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Ultimately recyclers have to scrap our treasures - was Re: [TekScopes] Tektronix 570 Vacuum Tube Curve Tracer on eBay

toby@...
 

On 2020-01-12 11:02 AM, Chuck Harris wrote:
A sad fact in life is that if we want our "treasures" to survive
us, we had better make arrangements for them while we are still
alive. Our heirs have no idea why we like this stuff... even when
we tell them... they feel nothing for our junk.

There is a big difference in emotional attachment between: "I remember
that Chuck was always messing with those things..." and "That scope is
special to me, because I used one like it in my first job..."

When we die, our "treasures" will be just a very heavy miscellaneous
pile of trash, given piecemeal to the municipal trash, or hauled there
in bulk by "Two guys with a Truck"... or whatever your local cheap
junk hauler is called.

So, that pretty much means selling out while you are still alive...

Good luck with that!

I have worked with several electronics recyclers, and these old
scopes come in bursts... making it pretty obvious that another one of
our brethren has died, and his heirs have assigned his collection to
municipal trash. By the time they get to the recycler, all of those
pristine artifacts are pretty beat up.

The flow has greatly reduced in the last couple of years.

Ultimately recyclers have to scrap them. Businesses can't hold onto
this stuff, waiting years to find a buyer, and stay in business.

Nobody, and I do mean nobody, will buy this stuff. Not even you!

As collectors, Tektronix enthusiasts are frugal to a fault.

In this, we are our own worst enemies. Look at the derision that is
being cast towards the "foolish" person that spent $4K on a 570...
arguably the rarest (and least useful) of all of the curve tracers,
that Tektronix (not Danaher, Tamm) made.

Instead of poo-pooing the seller for being so greedy, and the buyer
for being so stupid, we should be cheering them on...encouraging
sellers and buyers alike to treat these rarities as the valuable
industrial artwork that they are.

The guy who shelled out $4K for the 570 won't scrap that tracer for
its few tubes.... but his heirs will... All the while exclaiming:
"What did uncle Chuck see in this stuff?"... "Why did he have so
many of these big heavy things?"... "Old silly scopes, I think he
called them"... "I guess he was one of those hoarders"... "At least
he didn't collect propane cylinders... Oh no!... There's a stack over
there!"... "Silly old fool!.... Aunt Mary should have gotten him some
help...."
Well said. All of it. Thankyou. I hope list members will take this
message seriously.

--Toby


-Chuck Harris

Mlynch001 wrote:

As do I. Pretty sure that no one who is harvesting tubes from old equipment would shell out $4K for the tubes contained within that unit. Never want to see such a rare instrument lost to posterity.

Bob Albert
 

Frankly, even list members are at odds regarding what is worth saving.  One likes tube gear, another likes voltmeters, yet another is into a particular brand of gear.  So if I make out a will that so-and-so can have all mystuff, that so-and-so may find it a burden rather than a bonanza.
Maybe, unless we know of a particular want, it's best to let it go.
Bob

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, 09:44:48 AM PST, <toby@...> wrote:

On 2020-01-12 11:02 AM, Chuck Harris wrote:
A sad fact in life is that if we want our "treasures" to survive
us, we had better make arrangements for them while we are still
alive.  Our heirs have no idea why we like this stuff... even when
we tell them... they feel nothing for our junk.

There is a big difference in emotional attachment between: "I remember
that Chuck was always messing with those things..." and "That scope is
special to me, because I used one like it in my first job..."

When we die, our "treasures" will be just a very heavy miscellaneous
pile of trash, given piecemeal to the municipal trash, or hauled there
in bulk by "Two guys with a Truck"... or whatever your local cheap
junk hauler is  called.

So, that pretty much means selling out while you are still alive...

Good luck with that!

I have worked with several electronics recyclers, and these old
scopes come in bursts... making it pretty obvious that another one of
our brethren has died, and his heirs have assigned his collection to
municipal trash.  By the time they get to the recycler, all of those
pristine artifacts are pretty beat up.

The flow has greatly reduced in the last couple of years.

Ultimately recyclers have to scrap them.  Businesses can't hold onto
this stuff, waiting years to find a buyer, and stay in business.

Nobody, and I do mean nobody, will buy this stuff.  Not even you!

As collectors, Tektronix enthusiasts are frugal to a fault.

In this, we are our own worst enemies.  Look at the derision that is
being cast towards the "foolish" person that spent $4K on a 570...
arguably the rarest (and least useful) of all of the curve tracers,
that Tektronix (not Danaher, Tamm) made.

