tables but I thought it would be a good idea to list them all in one place.