Designing Power Supplies for Tube Amplifiers by Merlin Blencowe: A Review
If you are interested in learning how to design power supplies for tube amplifiers, you may have heard of the book Designing Power Supplies for Tube Amplifiers by Merlin Blencowe. This book was published in 2010 and is considered by many to be a valuable resource for tube enthusiasts. However, you may also have trouble finding a copy of this book, as it is currently out of print and unavailable online. In this article, we will review the main features of this book, its strengths and weaknesses, and some alternatives that you can use instead.
What is the book about?
The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 covers the theory and principles of power supply design, while Part 2 provides practical examples and projects. The book covers topics such as:
The basics of AC and DC electricity, transformers, rectifiers, filters, regulators, and protection circuits.
The advantages and disadvantages of different types of power supply topologies, such as full-wave, half-wave, bridge, voltage doubler, and voltage multiplier rectifiers.
The characteristics and applications of different types of capacitors, resistors, inductors, diodes, zener diodes, transistors, MOSFETs, and IC regulators.
The design and calculation of various power supply parameters, such as ripple voltage, load regulation, efficiency, power dissipation, and heat sinking.
The sources and effects of noise and interference in power supplies, and how to reduce them using techniques such as shielding, grounding, filtering, bypassing, snubbing, and decoupling.
The safety aspects of working with high voltages and currents, and how to avoid electric shocks, fires, explosions, and other hazards.
What are the strengths of the book?
The book has several strengths that make it a useful reference for tube amplifier enthusiasts. Some of them are:
The book is written in a clear and concise style that is easy to follow and understand. The author uses simple language and avoids unnecessary jargon. He also provides many diagrams, tables, graphs, formulas, and examples to illustrate his points.
The book covers a wide range of topics that are relevant to power supply design for tube amplifiers. The author explains the theory behind each topic in detail, but also provides practical tips and tricks that can help improve the performance and reliability of the power supply. He also discusses the pros and cons of different design choices and trade-offs that need to be considered.
The book includes several projects that show how to apply the theory to real-world situations. The projects range from simple to complex, and cover different types of power supplies for different types of tube amplifiers. The author provides step-by-step instructions on how to build each project, along with schematic diagrams, parts lists, test results, troubleshooting tips, and modifications.
What are the weaknesses of the book?
The book also has some weaknesses that limit its usefulness for some readers. Some of them are:
The book is out of print and hard to find. The author has stated on his website[^1^] that he permanently removed the book from print because it contained too many mistakes and typos. He also said that he does not have any spare copies or PDFs to share. The only way to get a copy of the book is to find a secondhand one online or in a bookstore[^2^], which can be expensive or impossible depending on your location.
The book is outdated and incomplete. The book was published in 2010 and does not reflect the latest developments and innovations in power supply technology. For example, the book does not cover switch-mode power supplies (SMPS), which are becoming more popular and efficient for tube amplifiers. The book also does not cover some topics that are important for power supply design,
such as thermal management[^3^], electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)[^4^], or digital control.
The book is not suitable for beginners or advanced readers. The book assumes that the reader has some basic knowledge of electronics and tube amplifiers. However, it does not provide enough background information or explanations for some concepts or terms that may be unfamiliar or confusing for beginners. On 061ffe29dd