Is rectifier tube arcing a problem?

I did some research and couldn’t find a definite answer.  I have an amp that I tried 6 different pairs of 5U4G and 5U4GB. 3 pairs has arcing (RCA 5U4G, TungSol, Svetlana 5C3S) and 3 pairs don’t (RCA 5U4G with hanging filament, EH 5U4GB, Sylvania 5931).  I took the amp to a technician and he checked everything, he can’t find anything wrong.  The problem is, I like the sound of the TungSol and Svetlana which both have arcing.  The technician said it is ok to keep using them, but honestly I am not too comfortable.  But I like their sound.  Is it really ok to keep using the arcing tubes?  Will it damage the amp?




Yes, I found a picture on the web that show the details

You can solder the diodes on the socket and move the wires accordingly. you can use 1N4007 diode, but UF4007 is better (lower noise) and just cost a few cents more.

BTW, if you interested add on a NTC soft start device please let me know, it just cost less than $20 in parts. Since it will be bypassed in 10 second after power up, it will not affect sound quality. 


wow, thank you very much, that’s a very clear diagram, now I won’t be worried of making a mistake.

yes, I always want to learn more.  Does the soft start and diode compliment to each other, or I only need to pick one to do?

Just like seat belt and air bags, more protection is better, IMO.

However, some might think that put a silicon diode in a tube power supply is a sin! If that’s the case, you can install soft start alone.

The soft start device is a CL-70 NTC thermistor in series between the fuse and the "hot" wire to power transformer primary winding. 10 seconds after power up, a time delay relay which connect to the power transformer 5V winding will turn on and bypass the thermistor. Both items are available on

CL-70 thermistor


Timer Relay Switch Module

Please bear in mind you also have a 3rd option:- capacitor mods.


@imhififan i am in the the-lesser-the-better camp.  So, I think I will try adding the diodes first.  Thanks for the info though.

thank you very much. A couple more questions:

1) is it able to tell from the diagram if there other rectifier that can be used and handle the current drawn by the 220uF capacitor?

2) is it necessary or recommended to change the other two capacitors? If yes, what values should I use?

3) comparing to adding diodes, in your opinion, which way will yield better sound?


There won't be another tube rectifier that will work better. The problem is that this circuit is designed to expect the voltage drop that exists with the 5U4 at the current at which its operating.

I gave you a range of capacitor values. But to be clear:

replace the 220uF units with 47uF. Replace the 100uF units with 22uF.

Once this is done you'll find additional diodes to be moot. They may also cause commutation noise by interacting with the inductance of the power transformer winding, which can manifest as an annoying low level buzz. If it were me I wouldn't bother and instead work on correcting the problem.