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 Post subject: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 3:37 am 
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Joined: Feb Fri 09, 2018 3:10 am
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Hola Veterans :)

I've had the notion for some time (and collected several potential candidates) to refurbish a 1930/40s cabinet with modern components.

I need to do this because it will be used in my AirBnB and I simply don't trust guests to be 'easy' with a refurbished cabinet. I don't want to worry about fire risks, etc.

So I'm hoping I'm not going to have to reinvent the wheel or anything, maybe someone else here has been on this journey?

Any direction is greatly appreciated.

Teresa


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 4:29 am 
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
Hi Teresa,

You probably are not going to find much support among antique radio collectors for what you propose to do. Our hobby promotes preserving and repairing vintage radios to their original operating condition.

Having said that, if you have some late 1940's entry level department store radios that don't have collector interest or monetary value, then you are free to do whatever you want to with them.

But if you have nice, desirable radios, you probably shouldn't bring it up here that you intend to destroy them.

Please show us photos of your radios, with brand names and model numbers.

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Dennis

Experience is what you gain when the results aren't what you were expecting.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 4:37 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5283
Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
My favorite radios for "general public" use are the Philco 40-180, 41-280 and 42-380 series. Lots of grille bars so no open grille cloth to be damaged. The first model listed is the 1940 version, has a metal bezel so no warped, decayed plastic issues. They do need new buttons though. $20 a set. The '41 and '42 models are essentially same with the usually warped faceplates, but those are in reproduction... just $40 each + ship is the extra cost to restore those years.
Nice looking consoles, common and cheap in the midwest or east. Decent ones sell under $125. they can be easily restored to use as well, and add an aux input for Bluetooth and such.
Mark Oppat
Antique Audio
Plymouth, MI


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 5:37 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Hi Teresa,

I'm curious how you intend to use the radios in a BnB? What features are you looking for?

Agree with Dennis, more details about the radios you have would definitely help.

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Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with a chainsaw.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 9:01 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
oldradioparts wrote:
My favorite radios for "general public" use are the Philco 40-180, 41-280 and 42-380 series. Lots of grille bars so no open grille cloth to be damaged. The first model listed is the 1940 version, has a metal bezel so no warped, decayed plastic issues. They do need new buttons though. $20 a set. The '41 and '42 models are essentially same with the usually warped faceplates, but those are in reproduction... just $40 each + ship is the extra cost to restore those years.

You didn't pay attention to what she said;
Quote:
refurbish a 1930/40s cabinet with modern components.


She's not gonna restore.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 2:15 pm 
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Location: Carmel, Indiana
May I suggest getting a reproduction radio. Unfortunately, most repro radios don't match up in performance to the actual antique radios that their trying to be a copy of but some examples are fairly good in performance, styling, and construction. My favorite, and I seriously think you should look into it, is the solid state Crosley CR38CD Blue Mirror Radio. They may not be made any more but they can still easily be found on Ebay and other places on the internet.

Image
Crosley CR38CD
https://www.amazon.com/crosley-cr38cd-s ... b0000dhvop


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Crosley CR38
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/crosley_c ... radio.html

Here are what the actual original 1937 radios look like.

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Sparton 557

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Sparton 558

Solid state reproductions were also made of the smaller Sparton 566 "Bluebird". These can readily be found on Ebay.

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Sparton 566 reproductions. 3 different AM/FM examples. I think one is considered to be better then the other two but I can't remember which one it is.

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Actual Sparton 566

Other suggestions are the solid state AM?FM?Cassette Tape Crosley CR-2 radios that are copies of the Fada "Bullet" radios...

Image

Actual Fada "Bullit" radios. https://www.google.com/search?q=Fada+Bu ... 0&bih=1070

...and the reproduction solid state AM?FM/Cassete Tape Coca-Cole Chest radio. Careful, there's a more modern and smaller reproduction of a CocaCole chast radio that doesn't have a slide rule dial. Don't buy that one because it looks to gimmicky.

