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Equipment Selection Chart for the SSQ-2F System

Chart current as of 26 July 201


The purpose of this chart is to assist you in figuring out which components you will need to drive your plasma tube. In order to make the best decision, you need to know several things before you start.You should have already decided on which plasma tube you will use. You will also need a source of audio frequencies to drive your system. This is usually done by running FreX, Spooky or Spooky2, or a similar program on a computer. The computer's audio output then drives the system. Several alternatives are possible if you have a different type of frequency generator such as a GB-4000, F165, PROGEN II 4050, or a Spooky2. Other frequency generators are also supported by our equipment.

Start by locating your Audio or RF source signal in the second column and work your way towards the right of the chart until you reach the plasma tube column.

Note that Options 3 & 5 are high-power add-on's for Options 2 & 4.



Option  Number If your Signal source is from: Then you need this: Which will give you this output: It will drive these Bill Cheb plasma tubes:
1Virtually any signal source, including a Computer Sound Card, CD or MP3 Player or any low-level sine wave audio signal, GB-4000, F125, F165, UDB1108S, Spooky2 or similar frequency generator with a TTL output.

SPA4 integrated signal processor and amplifier, digital duty cycle meter type M1D, coupler type LC31.

This is usually the best setup, because it will handle any type of plasma tube at any power up to 500 watts peak.
Up to 500 watts peak RF output.4 inch and 5 inch Phanotron,  8 inch Phanotron, SSQ-PT. SSQ-ST, SSQ-BAT, and others.
2
Computer Sound Card, CD or MP3 Player or any low-level sine wave audio signal.
SSQ-2F v3.21, digital duty cycle meter type M1D, coupler type LC31.

Good for portable or low power systems.
Up to 70 peak watts RF output. SSQ-PT or SSQ-ST (at low power), 4" and 5" Phanotron.
3 If you add an optional PA1 amplifier to the above, then you will have -

Option 1 does all this and more, and is on a single circuit board.
Up to 500 peak watts RF output. SSQ-ST, SSQ-BAT, 8" Phanotron.
4 Computer Sound Card, CD or MP3 Player or any low-level sine wave audio signal. SSQ-2F v1.41, analogue duty cycle meter type M1A, may be modified to accept digital duty cycle meter type M1D. TTL or +12 V MOSFET Drive only. None - low level output signal only. Used for laboratory research.
5 If you add an optional PA2 amplifier to the above, then you will have - Up to 500 peak watts RF output. SSQ-ST, SSQ-BAT, 8" Phanotron.
6 GB-4000, F-165 or similar frequency generator in 3.1 MHz RF mode. PA2 amplifier, coupler type LC31.

Not recommended for new designs - use the PA3 instead.
Up to 500 peak watts RF output. SSQ-ST, SSQ-BAT, 8" Phanotron.
7 Computer with Spooky software and UDB1108S or Spooky2 frequency generator or similar frequency generator with a TTL output. PA3 amplifier, coupler type LC31.

Works well with the GB-4000
Up to 500 peak watts RF output. SSQ-ST, SSQ-BAT, 8" Phanotron.
NOTE: Other equipment options exist. If you do not see a suitable selection in this chart, please contact us for suggestions for your particular use. NOTE: Options 3 and 5 produce the same results, but option 5 is more expensive than option 3 if you only use a computer for your signal source.
If you have more than one type of frequency generator, you may wish to consider the SPA4 since it works with many other frequency generators. (See Option 1)
NOTE: SSQ-ST and SSQ-BAT tubes require a pair of "E" series external  electrodes for operation. All plasma tubes require an LC31 coupler.

ABOUT PLASMA TUBES

The choice of a plasma tube is both a matter of personal preference and a function of how much money you are prepared to spend. Manufacturing a high quality plasma tube is an expensive undertaking.

Bill Cheb manufactures high quality plasma tubes, and we highly recommend his tubes for use with our equipment. Bill has designed his ST-series of plasma tubes to work reliably with our amplifiers. Bill manufactures both the popular internal electrode original-style Phanotron tubes in 4 inch, 5 inch, and 8 inch sizes, and a series of external electrode, straight plasma tubes in various sizes from 6 inches to 33 inches in length.


The most popular of Bill Cheb's external electrode plasma tubes are:

The SSQ-PT -

This tube measures 1 inch in diameter by 18 inches long. It can handle about 50 watts peak power, and 30 watts average power. The suggested running power for good tube life is about 40 or less peak watts. This tube uses our type E1 or E1W external electrodes.

The SSQ-ST -

This tube measures 48 mm in diameter by 20 inches long. It can handle about 300 watts peak power, and 175 watts average power. The suggested running power for good tube life is about 250 or less peak watts. This tube uses our type E2 or E2W external electrodes.

The SSQ-BAT -

This tube measures 3 inches in diameter by 33 inches long. It can handle about 600+ watts peak power, and 350 watts average power. The suggested running power for good tube life is about 450 or less peak watts. This tube uses our type E4 or E4W external electrodes.

External electrode plasma tubes are power limited by tube wall erosion that is caused by the hot ionized plasma which causes gas trapping. This eventually reduces the internal gas pressure low enough to cause tube failure.


The most popular of Bill Cheb's internal electrode plasma tubes are:

The 5" Phanotron -

This tube can handle about 120 watts peak power, and 60 watts average power. The suggested running power for good tube life is about 75 or less peak watts. 

The 8" Phanotron -

This tube can handle about 270 watts peak power, and 135 watts average power. The suggested running power for good tube life is about 115 or less peak watts.


Internal electrode plasma tubes are power limited
by electrode heating and metal evaporation of the electrodes which gradually darkens the tube envelope and reduce the internal gas pressure due to gas trapping. When the pressure falls to a low enough level, the tube will fail to light. Severe electrode heating may actually melt the glass-to-metal seals of the tube. This hot glass will "suck in" and puncture, allowing air to enter the vacuum in the tube, causing instant tube failure.

 Some URL's for the plasma tubes at Bill Cheb's web site:

         http://billsplasmatubes.com/index#ssqpt

 for the SSQ-PT tube.

         http://billsplasmatubes.com/index#ssqst

 for the SSQ-ST tube.

         http://billsplasmatubes.com/index#8inpt

 for the 8in. Phanotron tube.

 Call Bill for more information at 855-538-4994 or email him at bill@billsplasmatubes.com.





Contact Ralph by Email if you have questions, or telephone, 318.527.6766

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