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 Post subject: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello All,

Had been searching for a Zenith Royal 150 for awhile and late last night this one "pops" up on Ebay as a "Buy It Now" and it was local ! Was more money than I wanted to spend and there weren't many pictures, so initially made an offer. When there wasn't a quick response, looked carefully at pics which were in listing and it appeared that from what could be seen, radio was in very good condition so "hit the button" so I didn't lose it ! It had the original presentation & carrying cases.

The seller kindly met me half-way at a gas-station to deliver the radio and said that it worked. Was now excited to get it home ! Once removed from case, saw that it was in very good original condition other than a tiny chip at bottom of left side. Even the gold-toned plating on plastic edge surrounding speaker grille showed minimal wear ! Inside nearly pristine including battery compartment ! Small, clear vinyl tip still on kickstand. Did a little preliminary cleaning with a water-dampened Q-tip to remove light soiling from tuning knob bright and lower part of trim panel.

Installed batteries and it worked great other than "scratchy" volume control. Volume just a bit lower than expected at first, but increased in a few seconds. Sound quality is fantastic for this size radio---very clear & clean with great fidelity, not too much different from the Royal 500H and much better than the earlier Royal 500's ! It is 6-transistor having an OTL audio-output circuit which uses a "special" speaker with center-tapped voice-coil like RCA's of same vintage. The vernier tuning is still "silky smooth" and performance very good though I haven't touched the alignment yet. This appears to be a great well-made radio.

Think I'll keep this one original for now other than "tweaking". Already so clean that I'll just detail it with soft, damp then dry cotton cloth pieces and Q-tips without disassembly. Just a bit of dust under outer tuning knob, but plastic very good. Only a few light scuffs on plastic sides, not worth polishing. Thought it was black in seller's pic, but in person it's a dark brownish-gray---need to find what Zenith called this color...

This was the last Zenith set that I was actively trying to find for collection, though will always be hard to pass by any super-bargains that cross my path ! It appears to be a great radio and am very thankful to find such a nice example to "play with" and add to collection ! Also grateful that I received a good price for some vintage Ham equipment I cleaned up and sold recently as I possibly wouldn't have bought this otherwise...

Only know of one other Guy here who has one of these---anyone else ? As always, like to hear others' experiences...

"Before" pic below... Will post more pictures once complete !

John


Attachments:
ARF ROYAL 150 BEF 9-22 21.jpg
ARF ROYAL 150 BEF 9-22 21.jpg [ 429.61 KiB | Viewed 772 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 10:36 pm 
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Posts: 1659
Location: Panama City, FL 32401
That's really beautiful John. They called it " charcoal " color. They were unique in their size, being bigger than a pocket size but smaller than a coat size. Also both the 100 and 150 were 4.5 volt chassis. Mine sounded much better after recapping. The 150 added vernier tuning. I think they both used the same electrolytics:

2-50uf
16uf
5uf

They are very prone to "chipping " but look nice.


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20190526_000856_resize_69.jpg
20190526_000856_resize_69.jpg [ 573.46 KiB | Viewed 743 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks ZR---see you also have an "early" version with protruding outer tuning knob ! Wonder when they made the transition ???

This set appears to have been made in early 1961 from the date codes I could find.

Noticed that the Royal 100 "Zenette" has an audio output transformer. From what I've seen, the Royal 150 is the only Zenith transistor portable to ever use that speaker with center-tapped voice-coil. How does audio quality compare between the 100 & 150 ?

Also wonder if Zenith got the idea of the "soap bar" radios with rear kickstand from Philco ??? Interesting to see styling ideas borrowed from other manufacturers on various products through the years...

John


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 39546
Location: SoCal, 91387
Great looking example, John, and certainly seems to be a rarity. I've never seen another like that model.

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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 04, 2021 2:18 am
Posts: 574
Location: New Hampshire
xrhonda91 wrote:

Also wonder if Zenith got the idea of the "soap bar" radios with rear kickstand from Philco ??? Interesting to see styling ideas borrowed from other manufacturers on various products through the years...




I wouldn't be surprised if they did, The of the 100 reminds me of a Philco t-77. I have also been noticing the "soap bar" style Philcos have very similar parts and circuits to the Zenith 40s.

I myself really like American-made shirtpocket radios, the zeniths are very popular so I tend to go with the Philco's.


Nice job John.

