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 Post subject: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Mon 07, 2020 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Hi all, I'm Daniele IZ5WWB from Livorno, Italy.

I'm nearly 60, I'm a Technology teacher for students 11-13 years old. Beside this, I'm a radio enthusiast in general and the owner of a small collection of transistor portables from mid '50s to mid '70s.

Now I'm adding a Zenith Royal 500 to the collection (I already have a Zenith Transoceanic Royal D7000Y and a Zenith Transoceanic Royal 1000). I found the Royal 500 at a flea market.

It looks like a Royal 500A model because of the shape of the knobs (please have a look at the attached images).
Unfortunately the volume control has a strange screw in the center, but I still hope it is restorable to its original status.
The radio is sold as WORKING.
It is a pity is that the label inside the battery door has the chassis number scratched and unreadable.
The S/N is 63187.
The label on the battery holder shows a blue-coloured dot, I read it has some meaning when trying to identify a model.

Based on your experience, which specific Royal 500 version could it be? My guess is that it is a 7XT40Z1 chassis.
Also, could you kindly provide a rough estimation of the price range for this radio, based on the photograps I link below?

Link for Royal 500 photographs:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

Thanks a lot in advance for your feedback.

Best regards

Daniele IZ5WWB
Livorno, Italy


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Mon 07, 2020 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 02, 2017 8:53 am
Posts: 854
Location: Panama City, FL 32401
Hello Daniele. The color code on the battery label indicates the chassis and transistors used. I'm not sure what blue would be, but the early 500 versions were:
7XT40 = Texas Instument transistors
7XT40Z1= Sylvania transistors
7XT40Z= Raytheon transistors (very rare)

The earliest versions were produced from November 1955-October 1956. I believe the earliest versions used a black dot on the battery label, with black colored transistors. Most of the versions that exist today will not have those transistors. To my knowledge the earliest transistors used were the 2N35,which can also be found with a silver colored case. It's very common to have leaky transistors, which means degraded reception and/or audio. The rare Raytheon transistors were actually blue! There were 4 electrolytics used: 2-50uf
16uf
3uf

You'll want to replace those if you plan on using the radio often. The modem replacement capacitors would be:
2- 47uf
15 or 22uf
3.3uf

-Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Mon 07, 2020 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Thank you Mike for your very informative reply.

Best regards
Daniele, IZ5WWB


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Mon 07, 2020 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1790
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Daniele - Greeting from the USA! The radiomuseum has a listing of codes for the Zenith Royal 500:

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/zenith_ro ... ction.html

I found it interesting that they did not list a code for a Zenith 500 with a blue dot, which I own, serial number 64700, and it has Texas Instruments transistors. I posted photos of this Zenith 500 previously on the Antique Radio Forum and it was commented that although my radio, which is missing the Zenith label, is probably a 7XT40Z, the knobs are from a 7ZT40Z, although it has a metal chassis.

As for value, I'm quite sure that Zenith Royal 500 transistor radios are rare in Italy and the ones with a metal chassis usually sell for more money here in America. - Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Mon 07, 2020 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 36521
Location: SoCal, 91387
Here are scans of mine, chassis 7XT40, metal, red dot, hand-wired.

IZ5WWB, please post a scan of your chassis. My '96 Bunis Transistor Radio guide lists these as $125-$150, but I paid less than half that about 15 years ago.


Attachments:
Zenith Royal 500 7XT40.jpg
Zenith Royal 500 7XT40.jpg [ 447.91 KiB | Viewed 633 times ]
Zenith Royal 500 7XT40 chassis.jpg
Zenith Royal 500 7XT40 chassis.jpg [ 483.77 KiB | Viewed 633 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 1:02 am 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
Posts: 14670
Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Ciao Daniele... :)
Factory service manual attached below.

73 de Greg.


Attachments:
Zenith Royal 500 factory service manual.pdf [6.92 MiB]
Downloaded 24 times
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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 4:16 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 02, 2017 8:53 am
Posts: 854
Location: Panama City, FL 32401
Incidentally, those early knobs with the bar through them were probably for cosmetic appeal. After a magazine review which complained about them being hard to turn, Zenith listened and changed the knobs for the next model change. Funny how it should have been obvious to Zenith, oh well...


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 5:46 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 5211
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Zenith Royal wrote:
Incidentally, those early knobs with the bar through them were probably for cosmetic appeal. After a magazine review which complained about them being hard to turn, Zenith listened and changed the knobs for the next model change. Funny how it should have been obvious to Zenith, oh well...


It wasn't just a cosmetic change, they changed to a reduction drive system for the tuning. I have the original, it is very difficult to tune at the high end of the scale, requiring micrometer fingers. The vernier tuning very is much, much easier to use.

I don't know what the deal is with the screw, I would guess it has a much later volume control pot like those used on Japanese transistor radios, which use a similar arrangement.

By 1955 standards, the original "bar-knob" 500 was probably the best transistor radio to date - certainly vastly better than the Regency- but it is not that great a performer compared to the later models. The 500D was the first of the really good performers, and the 500H is still the king of the hill. Not bad for about 5 years or development.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 6:00 am 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Yes Brett, I suspect the same (that the volume pot was replaced at some point in the past life of the radio).
The radio is on sale at the flea market for 80 euros (about 95 dollars currently). I'll pick it up and I'll post a photo of the chassis (and the volume pot :| ).
73
Daniele, IZ5WWB


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 6:16 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 5211
Location: Sunnyvale CA
IZ5WWB wrote:
Yes Brett, I suspect the same (that the volume pot was replaced at some point in the past life of the radio).
The radio is on sale at the flea market for 80 euros (about 95 dollars currently). I'll pick it up and I'll post a photo of the chassis (and the volume pot :| ).
73
Daniele, IZ5WWB


BTW, mine also has a blue dot on the label, and the side of the battery box is stamped with the model number, 7XT40Z1. Sylvania (silver oval) transistors. It is a slightly lower serial number, in the 56000 range.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Hi Brett, I suppose that also the Royal 500 that I intend to buy is a 7XT40Z1 chassis. Unfortunately, I'm by no means allowed to unscrew the back cover and look inside.
I'm crossing fingers that not too bad news will arise once I will have opened it.
73
Daniele, IZ5WWB


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 5211
Location: Sunnyvale CA
IZ5WWB wrote:
Hi Brett, I suppose that also the Royal 500 that I intend to buy is a 7XT40Z1 chassis. Unfortunately, I'm by no means allowed to unscrew the back cover and look inside.
I'm crossing fingers that not too bad news will arise once I will have opened it.


