TS-1836 Transistor Test Set

Brooke Clarke 2006

TS-1836C Front


This is an in circuit transistor (and FET and diode) tester that uses a 1 kHz AC square wave test signal.  The patented test method made this a popular In-Circuit transistor test meter and it was made in versions A, B, C and D.

This unit is also labeled as an III  model 350 In Circuit Transistor Tester.

What goes Wrong

Although the DC battery check worked OK when this used instrument arrived when trying to measure the beta of a transistor, they all test as infinite beta (equivalent to no deflection of the meter (all the way to the left)).  The Beta Cal function works as it should and the instrument passes the tests in the -14-3 manual.  This may mean the beta is in the hundreds but when the transistor is removed from the socket it also reads infinite beta.  I see this as a flaw in the design.  The tester may work used for In-circuit testing, but does not work for loose transistors.

When DC stuff works and AC stuff does not then old electrolytic capacitors are suspect.  In this case there are a number of high impedance caps that need to be replaced.
TS-1836 PCB OpenAfter removing the 4 cover screws and the 4 screws on the rear PCB, the rear PCB can be hinged open allowing replacement of the caps.  The photo at the left shows the stock meter, except I've put a black dot by the negative lead of all the electrolytic caps.  It turns out that on the trace side of the PCB there are small "+" marks for each of the electrolytic caps.  After replacing C5, C6, C7, C10, C11, C14 and C15 (all with 22 uF 25 V) the meter is still not working correctly.  The beta zero works but not the beta test on a loose transistor.

If you have an idea of what's going on, please let me know.

During the troubleshooting process I made a copy of the overall schematic and set the switches for Beta X10 and NPN then erased all non connected paths.  The resulting diagram is considerably different from Fig 5-2 in the 14-3 TM.   In particular Fig 5-2 shows emitter DC bias being a 3k9 resistor to +6 volts, but there is not DC connection between the transistor the battery ground.  There is a DC voltage of 2.8 Volts between all three transistor terminals and battery ground, but not bias.  This measurement is consistent with the overall schematic diagram.


Stock Number
TS-1836/U TM 11-6625-539-15
TM 11-6625-539-20P
TM 11-6625-539-40P
FSN 6625-893-2628
TS-1836A/U TM 11-6625-539-15-1
TM 11-6625-539-24P-1
NSN 6625-00-926-6996
TS-1836B/U TM 11-6625-539-15-2
TM 11-6625-539-24P-2
NSN 6625-00-168-0954
TS-1836C/U TM 11-6625-539-14-3
TM 11-6625-539-24P-3
NSN 6625-00-159-2263
TS-1836D/U TM 11-6625-539-14-4
TM 11-6625-539-24P-4
NSN 6625-00-138-7320


Semiconductor Tester

2894206 Transistor beta tester, Montgomery George Franklin, 1959-07-07, - audio frequency Joule Thief circuit
3601698 Semiconductor tester having visual display, Milton E Thurman Jr, 1971-08-24, - This predated the M3 Semiconductor Analyzer and the current crop of Semi testers with LCD displays.
3478264 Scr,diode and transistor analyzer, Athanase N Tsergas, Ram Tool, 1969-11-11, - AC line, transformer 2 voltmeters and 2 current meters + circuitry.
3778713 Transistor and diode tester, W Jamison, 1973-12-11, - AC line, transformer single meter switching.  NPN v PNP.
3973198 In-circuit semiconductor tester, Bill Hunt, 1976-08-03, - Huntron Tracker
3988672 Parametric tester for semiconductor devices, Brooks E. Cowart, Fairchild, 1976-10-26, - Qualifier, Qual-Card.  Maybe the Model 4000 IC Tester (CHC; CHM: 102743172-05-01-acc.pdf)