Instead of poo-pooing the seller for being so greedy, and the buyer
for being so stupid, we should be cheering them on...encouraging
sellers and buyers alike to treat these rarities as the valuable
industrial artwork that they are.

The guy who shelled out $4K for the 570 won't scrap that tracer for
its few tubes.... but his heirs will...  All the while exclaiming:
"What did uncle Chuck see in this stuff?"... "Why did he have so
many of these big heavy things?"... "Old silly scopes, I think he
called them"...  "I guess he was one of those hoarders"...  "At least
he didn't collect propane cylinders... Oh no!... There's a stack over
there!"...  "Silly old fool!.... Aunt Mary should have gotten him some
help...."
Well said. All of it. Thankyou. I hope list members will take this
message seriously.

--Toby


-Chuck Harris

Mlynch001 wrote:

As do I.  Pretty sure that no one who is harvesting tubes from old equipment would shell out $4K for the tubes contained within that unit.  Never want to see such a rare instrument lost to posterity.

toby@...
 

On 2020-01-12 12:54 PM, Bob Albert via Groups.Io wrote:
Frankly, even list members are at odds regarding what is worth saving.  One likes tube gear, another likes voltmeters, yet another is into a particular brand of gear.  So if I make out a will that so-and-so can have all mystuff, that so-and-so may find it a burden rather than a bonanza.
Maybe, unless we know of a particular want, it's best to let it go.
Bob
That's a valid, but regrettable choice. Many people won't have the means
or ability to ensure succession. It's a lot of work, like Chuck points
out, to find buyers or heirs and coordinate with them.

I think where Chuck's message is most vital is to remind those of us who
DO want stuff preserved, that active measures have to be taken
beforehand to make sure it happens.

It's a hard problem, especially since museums generally can't help.

--Toby

Greg Muir
 

Similar to many other electronic disciplines our breed is slowly becoming relinquished to the dinosaur age. It is now all too easy for the newer generations to be part of the “plug n’ play” set where little effort is required to achieve instant gratification without any effort. Solid-state products with their gee-whiz graphical interfaces or robotic motions that don’t really serve any purpose are the norm. Why go looking for reasons why that vacuum tube circuit isn’t functioning in the manner in which it was designed when you can buy a neat little gizmo off the shelf that will keep you amused and at a status level equal to your earbud wearing friends?

Yes, vacuum tubes and their related hardware take some diligent effort to maintain but a significant part of this is influenced by the recognition of the amount of effort that went into the development and manufacture of these machines when there wasn’t necessarily the technology available to do it efficiently. And as related to Tektronix products I am quite certain that there was a continuous learning curve that the engineers were involved in as each new product came to life.

After all of these great devices have been reincarnated into whatever product receives their materials or are buried beneath the soil never to see daylight again, the memories of them will slowly disappear along with all of the avid collectors of our time.

Yes, I have some age upon me. But I also cannot simply buy something, plug it in and leave it on the shelf. I still need to peek inside and when the call comes to help it back to health be able to feel like I am still needed by all of this heat producing hardware.

And, as Chuck Harris mentioned we must consider either selling off our collections while there is still time or try to make sure that there is someone out there who would graciously accept the effort to take care of our stuff after we have left for other worlds. I have done the latter to some extent but still find that even those (older persons) a few years younger than myself who have accepted the obligation(?) are very busy in their work to fully take on the monumental task of dealing with all of my “stuff.” Somewhere in there I can see that they are already victims of the “later generation effect” leaning towards more interest in solid-state rather than vacuum-state.

“Estate sales” or should I say “garage sales” are not the way to go lest your equipment wind up in the hands of someone who thinks what they have found is “neat, retro, vintage” (or in the words of one I have seen – “steampunk”) or would look fantastic somewhere in their house to amaze their non-technical friends by allowing them to play with the knobs. And we all know that sales of our cherished possessions on the readily available sales sites is also a crap shoot not to mention taking up the remainder of our lifetime dealing with the listings.

…and so it goes…

I must get back to work. That trace is not looking like it should……

Greg

John Williams
 

I am sitting here watching curling and reading the posts. We have about a foot of new snow so far today and it seems to be still coming down. I am sad for the families of the jet crash, the Australian fires, and the service men and women away from home this new year. I need to think of the projects I am working on to pass the time this winter. For instance, I have a 321A that has two faults, namely no blanking and vertical compression. I have a 310A that has the dreaded crt filament winding break down. And a 317 with no crt and a really messed up hv supply. Plus I just bought an SC502 which no doubt will need something. I don’t have a tm503 to plug it in to, so maybe I will just sit and admire it.

