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Re: [Amps] "Conventional" current flow

To: Jim Garland <>
Subject: Re: [Amps] "Conventional" current flow
From: Mike Waters <>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2016 18:56:00 -0500
List-post: <">>
Hi Jim,

I have always had great respect for your education, knowledge, technical
ability, and workmanship on your many amplifier projects. However,
--polarity and Ben Franklin's polarity error aside-- I simply cannot accept
your statements that seem to imply that the flow of current can possibly be
anything other than the flow of electrons from a heated cathode to any of
the elements in a vacuum tube.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about this, but presently I still fully
agree with what Ron, Bill and Roger have stated in this thread. Here are
their quotes:

1. "I love to hear the conventional current guys try to explain why a
tube's cathode has to be heated to 'accept' current."

2. "Conventional current flow was a wrong guess. I'm sorry I must say ...
Please explain to us how the CURRENT flows up the ultor lead to the side of
the bell of the cathode ray tube, runs in and around the aquadag inside the
bell and at the right place jumps off and strikes that precise spot on the
screen (that is based on the magnet field that the current is yet to pass
though) then is shoots through that varying magnet field (when it is at the
exactly correct magnitude) at high velocity at a tiny hole in the end of
the electron gun, (which under no circumstance fails to go through) and
lands ONLY on the only hot thing at the bottom of the gun.  ...   The flow
of holes through conducting materials is the RESULT of the motion of
ELECTRONS.  To say other wise makes me say BULL. ...   Only some (older)
larger universities and a few manufacturing companies (GE and a few others)
hang on to the obsolete conventional current flow that should be forgotten
by everyone.  Why?  Because electrons are what IS MOVING.  The flow of
electron is electricity. (and lighting)"

3. "In electronic theory, electrons and current consisting of the electron
flow in a vacuum tube are in the same directions. If they were not, then
the mass spectrometers I worked on were really strange.  We used electrons
to vaporize a material.  these negatively charged particles were focused
and then the beam was sent through a curved gap between charged plates.
The plates were between the poles of a very strong electromagnet.  ...
At-any-rate, between the magnet and the curved plate, the ions would be
spread out according to mass, much like a prism spreads light.  If the
light from an arc is sent through a prism there will be spectral lines for
the materials in the arc  ...  The materials behave as predicted in real
electronic theory.  The electrons, if given enough push can erode a

And I would add, 'What makes the anodes glow bright red in my amplifier?' I
thought it was electrons impinging upon it.

Respectfully, Jim, where are the four of us confused? Does it require a
knowledge of very advanced mathematics in order to grasp this? (I'm NOT
trying to be a wise guy!).

73, Mike

On Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 1:56 PM, Jim Garland <> wrote:

> Sorry to disagree with you and Bill,, Gene, but the standard convention
> for electric current makes a lot of sense, and it's not just that somebody
> guessed wrong a century ago about the polarity of electrons. The important
> concept is that electric current is a statistical concept. Electric current
> is sometimes carried by positive charges, sometimes by negative charges,
> but the sign of the charge carrier is an entirely separate issue from the
> direction of current flow.  In a vacuum tube, plate current flows into the
> plate and out of the cathode, even though the motion of the electrons in
> the tube envelope is in the reverse direction.  ...  Similarly, current
> flows out the positive terminal of a battery and returns into the negative
> terminal, no matter whether the charge of the ions in the battery are
> positively or negative. It would be a nightmare to keep track of current
> flow, if the direction of flow depended on the sign of the underlying
> charge carriers.  You might have situations where current flows out of a B+
> supply to the plate of a tube, and then is annihilated by current flowing
> in the opposite direction from within the tube, coming from the cathode.
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