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 Post subject: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Fri 11, 2017 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 11, 2017 3:31 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Provo, UT
I'm recently the proud owner of a 1954 RCA-Victor 21-S-522N.
Now I know nothing about televisions, but I love mid-century furniture and electronics. I've played around a little with my RCA 19k radio, but I feel in over my head with this one. Hence why I'm posting here since you guys seem to be the experts. (Sorry if this is posted in the wrong place)

It's in amazing shape cosmetically. Looks like it was just brought home from the store.
Being an RCA, it has a port for an RCA cord and works beautifully for playing music from my phone.

I decided to try and get the picture up and running, so I ordered one of these:
:Amazon: WINEGARD-TV-2900-82-Channel-Weatherproof-Transformer

and used this in conjunction with an RF modulator to see if I could hook up my old Roku. I fiddled with all the adjustments, but just couldn't get a decent picture, so I assume something is damaged internally.

My first question for you guys is if I've done anything wrong with trying to setup the Roku. Do I need a different transformer or RF modulator?
Also, are there any adjustments I can make that I don't know about (being a complete noob with vintage TVs)?
Secondly if there is something wrong with the internals (which I'm 80% certain) is this a symptom of something specific? I may have to find someone locally who knows about these, but don't know where to look yet.

It should be noted that I haven't opened it up or touched anything in anyway. I'm 100% sure that this is all original and has never been tampered with except for probably getting serviced in the 50s or 60s.

Here is an album showing the television set, model, and the picture I've managed to get out of it. Any advice, tips, or help would be greatly appreciated!
I'm really hoping I don't get addicted to TVs now, but this is all I can think about for several days now :roll:
I had an imgur album with full res, but looks like I can't post it.


Attachments:
File comment: The TV
2017-08-09 08.jpg
2017-08-09 08.jpg [ 99.83 KiB | Viewed 1937 times ]
File comment: First time turning on
2017-08-09 16.jpg
2017-08-09 16.jpg [ 163.89 KiB | Viewed 1937 times ]
File comment: Model info
2017-08-08 21.jpg
2017-08-08 21.jpg [ 163.73 KiB | Viewed 1937 times ]
File comment: Adjustment knobs
2017-08-11 07.jpg
2017-08-11 07.jpg [ 154.17 KiB | Viewed 1937 times ]
File comment: Best picture I could get
2017-08-10 22.jpg
2017-08-10 22.jpg [ 145.51 KiB | Viewed 1937 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Fri 11, 2017 10:24 pm 
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Posts: 629
Location: Pewaukee, WI
Best picture is close to right. Looks like you need to adjust horizontal hold (corrects diagonal/horizontal image roll/multiple pics).

Any TV this old with original capacitors is living on borrowed time....Running it like that is sort of like pulling a car that has been sitting in a barn for 40 years out filling the tank with gas, pop starting it and expecting the original oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc to still be good for a few years of daily driving.

That said this can be a good learning experience. Tweak the hold controls till it is in sync, get a test pattern up (end credits can work as a pattern in a pinch), and establish a baseline. Then recap it a few caps at a time, checking operation every few parts (if it gets worse stop and find your mistake). The fact that it works as well as it does indicates that all the unobtainium parts still work.

I assume you have changed capacitors on tube radios before?...If not do a couple of radios first...It will give you practice in the skills you need.

You will probably want a copy of the schematic Rider's TV volumes, Sam's photofact, and Bietman's are good sources.

You may want to read as much of the forums here as you can to bone up on TV, it also may be beneficial to find an old TV service book or 3 and start reading them.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Fri 11, 2017 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 11, 2017 3:31 pm
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Location: Provo, UT
Thank you for the reply.
I was trying my hardest to get the horiz working, but it just wouldn't get any better than this. I could get it from really bad to about like this, but then if I kept adjusting it would go to really bad again.

I need a lot of practice changing caps, so I should find another radio to work on. At the very least, I'm sure they all need to be changed out.
I didn't even think about looking for TV service books. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to find some and glean what I can.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 1:30 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9624
Location: Redlands CA
That is a beautiful set and the condition is extraordinary!

Most 50's consoles are pretty blah but that is very "Mid Century" I have a similar model with the blonde face and maple cabinet.

It's almost working, some new caps will make it 100% again.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 3:15 am 
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Joined: Jul Wed 08, 2009 12:17 am
Posts: 904
Location: Wyoming, Michigan
You'll want Sams 282-13. Looks like this:
Attachment:
phpr4dz4APM.jpg
phpr4dz4APM.jpg [ 24.54 KiB | Viewed 1864 times ]


You can still order reprints online but it's best to seek out an original from eBay or our classifieds section.

I like the series and have a similar set.
Attachment:
phpKuF4KQPM.jpg
phpKuF4KQPM.jpg [ 25.06 KiB | Viewed 1864 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 3:47 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 12943
Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
WeekendHacker wrote:
You'll want Sams 282-13...

