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.
Table of Contents
Index of Types
Ratings Systems for Electron Devices
Types of Cathodes
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
X-Radiation Precautions for Cathode-Ray Tubes
Definitions of Cathode-Ray Tube Terms
Datasheet Index (incomplete)
Photosensitive Devices Section
Thyratron, Ignitron, and Glow-Discharge Tubes Section
RCA Thyratron, Glow-Discharge, Ignitron, & Vacuum-Gauge Tube Guide
Grid-Controlled Rectifier Circuits
Receiving Tube Section, Part 1
Application Guide for RCA Receiving Tubes
RCA Receiving Tube Types, Supplementary Listing
Diode Considerations, Diode Circuits
Grid-No. 2 Input Rating Chart
Heater Warm-Up Time Measurement
Receiving Tube Section, Part 2
Receiving-Type Industrial Tube Section
RCA Receiving-Type Industrial Tube Application Guide
Socket & Connector Information for RCA Nuvistor Tubes
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