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https://www.terapeak.com/worth/replica- ... 920491857/

Actual AM only 1948 Coca-Cole chest radio.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Location: 06457
He wants to renovate a old console cabinet, not buy finished products.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Location: Carmel, Indiana
hoffies2 wrote:
He wants to renovate a old console cabinet, not buy finished products.


First of all I'm under the impression that Teresa is a woman unless you know something that I don't know. Second, I'm just offering her some alternative options that she may not have considered before. Just trying to help.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Oct Tue 18, 2016 8:17 pm
Posts: 105
Raspberry Pi streaming wifi radio can fit into almost any enclosure. I am working on one to fit into a Jackson Bell "Swan" radio that I picked up last year without a chassis or speaker.

http://www.bobrathbone.com/raspberrypi_radio.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Fri 09, 2018 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 10267
Location: Powell River BC Canada
You would be liable for any radio included as part of furniture in your rental.

Recommend you buy a replica antique radio. Most are cheap, work well, and
above all come labeled with a current electrical safety label.

A restored radio can come with a current electrical safety label. Special
approval is costly though.

If your guests break it, just tack the cost onto their bill. 60 bucks or so.

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de
VE7ASO VE7ZSO
Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 7:23 am 
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Posts: 4
Thank you everyone for your well thought out replies. I do appreciate your views. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have collected a few, maybe 7 or 8, console style radios, some with turntables. I’ve also found a lovely vintage Admiral TV in a cabinet (it smells really funky when plugged in). I’ve picked up a sweet little Emerson table top unit and a nice Bush radio. I’ve become a minor collector, and I just keep running across them.

My AirBnB attracts mainly couples. It’s not a cheap stay; a stay at my location is not so much upscale as it is an experience not to be found other places, and while I am not horribly expensive to reserve, it is not like staying at Suoer 8. I have one rental unit finished and beginning it’s second year this summer. The new unit is where I’d like to install one of these consoles. Everything in each unit is vintage, and it is restored to original condition.

With electronics I’m a bit hesitant to trust the old tubes and all. Assuming I go over this with a fine tooth come (and multimeter)and replace any cords, or other necessary original or upgraded parts, how safe are these with today’s current? Are there any inherent fire dangers known from the vacuum tubes application vs a modern receiver etc? I just want my guests to be safe and my house not to burn down.

The style of furniture I’m using in the AirBnB is from the 1940s. ‘Waterfall’ is the commonly used style name associated with its look. The cabinet I’m considering for this unit is a Zenith 11S474 Console, from 1940 according to the notes I’ve matched. It’s in pretty good condition, other than it’s grill cloth and the fact that someone cut all the cords of at the base of the unit.

I would like to incorporate a BlueTooth, WiFi capability upgrade. Has anyone done this?


Thank you again for your assistance and direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 19, 2017 11:52 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Memphis, TN
Hi Teresa,

About a year ago, I decided to get my grandparents' 1941 console radio playable again. I quickly learned that's a job that requires learning about how old radios work and how to restore them. The folks here on the forum will be very helpful, if you decide you want to learn how to restore the vintage electronics. If not, I'd imagine they can point you to someone who would do it for you professionally.

Once you have the radio working, you still have an AM radio, and maybe shortwave bands on a higher end set. Odds are, your guests will mainly want some background music from FM, if they listen at all.

For the vintage experience, you can download early radio shows and vintage music, then add a BT adapter to play them through a vintage radio. That's not a huge task, but it's not turnkey and over-the-counter, either. Still requires some mastery of the circuit diagram of the radio.

If you have a console, my suggestion is to use it as a decorative furniture item. That's what I've done with my grandparent's console for some years now. That will allow a future collector to restore it, once its time in your AirBnB is past.

Buddy

Attachment:
20170319_175623 Resize.jpg
20170319_175623 Resize.jpg [ 60.74 KiB | Viewed 797 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
Teresa wrote:


With electronics I’m a bit hesitant to trust the old tubes and all. Assuming I go over this with a fine tooth come (and multimeter)and replace any cords, or other necessary original or upgraded parts, how safe are these with today’s current? Are there any inherent fire dangers known from the vacuum tubes application vs a modern receiver etc? I just want my guests to be safe and my house not to burn down.