You can still order reprints online but it's best to seek out an original from eBay or our classifieds section.

And my experience and understanding is that the Sams scans are really terrible AND outrageously priced.

Good advice.

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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:21 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
If that schematic is not already in the database at the ETF Early Television Foundation, a request for it will usually result in it being scanned and added pretty quickly, and at no charge.

http://www.earlytelevision.org/tv_schem ... s_rca.html

That was a decent chassis and one that works well when restored.

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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: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:38 am 
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Posts: 541
Location: Syracuse NY
That model comes up in RadioMuseum.

Bob

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Life is too short to be serious all the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1522
Location: Lafayette, CO
Check your messages....Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 11, 2017 3:31 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Provo, UT
Thank you so much for the replies everyone!
I've been soaking up articles and YouTube videos. Now just building up the courage to crack her open.
I've never done a full recap before, but it sounds like that's a good place to start.
How likely am I to completely eff this set over? That's what I'm most nervous of


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 08, 2009 12:17 am
Posts: 904
Location: Wyoming, Michigan
The biggest "eff-over" would be to scratch, dent, or stain the cabinet. Or set it on fire. The condition of your TV is remarkable and is its primary value. I would cover it with multiple soft blankets and such the whole time it's being serviced.

CRT necks are quite fragile. Inadvertently bumping one with only moderate force can spray a million shards of razor-sharp glass bullets across a room. Replacement CRTs are getting rare. Replacement eyes and skin are still pretty unobtanium.

High voltage really hurts. "Low voltage" in these sets are significantly high current and should be considered lethal, although most of us have numbed an arm or a finger or two. If you aren't confident around electricity, this can be intimidating.

You risked an "effover" by plugging it in and powering it up cold without preliminary checks that a more experienced user would have done first. Impatience is not a virtue in this hobby.

Some among us would have you work on something a little more expendable first. The earlier advice of doing 3 or 4 AM tube radios first is good advice. There are tools you need to own to do this hobby. They are cheap and easy, individually, to find and buy, but combined may take a little while and moderate investment to obtain. And a significant investment of time to learn how to use them.

Plus side is it's a hobby that teaches you how to think and reason and troubleshoot. These skills pay off elsewhere in life.

Short answer is, "It depends". Nobody here knows how clumsy or not you might be. Or your attention span. Or how good you are with tools. Or any other experience you might have, or lack.

But if you refrain from catastrophe, you probably can't eff it up to the point that one of us couldn't undo it. Getting someone local to look at it is always difficult, as the few repairmen that still exist are few and far between these days.

Try a radio first. Revisit the question afterwards.


Last edited by WeekendHacker on Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 25725
Location: Detroit, MI USA
Exactly.

And when you do feel more confident in trying, we will advise you how to proceed. Since the set basically works, you would first do the most critical capacitors, including those in the power supply and around the section where the problem which is currently preventing the picture from locking in. Once that's working, you could then proceed to do the rest of them a few at a time.

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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: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 11, 2017 3:31 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Provo, UT
I completely agree. With you guys.
I have a couple of radios that I've picked up along the way that are pretty expendable. I think I'm going to practice recapping and getting those up to snuff before fiddling anymore with the television.
It's so hard to be patient being this excited!


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
Posts: 510
Location: Dallas, TX
Seems like you were able to get pretty good contrast on the CRT and that is a big plus, replacement CRTs can be pricey and hard to find.
All good advice so far.
Look at how the construction on the radios and TV is done. When you replace parts try not to leave any more of the component leads exposed that the original part had. Many times I will insulate more of the leads than original. If you make any splices in the wiring be sure to insulate them with tubing of some sort.
Also don't add excessive wire length to parts. If you use any heavy parts like large electrolytics fasten them down somehow, don't let them just hang from the wires. Although you wouldn't be thinking about it now, sometime in the future the set will be moved around and jostled, you don't want parts to move around and short. Generally when restoring TV and radios people will prefer to use the original methods to insulate and mount components, however modern methods and material like heat-shrink tubing and plastic tie-wraps under the chassis will add to safety and reliability.

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"Excellent!" I cried. "Elementary," said he. - Sherlock Holmes


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 12, 2017 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Woodinville, WA USA
threepio1 wrote:
I think I'm going to practice recapping and getting those up to snuff before fiddling anymore with the television.
Good plan. This page has a bunch of TV restoration articles:

https://antiqueradio.org/televisions.htm

None is identical to yours, but if you skim around, you'll get a general idea what's needed to make a vintage TV safe & reliable to play.

Here are a couple more articles that may be helpful (for your radio projects as well as the TV):

https://antiqueradio.org/FirstStepsInRestoration.htm

https://antiqueradio.org/recap.htm

Regards,

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
http://antiqueradio.org/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sun 13, 2017 5:36 am 
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Location: Stephenson County IL. 61032
That's a very nice set, you have. I like these style of console's. For the most part, they are compact compared to a number of other examples out there.

