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 Post subject: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Aug Wed 18, 2021 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7089
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello All,

Bought this 1959 GE P-800A Saturday at the IHRS radio club meet. Wasn't on my "list", but have liked its looks for awhile and the guy who had it made me an offer at close-down time I just couldn't refuse---$5... Even though dirty, it still looked good and the trim panel was in very nice shape. He had installed batteries and it only "motorboated" when turned on---bad electrolytics...

Began refurb soon after I returned home. Disassembled and detail cleaned the "cosmetics" and slightly corroded battery contacts. The top surface of the clear outside section of tuning knob was cloudy due to fine scratching from years of use and required many "rounds" of polishing with Novus-2. The small "magnifier" lens appears to have a couple tiny stress cracks. The white case has several slightly stained and discolored areas and decided to leave it alone since they're not that obvious. There were a few heavy spots of black paint which fortunately came off easily with Isopropyl alcohol. The grille cloth insert was not only secured by melted plastic pins, but also glued, so had to leave it in for cleaning. Fortunately, it cleaned up well in sink with no damage.

The old tape securing ferrite-rod antenna to mount had come loose at one end, so applied new. One corner of the PCB and corresponding cabinet front mounting boss was broken off. Someone had previously added a wire jumper for the ground trace in that area and I replaced it. This is a difficult radio to disassemble and definitely isn't service friendly. There is a hidden screw to remove the steel volume control & tuner mounting bracket from cabinet front and you have to manipulate the PCB to the proper position to gain access through hole behind the volume control. Interesting diversity of transistors. The converter is an oval Sylvania, one IF-amp is a "pinch-top" round GE "top-hat" and the other an oval, the audio driver is a Philco "bullet", and audio output an RCA !

Replaced all the original Nashville electrolytics and applied power. Now received stronger signals across band with decent volume and sound quality. An alignment made a noticeable difference, but radio definitely not a DX'er ! Was surprised that sensitivity wasn't even good enough to receive the strongest of my two favorite oldies stations loud enough to listen to. Transistor voltages okay, but perhaps one is still defective ? Didn't want to disassemble again now, so that will be a future project if I find out that low performance isn't normal. Know that these are fairly common and that Matt had one---does anyone else have one that they've refurbished and could give me a "performance report" ???

Below are the project pics---took a few close-ups of the pin-drive reed speaker for those who are curious. This one produces pretty good sound quality...

John


Attachments:
01ARF P-800A CHS TOP BEF 8-18-21.jpg
01ARF P-800A CHS TOP BEF 8-18-21.jpg [ 723.61 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
02ARF P-800A CHS TOP-EDGE BEF 8-18-21.jpg
02ARF P-800A CHS TOP-EDGE BEF 8-18-21.jpg [ 408.26 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
03ARF P-800A PCB TOP-LOWER BEF 8-18-21.jpg
03ARF P-800A PCB TOP-LOWER BEF 8-18-21.jpg [ 527.41 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
04ARF P-800A SPKR LOWER 8-18-21.jpg
04ARF P-800A SPKR LOWER 8-18-21.jpg [ 711.55 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
05ARF P-800A SPKR SIDE 8-18-21.jpg
05ARF P-800A SPKR SIDE 8-18-21.jpg [ 894.58 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
06ARF P-800A SPKR UPPER 8-18-21.jpg
06ARF P-800A SPKR UPPER 8-18-21.jpg [ 851.83 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
07ARF P-800A PCB CMPLT & PRTS CLN 8-18-21.jpg
07ARF P-800A PCB CMPLT & PRTS CLN 8-18-21.jpg [ 944.35 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
08ARF P-800A PRTS CLN 8-18-21.jpg
08ARF P-800A PRTS CLN 8-18-21.jpg [ 1022.02 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
09ARF P-800A CMPLT INS 8-18-21.jpg
09ARF P-800A CMPLT INS 8-18-21.jpg [ 685.64 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
10ARF P-800A CMPLT 8-18-21.jpg
10ARF P-800A CMPLT 8-18-21.jpg [ 637.48 KiB | Viewed 1137 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Aug Wed 18, 2021 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 04, 2021 2:18 am
Posts: 525
Location: New Hampshire
Hey John,

I was going to ask you if you'd picked up anything at the IHRS meet, looks like you did! Not bad for $5 either... Looks very good. Any other finds?

I find the transistor assortment very interesting, perhaps that's what they had available at the time. Surplus maybe? I often see RCAs or the "top hats" in my earlier GE's, not both however.


Kinda curious what's on your "list" of radios you'd like to refurbish?


Henry


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Tue 07, 2021 11:31 am 
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Not bad for $5, and nice work on the refurb.


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 08, 2021 5:36 pm 
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As we've come to expect another great restoration, magnificent!!!



whfh99 wrote:
Hey John,

I find the transistor assortment very interesting, perhaps that's what they had available at the time. Surplus maybe? I often see RCAs or the "top hats" in my earlier GE's, not both however.

Henry


Back in day companies were using several other mfgr parts(basically what they could source). Generally transistor inventory was anything but surplus.

The early GE P-780 can have oval Sylvania, GE top hats, plus often RCA & even a light blue Raytheon in same radio. Later, mostly GE with 2nd IF usually a oval top hat GE.

P-805/806 often have at least one transistor from General Transistor(GT). I believe they were bought out by Texas Instrument.

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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 08, 2021 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks Guys !

A radio club friend has one of these and did a "test run" for me a few days ago---said performance very good across band, so this set may have a bad transistor.

John


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Thu 09, 2021 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Omak,WA,usa
Hello john,
Nice job the set ,
the next set I want to restore next is my Sony TR-610 The craziest thing about set is this set must have the tiniest multi electrolytic capacitor it has two 2oufds and one 10ufd in one can .
Anyway some of these radios are a real pain to take apart .
Sincerely Richard


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 6:06 pm 
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Location: 13760
xrhonda91 wrote:
Know that these are fairly common and that Matt had one---does anyone else have one that they've refurbished and could give me a "performance report" ???


John, I do indeed have one of these, which I have refurbished, and the sensitivity and selectivity are excellent. The sound quality though, not so much, at least at anything above low volume.
Mine is like yours on the transistor front as well, with that lovely assortment of transistors. In my opinion, this is one of GE's most attractive radios.
Interesting that GE didn't build it with exclusively their own transistors; I'm guessing that was done for cost (and/or space) reasons, because it doesn't exactly say good things about their own parts! Though, GE's bulky top hat style transistors do seem to be very reliable.


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 9:34 pm 
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radiorich wrote:
Hello john,
Nice job the set ,
the next set I want to restore next is my Sony TR-610 The craziest thing about set is this set must have the tiniest multi electrolytic capacitor it has two 2oufds and one 10ufd in one can .
Anyway some of these radios are a real pain to take apart .
Sincerely Richard

Hey Rich, that triple value Electrolytic style was used in several different Japanese makes in the early '60's.


John, I have two P-800's, and as to be expected from General Electric, their performance is excellent. I'd suggest you troubleshoot yours to find the weak link.

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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 11, 2021 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7089
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks much, Guys---guess I'll be "playing" with it again !

Matt---I agree that it's a very good looking set. But what were they thinking about serviceability ???

John


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 Post subject: Re: GE P-800A project---a deal I couldn't refuse !
PostPosted: Sep Sun 12, 2021 4:47 am 
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John, GE definitely wasn't thinking about serviceability with this one, or their metal-cased portables, those are a pain to work on too!


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