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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Sun 06, 2019 6:25 pm 
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Location: Mission Viejo, southern California
bobwilson1977 wrote:
As I have zero skills in woodwork, my wife who has lots of patience cut out a new piece for the grill using a box cutter blade. She then stained it for me. So now its installed in the aforementioned Pilot. I did refinish the damaged top and did some touch-ups in the areas where the finish was scuffed. New grill cloth as well. Its now totally done. The museum has decided they would like to sell this to me. Its perhaps one of my favorite radios and will be put in a prominent area of the living room. The sound on this is also rather fantastic.
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Very nice! You wife must have steady hands. Barry Dagestino told me about a trophy and promotional items shop with a laser cutter. I had them re-make a grille for my Sentinel 11 / 104:

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Tue 15, 2019 5:42 pm 
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Its been awhile since I've had radios to work on... we had a sort of "radio drought" where I ran out of radios to work on. This last weekend 20 sets showed up, many rather interesting ones at that, and thus the restorations proceed....

1: This is a really unusual set. Its a GOLD painted RCA 118 from 1935.
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So when I first got it I noticed what at least initially appeared to be a replacement cloth cord... it looked brand new. I assumed the set had been worked on. BUT... here is where things get interesting..

The pics won't do it justice but to me it appears the set was NEVER used, or if used, maybe just a few times. The chassis is in like-new condition. None of the contacts for the tone control or band switches shows any wear. ALL of the tubes are the same RCA/ Cunningham brand with the exact same branding. ALL of the tubes tested 100% good. The underside of the chassis showed a totally untouched chassis with all original components.

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Even as seen here, the small "reflectors" in front of the dial lamps are pristine whereas they are always burnt or heavily discolored from heat.

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As seen, the finish is akin to an automotive job with no runs, no brush marks or uneveness.
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So my opinion? The set might have been used as a prop or some sort of display. The finish was likely done when the set was brand-new and thus original to the set but perhaps not from the manufacturer.

2: This really interesting Delco 6-tuber with power transformer, mounted in a neat steamed plywood case. Very machine age minalmist. Has a good sound quality too.

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Tue 15, 2019 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
RCA is a real nice looking radio, sure that would make a hit with the few non radio people who see my collection. Only being pretty counts. And no worn out band switch either. Gotta say it: I would have enjoyed re-stuffing that one and keeping it.

thanks for posting Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Tue 15, 2019 7:31 pm 
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Location: Glendale, CA
Hi Bob,

That RCA looks really nice. To check on the color of the original finish, take off the dial and look at what's underneath. Maybe it was a promo radio that RCA or some dealer used for a display model. That radio may be quite special and something that the museum wants to hang on to.

Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Tue 15, 2019 7:49 pm 
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We're going to hold the radio for now because we too think its rather unusual. I hope we can find out more of its history.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Wed 16, 2019 7:37 pm 
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Location: Mission Viejo, southern California
That gold finish certainly looks original, certainly old.

It is amazing that CHRS receives so many donated radios, including quite interesting radios. Perhaps the same thing would happen if we also had a museum in southern California....

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Thu 24, 2019 10:43 pm 
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More updates.

1: This little Fada. Previously the set was in a cardboard box . The case was smashed and missing the knobs and dial plastic cover. It was glued together and painted. Knobs were found as well and also painted.
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2:GE "Musaphonic" set. These actually sound pretty nice for a cheap plastic set. These are weird because they use a early hybrid PCB and direct wired chassis. A basic overhaul and a polishing of the case. The dial lamp holder was broken and fixed.
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3: This large Magnavox set with 2 speakers and push-pull audio using a pair of 35c5's. Kind of a weird radio and one I haven't run into before.

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Initially I saw it had a HUGE selenium rectifier. I wasn't sure if the typical 1N007 type diodes I use would replace it. I tried anyway along with a 100ohm, 10 watt resistor which I glued to the chassis using high heat silicone used in ovens. The answer is yes, it worked just fine.
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4: early 50's Motorola AA5. It didn't work at all when I got it. 50C5 was toast. And then I wasn't paying attention ( might've been the beer) and tacked in one of the electrolytics in the wrong spot. The radio worked but made a god awful humming sound. After seeing that the cap was feeding into 12Be6 I was amazed it didn't fry the whole set. After putting the cap where it was supposed to go, it worked fine. Man am I a dunce!

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And then I got oil all over the dial cord, which took some time to clean off with cleaners and carb cleaner.
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Paint was polished up. I could not remove the blemish on the plastic dial. Looks like someone spilled something corrosive on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Fri 25, 2019 1:41 am 
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Bob, I have to ask - I noticed you have started using a lot of blue disc caps on some radios. Are those X2/Y2 caps? And why so many?