Transistor Tester

2847645 Null Type Transisotr Alpha Measuring Set, Thomas  (Bell labs), 12 Aug 1958 - allows sorting into bins
2894206 Transistor Beta Tester, George Franklin Montgomery (Dept of Commerce), Jul 7, 1959, 324/765 - blocking oscillator
2899642 Transistor Test Set, Hussey, 11 Aug, 1959 324/768 - very simple battery powered alpha & Ic tester, very much like the Heath IT-10.
2907954 Transistor test set, Jr Arthur J Radeliffe, ITT, 1959-10-06, -
2922954 Circuit Tester, John F. Bigelow (Philco), Jan 26, 1960, 324/765 - In circuit transistor tester
2909730 Transistor Gain-Bandwidth Test Circuit, Timm, Bell Labs, 20 Oct 1959 324/768 - sweep gen & Scope
3051900 In-circuit transistor tester, Zechter Sol, Gruen Harold, Space Systems Loral (Philco Ford), 1962-08-28, -
3054948 High Frequency Mesurements, Rymaszewski, IBM, 18 Sep, 1962 324/629; 324/158.1; 324/615; 324/639; 324/647; 324/650; 333/225 - uses 2721312 Strip/Slab line - measures cutoff frequency in the 30 to 2,400 MHz range.
3056924 Null Type Transistor Beta Measuring Set, Thomas (Bell Labs), 2 Oct 1962 - direct AC Beta measurement - prior methods used b=a/(1-a)
3076140 Transistor Test Set, Smith, 29 Jan 1963 - Curve Tracer with stepped base currents - came long after the Tektronix 570 (TekWiki: 1955) curve tracer (Wiki)
3201690 Wave Transient Time Interval Measuring Circuit with Wave Comparison Function, EmbreeMontone, (WE), 17 Aug 1965 - sub ns
3227953 Bridge Apparatus for Determining the Input Resistance and Beta Figure for an In-circuit Transistor, W.J. Cerveny (Hickok), Jan 4 1966,
2578455 - testing AC resistance in live circuit
2866948 Test Circuit for Interconnected Components, R.P. Witt (Army), Dec 30 1958 -
2925554 Resistance Checker, M.H. Hayes (Link Aviation), Feb 16 1960, - for analog computer parts
3237104 Pass or fail transistor tester for indicating the combined result of bvceo and spurious oscillation tests, Stephen L Merkel, Lorain Products Corp, 1966-02-22, - meter "Replace" or "Good"
3314008 Circuit Employing Calibrated Variable Impedances for Measuring Transistor Beta and Beta Cutoff Frequency, Heard, Hughes, 11 Apr 1967 -VFO as input
3370233 Test Apparatus for Determining Beta and Leakage Current of an In-circuit or Out-of-circuit Transistor, Oliver James Morelock (Triplett), Feb 1968, 324/768 ; 2/160; 324/119 - includes glove where three fingers position three probes

4801878 In-circuit transistor beta test and method, R.J. Peiffer, D.T. Crook (HP), Jan 31, 1989, 324/765 -
4860227 Circuit for measuring characteristics of a device under test, Toshio Tamamura, HP, 1989-08-22, - uses mixer and frequency synthesizer


3287643  Method and Apparatus for Measuring the Beta Parameter of an In-Circuit Transistor without the Application of D.C. Biasing Thereto Nov. 22, 1966 B. Reich (AEL) 324/768 - In-Circuit test in a way that won't damage the transistor and that will work in spite of the surrounding circuit.  The transistor is operated as a common base amplifier with the emitter driven by an ac coupled square wave.  This causes the collector to self bias by rectifying the emitter signal and thus produce a DC current.

3440530 Method and Aparatus for Measuring the Resistance of an Electrical Component which may be Shunted by a Semiconductor Device April 22, 1969, B. Reich  324/713 - the idea is that small signals do not turn on semiconductors.

3458814  Tester for Determining the Material Type of Transistors, Ryan (AEL), Jul 29 1969, 324/766 - Uses AC line -> step down transformer, determines if Si or Ge


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