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 Post subject: RCA 816K console
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 12:59 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
Does anyone have experience with this set? I picked it up a few years back and I'm just getting around to bringing it back to life. It is a 16 tube 7 band set with an eye tube. I havent seen high tube count RCA's before so I would kind of like to know if the many tubes are just for braging rights or did they actually make a higher end set.
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 1:06 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4381
Location: British Columbia
RCA wasn't in the habit of bloating tube counts in their sets, if it has 16 tubes then all 16 do something useful, unless you count the magic eye.
Best Regards
Arran


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 1:41 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3222
Location: Cortez, Colorado
I have a 811K, and I know the 816K is a wonderful set. Probably best production set RCA made. Looks much better than the D22.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
I think I'm seeing a patern here, did RCA use the second and third digit of the model number to indicate the tube count?
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3222
Location: Cortez, Colorado
My book says in 37 they also had a 810K-9 tubes, 812K-12 tubes, 813K-13 tubes, and the 816K. Didn't seem to have anywhere near that many tubes in any other year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2772
Location: Northport wa. USA.
If you are not in a big hurry (maybe a couple of weeks) I would recommend a copy of the service info from the RCA Redbook for this set. Not sure on the number of pages, but I could copy and mail at cost. Email me if you need that info.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sat 20, 2008 8:22 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 04, 2007 1:03 am
Posts: 196
Location: Washington
I have this set. Bought it on ebay a year or two ago. Right now its my best radio in my collection. I even have the phono and remote that goes with it. A very clear sounding set. The aircraft band is pretty much useless though. Theres been some debate about the micas in this set but I never replaced them. Hopefully yours has the bottom plate? I had to buy mine from another member here. These things certainly are huge. Has really good bass response. Don't forgett to check the resistors! For whatever reason most of them were out of spec in my set. Make sure to replace all the rubber wires too making sure to use the correct guage and measure the lengths according to the service notes other wise it won't peak when alligned. Mine really needs to be alligned but I don't have the experience or equipment. Also use glass 6L6's they don't get as hot as the metal ones. All other tubes must be metal.

Good luck with your project!

-Victor78s


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 Post subject: Re: RCA 816K console
PostPosted: Sep Sun 21, 2008 6:52 am 
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Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 5395
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
rebuilt 4 of this model in the last 4 or 5 years.... super players every one of them after restoration... Stuff you have to replace... all the caps of course... lots of resistors will be way out of spec... many many feet of horrible rubber wire to replace... pay attention to length and routing of the old wires.... and the rca deer turds that they try to pass off as Mica's ... they really are Mica Mold ... that means its a plastic outside with paper and foil inside... same or worse than a plain old wax/paper capacitor... be sure when you replace them to use correct pF sizes of new silver mica's ... makes the alignment go a whole lot better....
Be sure to tear the gear train apart and throughly clean the shafts and gears and fresh lube after cleaning... the whole tuning system has to operate nice and smoothly ... otherwise you might well burn up the motor...
lastly .... be sure your signal jenny is accurate to set the IF with....

I do have a mostly complete parts chassis if you are missing any key parts...

John k9uwa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 21, 2008 3:15 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2848
Location: Ga
The 816K would be one that gets added to my collection someday but I have always been impressed with the RCA consoles I have and no they don't inflate tube count. On the mica's if they are black and look like cough drops then you are better to replace them since they are not as good a quality as most mica caps are, or at least check them rather than assuming they are good. Others here and myself have found a higher than normal failure.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Sun 21, 2008 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1968
Location: seabeck,wa. usa
The RCA black lozenge shaped caps actually are micas (mica sheets interleaved with copper or brass sheets). I cracked a few of them open and posted photos awhile back. The outer casing cracks, admitting moisture which results in leakage and corrosion. The white ones are the same construction. Although many are still good, they are untrustworthy, change them all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 22, 2008 12:34 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
OK, now you guys have goten me all pumped up and maybe it will get to go next in line for the "treatment".
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 22, 2008 1:52 am 
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Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
Ed Jacobs wrote:
OK, now you guys have goten me all pumped up and maybe it will get to go next in line for the "treatment".
Ed


I'll be getting to my 811K pretty soon, thats just a bit less involved.

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 22, 2008 3:32 am 
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Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 5395
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
Burnt Fingers wrote:
Ed Jacobs wrote:
OK, now you guys have goten me all pumped up and maybe it will get to go next in line for the "treatment".
Ed


I'll be getting to my 811K pretty soon, thats just a bit less involved.

Carl


With a little luck... and less goofing off on the computer I will finish the 811K thats on my bench tonite... gear train and motor now all working excellent! Radio plays well ... a few more rubber wires and the dial back on. Then ready for alignment.
John k9uwa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 22, 2008 7:10 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3409
Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
Hi all, just got back from Kutztown, and reading the Forum... regarding the 816K, its one of the best ever consoles from a "consumer brand" maker. If not, THE best of the 1930's. There, I said it. I have a full chassis for one here that some engineer type removed from a console and added a choke so he could run a PM speaker with it. He also drew a full blueprint set of this chassis! He made lots of notes, too that I have. Anyone interested in this chassis email me moppat at comcast dot net These chassis are heavy, probably about 50 lbs... the whole radio weighs about 125 IIRC.