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Fri 25, 2019 2:01 am 
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On some radio I've been using safety caps to ground. The smaller blue ceramics are high voltage rated and I use those when I tie into the sets volume control. I do that to run an audio line input and the reason I use them is because in order to make that safe then level of impedance needs to be driven down to such a level that place is it under 5 milliamps. Actually when tested the configuration I'm using places that rating under 5 milliamps in more like 2 milliamps. That won't even trip a GFCI outlet. Anyway, it's all done for safety and also to give the set an additional use. Ordinarily it's very difficult to sell a radio that just as a.m. . But when they can also use it to listen to music then that makes them much more desirable.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Fri 25, 2019 5:49 am 
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The Motorola is cool Bob. Is a 100 ohm 10 watt resistor the standard value when upgrading most selenuims ? Also what do use to polish your AA5 radios with ? Because they turn out great. Thanks

Skippy


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Fri 25, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Ordinarily I will go with something like a 75ohm, 5 watt resistor for sets with seleniums. But this set above had a HUGE selenium so I decided to beef up the resistor a bit.

As far as polish there are a number of good plastic polishes. My favorite is Novus. Usually Novus No.2 will do most of what you want. I also have a big bottle of stuff called 3M Finesse it. Its a automotive product used for doing a final buff/ machine polish of a new paint job. I don't use it often- usually just on exceptionally nice sets because the stuff costs $40 per bottle. But if used right you can get a nice mirror finish in the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Sat 26, 2019 2:08 am 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
Ordinarily I will go with something like a 75ohm, 5 watt resistor for sets with seleniums. But this set above had a HUGE selenium so I decided to beef up the resistor a bit.

As far as polish there are a number of good plastic polishes. My favorite is Novus. Usually Novus No.2 will do most of what you want. I also have a big bottle of stuff called 3M Finesse it. Its a automotive product used for doing a final buff/ machine polish of a new paint job. I don't use it often- usually just on exceptionally nice sets because the stuff costs $40 per bottle. But if used right you can get a nice mirror finish in the end.


Thanks

Skippy


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Mon 28, 2019 11:56 pm 
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Here's a few more projects, some a bit random.

1: This medium sized Philco in a art deco cabinet. I can't take credit for a lot of this one. It had been electrically restored from what I could tell maybe in the 80's. So I freshened it up by replacing the electrolytics . The top of the cabinet was ruined and had to be sanded down and repainted. It also got a bluetooth module installed.
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2: Someone dropped off a big Motorola console. Must have been an upper end model as it came with a separate speaker cabinet, shown here with the back removed. Its a 15" woofer, a crossover with mid-range and tweeter. The console had been gutted of its tuner and turntable. But the amp was there and as we need to get this thing gone I overhauled the amp, installed a switch, and will sell it with the big speaker. It sounds rather amazing, and the amp has 2 EL34's as the output.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Jan Thu 31, 2019 5:35 pm 
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Today's update is a trifecta of small tabletop sets.

1: This Zenith clock radio. I've done a few of these and they must have been popular sellers at the time. They are sort of a pain because getting the chassis in and out is not easy as the clock has to come out too, and getting in there is a tight squeeze.
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When I did get the chassis out I was surprised to find it had been infested with mud wasp nests.
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Now... for those of you who are curious about these, well the wasps will go collect little dabs of mud, make a hollow container, then find, sting, and paralyze a spider, stuff the spider into the tube, lay an egg on it and when the egg hatches it consumes the spider- while its still alive- from the inside out. So in other words the innards of the radio was a scene of unspeakable horrors.

Here's some of the spider carcasses whom met their grisly demise. I just took a screwdriver and busted em' out of there.
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I forgot to take pics of the restored chassis but oh well...they all look the same anyway.
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The set was filthy so it was taken 100% apart and cleaned up, polished, put back together
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2: This very plain and generic Packard Bell.
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I swear these look more like a kit someone would've ordered versus something made in a factory. Very cheap and chincy. But hey- it works so that's all that matters.
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3: This somewhat elegant Bulova clock radio donated to us by Mike. Thanks Mike!
Right away I could tell the RF can was bad. So that was replaced, it was recapped and after some alignment of the new RF can it worked.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Fri 01, 2019 1:10 am 
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Like that Bulova, found one like it a number of years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 6:09 pm 
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A recent batch of sets were de-accessioned from the Museum's collection and thus they will be eventually sold. So I took some of these home to restore. There's definitely some interesting items this time around.