Not many reports of houses burning down in the '30's-'50's era from console or table top tube radios, so as long as the set is restored correctly, you should be good. I operate 3 of my consoles all the time and never a problem. If there's a concern about the current voltage level vs what the sets were originally designed for, a voltage dropping resistor can always be added, but that's down the road a ways.

First thing would be for you to replace the line cord, and all Electrolytic and wax capacitors. Generally, mica caps don't have to be changed. Here's a link to the schematic; http://www.nostalgiaair.org/pagesbymode ... 024708.pdf
The circuit has dual 6X5G rectifiers, which I would suggest changing in favor of 6X5WGT tubes, which were a replacement, and better design. They're not expensive.

Teresa wrote:

The cabinet I’m considering for this unit is a Zenith 11S474 Console, from 1940 according to the notes I’ve matched. It’s in pretty good condition, other than it’s grill cloth and the fact that someone cut all the cords of at the base of the unit.

This set came with a "Wave Magnet" rotating antenna; It would be in a flat, square "box", suspended at it's top, so it could be rotated. Is it still there?

Teresa wrote:

I would like to incorporate a BlueTooth, WiFi capability upgrade. Has anyone done this?


It's been done, but I would suggest doing first things first, which would be to get the radio in restored, working condition. After that, additions or mods could be done.

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\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\He Who Dies With The Most Radios Wins//////////////////


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Thank you for your assistance.

The Wave Box is not still there. There is a funky cloth covered box in the back if the unit where the speaker is. One can spin it on a mount that is across the lower left side (looking at the open back). It attaches at the center of the upper rack where a very worn label may have said something with the last few letters of “...LVANIA”. I think I saw a switch for television or radio as well.

As for mounting a restoration of this caliber I have zero concerns related to the cabinet itself. I’ve done this type of restoration since the mid 70s. I hold a bachelors degree in Mathematics and my father was an electrical contractor for over 60 years. I’ve been raised around tech, wires, solder, etc. I own several different multimeters, but I’m guessing they aren’t going to help much with these old vacuum tubes.

I think I’m up for the task, although I may end up using this as a large paperweight at various stages while dealing with frustration, but no doubt it will be a fun project.

My hope was that coming to this group would help me avoid pitfalls that a rookie would make. I know I will make mistakes that will seem obvious to you folks, who have the benefit of community and years of trial and error behind you. I also hear that the majority of you are purists, and do not agree with including modern components.

I would like to include Bluetooth, WiFi and a USB hookup so that guests can play theur music, or I can provide alternate music. I actually plan on adding an antenna to my roofline to accommodate the shortwave I have with a couple of other radios, maybe we will pick up some fun stuff?

So, maybe I’m not a good fit here? I’m sorry if I have offended.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8584
Location: Baltimore, MD
There are a lot of people here who have restored the original components of a radio and added an adapter for Ipod or Bluetooth connections that use the tube-powered amplifier circuit of the radio to play the music from the external source. There are several threads here that discuss that topic. Many aficionados believe that the tube sound is much better than newer transistorized electronics.

Also, the 11-S-474 is a good radio, but there is one design flaw that is somewhat significant. The set uses a pair of 6X5G rectifiers that are known to short. When this happens, it can kill the power transformer, which is the most expensive component in a radio to replace. The good news is there's a solid state modification to circumvent this that's not too difficult, but it might be intimidating to a newcomer.

As others have said, properly restored there is no reason to feel these sets are unsafe. In a B&B, I'd be much more worried about a fire being started by a guest doing something stupid versus a restored radio.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:10 pm 
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I think that you'll fit in just fine. The switch for TV would be to accept television audio, so the radio's amp and speakers could reproduce it, ideally better than a small TV speaker. I think it was more of a sales gimmick though.

That can be used, for example, to plug in the output from an MP3 player or an iPhone, so you are already ahead of the game AFA the set being able to play modern stuff.

When we see ppl "upcycling" '30's-'40's consoles and turning them into bars, laundry hampers, or fish bowl containers, then we get P.O.'d, lol.

