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 Post subject: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Sat 04, 2019 7:15 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5834
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello All,

This is a radio that's been on the list for awhile---to find a decent one at a good price as I already have a very nice early (concave grille and no "500D" script) version. Have always been intrigued by the "inverted cone" speaker Zenith offered on that one model and wanted to see one in person and see how it sounded compared to a "normal" speaker.

This set "popped" up one day on Etsy for $20 and jumped at it---but oh boy, what an ordeal it turned out to be ! After making purchase, sent a short, polite e-mail to seller simply asking them to package it carefully since they normally didn't deal with radios. He seemed to have a sense of humor and said that his cat would do so... Four days later I got a notice of refund from PayPal and a note saying that he had thought about it and didn't think I'd be satisfied with radio, so cancelled the sale. Thinking he had sold it to someone else after I'd bought it (which he hadn't), contacted him and we went back and forth several times over a couple days (not fun !) and he finally said he'd sell it to me only if I promised in writing not to ask for a refund or return. Almost would like to post the conversations for full effect...

And then it arrived yesterday... Wrapped in a dirty, torn used bubble envelope stuffed inside another---maybe the cat really did it ? Radio was just as described and photographed. Said it worked, but was dead when batteries installed. Found a wire on battery box that had corroded off of terminal due to leakage---not a problem. Jumped with a clip-lead and radio did seem to work at low volume---likely due to bad electrolytic(s)... But the vernier tuning was very tight and rough ! Noticed that sand had gotten inside set and suspected this was problem---and after pulling chassis, the grease around tuning shaft was caked with it ! Had been through this before with a simpler, non-vernier drive tuner, but this smaller one will have to be pulled for proper cleaning... Grateful that at least that special speaker is good---sure is an odd looking device !

Even with the hassles & flaws, have no regrets on this one---am looking forward to getting it as "up to snuff" as possible...

Has anyone else here compared the sound quality of this type speaker to a "normal" one of same size ?
John


Attachments:
arf 500d etsy.jpg
arf 500d etsy.jpg [ 210.79 KiB | Viewed 379 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Tue 07, 2019 2:57 am 
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Joined: Jan Sun 06, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 4267
Location: Richmond, VA
John, that looks pretty good for a $20 radio. I have the early version, sometimes called the 500RD, from around 1957. It does not have the convex speaker with improved tonal range , but it does sound nice.

Attachment:
ADB994A2-8BF5-4110-BD7D-98466D9CDB34.png
ADB994A2-8BF5-4110-BD7D-98466D9CDB34.png [ 370.04 KiB | Viewed 302 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Tue 07, 2019 5:51 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 4360
Location: Sunnyvale CA
xrhonda91 wrote:

Has anyone else here compared the sound quality of this type speaker to a "normal" one of same size ?
John


I can't tell the difference - or at least, the difference between the designs is much less significant that the differences from radio to radio. I think that it is not consequentially different, on average. We aren't talking about high-fidelity systems here.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Tue 07, 2019 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5834
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks much, Guys !

Ed---think I remember you posting on your radio long ago ? Really nice ! I've got an example of the early version also and it does perform excellent and sound good, but typical of speaker size---that's what prompted interest in the later version when I heard about its "special" speaker. And the price is reason for continuing the two-day "game" with the seller---would have simply let it go otherwise...

Brett---thought (and hoped) that the radically different speaker design might make a noticeable difference, but will find out ! Believe that the chassis is identical otherwise...

May be awhile as both bench & work-table are now full and outdoor & garage work are calling...

John


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Fri 10, 2019 8:22 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5834
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello All,

Spent hours on tuning cap yesterday---worse than I thought and had to spread frame with home-made tool to loosen and thoroughly clean & flush bearings/race. Evidently opened frame too much and it was "sprung". Tried to reform very carefully in vise, but ended up destroying it---arghhh !

Now need to find a pre-500E vernier tuning cap or junked chassis...

John


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Fri 10, 2019 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 06, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 4267
Location: Richmond, VA
Sorry to hear that. At least you gave it a try, and i’m always amazed at the successes you do have fixing stuff few would even dare to try. Hope you find a donor.