I suppose my last wish would be to see if the Tek museum would like to come and and clear out my place. Until then I will keep on Teking. Lots on eBay so little money! Haha laugh at the face of the devil.

Bob Albert
 

No it doesn't work like that.  I don't feel disdain for the young crowd, any more than I expect it for us old guys.  We enjoy playing with this crap and it's a hobby.  Any other assessment is faulty.  If we aren't here to enjoy fooling with it, then throw it out.
The main purpose of it, aside from the above, it to use it to work on other gear of the same age range.  I am a victim of the syndrome, and I enjoy just measuring and watching waveforms and building silly little projects.  Even my contemporaries don't do what I do, any more than I do what they do.  Who needs three 100 MHz oscilloscopes?  Or five spectrum analyzers?
For that matter, who will ever look at my ham radio logbook or QSL cards?  Any awards might have pleased me but have no meaning for anyone else.  What purpose is served by communication with some exotic place, except to feed my ego?
And who cares if my stereo system sounds marvelous?  And why should they?  If you collect cars or motorcycles or postage stamps or coffee mugs, the chance that someone else shares your silliness is minimal.
My advice is not to worry about the fate of what we'd consider valuable stuff, and let nature take its course.  I'd be surprised if more than perhaps 10% would be appreciated by another person and, if so, that person is likely to follow you in a few years.
Bob

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, 12:51:14 PM PST, John Williams <books4you@...> wrote:

I am sitting here watching curling and reading the posts. We have about a foot of new snow so far today and it seems to be still coming down. I am sad for the families of the jet crash, the Australian fires, and the service men and women away from home this new year. I need to think of the projects I am working on to pass the time this winter. For instance, I have a 321A that has two faults, namely no blanking and vertical compression. I have a 310A that has the dreaded crt filament winding break down. And a 317 with no crt and a really messed up hv supply. Plus I just bought an SC502 which no doubt will need something. I don’t have a tm503 to plug it in to, so maybe I will just sit and admire it.

I suppose my last wish would be to see if the Tek museum would like to come and and clear out my place. Until then I will keep on Teking. Lots on eBay so little money! Haha laugh at the face of the devil.

Harvey White
 

I guess that there are several reasons to have a Tektronix (or HP) piece of equipment:

1) you're trying to collect them all...

2) you admire the workmanship

3) you feel a personal connection to the equipment (job, history, etc).

4) you have a use for it

5) you enjoy fixing it

I'm sure that there are more.

I've got a bit of parts 2 and 3, having developed an appreciation for the workmanship (and capability) on my first job.  However, more for 4 than anything else.

Do I have a need for a 32+ channel logic analyzer?  Yep.  Do I have a need for a 500 Mhz analog scope?  I think so, to see some of the signals I'm looking for/at.  Do I need more than one 500 Mhz scope?  I have some donor chassis so I can keep both of mine (one's a spare) running.

Do I need a fancy digital scope, yep, some low rep-rate stuff generated by software loops.  I want to look at that stuff.  and no, while I do have a storage scope, it won't quite do the same thing, it's analog.

What you do with what you have when you lose interest (or otherwise) very much depends on why you have it in the first place.  My equipment has been used, not surprisingly so.  I rescued almost all of it.  Most of it was purchased not knowing if it did work (or with the assurances! that it did..... variously). One of these days I'll start 3D printing the gray plastic parts of the TM500 stuff that people seem to use a shock absorbers.

Do I have any trophy pieces?  Not Tektronix, I think.  Although I *do* have a Farnsworth Image dissector tube in original packing dated from the 1950's.  That'll be a trophy piece, since I know I'll never use it, nor a half dozen vidicons I have left over from the days I built TV cameras (6326?  7038).  Mostly came from film chain cameras and had the sensitivity of a dead rock.  But I *do* have a refitted camera that has a sivicon in it.

Anyone else interested in this?  Not too likely.  That's ok.  I got it because I wanted it, and that's the ultimate reason to have a piece of Tek equipment unless you're in a business.  Then it's just that, a business.  Very different set of rules.