So when you get started with your restoration, ask anything. To begin with though, please post a scan of the back of the console, so we can see what you're talking about AFA the antenna.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Teresa wrote:
I hold a bachelors degree in Mathematics and my father was an electrical contractor for over 60 years. I’ve been raised around tech, wires, solder, etc. I own several different multimeters, but I’m guessing they aren’t going to help much with these old vacuum tubes.
...
So, maybe I’m not a good fit here? I’m sorry if I have offended.

Actually, you sound like a perfect fit here. And yes, the multimeters are very useful for working on tube radios. First piece of equipment you need, actually.

Most of us are not purists in the sense of "You can't use any modern device whatsoever in conjunction with an antique radio." What many of us object to is, "Take the tube radio out, put a $28 Made-in-China radio with flashing blue LCD display and 4-inch speaker in." Crafty people call that "up-cycling," but we tend to call it "destroying."

A lot of tube radios have an aux input of some sort. In the '30s, they were phono inputs. In the '40s they tended to be TV inputs just as often. We use the aux inputs as Bluetooth / WiFi / USB inputs all the time. The radios that don't have an aux input are a bit trickier, but people still find ways to modify them to accept modern inputs.

The 11S474 has a TV input on it, and this can easily be used to hook up modern devices. No worries!

-Rodney


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Hello Teresa,
yes I also think a good repo would be your best bet less issues also in the long run it would cost you less
Sincerely Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:45 pm 
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I keep pondering the idea of using an antique radio in a BnB. I think it's a great idea, but I also think you'll be surprised how many people will have absolutely no idea how to use it.

You'll probably have to write a detailed instruction sheet, so that people can figure out, "Turn it on, wait for it to warm up, select AM band, tune it to a station, adjust the volume."

In the thread about the 8H061, you said that the radio has had its power cord and its speaker wire harness cut off of it? I don't know why anyone would have cut the speaker wires off, but it's not a good way to start a restoration. The field coil in the speaker does 2 jobs: it's an electromagnet that provides the magnetic field needed to drive the speaker, but it's also a choke that performs smoothing as part of the power supply. [It would be like if a building designer used the lights--which emit light and heat--as both light sources and part of the heating system to keep the building warm. Double duty.]

But it means, without the speaker connected, you can't even attempt to power the radio. The power supply's not hooked up, if the speaker's not hooked up. You'll have to get that sorted out at some point.

I agree with fifties... some photos of the back would definitely help, so we can see what you're working with.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie with a Project
PostPosted: Feb Sun 11, 2018 8:49 pm 
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This is the setup that I would have.

Image
1946 Philco 46-480

This radio is great in that it features a little bit of everything, AM, SW, and modern FM all housed in a prewar styled cabinet. Most people may no longer listed to AM but I'm pretty sure enough of them still listed to FM and this radio features it. There's also the 1946 Philco 47-1230 which is just like the 46-480 except it has a built in phonograph and a simpler cabinet.

Image

The Philco would be fully restored with all new capacitors, all new metal film and ceramic NTE resistors, a thermister for a gentler startup and a fuse that is rated just above the actual working current draw. In fact I'd probably make a special black box that would connect in between the radio and AC wall socket. It would feature of it's own built in thermister, deluxe line filter, ground connecting post, be double fused, and use a good three prong AC plug.

Image
My homemade protection and filter box. I need to replace the AC socket due to the chip that it has.

So, this is kind of how I would set up such a media system which incorporated an antique radio.

For WiFi hookup, I'd choose one of these Bluetooth receiving/FM transmitting transmitters.

Image
https://www.ebay.com/itm/FM-Transmitter ... SwXSJXOaTF

WiFi and internet streaming will always sound better if transmitted by FM. Just tune the Philco to whatever assigned FM frequency that you have set up on the transmitter and a person can listen to their Ipad, smartphone, or PC through that old Philco radio. They can easily tune away to some other frequency in order to listen to something else that's on FM dial. I think it is more fun to tune in an external media source then to listen to it via a system where the media is piped in through a hardwired system.

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