Not just a replacement, but an improvement! Please note, Emission Labs was the first what is RECTIFIER RIPPLE FACTOR? to introduce a mesh version the 5U4G in the year 2006.

Also, we were the first company no re introduce the 5Z4 in 2007. This data sheet applies for the 5Z3-Mesh and 5U4G-Mesh, which are electrically identical, apart from the sockets. 5Z3-Mesh uses an pour Pin UX4 socket. This is a direct replacement for the historical 5U4G or 5Z3, but it can not replace 5U4GA or 5U4GB which are different tubes. Note that the Emission Labs tube is somewhat larger size than the original old tubes. Check below at mechanical data, for details.

Like most NOS rectifiers, also the EML rectifiers are Slow-Start tubes, protecting the power supply to some degree. The delay time for first function is 2 seconds, and the delay for full current is 7 seconds. For ultra low ripple,  it is recommended to use the Lundahl LL1673 dual coil choke in low CMR configuration. In this configuration, there is virtually no field radiation from the choke. Starting May 2011, we have included inside the tube glass a special element to stabilize the heater voltage. See also the pictures on the right. These elements at higher current, will increase their resistance, and help protect the heater against accidental over voltage.


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Filaments are series connected, for best symmetry of the two diodes inside. Each tube is numbered, inside the bulb with a metal Tag. Two extra large getters, flashing the complete tube bottom. These tubes are shipped in a high quality box. Starting May 2011, we have started to ship 5U4G-mesh with the new ceramic socket, with five pins. This is an octal socket, but has five pin holes only. It is specially used for this rectifier.

When working with Octal sockets, you will find the Yamamoto an amazing top class product. For this rectifier you can take the special octal version with five holes only. Total copper resistance of complete HV winding. These charts are graphical design tools, saving the trouble of calculations. Both charts show some degree of derating, meaning you can not have maximum current and maximum voltage at the same time. As the choke loaded circuit is not so hard on the tubes, you will see derating is less at very high current. So the maximum of 265mA can be used up to 350V DC output.


This is definitely not possible with a capacitor loaded circuit. From the right choke loaded chart it can be seen, the maximum current of 265 can be used to generate 350Volt DC, whereas the capacitor loaded circuit at 350V can only so 230mA. Yet when generating 480VDC, the limit is 150mA only of choke loaded, or 200mA capacitor loaded. It pays off to check, if you can fulfil the needs with a choke loaded circuit, and if yes, this would be the better circuit to take. You have to be in the white Zone. Otherwise 5U4G can not be used. Take closest curves 18 for the transformer AC voltage, or estimate one curve in between.

Note, the curves on the right chart have a smaller angle. Meaning output voltage depends not much on actual DC current. Note, this is official RCA information from the RCA tube manual 1954. You can download the 1954 and other manuals from 4tubes. These graphs are from the historical RCA data sheets. When designing new circuits yourself, be aware a tube rectifier is more difficult to use than a silicon diode. Very roughly, the electrical model of a tube rectifier is like an ideal diode, with a resistor in series.


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You need to limit the peak value at any circumstance to prevent defects, and keep it as low as possible for best lifetime. The best for the tube, and for low hum field radiation, is a choke loaded tube. This will force almost DC current through the diodes. We much recommend you to have a look at the original RCA data sheets, winch content is too extended to quote it here, however this is the one and only reference for designs with a long tube life.

Designs with mistake in it, will initially work. So the fact it “works” does not prove you will get long lifetime. Please note it can not be the intention here, to explain how to design a good circuit. However we try to tell some things here, that we know are sometimes not looked at very well. Also we encourage you to read the original old data sheets.

RCA, General Electric and Sylvania, and Telefunken. You can download these and a lot more s from 4tubes. To protect the rectifier, a slow fuse must be used. If choke loaded, the fuse must be from the output of the DC voltage, to the rest of the circuit. If capacitor loaded, the fuse must be to the transformer center tap.

The ideal application of ANY rectifier tube, all brands, is Choke Loaded. A choke loaded rectifier circuits will give better performance in many ways, however it’s function is often misunderstood, and for this reason not often used. However we recommend a choke loaded circuits with first priority always. Advantages of a choke loaded rectifier circuit, vs. This is so for all transformers, any brand. Otherwise heavy mechanical hum may appear. In other words: A 100 Watt transformer winding may be loaded only with 66 Watt of capacitor loaded, or 100 Watt if choke loaded.

Capacitor loaded rectifier circuits provide no load regulation, and drop the output voltage rapidly at higher current. If Capacitor loaded, you must have a minimum required copper resistance of the transformer winding. This is an old design rule, obligatory for any 5U4G, EML or other brand. If capacitor loaded, the first capacitor must be chosen at or below the maximum value in this data sheet.


At EML we adapted to the same values from old data sheets. So there will be no doubt about those values. The minimum resistance is specified for the complete winding. Also in many “professional” amplifiers, this design rule is not used by designers who do not read the historical data sheets Tube damage can result as a white spark inside the tube at switch on, filament material can chip off, or the tube life will be much reduced. With most amplifiers, the transformer winding is directly connected to the tube socket, and no protective series resistors are used.

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Never operate the tube in the red area of the graph, above. Operation in the red area is strictly forbidden. Going to the limits is possible, but maximum tube life will not result from this. Note, when studying the graph, you will see a dotted line, on the right upper side. It looks like a corner of the graph is cut off here.

This cut off piece will be larger when the first capacitor is larger. So now, it is specified for a first capacitor of 10uF in this graph. The best way to prevent problems, is not the maximum value capacitors, and use simply a bit higher transformer voltage and larger chokes to get the required result. If the input capacitor is too large, this will result in heavy AC charge current through this capacitor. This is not good for the rectifier tube, and also not for the capacitor lifetime. The AC capacitor current peaks may cause hum radiation into the preamplifier. With the given C-L-C values in table, the rectifier circuit will work best.