Harvey

On 1/12/2020 5:01 PM, Bob Albert via Groups.Io wrote:
No it doesn't work like that.  I don't feel disdain for the young crowd, any more than I expect it for us old guys.  We enjoy playing with this crap and it's a hobby.  Any other assessment is faulty.  If we aren't here to enjoy fooling with it, then throw it out.
The main purpose of it, aside from the above, it to use it to work on other gear of the same age range.  I am a victim of the syndrome, and I enjoy just measuring and watching waveforms and building silly little projects.  Even my contemporaries don't do what I do, any more than I do what they do.  Who needs three 100 MHz oscilloscopes?  Or five spectrum analyzers?
For that matter, who will ever look at my ham radio logbook or QSL cards?  Any awards might have pleased me but have no meaning for anyone else.  What purpose is served by communication with some exotic place, except to feed my ego?
And who cares if my stereo system sounds marvelous?  And why should they?  If you collect cars or motorcycles or postage stamps or coffee mugs, the chance that someone else shares your silliness is minimal.
My advice is not to worry about the fate of what we'd consider valuable stuff, and let nature take its course.  I'd be surprised if more than perhaps 10% would be appreciated by another person and, if so, that person is likely to follow you in a few years.
Bob
On Sunday, January 12, 2020, 12:51:14 PM PST, John Williams <books4you@...> wrote:
I am sitting here watching curling and reading the posts. We have about a foot of new snow so far today and it seems to be still coming down. I am sad for the families of the jet crash, the Australian fires, and the service men and women away from home this new year. I need to think of the projects I am working on to pass the time this winter. For instance, I have a 321A that has two faults, namely no blanking and vertical compression. I have a 310A that has the dreaded crt filament winding break down. And a 317 with no crt and a really messed up hv supply. Plus I just bought an SC502 which no doubt will need something. I don’t have a tm503 to plug it in to, so maybe I will just sit and admire it.

I suppose my last wish would be to see if the Tek museum would like to come and and clear out my place. Until then I will keep on Teking. Lots on eBay so little money! Haha laugh at the face of the devil.




John Williams
 

Right Harvey. There are as many reasons as people in this hobby. I got my ham license when I was 15 at the same time as my dad. At that time he gave me war surplus BC929a radar indicator that he had partially converted to an oscilloscope. I worked on that all through high school and tech school until it was a pretty impressive little scope complete with plugins. I scored highly on papers I wrote on that project.

After tech school I went to work in the instrument lab at the Department of Radio and Electrical Engineering at the National Research Council in Ottawa. There I maintained a large number of instruments including a large number of Tektronix scopes. This is where I got to really develop my aptitude for adjusting them and repairing the big boxes. But after I left there my interest in scopes waned for quite a number of years. Wife, kids, cars, a house and a computer job took its toll.

One day in the late 90’s I started selling some of my unused photography items on a new thing called eBay. I had a thought that I might be able to buy a Tektronix oscilloscope at long last. Sure enough I found an RM502 for 50 bucks. It arrived a few weeks later, and I was hooked! In 6 months I had 50 Tek scopes and I was in big trouble.

So I have repaired, collected and studied Tek instruments ever since. One day I got an email from a guy in Philadelphia. He had been walking on his lunch break and went into the US government surplus store. He came home with a new 531A still sealed in its original box. He wanted a hundred bucks for it and I was so happy to purchase it. I eventually sold it to the VP of research and development at Capitol Records in LA to display in his office. I was really excited about it going there to a place of honour. There were a few times like that. My BC929a scope was also long gone, but I did find a new one, still in its original box, for over a grand.

I will keep doing this until I die. At 75 not a lot more I can do. I have almost given up motorcycle riding but still also collect stamps, old cameras and some other things.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rv7WNBPM61PsdLpj7

God bless.

Chuck Harris
 

I suppose part two maybe should be said:

Why do we want our "treasures" to survive us?

I never bought any of this stuff because I thought it might
be really neat for my heirs to own. Not a single thing in my
entire life.

I acquired it because I needed some function it represented.

If you have something really, really, neat that must survive you,
then you had better make sure it is in someone else's hands when
the music stops.

Nothing I have is that neat. Everything of mine that gets scrapped,
will just make the rest more valuable.

-Chuck Harris

toby@... wrote:
On 2020-01-12 11:02 AM, Chuck Harris wrote:
A sad fact in life is that if we want our "treasures" to survive
us, we had better make arrangements for them while we are still
alive. Our heirs have no idea why we like this stuff... even when
we tell them... they feel nothing for our junk.
...snip...

Aunt Mary should have gotten him some
help...."
Well said. All of it. Thankyou. I hope list members will take this
message seriously.

