In the beam power tube, the basic four-element structure of the tetrode was maintained, but the grid and screen wires were carefully arranged along with a pair of auxiliary plates to create an interesting effect: focused beams or “sheets” of electrons traveling from cathode to plate. These electron beams formed a stationary “cloud” of electrons between the screen and plate (called a “space charge”) which acted to repel secondary electrons emitted from the plate back to the plate. A set of “beam-forming” plates, each connected to the cathode, were added to help maintain proper electron beam focus. Grid and screen wire coils were arranged in such a way that each turn or wrap of the screen fell directly behind a wrap of the grid, which placed the screen wires in the “shadow” formed by the grid. This precise alignment enabled the screen to still perform its shielding function with minimal interference to the passage of electrons from the cathode to the plate.
This resulted in lower screen current (and more plate current!) than an ordinary tetrode tube, with little added expense to the construction of the tube.
Beam power tetrodes were often distinguished from their non-beam counterparts by a different schematic symbol, showing the beam-forming plates:
by Luke James
by Gary Elinoff
by Robert Keim