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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Fri 22, 2019 4:33 am 
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Location: Nipomo, CA 93444
That new Zenith paint job almost matches your Merc!

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Fri 22, 2019 5:44 pm 
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Yup! That color for whatever reason is popular with our buyers. Probably because its so iconic in terms of the 50's.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Mon 25, 2019 4:58 pm 
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Latest project involved one of the largest consoles I've worked on in some time. A large 1964 Packard Bell stereo in a nice looking Danish Modern styled cabinet.
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Despite the dial proclaiming its "solid state" , its misleading. While the amp itself is transistorized the tuner and controls chassis is all tube. So it still has to warm up meaning what was the point of calling that out?
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Anyway... its practically a time capsule in almost new, original condition. I did replace a lot of the electrolytics but honestly the ones in it were still testing perfectly fine. There's not a single paper cap in there- just all ceramic and mylar. It even had a few of what are known as "tropical fish" caps as seen here:

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The record player was pulled, cleaned and lubricated, all contacts and switches de-oxited, and bluetooth was added. Despite this being a sort of cheaper brand, with a set of 12" woofers, 6" midranges and tweeters it actually sounds really nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Mon 25, 2019 5:06 pm 
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Far more attractive color on that Zenith...


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Feb Thu 28, 2019 5:38 pm 
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Here's three more sets for the week.

1: This mid-50's RCA. It features something I've always wondered why became a "thing", and that is the use of the pilot lamp to light a tiny piece of amber plastic. I've always felt this was such a waste of potential, whereas instead of being used for decorative illumination its instead used to light up something barely visible. At that point its just there to remind you that the set is on. The set was initially very poor in terms of performance after a recap and required a new 12BA6 and a major realignment. Audi input added as well.

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2: This tiny Ward's AA5. Uses slug tuning with a truly cramped chassis that barely fits the tubes. I've done a few of these and they require an exercise in patience. That said, it works pretty well for being such a rudimentary set.
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In fact, another member restored a 2nd one of these. So now we have a set of them.
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3: This Northern Electric radio. I bought this one for me. Not sure I'll keep it but I liked the art deco styling and it was in close to mint condition. A very tidy, neatly designed radio. Clearly someone knew what they were doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Mon 04, 2019 5:27 pm 
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Here's a few more sets.

1 and 2: A member of our museum gave me these two sets: A Phillips Norelco and a nice Siemens. The styling on these are IMHO pretty amazing. The Siemens is usual in that the dial glass is frosted. Makes for a nice look.
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The Norelco had a frozen tuning mech. I've never seen anything like the way its tuned: string is run through hollow tubes and then out to pulleys. If the string were ever to break... good gawd trying to fix that would be a nightmare. Luckily I just heated up and oiled the shafts and it worked fine.
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The Siemens is a neat radio as well. A little on the newer side with only two electrolytics and most of the other caps made of mylar. So not much to restore. Cleaned all of the pots and now it works great. These are both keepers.
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3: For once... Not a radio. Instead its a early 20's Victrola. Its in good condition. The mechanism was removed, cleaned and oiled. The case was polished along with all of the chrome. It is a LOUD machine and I had to stuff a towel in the horn to test as it was almost unbearable to listen to.

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 07, 2019 5:27 pm 
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Here are two more sets for the week. Last week we received around 10 European sets from one of our members. These are mostly in what I would call very good condition.

No.1: EMUD with a nice blonde finish.
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As seen, the original piano mirror like finish is in nearly pristine condition. I wound up going over the finish with applications of Novus No.2 plastic polish, which works well on these Euro sets because the finish is itself plastic (urethane) and it reacts well to plastic polishes. This removed most of the haze and small scratches. This and the next set must have been kept out of the sun. 90% of the time when I get these sets in the finish will be utterly cracked and crazed. This and the other are nearly perfect.
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The set worked initially. Someone in the past had replaced the power transformer. Notice the cord just dangling off the contacts here. I wound up re-routing the cord through a strain relief so future owners might not yank it free.
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The chassis was unusually clean too.
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While the set worked it appears the previous owner did the minimum required to get it working again. It had almost all of the original caps. And so all of these were naturally replaced.
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It was full of these rubbery coated type caps which are nothing more than fancy caps dipped in rubber. Many times these will have grounding leads in addition to the main leads. IMHO these don't at all affect performance so I disregard those and simply replace them with new caps and forget the grounds.
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It was put back together and given a bluetooth reciever, mounted up top, routing through the tape player input.
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Nice bright tuning eye too.
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2: This equally pristine Grundig.
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Just like the other set it too had been minimally repaired to function and thus needed an overhaul.
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I somehow forgot to take underside pics but its more or less the same cobweb of wires and layers of stuff as in most German sets. This one too was given bluetooth, which is very popular.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Mon 11, 2019 7:15 pm 
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... and here's more German sets. Honestly I am getting a little tired working on German sets and will pivot back to "Murican" stuff for awhile. That said, the following two, just like the previous are in remarkably like-new cosmetic shape.

