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 Post subject: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 5:45 pm 
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Scored this baby on the cheap this week. It's next in line for a refurb. It may be a crime, but I'm giving some thought to keeping this and updating the phono so I can play my vinyl. I don't own any 78's.

There is surprisingly little information about this model online. If anyone has played with these before and has any advice, I would appreciate it.

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Melted wax caps! Those are first to go. One had actually fused to a tube socket. Wire insulation is brittle and breaking. I'm not excited about that!

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 5:55 pm 
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I have one where someone has done just that, installed a 50s VM changer. I bought it to combine with a dual-cobra model that had a rough cabinet, only to find out they were slightly different cabinet sizes, so that idea got scrapped. Keep in mind that these have the phono cart that uses an oscillator in the radio chassis to produce audio, it's not line level out, so you would need to modify the chassis a little to swap to a different changer/cart.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 6:08 pm 
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I was thinking more along the lines of removing all the old phono hardware and putting a modern turntable in it's place. Then just tapping it into the preamp.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Dec Sat 23, 2017 1:39 am 
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That preamp has an oscillator for the Zenith Radionic cartridge. It will need some rewiring.

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Dec Sat 23, 2017 6:28 am 
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Well, that will be a new one for me. I've done guitar amps, some radios, but this is my first phonograph project. I'll look into that. Feel free to provide some details.
Thanks for the heads up!


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sat 13, 2018 8:35 pm 
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I recapped it and replaced the lamps and a couple bad tubes. Also had to replace a few resistors that were attached to the old 40-40-40-30 electrolytic. I replaced the old power cable and routed the hot side through the switch.
I slowly brought it up to 117VAC on my variac and nothing smoked!
To my surprise, the turntable spins and the changer seems to operate, but badly needs clean and lube.
The bad news is I dont have any audio. No hum, no static or anything. So, that is my next hurdle.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sat 13, 2018 8:57 pm 
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First, you need to replace that 40/40/40 cap.

I don't think this unit actually uses the Radionic (RF) cartridge. However, you need a schematic to find out for sure. Look at the cart itself.

Here's an example of what they look like

https://www.ebay.com/p/S-15780-Zenith-R ... /913871470

You might be able to change the cart out with a stereo cart wired for mono, and you might be alright, just adjust the weight so it won't be so hard on records. However, if you do decide to change the record player out, look for a 50-60's Voice of Music or a Garrard. Modern record players do not have the switching system to turn the amplifier on.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 12:38 am 
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I did replace that 40-40-40-30 cap. I added a new terminal strip and separate capacitors. Sorry, I wasn't clear about that.

I wanted to use a modern record player (wired mono) and rebuild the inside of the cabinet to accomodate it, but run it through the original amplifer and keep the original am radio. I had planned to wire the radio and the record player to a junction box with a master power switch, and still use the volume knob to turn on the amp/radio. Will that work? I don't care about retaining the original record player. I may want to add an output for an external speaker, or upgrade the original.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 12:45 am 
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Here's a schematic for reference.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k60xcjx3ldce8wi/Zenith%206r886%20schematic.jpg?dl=0


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 1:29 am 
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AntKnee wrote:
I did replace that 40-40-40-30 cap. I added a new terminal strip and separate capacitors. Sorry, I wasn't clear about that.

I wanted to use a modern record player (wired mono) and rebuild the inside of the cabinet to accomodate it, but run it through the original amplifier and keep the original am radio. I had planned to wire the radio and the record player to a junction box with a master power switch, and still use the volume knob to turn on the amp/radio. Will that work? I don't care about retaining the original record player. I may want to add an output for an external speaker, or upgrade the original.


Yes, you can use a separate power switch and patch audio into it. External speaker is a nogo. This amplifier is only about 2 watts, and the speaker is specifically designed for that amplifier. You will not be happy with the results if you change the speaker, at best, you'll have muddy, boomy sound. The original speaker will sound very good when the amp is rebuilt. I have the FM/AM radio version of this.


Again, listen on this. You're only option on a modern record player would be a Crosely or the "clones". These can and will destroy your records.

The orginal changer, with the right cartridge and the weight set properly, will far outperform anything new and last much longer. You can get a higher output cartridge that will fit in the head. But it will need cleaning and relubricating.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 1:44 am 
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Here's a couple of options

Parts are readily available for these, and they are highly reliable once rebuilt.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-MOTORO ... Sw4A5Y0uYK


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-GARRAR ... Sw4QdaVu6E


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 1:55 am 
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I thought this model played 78's. All my vinyl is modern. That was my whole problem. If I can play modern vinyl simply by changing or adapting the cartridge, I'll do that, but I didn't think it was possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 2:56 am 
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Location: Dallas, TX
AntKnee wrote:
I thought this model played 78's. All my vinyl is modern. That was my whole problem. If I can play modern vinyl simply by changing or adapting the cartridge, I'll do that, but I didn't think it was possible.

From the schematic I'm pretty sure it is set up only for a Radionic cartridge. Although the schematic says pre-amp, it is really a RF oscillator. Those are mono only cartridges (not good for stereo records), also the stylus isn't changeable you have to change the cartridge to change to the smaller stylus for modern vinyl. I have a latter version Zenith unit that as multiple speeds maybe yours is only 78.
So you would not only need to find a changer that would fit but change the circuit to a more standard pre-amp. I have plans to eventually change out the cartridge in mine to a stereo ceramic cartridge, (not many are small enough to fit in the tone-arm) and then change the circuit.

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 6R886R Radio/Phonograph
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 3:24 am 
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Notimetolooz wrote:
AntKnee wrote:
I thought this model played 78's. All my vinyl is modern. That was my whole problem. If I can play modern vinyl simply by changing or adapting the cartridge, I'll do that, but I didn't think it was possible.

From the schematic I'm pretty sure it is set up only for a Radionic cartridge. Although the schematic says pre-amp, it is really a RF oscillator. Those are mono only cartridges (not good for stereo records), also the stylus isn't changeable you have to change the cartridge to change to the smaller stylus for modern vinyl. I have a latter version Zenith unit that as multiple speeds maybe yours is only 78.
So you would not only need to find a changer that would fit but change the circuit to a more standard pre-amp. I have plans to eventually change out the cartridge in mine to a stereo ceramic cartridge, (not many are small enough to fit in the tone-arm) and then change the circuit.



Thank you Notime, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn't 100% sure about Radionic. I was under the impression that only certain console models used it. Also, you are correct, if this changer is 78, it will need to be replaced.


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