Henry


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Thu 23, 2021 2:13 am 
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Location: Panama City, FL 32401
xrhonda91 wrote:
Thanks ZR---see you also have an "early" version with protruding outer tuning knob ! Wonder when they made the transition ???

This set appears to have been made in early 1961 from the date codes I could find.

Noticed that the Royal 100 "Zenette" has an audio output transformer. From what I've seen, the Royal 150 is the only Zenith transistor portable to ever use that speaker with center-tapped voice-coil. How does audio quality compare between the 100 & 150 ?

Also wonder if Zenith got the idea of the "soap bar" radios with rear kickstand from Philco ??? Interesting to see styling ideas borrowed from other manufacturers on various products through the years...

John


Not sure about the knobs, but the audio quality is the same on both models, no noticeable difference. I'm very pleased with the audio.


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Thu 23, 2021 5:58 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
ZR---sound quality is impressive on these. Don't think I have another radio this size in collection that sounds as good !

Found this old ad scan on-line---this color is known as "charcoal grey". Can't deny any of it's claims !

John


Attachments:
arf ROYAL 150 AD.jpg
arf ROYAL 150 AD.jpg [ 611.57 KiB | Viewed 697 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Thu 23, 2021 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Aug Tue 31, 2021 5:50 pm
Posts: 34
325 dollars in todays money, not cheap! Nice radio and styling!

Cheers, Geoff


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Thu 23, 2021 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
Posts: 18648
Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
I don't see the problem… the iPhone 13 costs between a grand and 16 hundred bucks today.
Check that out with the real median earnings - - - The average U.S. household income is $87,864, and the median is $61,937
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13.jpg
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anyhoo... transistor radios were the internet of the day!

Tony Prince announces Elvis Presley's death on Radio Luxembourg.
I was 15 years old and tucked up in bed on a school night with my AM transistor radio.

"Radio Luxembourg was the first radio station in Europe to announce Elvis Presley's death. Tony Prince was the first European DJ to play Elvis Presley songs non-stop, upon hearing about the singer's death in the late hours of August 16. This recording starts at 10.41pm and you get to hear the last few songs of Mark Wesley doing a chart rundown.
The first sign that anything has happened comes at 10.52pm when Wesley tells listeners to stand by for an important announcement. At 11pm Mark Wesley reads the news and announces Elvis' death, and then it's the Tony Prince show. Prince, close to tears at times, devotes his entire show to Elvis, finishing at 3.45am. Unfortunately, this recording only captures the first hour."
https://www.elvis.com.au/presley/tony-p ... ourg.shtml


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 5:30 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks Geoff

Completed this little gem today !

Pulled tuning knobs and chassis and detail cleaned. The screw on volume knob would not loosen, so cut a slit in a small piece of poly sheet and placed it beneath to protect PCB from water as I cleaned the grooved edge with water-dampened "stubby" toothbrush. Cleaned top & bottom of all knobs with water-dampened, then dry Q-tips. Used same toothbrush method on edge of outer tuning knob. Used the "nubby" inside surfaces of white cotton sock pieces, one water-dampened and other dry to clean grille (which actually was a bit dirty) and cabinet. Used Q-tips with Windex to clean battery compartment, though there was just a tiny bit of dried residue in one corner. Appears that scuffing on cabinet sides was caused by the very stiff and tight leatherette carrying case---will not place radio inside it again.

Was curious as to why the radio was so heavy and discovered once chassis removed that the speaker was the reason. Nearly as wide as the cabinet, it is a very sturdy unit with larger magnet and deeper basket than usual---explains the extraordinarily good sound quality for size of radio. Another "truth" in their advertising ! Unfortunately, the fish-paper insulator is not only glued to back of speaker, but to the mounting hardware as well, so couldn't remove it to show front side.

The rear cover "snaps" into place very securely, but there is also a slotted chromed mounting screw.

Noticed when taking pictures that the grille appearance changes with lighting angle---it is actually gold-toned, but when light hits it a certain way, it looks silver.

Treated volume control with DeOxit Faderlube, but haven't had a chance yet to test it again as I ran out of time due to other responsibilities. Will post final test results when time allows...

Below are the "complete" pictures with the last one showing it between two other radios of same vintage, a Royal 125 & 500H, to show size...