1: Image
A small EMUD set. I forgot to take chassis pics buts its a pretty basic 6 tube unit. Not bad on restoration as there were just 2 electrolytics and 2 paper caps, the rest being ceramic. Car wax brought back the finish's shine and brasso brought the brass back up to being bright.
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2: This late model Grundig 2440 from around 1965.
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This is one of the newer German sets I've worked on and its interesting that the overall design looks almost the same as Grundigs from 10 years before. As such its a little on the generic side. Also- by this time a few corners were being cut: It has a plastic dial cover and other "cheaper" components over the older ones. It was also hardly much of a job to complete since there were basically no paper caps and simply 2 50UF electrolytics. The finish is in remarkable condition and to further "cherry" it out I went over it several times with Novus No.2 plastic polish followed with caranuba car wax. As with the other large German sets this one too received a Bluetooth adapter, running through the existing tape player input.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Wed 13, 2019 4:37 pm 
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... And I know you guys are probably just giddy with excitement.. But here is one more Grundig set. This is the third I've worked on in a week's time that has the same family if chassis. This one was the roughest of the bunch with some technical issues.
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All kinds of things were wrong and mainly due to previous repairs. Poor solder connections, sloppy installation of parts, and on top of that the speaker sounded either blown or distorted. The previous repairman had replaced the selenium rectifier with a diode bridge but didn't install any compensating power resistors to make up for the added efficiency of the diodes.
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If you look in the upper left side of the chassis shown above ( notice the big blue cap ) , well under that is a board mounted into a slot with a bank of capacitors on it. That thing is basically not removable as it would require de-soldering all of the wires and bending metal tabs upwards. Getting to, removing, and replacing those caps was a real bear. Very tight space.

A feature that to me seemed a bit unsafe by design was that the board with the fuse and the incoming AC cord was wayyyyy too close to the transformer. As in nice, exposed 120AC incoming leads were just a mere 1/4" from the transformer. That and the board itself was loose and wiggly. I tightened that up and then glued a piece of business card to the back of the transformer as added security. ( Thanks Sal for the business card)

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Put it all back together and it works fine. I will need to make a new back since the old one is missing. That there's exposed terminals inside means selling it without one is a sort of shock hazard.
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Wed 20, 2019 5:23 pm 
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Moooooorrrrreeeee radio restorations.


1: Yes- its sort of ugly, but I saved it from doom. The clock mech that was originally it had all of the shafts for the controls snapped off. I was able to find a replacement mech at the museum, grafted the movement to the back of the set's face plate and it worked.
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These sets have GE's unusual early efforts at using PCB boards. I'm not sure what the advantage of this was but I assume it was cheaper and easier to manufacture. I find that with this chassis the RF coils are shot 50% of the time. This one was ok though.

2: This nice RCA.
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The set was partially restored. We found it in a box and it was missing the escutcheon, knobs, grill cloth, and tuning eye. I was able to dig through our stash and find the missing stuff. It had previously been refinished too. Put back together its a nice looking set.
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As seen from the rear the small bluetooth receiver is to the right side. BTW, I've seen a few grumbling comments about this. Let me be very clear that this modification does not affect the set's original circuit in any way that can't be very easily be reversed. All this is doing is feeding a signal into the set's original phono input. Otherwise the sets have a hard time selling since there's nothing around here but nasty talk radio or news. That and the AM transmitters don't really work that well and they're awkward.
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3: What would ordinarily be a unremarkable Crossly.
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Remarkable because few sets have such an almost mint, perfect finish. It looks like someone bought it, stuck it in a closet and just let it sit there for 75 years. The finish is absolutely pristine. Just a basic recap job and it works.

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Wed 20, 2019 5:42 pm 
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Very nice work :D

My opinions on modifications is this;
If the modifications made can be reversed without anyone knowing any different, then go for it! Have fun! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Wed 20, 2019 7:31 pm 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
As seen from the rear the small bluetooth receiver is to the right side. BTW, I've seen a few grumbling comments about this. Let me be very clear that this modification does not affect the set's original circuit in any way that can't be very easily be reversed. All this is doing is feeding a signal into the set's original phono input. Otherwise the sets have a hard time selling since there's nothing around here but nasty talk radio or news. That and the AM transmitters don't really work that well and they're awkward.

Image


LOVE the deco dial on this one. Reminds me of a back lit wall clock.

But why two switches on the back for bluetooth?