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Rectifier tubes may under no circumstance carry larger current peaks as what they are designed for. The current peaks are mainly a function of: power supply DC load, first capacitor and transformer copper resistance. The copper resistance for 5U4G and 5Z3 may not be smaller than 170 Ohms. This is very important to check, and too low copper resistance may damage the rectifier, no matter what brand or construction. There is common misunderstanding that 5U4G and 5U4GB is the same.

5U4GB is a version, with lower internal resistance and higher peak current is allowed. The GB version is not the same tube as the G Version. Replacing 5U4G with 5U4GB may result in higher rectified voltage, so should never be done. Replacing 5U4GB with 5U4G may result in lower rectified voltage, and may result in damage of the 5U4G rectifier. For those who do computer simulations, the plate current of 5U4G can be found by Child-Langmuir’s Law. 5 You can enter this in programs and draw a plate curve. The number K is the Diode Perveance, the value is in Amps per Volt, that tells nicely what that means.


That you have to find experimental with new tubes. It was found for new 5U4G as 0. SOME DESIGN NOTES FOR POWER SUPPLIES. This is probably the most misunderstood part of a tube amplifier.

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It can be a mistake to simply copy something, just because it was presented as “very good”. Cases where good design rules were not respected we find as well with companies of high reputation, as with any other company. Do not treat tube diodes like solid state diodes. To give you some sensitivity for this item, take very good note of the following. When comparing tubes with solid state devices, the elementary difference is: With solid state devices it becomes difficult to build such for very high voltage. High current was never a problem. It is difficult to build such for high current, and high voltage was never a problem.

So design considerations are totally another, and it would be completely wrong to use design considerations for solid state diodes for tube diodes as well, saying “a diode is a diode”. The answer to this can only be: “a data sheet is a data sheet”. With solid state devices we all know, you can not abuse them with the peak voltage. If you do, catastrophic failure rate will rise sharply. As this is impossible to calculate with precision, good designers will measure it with in instrument, or alternatively over dimension the design ratings. This is in order to stay safely away from the damaging limits. Even greater care should be taken with tubes, since these are devices with limited lifetime, and they are expensive.

If you abuse them with peak current at start up, or exceed it during normal operation, lifetime will be shortened severely. We repeat the same as before: As this is impossible to calculate with precision, good designers will measure it with in instrument, or alternatively over dimension the design ratings. Many good books have been written about tube power supplies, and of course we can not compress this in a few pages here. Respect the maximum first capacitor value in the datasheet, and be aware when you use a maximum factor on the one end, you get a compromise on the other. These rules above, need to be respected to get good tube life, and failure free operation. For maximum lifetime of any object, and sure for electron tubes, keep some distance from maximum limits.

That is: maximum capacitor value, maximum voltage, maximum current, and minimum copper resistance. With a solid state power supply, the last final bit of hum can be eliminated by using larger capacitors. This is no problem for the diodes, as they do not suffer from transient current. Moreover, if circuits are not ideal you would be tempted to tweak components values, but better would be to use an improved circuit.

1, as below here, but this is the most unintelligent. This is the most commonly used. What is not so nice about this circuit, will get clearer when you understand the benefits of the other circuits here. Added here is a bleeder resistor, a ground connection point, and if needed an external windings resistor.


The ground connection point prevents any faulty ground path. This avoids the rectified DC current flows through the transformer heater winding. 4 is more simplified and will do the same. This circuit refers the Choke AC and DC electrical field to ground, where they can cause less problems.

Also the ground path for the first capacitor is now forced in a correct way, same as in circuit 3. This is how to connect a double coil Choke, such as the Lundahl LL1673 or similar products. Beware the polarity of the connections. We have complete inductive separation of the transformer from the amplifier. Definitely, the transformer capacitance from primary to secondary can not inject an AC hum current into the amplifier any more.

This is to empty all capacitors after power off. Using no bleeder resistor is safety issue, as voltage may stay on the capacitors for a long time. Also use of no bleeder is a reason for a sparking rectifier, as a repeated switch on, with partially charged capacitor may trigger a spark. Make sure the resistor discharges all capacitors to less than 40V in one minute. The special knowledge of tube transformer making has gone lost. Each rectifier requires a certain MINIMUM windings resistance, or the tube will have low lifetime, or even show a white spark.

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Transformer Raa is measured between the tube Anodes. In many cases the value is too low. This resistor has half the value of the total Raa required. As well as these time-varying phenomena, there is a frequency domain ripple that arises in some classes of filter and other signal processing networks. Ripple is wasted power, and has many undesirable effects in a DC circuit: it heats components, causes noise and distortion, and may cause digital circuits to operate improperly.

Ripple may be reduced by an electronic filter, and eliminated by a voltage regulator. The initial step in AC to DC conversion is to send the AC current through a rectifier. AC voltage minus the forward voltage of the rectifier diodes. In the case of a SS silicon diode, the forward voltage is 0.

Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. Reducing ripple is only one of several principal considerations in power supply filter design. The filtering of ripple voltage is analogous to filtering other kinds of signals. DC power conversion as well as DC power generation, high voltages and currents or both may be output as ripple. The majority of power supplies are now switched mode. The filtering requirements for such power supplies are much easier to meet owing to the frequency of the ripple waveform being very high.

The number of reactive components in a filter is called its order. A common arrangement is to allow the rectifier to work into a large smoothing capacitor which acts as a reservoir. At that point the rectifier conducts again and delivers current to the reservoir until peak voltage is again reached. If the RC time constant is large in comparison to the period of the AC waveform, then a reasonably accurate approximation can be made by assuming that the capacitor voltage falls linearly.