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 Post subject: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 5:27 pm 
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This Berec transistor auto radio is pretty much the first transistor radio I've worked on in real depth. All the others were tube sets.
Some history. It stands for British Ever-Ready Company and the use of auto radios was a clever ploy to get around the licence. You could class it as a car radio but the truth is it would also unplug and run on a regular 9 volt battery. This radio is very well constructed but sort of spoiled by the upholstered, wooden box case. The radio is dated 1960.
When this radio first came to me it worked quite well on just MW. It picked up a lot of stations. I didn't use it much. Maybe 2 or so years later, it started to fade. It would sometimes stop working completely. When I peered inside best as I could, I could see that really the time had come to actively work on the radio as a project. It was pretty grotty inside and the capacitors looked a bit aged.
At present, I can state I didn't expect such a prolonged job. I started by changing the electrolytics. This made a big difference. I cleaned the potentiometer with some Servisol. Likewise the switch contacts. At this point, what tended to happen was I was getting far fewer stations but the audio quality was getting really far better. Sometimes, though, the radio would stop working and only resume if you turned the chassis around and moved it about. I assumed some bad connections.
The big decision to make was related to this small switch board I can describe as follows. It's basically a strip-board with lots of solder lugs and moving wooden strip that, when pushed in or out, changes the circuit from 12 to 9 volts, and switches in various capacitors and so on. However, this board was seemingly the cause of the radio fading. Beneath were trapped wires and a fair few wax capacitors (as well as a few polarised Hunts). It was held tight with rivets and screws and also (worryingly) a few tight soldered leads. In the end I decided to do this job right, I simply had to remove the board and risk it. Rivets were drilled out and leads snipped and then noted down in diagrams. I finally got the strip-board clear and pulled out enough to access what was below. To be honest, there was a lead from an IF can that had a near break in it and when that was replaced, this seemed to stop the radio cutting out.
All in all, this has been a fairly tough radio to work on. It turned out to give me a bit of experience. I am far from home and dry yet. There remain a few capacitors I can now access and these too will be replaced. The RF capacitors I'm not too sure about as I think these are wax-paper and not mica but I'll have to check that. Clearly too many changed capacitors may well throw the radio further out of alignment yet the impression I get is the RF caps may not be in such great shape.
The main success so far is that the audio quality is really good so far. It sounds really O.K.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
That is quite a unique set you have, happy to see it preserved. Is there a remote speaker, or is the speaker in the lid?

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 8:35 pm 
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Location: Ashhurst, New Zealand
Many British radio's of that period had the usual Motorola tyoe car antenna socket and some even had sockets in the bottom to connect speakers fitted in the car and to connect to the car power. The main reason was that if you had a radio permanently wired into the car then you had to pay for another radio licence, but if you could withdraw the radio from it's mounting cradle and have it play then it was a portable and no licence was required, you were covered by your home licence.

It must have been the same in Europe as I have a Nordmende Globetrotter which has all the sockets in the bottom to connect to the car systems - the schematic even shows the components in the cradle.