I didn't see a scan of this chassis' schematic on earlytelevision.org. How do you upload to their site? Surprisingly, I actually have the full Sam's for this chassis, and it's in great shape. Other than the outer folder, that protects it.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 26, 2017 8:06 pm 
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Posts: 512
All great advice. I have restored many vintage televisions, radios and test equipment. I am happy that you are taking the advice the others have provided. You have found a real jewel. Here is what I would do (and have done):

1. Cover the television in a soft blanket and set it aside.
2. Read something like Rider's "Television - How It Works" to understand the concepts.
3. Practice by restoring some AM tube radios then a tube FM radio.
4. Start to acquire test equipment (a good Variac, tube tester and VTVM, minimally). Practice using them by poking around and aligning the FM radio. I'm not advocating getting a signal generator and scope yet because it remains to be seen how deeply you want to get into this field. Besides, the RCA TV looks so good even at this point, it is unlikely you will need to align anything. In fact, RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO TURN ANY CONTROLS OR TRANSFORMERS INSIDE OR ON THE BACK OF THE SET.
5. Read everything you can about the RCA you want to restore. Absolutely get the Rider's manual or RCA manual. Sam's is OK if you can't get the others.
6. Very carefully start the RCA restoration by testing all tubes (except the CRT), and replacing the electrolytic and paper capacitors. Do it one by one, keeping the new ones in the same position as the old.
7. TAKE YOUR TIME!
8. DO NOT ATTEMPT EVEN TO REMOVE THE CHASSIS UNTIL YOU HAVE THE PROPER TOOLS (proper screwdrivers, nut drivers, pliers, whatever.) For example, you don't want to slip with an oversized pair of pliers and damage something!

I invite the others to correct me if I they disagree.

All the best to you! Great find!

By the way: I did a complete rebuild of a 1948 RCA TV that was too far gone for just a repair. I have a website showing how I rebuilt it step by step. I don't know if I am allowed to post a link to my own website here, so PM me and I will send it to you. It will be helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 26, 2017 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 11, 2017 3:31 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Provo, UT
Thanks!
I've already started looking into getting tools and equipment lol.
I'd love for you to pm me that link. Any info I can soak up would be great


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sat 26, 2017 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Apr Sat 06, 2013 2:18 pm
Posts: 302
Location: New Hampshire
Looks like you have a strong TV both in cabinet & CRT. quite clean looking.
When you start the TV keep the following in mind.
It looks like its only got one major problem. Lack of horz sync or lack of vert & horz sync.
No horz sync is usually the horz AFC section. it causes the pix to float side to side.
If the vert sync is also missing the pix will float up & down. When both happen its in the
sync separator stage most the time. Try tubes first EVEN if they check good.
Recap only the electrolytics first then work on the rest. This will NOT fix the sync but should be done.
When recapping just do a few at a time & recheck. Do not change disc caps unless cracked.
Also dont change caps in the IF stages.

73 Zeno 8)
LFOD !


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 Post subject: Re: Just inherited a 1954 RCA....HELP!
PostPosted: Aug Sun 27, 2017 9:00 pm 
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i agree with the above post. check all tubes first. especially in the horizontal and vertical section. remember when testing tubes if the tube tester says the tube is bad its bad. if it says the tube is good it may be fine but also may not work in the equipment. an old repair mans trick is to swap the tube with another tube of the same type that is in a different stage of the equipment and see if that helps any. of course a new tube is best. books written at the time state that seventy percent of all problems are caused by a tube. of course other components have had time to fail since then.

re filter condensers (capacitors) if the filter condensers are bad you will hear a distinct buzz in the sound. if this isnt present they are good. not to say they might not fail in the next five minutes but they could also last another five years or more. their is no way to know. since you allready powered up the set if there was no distinct buzz in the sound they probably are ok to continue trouble shooting. their is no harm to change them out first if you decide to do so. remember electrolytic condensers have a +80 percent tolerance and a - 20 percent tolerance. the voltage rating must be the same or higher. that being said i like to keep things as origional as possible.

re recap you should power the set on after every two or three condensers you change and see what effect it has on performance. if this isnt done you could have a huge troubleshooting job on your hands incase you make a mistake in the wiring. human error happens and it is easier to check two or three condensers for wiring errors than a whole television set full of condensers. when powering the set on always use a variac and monitor current. bring the voltage up in about thirty volt incraments. always watch for anything out of the ordinary listen for any unusual sounds and be aware of any unusual smells. according to the common opinion now the paper and electrolytic condensers are the ones that should be changed. mica and ceramic dont need to be unless their is a problem in the circuit they are in. paper condensers are usually a + 20 -20 percent tolerance unless otherwise stated.

while i suppose it could happen i dont think a simple recap will fix all the problems with this set. the odds are against it. there are to many other things that could be bad. there are lots of guys here who will help.

good luck.


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