Oh, I am sure it will either work, or be made to work in 1/2 hour, pretty easily with the usual cap replacements.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 5:36 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1790
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Gary's Radios has some good information on the Zenith Royal 500:

http://www.garysradios.com/what-to-watc ... tor-radios


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
3Transistors wrote:
Gary's Radios has some good information on the Zenith Royal 500:

http://www.garysradios.com/what-to-watc ... tor-radios


Yes, I saw. I explored the site and also ordered some parts (a replacement volume knob, first of all :)).

By the way, I received an e-mail (automatic) confirmation of my order, but got no replies to an e-mail I sent to the same e-mail address (ballgandc@hotmail.com). Anyone knows if the site is still active actually? Latest replies I saw from the author to comments to his posts date end of June this year.

BR
Daniele


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Quote:
By the way, I received an e-mail (automatic) confirmation of my order, but got no replies to an e-mail I sent to the same e-mail address (ballgandc@hotmail.com). Anyone knows if the site is still active actually? Latest replies I saw from the author to comments to his posts date end of June this year.


Opsss.. I have just received a reply :D Please ignore my question above.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Tue 08, 2020 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1790
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Here are some additional photos of my Zenith 500 7XT40Z:

I do have the label for the Zenith 500, but didn't attach it back to the cover. One advantage of having a transistor radio with a metal chassis is you don't have to worry about damaging the printed circuit board if you are making repairs! - Mark


Attachments:
Zenith_500_pg1.JPG
Zenith_500_pg1.JPG [ 63.5 KiB | Viewed 542 times ]
Zenith_500_pg2.JPG
Zenith_500_pg2.JPG [ 57.91 KiB | Viewed 542 times ]
Zenith_500_pg3.JPG
Zenith_500_pg3.JPG [ 89.4 KiB | Viewed 542 times ]
Zenith_500_pg4.JPG
Zenith_500_pg4.JPG [ 103.06 KiB | Viewed 542 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Thu 10, 2020 4:03 am 
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Joined: Jul Fri 21, 2017 9:58 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: Erie, Pa.
IZ5WWB wrote:
Hi all, I'm Daniele IZ5WWB from Livorno, Italy.

I'm nearly 60, I'm a Technology teacher for students 11-13 years old. Beside this, I'm a radio enthusiast in general and the owner of a small collection of transistor portables from mid '50s to mid '70s.

Now I'm adding a Zenith Royal 500 to the collection (I already have a Zenith Transoceanic Royal D7000Y and a Zenith Transoceanic Royal 1000). I found the Royal 500 at a flea market.

It looks like a Royal 500A model because of the shape of the knobs (please have a look at the attached images).
Unfortunately the volume control has a strange screw in the center, but I still hope it is restorable to its original status.
The radio is sold as WORKING.
It is a pity is that the label inside the battery door has the chassis number scratched and unreadable.
The S/N is 63187.
The label on the battery holder shows a blue-coloured dot, I read it has some meaning when trying to identify a model.

Based on your experience, which specific Royal 500 version could it be? My guess is that it is a 7XT40Z1 chassis.
Also, could you kindly provide a rough estimation of the price range for this radio, based on the photograps I link below?

Link for Royal 500 photographs:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

Thanks a lot in advance for your feedback.

Best regards

Daniele IZ5WWB
Livorno, Italy


Congratulations on your purchase of a high quality classic radio!

_________________
Tim, N3YQV
"I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you!"


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Thu 10, 2020 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Posts: 16
Here it is. It looks like a chassis 7XT40Z1.
The volume pot could have been replaced (not sure). The shaft has a threaded hole in the center and looks badly re-worked to make it fit the original knob. The radio receives a local AM station but the audio level is very low.
All in all, not a great deal for 80 euros I think.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

Best regards
Daniele


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Thu 10, 2020 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1790
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
If you want to get your Zenith 500 7XT40Z1 playing with more volume, you can replace the 3 uf electrolytic capacitor near the volume control as shown in the prior discussion below:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=254109

As for the volume control, the type used in your Zenith 500 has a 1/8 inch shaft and they are available on eBay. I had to replace the volume control in a Zenith 500H, which has a 1/16 inch shaft and found an affordable substitute after quite a search as there seem to be few switches that would fit. - Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Royal 500 being purchased
PostPosted: Sep Thu 10, 2020 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 02, 2017 8:53 am
Posts: 854
Location: Panama City, FL 32401
Your chassis uses the 121-19 for the audio output finals. The driver transistor should be a 121-18, since the label was missing. You can find these transistors in some of the 500B versions, in case you ever wanted to swap them to see if that helps the weak audio. Recapping the electrolytics will certainly help, but ultimately the transistors have to be in good shape to get proper audio. Those early 500's have incredible tone quality. Unfortunately I haven't found any transistors that can be substituted for the 121-19. Often Zenith would show an alternative transistor on their schematic if that was possible. An alignment can help too. Hopefully the reception will at least be good.


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