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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:54 pm 
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You can see the speaker in the pic. One of the causes behind this radio cutting out (the reason I dismantled it), was an IF can wire that had a sharp bend in it. Re-soldering a fresh wire was pretty tricky. I had to extend the tip of the soldering iron a bit to get in. With one or two wires replaced around the small board, the radio is much improved.
I keep meaning to test the old electrolytics out of curiosity. The way they did this in the 1940s was to charge up the said capacitor and then discharge it into a small speaker. If the capacitor is good, it will give out a reasonable pop. In the case of the Hunts I removed, I'm not expecting much of a noise. Also, now I have that troublesome board lifted up, there are a few more of those Hunts capacitors to replace.
In short, it will take a bit of time. You'd be surprised how good the radio sounds now. I'm not yet sure why I'm not getting many stations on MW and nothing now on LW.
If anyone has a source for the service manual, I think that would help me. The snag is I can't download as I use library computers with firewalls. I find tube radios are normally pretty easy to get schematics but the transistor radios are harder to source an online manual.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2018 6:34 pm 
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I resumed work on this over the weekend. It's strange that if it's not powered up for several days, it then seems reluctant to start. I was getting zilch on it and then resumed soldering and changing wires. Not long after, it was working really well and very loud. I still suspect possibly there are some dodgy joints I will soon get access to. For now, I am basically freeing up a small 12 - 9 V switch board that was originally locked in by tight soldered leads. Out goes the stiff wire and in goes more flexible and longer wire. The whole idea is I can life the board up and back enough to peacefully solder in new capacitors beneath (several more of the Hunts wax caps remain).
Sometimes I tend to use wire that I'd not consider ideal. However, my budget is very tight so when I chance upon usable wire, I tend to use what I can get. The multistrand I used over the weekend is really a touch too large in diameter and, to tin it, you really need a bit of solder heat. You need a larger solder blob than the makers used but then I did find the current appreciates a wider path. In short, I always find it much easier to use thinner wire and preferably not multistrand although I figure multistrand can be used with care. I also tried telephone wire on rare occasions (doubled up) as I've seen something similar used on East German tube sets. This stuff is dead easy to solder but brittle and thus I found it not very practical for speakers.
I am hoping as I replace more tired capacitors, I can peak the radio. The 12 - 9 volts switch board always seemed to create poor contact issues so it looks as if this will be bridged out later on.
Next project (if this proves a success) will be a 1960 Soviet Astrad with a 13 meter SW dial limit. This latter radio does have a sound audio stage but picks up zero stations. It does however whistle and whine like crazy if you touch a transistor leg with a finger. In fact below is the Soviet produced Astrad - and many of these USSR radios weren't all that far off Japanese standards in some cases.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Thu 15, 2018 3:45 am 
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
It's a treat to get the radio working as you go, so that when something does go south you can backtrack a step or two to find it.
Right, for circuit board repairs, you will need some single strand wire. I found a few lengths of medium gauge stiff single strand and have it put aside for when the component needs a little stiff support.

A good portion of my salvaged bits of wire came from old TVs and stereos that I collected back in the good old days when they were found laying around. Also a bag of cloth covered wire from old parts sets, for the older units. I've clipped power cords from dozens of old appliances. Some have beautiful molded plugs on them, again from the old days. Good luck with the Rusky radio, too.

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
[:l>)


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Mon 19, 2018 6:36 pm 
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westcoastjohn wrote:
It's a treat to get the radio working as you go, so that when something does go south you can backtrack a step or two to find it.
Right, for circuit board repairs, you will need some single strand wire. I found a few lengths of medium gauge stiff single strand and have it put aside for when the component needs a little stiff support.

A good portion of my salvaged bits of wire came from old TVs and stereos that I collected back in the good old days when they were found laying around. Also a bag of cloth covered wire from old parts sets, for the older units. I've clipped power cords from dozens of old appliances. Some have beautiful molded plugs on them, again from the old days. Good luck with the Rusky radio, too.

I had a major battle with this radio today and yesterday. I had to replace a lot of resistance shunted caps and at one point lost all reception.I decided to redo a lot of soldering as it seems I had some joints too bulky and overloaded as my wire is a touch thicker. The radio now works very well and I learned to change tactic a bit. One thing that helped me is to solder bulkier wire with very short ends which is easier to cover in solder.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Tue 20, 2018 2:07 am 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Trader Sheet→ 1470 Ever Ready "Car Portable" four-pages.
https://www.doctsf.com/documents/schema ... R_PORT.PDF
Image
Surely you can download and print a pdf at your library?

:) Greg.


OC44 OC45 OC45 OC82D OC82 OC82
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/berec_auto_portable.html


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Tue 20, 2018 9:29 pm 
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egg wrote:
Trader Sheet→ 1470 Ever Ready "Car Portable" four-pages.
https://www.doctsf.com/documents/schema ... R_PORT.PDF
Image
Surely you can download and print a pdf at your library?

:) Greg.


OC44 OC45 OC45 OC82D OC82 OC82
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/berec_auto_portable.html

Thanks but actually I could not as they block downloads. However the schematic will help a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2018 3:17 am 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Trader Sheet→ 1470 Ever Ready "Car Portable" pdf... converted to four PNG's

page-one: http://a4.pbase.com/g10/56/215056/2/167 ... Tz6gZe.jpg
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

page-two: http://a4.pbase.com/g10/56/215056/2/167 ... S4iTd8.jpg
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

page-three: http://a4.pbase.com/g10/56/215056/2/167 ... WpLVK4.jpg
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

page-four: http://a4.pbase.com/g10/56/215056/2/167 ... 2Ldtos.jpg
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

Greg.


