[time-nuts] Lifetime of Cesium tube

Tom Van Baak tvb at leapsecond.com
Thu May 12 19:56:05 EDT 2005

> What kind of lifetime can one expect to see from an HP 5061-6101 cesium 
> tube?
> What typical symptoms do these exhibit near the end of their useable 
> lifetime?


Not sure about 5061 tubes, or the post-2002 tubes,
but I've been told high-performance 5071A tubes
last about 7 years (they usually run out of cesium)
while standard performance 5071A tubes should
last about 20 years (still plenty of cesium in the
oven but by this time the EM detector wears out).

I haven't had any of my 5071A die yet. Doug - can
you tell us how long your first 5071A tube lasted?

As for shelf-life, you can read about the official way
to store and periodically pump them. But I'm quite
certain that many of us have surplus units that
probably haven't been powered for years and some
of them end up working fine.


More information about the time-nuts mailing list