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Wed 20, 2019 9:02 pm 
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Well... Some radios have an unexpected reaction to the installation of the bluetooth. Usually it just requires 1 switch. But for whatever reason, even with the input turned off for the connections to the phono input, the power supply itself was still causing interference with radio reception, So there is a 2nd switch to turn the power off of the power supply for bluetooth. Of the people who buys these most of them will probably turn the bluetooth on and never actually listen to the radio. But I always give them the ability to choose either or to preserve the set's original functionality.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 21, 2019 1:50 am 
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Those little GE radios can take a beating. Here's one Shango066 resurrected after it had sat in a desert for 40 years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuIiH80WhDc

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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 21, 2019 11:39 am 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
Well... Some radios have an unexpected reaction to the installation of the bluetooth. Usually it just requires 1 switch. But for whatever reason, even with the input turned off for the connections to the phono input, the power supply itself was still causing interference with radio reception, So there is a 2nd switch to turn the power off of the power supply for bluetooth. Of the people who buys these most of them will probably turn the bluetooth on and never actually listen to the radio. But I always give them the ability to choose either or to preserve the set's original functionality.


Try using Anker power supplies. I've found them to be pretty quite, $8 a piece.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DF ... UTF8&psc=1

If you use a DPDT switch you can use one side of the switch to turn off the power supply during radio operation if interference is still an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 21, 2019 6:01 pm 
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The bluetooth device I used in this and a few others are kind of crappy. Luckily, just yesterday I received 20 new bluetooth devices that I've gotten before . So I'll replace the one in the RCA, meaning I'll probably remove the extra switch.


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 21, 2019 6:30 pm 
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So you're saying it was the bluetooth dongle that was noisy and not the power supply? What brand dongles work well for you?


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Mar Thu 21, 2019 10:42 pm 
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So this is where it gets weird with these components. In order to keep costs down I'm buying stuff from various Chinese suppliers. a BUNCH of them make what appears to be the exact same bluetooth device. I at first thought that those and the power supply cubes can be drastically different from one supplier to the other. I found this out the hard way some months ago.

So far I've found that power supply cubes from this manufacture:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LC ... UTF8&psc=1

And bluetooths from this manufacture:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-USB-Bluet ... 2749.l2649

Work well. So I've bookmarked both of them. Its really a luck of the draw when it comes to cheap stuff from China...


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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Apr Mon 01, 2019 4:37 pm 
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We are now gearing up for our annual " Radio Day by the Bay" auction, sales, flea market, and live radio show event in July. That means we need something like 200 pieces ready to go. And with that here is one of many that have either already been renovated or awaiting.

1: Image
This large-ish Silvertone table top, complete with fully functioning motorized tuning.
A series of pushbuttons up front controls a large drum in the rear where stations can be present via loosening and sliding contacts. After cleaning and oiling the mechanism it works surprisingly well. The set must have been local because all of the presets as well as the labels on the buttons correlate to current AM stations.
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On initial testing the set didn't work. This particular radio was a part of the museum's display items and since most have been restored I assumed this had been too. When flipped over it was 100% bone stock original with the exception of one HUGE, 100uf, 450 volt cap in place of what should have been an 8uF. Talk about gross overkill. With all of the caps replaced the set still didn't work. the 6K5 and 6V6 tubes tested bad. After replacement the set worked.
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Most remarkable is that the finish is original. All I did was give it a wax job and the sheen came back. That's my facvorite kind of radio, where its somehow survived 80+ years intact. It is nearly impossible to replicate a factory finish and personally I like a set with some patina to show everyone how long its been around.

2: This won't be in the auction. But its IMHO still interesting. Its a Woolaroc brand 6 tube set, made in Bartlesville, OK by Phillips 66 petroleum corp, whom still has their corporate headquarters situated there.
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The set was literally a "basket case". It was missing its knobs and dial glass. It had been a donation years ago from one guy who had 1000's of sets, most of which were for some reason taken apart and stored away. Boxes and boxes of parts for the sets sit downstairs. I somehow found both missing pieces in the first banker box I opened. So after a recap its all back together.
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3: This weird Zenith.
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This was donated by one of our members ( Mike ) and whats interesting to me is that Zenith clearly was very good at using the same chassis over and over again in innumerable models. This is the same chassis used in at least 10-15 different models I've worked on. This one is far less common and I've only worked on maybe one other like it.
Zenith perfected the chassis and it works well on FM. Most of the time these simply still work. Not this one. The electrolytics were shot. After a recap and replacement of the selenium rectifier it works fine.
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Incidentally, while I worked on this set a pair of ducks randomly came into the garage...
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 Post subject: Re: Radio Restoration Diary 2 ( post photobucket)
PostPosted: Apr Mon 01, 2019 11:49 pm 
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I have this model Zenith as my kitchen radio and you are correct, it is a fine player. The sleep timer for the radio is especially handy as I can switch this on while I'm working and it will shut off on it's own without me having to fuss with it.

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