1: A ISKRA radio, made in... Yugoslavia. No Yugo jokes!
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Its not exactly different from a typical German set with anonymous styling and the same general tube layout.
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Fairly typical construction. The quality is decent but definitely on the cheaper side. It wasn't nearly as "rat's nesty" as most German sets. Definitely not a common sight in the US. I assume it came over with immigrants from there.
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2: Dark butterscotch plastic Arvin portable. I generally hate working on portables because due to their nature of being carried around the level of emphasis on shielding and filtering in the chassis is far greater and hence there's more caps to replace AND in a tiny space.
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As seen... really crammed in there.
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Oh well.. Given a polish with Novus and its good to go.
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3: A first for me: a battery transistor radio. I usually don't work on these but I liked this one as it looks like a tube portable versus a transistor set. Sort of nice knowing there's no way I could electrocute myself on this one, but I kept on reaching for a cord anytime I tested something out of habit.
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The old lytics were of course dried out. All replaced and now it works. Just a single 9 volt battery.
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4: medium sized GE AM/FM set. Unlike a lot of earlier FM sets this one works great. It needed a total recap. I've done one of these before and they use a TON of caps . It took all evening last night to do that. But it works great now. The original plastic dial had turned into goo. I found a hopefully believable replacement.
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5: Someone brought in a Remler and wanted it recapped. Not a terribly complicated job. Amazing that the delicate filligreed plastic back isn't busted...
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 6:58 pm 
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That Remler is a beauty. As you say how did that back not get busted.

There were a few US makers who made portables with a ferrite rod in the handle. Seems such a smart ideas as it just gets rotated after its put down.

thanks for the pics Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 8:03 pm 
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The Remler was a locally made ( San Francisco ) radio. The cases are often cracked or busted because IMHO the cases are too thin to support the chassis. Remler used sort of beefy chassis's and transformers and if the set ever fell over, the weight of the chassis generally causes lots of damage.
And yup- putting the antenna in the handle was sort of a "thing" in the 50's usually in the form of a "Boomerang" which was a popular icon.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Wed 13, 2019 5:43 pm 
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Here's the latest: a Grrreat big Panasonic ( National ) from the 50's.
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This set had so many problems.
1: Electrolytics were bad ( a given ) and all replaced.

2: Volume pot was also bad. That too was replaced.

3: The speaker coil form was weirdly deformed and thus making an awful noise. Speaker replaced with a spare that was sitting in the parts bin ( an old Wharfdale )

4: And THEN the worst issue. So I had the set up and running and went to go dig for a replacement speaker. When I tried the new speaker all I got was sound coming from the tweeter but not the woofer even though they shared the same connections. I seriously spent the better part of half a day trying to figure that out. Voltage measurements looked correct up and down the audio sections. The tubes were all tested. I tried everything.

In the end it was a cold solder joint coming off one of the pins of the output tube.
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The case was a bit rough so it was taken apart, repainted, and all of the plastic and chrome polished.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Thu 21, 2019 4:51 pm 
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Here's another dump of radio projects.

1: A medium sized mid 60's NordeMende stereo console. This was a restoration job for a woman who had bought a console from the museum a few years ago and now she found another.

If I ever have one of these sets come through the door I will turn it down. I'm used to German sets being more difficult to service. This set was nearly impossible. It was designed as if it was never meant to be worked on, with components and entire sections of the chassis utterly buried and hidden away. As a result it took a huge amount of time and effort to slowly fish out, snip, and replace all of the caps inside.
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For example this small board that had all of the caps for the audio controls , stuffed up inside the chassis. I was able to disconnect it and get a bit more wiggle room. But all in all, an utterly unpleasant project to work on.
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The record player was cleaned and lubricated and a small bluetooth receiver was added to the input.
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2: This FM-only Silvertone. This has sat around for a year at the museum as it was filthy and had a big chunk missing out of the corner. I felt sorry for it so it was recapped and I made a new corner. Albeit not the best job. But it works great.
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3: This very plain-jane Emerson. Image

Initially it didn't work at all. As in no B+, no filaments... nuttin'. Turns out 12SK7 was toast. After a recap it works fine. Clearly a cheap model of the time with cheap wood case.
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4: Very common Zenith AM/FM set with phono input. Originally came in a baby-poop colored case, which would never sell. Sanded down and repainted a aquamarine color, which is a popular color.
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As usual the selenium rectifier was replaced with a new diode and resistor. But somehow I was not paying attention and ran both positive and negative leads together... Yes- I know, a stupid mistake. Anyway the result was an instant hissing and snapping sound. The power resistor right after the rectifier simply burnt in half, saving the rest of the set from severe damage.
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After that drama the set was recapped. These are easy as over half of the originals are ceramic thus no need to replace those.
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