Last edited by egg on Mar Wed 21, 2018 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2018 6:18 pm 
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egg wrote:
Trader Sheet→ 1470 Ever Ready "Car Portable" pdf... converted to four PNG's
Image
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

Image
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

Image
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

Image
Large image→ http://a4.pbase.com/o10/56/215056/1/167 ... titled.png

Greg.

Strange! I just swapped computers due to noise and now I find I can see the schematics (but couldn't on the other PC). Thanks a lot. I appreciate your help here.
Update: I've had real struggles with this particular radio. At the beginning, it had stopped working so the plan was to simply clean switches, wires and change the electrolytics. Yet, somehow, it went far beyond that to pretty much a total rebuild and even change of design. I'm not sure why and how but one thing led to another. I figured the 9 - 12 volts switchboard was better off taken out, eventually bypass (to 9 volts) and the underlying wax paper capacitors replaced. These were around 0.1 or 0.02 - plus a fair few Hunts.
One thing I learned here was compared to a regular tube radio, the bus-bars and terminal lugs are somewhat smaller and hard to access. I winded up with over-bulked terminals that, in the end, left me not happy. Yesterday I spent time trying to improve on this and especially experimenting with the various types of wire I have. I have lots of wire but am seldom happy with it. Some of it is flimsy. Some of it is robust and a bit too thick. Another major point is Ham builders tended to frown on multi-strand for the simple reason it may fracture and scatter tiny fragments (that can cause RF problems). Personally so far I've found if you do try multi-strand, the stiffer stuff is the best bet but I found it tough going to really coat the whole joint in melded solder. I sort of dislike strands showing too much.
Finally, I guess I have moved ahead a little as last night was the first time it was picking up more stations on MW. Originally too, the radio was a "whistler". If you ever watch 1960s sci-fi programs such as Lost In Space, they often used these weird RF sounds for special effects. Anyway, the whistling came back in an unexpected way as I tune along the MW band. Frustratingly too, the radio may sound totally awesome now but is prone to just cutting out if you move it. I am also puzzled as to why the radio improves a lot after warming up - hoping I don't have a suspect transistor.
I did discover a very poor diode connection yesterday where the output lead is too short and so I wonder if maybe I ought to fit a new diode.
I would love to get this radio 100 per cent. I am struck by how good the germanium semiconductor sets sound - very deep tone and nice bass.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Wed 21, 2018 9:54 pm 
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Yet more leaky capacitors to replace. Lots more work ahead but yes it works better now
Hopefully the §oviet pcb built Astrad will be much easier than this one at least with regard to soldering. Also looking forward to doing a 1947 tube radio in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Thu 22, 2018 8:47 pm 
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I may be home and dry. Am playing it now and it sounds pretty decent. The caps and many connections had fallen to the ravages of time. This radio would have played all The Beatles and Stones hits throughout the sixties. At that time transistors were the turning poont and I got a feeling of that mood reflected in the set.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Tue 27, 2018 4:25 pm 
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Fortunately, this project is now well under control. It's been a really great learning curve, given I'm not accustomed to work on transistor radios. I would even go so far as to say this radio now compares very well with any modern radio because I think the bass tones are more balanced. I dislike the over-stressed bass in a lot of modern audio equipment. Many people argue the germanium transistors have a special sound while others claim it's more to do with the antiquated circuitry.

I will still have to streamline this radio over time but I figure I can also now begin work on the USSR Astrad I've had stored for some time. This one is going to be trickier, I think. The audio stages work but there is zero reception. Today, I did take the risk of pulling a transistor out of its socket (I'm told the legs of USSR transistors break very easily). I guess though I will have to start from the very beginning to see why there is no reception whatsoever of any station.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Mar Wed 28, 2018 8:21 pm 
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I am puzzled by the markings on a USSR capacitor. 10+5% 4/69. These are orange and cylindrical. I rarely have problems with cap markings but this is not clear. Also the schematic is too faded to help.
I posted on a USSR radio site for feedback. Its the second bit that puzzles me.


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