John


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02ARF 150 CHS OUT 9-24-21.jpg
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03ARF 150 KNBS CLN 9-24-21.jpg
03ARF 150 KNBS CLN 9-24-21.jpg [ 735.25 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
04ARF 150 CLN & RDY 4 KNBS 9-24-21.jpg
04ARF 150 CLN & RDY 4 KNBS 9-24-21.jpg [ 742.58 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
05ARF 150 CVR INS CLN 9-24-21.jpg
05ARF 150 CVR INS CLN 9-24-21.jpg [ 547.71 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
06ARF 150 CMPLT INS 9-24-21.jpg
06ARF 150 CMPLT INS 9-24-21.jpg [ 594.95 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
07ARF 150 CMPLT IN PRESENT CASE 9-24-21.jpg
07ARF 150 CMPLT IN PRESENT CASE 9-24-21.jpg [ 526.24 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
08ARF 150 CMPLT BK 9-24-21.jpg
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09ARF 150 CMPLT FRT LFT 9-24-21.jpg
09ARF 150 CMPLT FRT LFT 9-24-21.jpg [ 608.12 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
10ARF 125 150 500H 9-24-21.jpg
10ARF 125 150 500H 9-24-21.jpg [ 730.77 KiB | Viewed 604 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 7:57 am 
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Posts: 39546
Location: SoCal, 91387
Amazing. You should lend your talents to a radio museum, John!

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\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\He Who Dies With The Most Radios Wins/////////////////////////


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks Richard ! This and the 500H were in very nice condition when received, so detail cleaning wasn't that difficult even though it always takes time when you're being extra careful not to cause harm...

Before testing this morning, removed and re-seated transistors to ensure good connections. Leads and sockets appeared as pristine as most internal components. Volume control now fine after Faderlube, but radio still needs to be on a couple minutes before it sounded good due to electrolytics. Also, AGC not quite right as strong local signals were very loud and there was occasional "tweet" while listening. So will probably replace the caps eventually. Just don't want to as chassis looks so good and original electrolytics are "waxed" to adjoining components.

Also performed an alignment. The 2nd IF needed slight "tweak", but others appeared dead-on. Noticed that lower-end signals very weak and about 40 kHz higher than dial markings. Had to go back and forth between oscillator coil and trimmer MANY times to get tracking correct and now reception much better across band though sensitivity not quite as good as I thought it would be. The oscillator and antenna trimmers very touchy.

Still impressed by this little radio, but really could use electrolytic replacement...

John


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Sun 26, 2021 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 29, 2012 6:32 pm
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Location: 13760
Another great find! I had been looking for that model, but never ended up getting one. They are fairly uncommon. From your pictures and report, it sounds like a great radio, I wonder why it didn't sell so well. Perhaps it was because the price wasn't all that far from the from price of the Royal 500.


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 6:28 am 
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Joined: Oct Wed 27, 2010 5:12 am
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nice looking radio with OTL design.


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks Guys !

Matt---also appears that the case was brittle plastic and prone to chips & cracks along with the painted aluminum trim being easily damaged or corroded which may have led to many being prematurely trashed.

Michael---welcome to ARF !

Hope to replace the electrolytics this week...

John


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 14, 2007 11:37 pm
Posts: 1499
Quote:
Found this old ad scan on-line---this color is known as "charcoal grey". Can't deny any of it's claims !


Those people are now just skeletons in the ground but the radio lives on! That's a cool zenith.


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 Post subject: Re: The Zenith Royal 150 --- simple project, great radio !
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 7165
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Replaced electrolytics today and it made no noticeable difference---originals tested slightly higher capacitance-wise, but within reason and the ESR measurements were good.

Discovered probable reason for "waxing" all electrolytics to adjacent components. Appears that they had been removed after initial assembly as their solder pads were somewhat damaged, so the wax was used to prevent movement which eventually could cause the trace to break. There was also wax melted over connections on PCB bottom. Looking closely, I'm thinking this was actually a Zenith factory rework job as the wax appears the same type as what is securing the ferrite-bar antenna wiring. Am guessing that the assembler installed them all backwards and inspection caught it. They all have 6104 date code which fits in with other dated components I noticed.

After completion, noticed while tuning across band that the tracking had drifted off at the lower half of band again after alignment the other day---in the same direction ! And even after electrolytic replacement, it still takes a couple minutes before radio sounds "right". Am wondering if the converter transistor may be degrading ??? Will "play" another day...

Below is latest interior pic. Notice that I also glued the tiny original black foam pad back onto the film caps to prevent movement when cover installed...

John


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ARF 150 RECPPD 9-29-21.jpg
ARF 150 RECPPD 9-29-21.jpg [ 577.99 KiB | Viewed 399 times ]
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