NTE vs. BC

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Dstrats, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Dstrats

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    Hi all!

    New here. Looks like a great forum.

    So, here's my question. First off, I'm a novice guitar effect maker. I have already modified a guitar effect successfully but I now want to build my own boards. My favorite effects are fuzzes.

    The fuzz I'm building is a silicone transistor fuzz. The original version uses "BC109". Now, I know I can buy BC109s' on ebay but I also know about the general electronic company NTE.

    When I cross reference BC109 the NTE123A comes up. But I also crossed referenced BC108 and NTE123A came up again.

    So, my question is: is the NTE123A really an exact copy for both BC numbers?

    Second question. Being that one NTE number covers two different BC numbers, does that mean BC108-109 aren't that different in values?

    Well thanks in advance. I look forward to some replies. Sorry if this is a lame question. Again, I'm just a beginner.

    Take care!

  2. w2aew

    Active Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    NTE replacements are rarely "exact" copies of anything. Usually, they're simply devices that are close in basic specs (speed, breakdown voltage, application area, etc.).

    That being said, the BC108 and BC109 are very similar devices. Briefly perusing the datasheets, it looks like the major difference between the two is that the BC109 has a higher hFE. In an audio application like yours, this is unlikely to matter much. Both of these actually guarantee a higher hFE than the NTE device does.

    Will the NTE device work? Probably. It depends on how much the design depends on the differences between the generic replacement vs. the original.
  3. Audioguru


    Dec 20, 2007
    The original version used antique BC109 transistors because they were "low noise" for audio circuits. BC108 were not low noise but were the same. They used old metal cases and I still have some.
    Today the BC549 replaces the BC109 and the BC548 replaces the BC108 but they have modern epoxy cases.

    Bathtub cauking and fake breasts use rubbery silicone. Transistors use hard silicon.

    NTE do not make transistors, they sell "replacements". Instead they buy some, remove their markings then add their own numbers. They charge much more money than the originals.
  4. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    NTE is a supplier of last resort. They sell overpriced, re-labeled, rejects.
    Much better that you learn how read a datasheet and pick your own transistors for 5 to 10 cents each at a reputable vendor.
  5. BillB3857

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 28, 2009
    We used to joke about NTE having the goal of only having one part that could be substituted for ANYTHING!