RCA really had the best paid engineers, they could afford the best... and, they really designed the best. the Philco "top of line" sets are comparable in most cases, but only the "cream dial" 1935 Zeniths in my opinion were competitive during the 1935 years, the later Zeniths dont have the best RF/IF stages. GE shared engineering with RCA... not sure up to what year.

Mark Oppat


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Mon 22, 2008 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
Quote:
RCA really had the best paid engineers, they could afford the best... and, they really designed the best.


And it took the best to design the USN RBA/RBA/RBC series which is arguably some of the best receivers ever made. Plus they appear indestructible, I dont know what they used for capacitors but they dont leak.

Oh, it only cost the taxpayer $2400 each in 1940! And that didnt include the power supply or speaker.

http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~postr/bapix/RBC1.htm

My RBB and RBC lived in a damp old barn for years and looked it. A bit of a clean up, some basic tests and I plugged into an even more decrepit looking PS. Brought up slowly on a Variac and they sounded as good as the ones I worked with in the Navy in the 60's.

They are the best general listening radios that I own. My all Collins R-390A does some things better like digging for weak CW signals on the hambands but in general I prefer the RCA's.

If the 811K lives up to only a fair part of the quality and performance I will be a happy camper.

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Wed 24, 2008 5:06 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
Before I dig into this set I think I need to know somethings more about motorized tuning. I have never worked on of rven used a radio that is motorized. I've got questions like how do you tune it, can it be tuned manually and automaticly and just how does it work?
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Wed 24, 2008 1:35 pm 
Member

Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 5395
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
Ed Jacobs wrote:
Before I dig into this set I think I need to know somethings more about motorized tuning. I have never worked on of rven used a radio that is motorized. I've got questions like how do you tune it, can it be tuned manually and automaticly and just how does it work?
Ed


Hi Ed
Extensive info in the riders about the system.... but some things are not well explained ...

Second knob from right side... three positions.. all the way clockwise is manual tune and it disengages the gear train up to the motor. Middle position is electric pushbuttons mode and CC is the remote position if you have the remote with your radio... otherwise its manual but leaves the gears inline... so don't leave the radio in that position.

With whole geartrain off the front of the tuner you will see a cam screw near the bottom... that limits how tightly the movable engaging gear can mesh into the motor geartrain.. you need full depth adjustment but not so tight that it begins to bind the gears. The other adjustment in this gear train is the very first one at the top... the one the motor hits.. its a slightly slotted hole that it mounts into.. it needs again as much mesh into next gear as you can get but it HAS TO RUN VERY FREELY.

Next with geartrain back on the radio but disengaged.. manual tune position... turn the variable capacitor to both limits and observe the switch on the backside of the whole affair... that is the motor reversing switch... be sure that it operates at both ends of travel of the tuner...

Next clean the edges of all 8 of those wheels all the way around. I used 600 grit flat sanding pad of some sort I found in the bosses workshop. clean a section you can see then you can manually turn each one to keep moving them around to get the whole thing clean. While your cleaning them you will notice that there are two points where the circle has notches in it... when your done cleaning them ... leave all 8 in a position where the tuner is about midpoint on the dial... and the wider slot of these openings is at the top and the narrow one is at the bottom.

Notice there are 8 buttons and 8 of those wheels... to adjust the stop points for the buttons.. you need a 1/8" diameter drill bit... notice that it will fit through the double set of hole in the top of the frame...
To position a button... insert the 1/8" bit into hole and align it so that it holds the wheel by sticking into the slot... now manually tune your radio to the station you want the button set for... what it actually does is position the narrow slot directly at the bottom. So when you push the button... motor starts running and turning until it reaches the point where that small bottom void hit contact point and that opens up the motor curcuit .. thereby stopping the motor. therefore it isn' dependent upon being on the AM band it can have the buttons set for your faovite short wave stations as well....

Alignment... pay attention to the instructions ...

John k9uwa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Thu 25, 2008 4:37 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
I am curious about the remote control and the phono, were they hard wired to the set and what did it look like?
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Thu 25, 2008 5:35 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
I pulled the radio out from storage to take a closer look and I was quite surprised to see just how sophisticated this set was. I had gotten it from a gentleman years ago who may easily may have gotten it brand new. At the time I had taken several radios from him and had put them away for a later time. I'm really impressed with RCA for putting out a set that I would have expected from a high-end, low-volume manufacturer. This is going to be one of my keepers.
Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sep Thu 25, 2008 5:36 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6302
Location: Portland Oregon
OOPS


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