[Amps] Question about separate power supply/RF section

Vic, K2VCO k2vco.vic at gmail.com
Sat Jan 19 16:15:57 EST 2013

The top of the swamping resistor is connected to the grid, but the 
bottom is bypassed for RF and connected to the bias and protective 
circuits. You are correct that it is to provide a load for the exciter.

In the circuit you describe, is your B- lead grounded at the power 
supply? If not then there would be a voltage between the two chassis or 
(most likely) they would be connected together by ground wires, so in 
essence the B- lead becomes an extra ground wire.

On 1/19/13 1:00 PM, Jim Garland wrote:
> Hi Vic,
> Ahh, now I see what you're doing, though I still don't quite see how 
> you're providing operating and cutoff bias to the control grid of the 
> 4cx1000a. I'm guessing the "swamping resistor") is to provide a 50 ohm 
> load for your exciter and is DC isolated from the grid, but of course 
> I could be wrong.
> It's a matter of personal taste, but I prefer to avoid using the 
> chassis and power supply grounds as the return path for plate current. 
> In my own tetrode amp (a current project), I run a B- lead from the 
> external power supply to the RF deck, and anchor it at the point where 
> the cathodes (three GU74Bs) are grounded to the chassis. That way the 
> cathode current works its way back to the power supply via the B- 
> lead, and not through the chassis or ground wires. (A similar approach 
> is used in your house wiring, where electrical codes require that 
> return currents on the AC line return through the neutral wire and not 
> the ground wire.) With my approach a protection diode in the power 
> supply is also desirable (anode grounded) to protect against flashover 
> in the power supply. I measure plate current with a 2A ammeter in the 
> B- lead.
> 73,
> Jim W8ZR
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:*Vic, K2VCO [mailto:k2vco.vic at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 19, 2013 1:19 PM
> *To:* Jim Garland
> *Cc:* amps at contesting.com
> *Subject:* Re: [Amps] Question about separate power supply/RF section
> I think my initial message was misleading. I think my brain was foggy, 
> too. I was conflating two different designs that I was thinking about!
> The tube is a 4CX1000A, AB1 with a swamping resistor. The grid current 
> (if any) is measured in series with this resistor. The cathode is 
> grounded. I have put a 25-watt 0.25 ohm resistor from the negative 
> side of the power supply to ground, essentially a meter shunt. The 
> plate meter is a milliammeter with a series resistor that reads the 
> voltage across this shunt. The meter is in the RF section, so the wire 
> from the negative side of the power supply is not really the B- 
> connection, it is just the metering voltage.
> I think all I need is a diode in the RF section to protect the meter 
> in case of an arc.
> The power supply section is finished except for the cover, which I 
> hope to do this weekend. Then I can start the fun part.
> On 1/19/13 10:23 AM, Jim Garland wrote:
>> Vic,
>> I'm a little puzzled by your proposed schematic. You didn't mention 
>> what tube you'll be using in your new amplifier, but I'm guessing 
>> you'll be using a grounded grid triode(s) design. The customary 
>> practice is to measure the plate current with an ammeter in the B- 
>> lead of the supply. The cathode of the tube is raised above ground by 
>> the operating bias, so that the voltage developed across a low-value 
>> resistor to ground from the B- lead is used to measure the grid 
>> current, not the plate current.
>> There are basically three ways an arc can take place in the standard 
>> design. First, there can be an arc to ground in the RF deck. Second, 
>> there can be an arc to ground in the power supply. And third, there 
>> can be an internal arc in the tube. In the first two cases, the arc 
>> current flows from ground up into the B- lead and back into the power 
>> supply. Each of these cases is usually addressed by means of a diode 
>> in both the RF deck and power supply, each of which has it's anode 
>> grounded and its cathode on the B-minus lead. Although there has been 
>> endless debate on the subject, I've never seen any reason to use 
>> back-to-back diodes, or multiple diodes in parallel. Since the grid 
>> current flows from the B- lead to ground through a resistor, a diode 
>> with it's anode connected to the B- line will clamp the voltage to 
>> 0.7V and seriously distort grid current readings. Normally, one wants 
>> a 5-10 ohm resistor between B- to ground for grid current measuring 
>> purposes. BTW, a single 6A10 diode has a surge rating of 250A, so 
>> there's really no need to parallel more than one.
>> There's one other precaution one should make, and that's to put a 1 W 
>> resistor (say 220 ohms) between B- and ground in the power supply. 
>> This resistor has high enough value that it won't distort grid 
>> current measurements significantly. It's purpose is to keep the B- 
>> from soaring above ground if the power supply is turned on with the 
>> HV cable to the amplifier disconnected. It's basically just to 
>> provide an anchor for the B- side of the power supply. Normally, a 
>> negligigle current flows through it. I checked my most recent power 
>> supply and discovered that without the resistor, the B- lead drifted 
>> up to several hundred volts above ground, when the RF deck was 
>> disconnected from the power supply.
>> Aside from these precautions, and possibly placing protection diodes 
>> across the plate meter terminals, I don't believe any other arc 
>> suppression measures are needed or desirable.
>> 73,
>> Jim W8ZR
> -- 
> Vic, K2VCO
> Fresno  CA
> http://www.qsl.net/k2vco/

Vic, K2VCO
Fresno CA

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