The RCA HB-3 Tube Manual

Master datasheet type index

My HB-3 data collection!

I am working on scanning and placing on this page the entire RCA HB-3 tube manual.  As of 3/5/05, I have finished scanning the General section, Receiving Tubes Part 1, Receiving Tubes Part 2, Miscellaneous, Special-Purpose Receiving-Type Tubes, Thyratron, Ignitron, and Glow-Discharge Tubes, and most of the Transmitting tubes, as well as all the tubes in those categories that were "obsolete" as of the 1970 date of my HB-3.  This is 1,343 files at last count.   Remaining sections will be added as I get them scanned.

The HB-3 includes data sheets for almost all tubes ever manufactured by RCA.  Data for tubes that were obsolete in 1970 have been inserted back into their appropriate category; e.g., 2A3 is in "Receiving Tubes Part 1".

I  also have early RCA semiconductor data, but at this point I don't plan on digitizing it.  If you need data for a vintage transistor or diode, e-mail me at                             .    

What section a particular type is contained in seems somewhat arbitrary.  Consequently, it can be difficult to locate a particular tube type.  The easiest way to find a particular tube is to use the full index, which lists all the types posted on the site to date in alphabetical order.  Use your browser's "find" function (ctrl-f) to locate a particular type.  Note that some types will not appear where you expect them; for example, if you're looking for data on a 6FG6, it is in the file "EM84_6FG6.PDF", since this is the way the datasheet was titled.

Since file names cannot include the "/", ",", or "<cr>" characters, these have been converted to "_" in the datasheet file names.  For example, a datasheet that was originally titled "1G3-GT / 1B3-GT" is called "1G3-GT_1B3-GT.PDF".  You will find a few long file names like "6A8_6A8-G_6A8-GT.PDF" where the individual types were listed together on the same datasheet.

The HB-3 was printed on 5" x 7-3/4" sheets.  I scanned these at 300DPI.  Some are scaled up to fit a standard 8-1/2" x 11" sheet; newer scans I left at their original size for better fidelity :).  Each data sheet, or other section, is contained in a separate PDF file.  Very large sections (like the Bases section) have been split to facilitate a reasonable file size.  Some pages were printed off-center;  I made no attempt to correct this, so if a page is crooked, it was printed (or cut) that way.

Tube datasheets vary from 1/4 of a page (for types that reference other datasheets; e.g., 7AU7 references 12AU7) to almost 20 pages.  The size of the particular datasheet PDF file is shown in the datasheet index (or master index).

Please let me know if you find anything that is incorrect or missing and I will try and fix it.  If you need a datasheet that isn't yet posted, e-mail and I will attempt to scan it and post it early (but no guarantee).  This applies especially to CRT's and phototubes; since I don't anticipate a lot of demand for this data, and because there are many hundreds of pages, it will probably be the last to get posted.

The "General" section is good reading for some background technical info on tubes.  And if you're interested in really weird stuff, browse through the "Miscellaneous Tubes" section, where you'll find UHF pencil tubes that look like space ships, vacuum-gauge tubes, and a triode whose output voltage is proportional to how much mechanical force you apply to the plate lead!

Also, if you're researching a particular tube, look at all the associated earlier and later versions of that type for more information.  For example, there are datasheets for 6L6, 6L6-GA, and 6L6-GB tubes.  The original 6L6 datasheet has graphs showing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th harmonics vs. power for a single-ended 6L6.  In the 6L6-GA sheet, only total distortion is shown, and in the 6L6-GB datasheet, the SE curves are gone and have been replaced by push-pull curves.  There are subtle differences between these types, but much of the data is applicable between all similar types.

The HB-3 files are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.  I recommend that if you don't already have it you download the latest version of Adobe reader.  Some files have compressed images that may not work correctly with older versions of Acrobat reader.


General Section

        Table of Contents

        Index of Types

        Ratings Systems for Electron Devices

        Tube Ratings

        Types of Cathodes

        Conversion Factors

        Outlines - Glass Tubes

        Outlines - Metal Tubes


            1-pin, Top Caps - 7 pins

            8 and 9 pins

            10 through 35 pins



Cathode-Ray Tube, Storage Tube, and Monoscope Section

        RCA Picture Tube Guide

        Cathode-Ray Tube, Storage Tube, and Monoscope Tube Application Guide

        RCA Picture Tube Interchangeability Guide

        Features of Fluorescent Screens

        Spectral-Energy Emission and Persistence Characteristics

        Picture Tube Dimensional Outlines

        Dimensional Outlines

        Reference-Line Gauge

        X-Radiation Precautions for Cathode-Ray Tubes

        Definitions of Cathode-Ray Tube Terms


Datasheet Index (incomplete)


Photosensitive Devices Section

        Spectral Characteristics


Datasheet Index


Thyratron, Ignitron, and Glow-Discharge Tubes Section

        RCA Thyratron, Glow-Discharge, Ignitron, & Vacuum-Gauge Tube Guide

        Grid-Controlled Rectifier Circuits


Datasheet Index


Receiving Tube Section, Part 1

        Application Guide for RCA Receiving Tubes

        RCA Receiving Tube Types, Supplementary Listing

        Diode Considerations

        Diode Considerations, Diode Circuits

        Resistance-Coupled Amplifiers

        Grid-No. 2 Input Rating Chart

        Heater Warm-Up Time Measurement

        Diode Nomograph


Datasheet Index    


Receiving Tube Section, Part 2


Datasheet Index


Receiving-Type Industrial Tube Section

        RCA Receiving-Type Industrial Tube Application Guide

        Socket & Connector Information for RCA Nuvistor Tubes


Datasheet Index


Transmitting Tubes Section

        RCA Transmitting Tube Guide

        RCA Transmitting Tube Types, Limited Listing

        RCA Transmitting Tube Operating Conditions

        Recommended standby conditions for transmitting tubes

        Transmitting tube Ratings vs. Operating Frequency


        Circuits for Hot-Cathode Mercury-Vapor and Gas Rectifier Tubes


Datasheet Index (done through type 6293)


Miscellaneous Tubes Section

        Classification Chart for Miscellaneous Tubes


Datasheet Index