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Last edited by Ed Morris on May Sat 11, 2019 1:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 12:50 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 26, 2009 1:50 am
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Location: Mesquite NV 89027 (from Coventry, UK)
Sorry to hear about the tuning cap. Hopefully a replacement will turn up.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 8:17 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 31324
Location: SoCal, 91387
Ed Morris wrote:
Sorry to hear that. At least you gave it a try, and i’m always amazed at the successes you do have fixing stuff few would even dare to try. Hope you find a donor.

Agreed, John very often performs miracle repairs that the rest of us mere mortals would never attempt.

Hey John, won't be the first time a second chassis is needed to make one good radio. Being able to normally repair solid state equipment from the 1955 era, 64 years old, is an accomplishment all by itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5834
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks much, Guys !

At least there are a lot of the Royal 500B's through D's with the same vernier tuning cap---just have to find someone who has a junker !

John


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Sat 11, 2019 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 23, 2018 11:53 pm
Posts: 166
Location: Appleton, WI 54914
John, try Gary at http://www.garysradios.com/ I have bout a few cosmetic parts from him before.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500D (late) project---ordeal to be...
PostPosted: May Fri 24, 2019 5:10 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5834
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks CJ Design---already bought cap from Jim at transistor-repairs.com (which is now gone)...

Hello All,

Purchased a tuning cap from Jim at Transistor-repairs.com and it arrived yesterday, so was able to finally complete this radio.

Disassembled, removed and protected the speaker, replaced all electrolytics, repaired corroded battery compartment connection, and installed new tuning cap. There was sand just about everywhere on the top side of PCB, so used soft-bristled paintbrush to clean all reachable areas and blew off carefully with compressed air. There were even particles stuck in ferrite bar antenna wax, so rubbed off all I could with alcohol dampened piece of cloth and then carefully "reflowed" wax with soldering iron over entire surface (and wiring). Placed vacuum cleaner nozzle near volume control opening and rotated shaft back & forth several times to hopefully remove any loose grit inside. Used Q-tips and Windex to clean battery compartment.

Cleaned the cabinet parts and knobs using soft toothbrush with weak solution of Blue-Coral car wash liquid. Polished the scuffed back sides of clear volume and tuning dials with Novus-2. Noticed that the tuning dial seemed shrunken slightly---heat or sun exposure ??? Carefully cleaned insides of back covers to avoid wetting labels. Touched up "0" in "500D" script with Ultra-Fine black Sharpie marker...

Reinstalled speaker on chassis and inserted batteries. Applied power and radio worked well with excellent sensitivity & selectivity except at bottom of band (600 kHz & below) where it oscillated badly. This seems to be a common problem with the 500D's & "E"'s which are the same basic chassis. Slight tweaking of ANT trimmer and all IFT's made noticeable improvement in performance, but oscillation remained---believe on my 500E's was able to get rid of it by slightly detuning one of the IFT's (will experiment later)...

The only difference I noticed with the "inverted-cone" speaker was that it would produce clear audio at higher volume levels than "normal" speaker. Tone quality pretty much the same... Anyone else have both versions to compare ???

Project pics below including one with both early & late 500D sets...

John


Attachments:
01ARF 500D INV CONE SPKR BK.jpg
01ARF 500D INV CONE SPKR BK.jpg [ 338.56 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
02ARF 500D INV CONE SPKR SIDE.jpg
02ARF 500D INV CONE SPKR SIDE.jpg [ 242.18 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
3ARF 500D KNOBS CLN BK.jpg
3ARF 500D KNOBS CLN BK.jpg [ 207.16 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
4ARF 500D BK CVR PCS CLN.jpg
4ARF 500D BK CVR PCS CLN.jpg [ 379.52 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
5ARF 500D CHS BEFORE.jpg
5ARF 500D CHS BEFORE.jpg [ 297.3 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
06ARF 500D ORIG CAPS.jpg
06ARF 500D ORIG CAPS.jpg [ 355.39 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
7ARF 500D CHS AFTER.jpg
7ARF 500D CHS AFTER.jpg [ 258.17 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
08ARF 500D CHS COMPLETE bot.jpg
08ARF 500D CHS COMPLETE bot.jpg [ 267.31 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
09ARF 500D CHS CMPLT INSTALLD.jpg
09ARF 500D CHS CMPLT INSTALLD.jpg [ 238.39 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
10ARF 500D EARLY & LATE copy.jpg
10ARF 500D EARLY & LATE copy.jpg [ 411.5 KiB | Viewed 22 times ]
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