--Toby


-Chuck Harris

Mlynch001 wrote:

As do I. Pretty sure that no one who is harvesting tubes from old equipment would shell out $4K for the tubes contained within that unit. Never want to see such a rare instrument lost to posterity.

Dave Seiter
 

I had to laugh while reading this; for a while I was active on the yahoo group WACEM (We Actually Collect Electric Mixers).  I was restoring my Mom's mixer (which I still use on a regular basis), and needed advice and parts.  That led me down the rabbit's hole of people who collect odder things.  If the stuff you collect makes you happy, chances are that it will makes someone else happy too, just not in the same way.  
-Dave

---------
And who cares if my stereo system sounds marvelous?  And why should they?  If you collect cars or motorcycles or postage stamps or coffee mugs, the chance that someone else shares your silliness is minimal.
My advice is not to worry about the fate of what we'd consider valuable stuff, and let nature take its course.  I'd be surprised if more than perhaps 10% would be appreciated by another person and, if so, that person is likely to follow you in a few years.
Bob

Harvey White
 

I've seen people for whom the company was their whole life.  They retire at 65 and they're dead within a few years.

They define themselves by the company, and with the company.  No company, and they have no purpose and apparently, some cannot find one.

Work, for me, (so there to a lot of people.... <grin>) was a method to get money to pay for my hobbies (and living expenses, and a car, and keep on going....).

As long as you can do something you love, and love is the right word, you're ok.  Be it Tektronix stuff, HP stuff, stamp collecting, restoring 1960's cars, gardening, whatever.   You're ok.

My suggestion is to keep any single thing from defining you, let yourself define *IT*.  Tektronix is not a thing in and of itself, it's what *you* make of it for *yourself*.

Spend the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college working in their calibration lab, recalibrating Tektronix scopes, mostly 535, 545 and the like.  Not sure that I saw a 585, they didn't have one.  *do* remember seeing a 515, I think.  I wasn't allowed to ask what they were all used for, but I will say, that I hope the graduate student that got a scope that I calibrated checked his results, because some of them were *way* off....

Do the best you can with what you have, and do your best to pass it on, but don't worry about it excessively.  It's the best you can do.......  That's all that can be expected.

Harvey

On 1/12/2020 6:44 PM, John Williams wrote:
Right Harvey. There are as many reasons as people in this hobby. I got my ham license when I was 15 at the same time as my dad. At that time he gave me war surplus BC929a radar indicator that he had partially converted to an oscilloscope. I worked on that all through high school and tech school until it was a pretty impressive little scope complete with plugins. I scored highly on papers I wrote on that project.

After tech school I went to work in the instrument lab at the Department of Radio and Electrical Engineering at the National Research Council in Ottawa. There I maintained a large number of instruments including a large number of Tektronix scopes. This is where I got to really develop my aptitude for adjusting them and repairing the big boxes. But after I left there my interest in scopes waned for quite a number of years. Wife, kids, cars, a house and a computer job took its toll.

One day in the late 90’s I started selling some of my unused photography items on a new thing called eBay. I had a thought that I might be able to buy a Tektronix oscilloscope at long last. Sure enough I found an RM502 for 50 bucks. It arrived a few weeks later, and I was hooked! In 6 months I had 50 Tek scopes and I was in big trouble.

So I have repaired, collected and studied Tek instruments ever since. One day I got an email from a guy in Philadelphia. He had been walking on his lunch break and went into the US government surplus store. He came home with a new 531A still sealed in its original box. He wanted a hundred bucks for it and I was so happy to purchase it. I eventually sold it to the VP of research and development at Capitol Records in LA to display in his office. I was really excited about it going there to a place of honour. There were a few times like that. My BC929a scope was also long gone, but I did find a new one, still in its original box, for over a grand.

I will keep doing this until I die. At 75 not a lot more I can do. I have almost given up motorcycle riding but still also collect stamps, old cameras and some other things.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rv7WNBPM61PsdLpj7

God bless.


KB6NAX
 

Who, what, you talking about me? "Two guys and a truck" need to make a living too! So, if you have a tad of social conscience, our "industry" is good for society. Yeah, let's face it, humanity has no other recourse. We are genetically incapable of doing anything other than burying this planet in our turnings. We violate Nature as if thinking our "stuff" goes to Earth to re-emerge in the Spring as bright new creativity to make life richer, more purposeful, as if the Universe depends on our answers. Our scopes are just the excretion of the metastatic disease often referred to as "technology." Ha, ha! As the dead meathead the vultures will consume out back of the Whitehouse had said, "get over it." Staple the Two Guys and a Truck business card to your will.