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How about old radios?

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Ancient Iron, May 4, 2018.

  1. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 4,781

    brigrat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Wa.St.

    Philco Radio and record player, took 2 car guys 20 minutes to figure out how to open it...................................................
    IMG_0372.JPG IMG_0373.JPG
     
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  2. deucetruck
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 626

    deucetruck
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Missouri

     
  3. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,603

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Nice sounding Firestone with orange dial light - best enjoyed late nights in the dark.
    Zenith must have been good stuff. Seems every one I've found still work.
    A Stewart -Warner with AM-FM, but only plays 78 RPM records .. around '48-'49, maybe ?
    Sounded superb when bought 40 years ago, but the FM has quit, and the dial cord is loose. Aug 5 18 024.JPG Aug 5 18 025.JPG Aug 5 18 026.JPG Aug 5 18 027.JPG Aug 5 18 028.JPG
     
  4. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    ^^^^

    These are very fine FM radios, sometimes known as the "Poor Man's Bose Wave Radio", they have excellent bass response. Replace the power supply capacitors (doesn't matter what the device is, if the power supply ain't right, ain't nothing else going to be right) and maybe a weak tube or two, and it will be good for another 50 years.

    edit: Never mind, this must be the AM only version. Should still sound excellent for oldies or a ball game.

    IMG_0551.JPG
     
  5. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,603

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Truck, you must have ESP … the Zenith only plays our local bush league ball games & a Pocatello oldies station. Sometimes on clear, cold winter nights, it'll get the station @ 540 AM out of Regina - excellent blues show Sat. nite about 8 PM MST
     
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  6. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 750

    sevenhills1952

    I'm a retired electronic technician and have about 40 old radios. This 1956 Westinghouse tv works. The RCA radio was Mom's , the dial cover has the power switch on it & 1 volt tubes as it's a.c. or battery powered. I thought I had a lot until I visited a local disc jokey who has 380!
    The 50s radio by my bed I replaced the three section filter cap like this (it took hours)...I saved the wax, drill the paper tube out, then put in 3 quality low esr hi temp. electrolytics, soldered the wire leads back then heat melted brown wax back. It looks original.
    I donated four filing cabinets of schematics to Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington WV.
    http://www.mrtwv.org/
    If you need a schematic call or email as they can scan and send to you.
    Good going guys! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. five-oh
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 372

    five-oh
    Member
    from Arkansas
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    My 1933 Philco that I bought at a Ham radio meet...As I am a ham radio operator, I hooked it to a 550 foot horizontal loop antenna. It has a better receiver than new radios. It's a step back in time to listen to WSM 650 and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights on it..
    philco cathederal.jpg
     
  8. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 750

    sevenhills1952

    Vacuum tubes have this certain sound that solid state doesn't have.
     
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  9. Nice "bomber" you have there. The earlier version had a sailboat on there.
     
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  10. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Thanks. I have a beater version in the background that I fixed up and works pretty well.

    This one is so nice that I decided not to even mess with it. I'd just bugger it up. It's unusual that it came with the battery, manual, and saw very little use. Tubes all original. In fact it kind of looks to me like it was used up until about the time the battery wore out, and then put away and never used again? Weird. Probably a story behind that.

    Is that the 89? I never saw the cabinet, I recapped one of those for someone once. Huge PITA, Philco used these proprietary capacitor blocks encased with tar. Then, I found all the oscillator, detector and antenna coils, Philco wrapped the magnet wire with cellophane tape. After 80 years, it turns to corrosive goo and rotted the magnet wire. So I had to wind all those too. If I would have charged the actual hours I had in it would have been a small fortune.

    The alignment was way off, but it appeared to me someone only listened to one station, a strong 50kw at 1540. So somebody had widened out the IF passband or whatever and it sounded really good, lots of bass, like FM though deaf everywhere else. Once I got it properly aligned it was a little more "old 20s radio" sounding, though it now worked right across the dial.
     
  11. five-oh
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 372

    five-oh
    Member
    from Arkansas
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    It's a Model 60, made from mid 1933 to late 33. They changed the style of the cabinet a little bit in January of '34. It's been redone at some time in its past. The grill cloth is not the exact weave it would've been, but it is better than the paisley material someone had used on it before I got it. I wonder what the difference in the 60 and the 89 was? They look similar in pics online.
     
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  12. I bet the one you need is the "buffer" cap, a very high voltage one in the power supply. Check antique electronic supply, they are in Az. and have all the caps and tubes for this radio. I have one in my 46 International truck same radio.

    Sorry, I just saw you are not in the states.
     
  13. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 750

    sevenhills1952

    One thing I wanted to mention is about re-capping. There was an interesting article I read by an older technician and electronic engineer years ago who said back in the day radios were designed specifically by engineer(s) to operate as they did. Why change it? So replacing a silver mica capacitor with a Mylar one is not an improvement. Only replace what's defective by troubleshooting.
    I had to agree since I was a repair technician for 43 years. Changing out all the capacitors isn't needed.
    The highest failure one is the main filter cap which causes distinctive hum. Changing that with a better quality one(s) is ok since that's just the power supply filter.
     
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  14. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Nobody is arguing to replace silver micas with mylar film, I don't believe are they? Silver micas should be replaced with an equivalent, if required. I doubt mylars are even available in the pF capacitance range where micas are typically used. Another one to watch out for are NP0 capacitors, which are temperature compensated.

    The silver mica "domino" capacitors were very reliable in their day and don't have a very high failure rate but even those are starting to show their age at this late date unfortunately.

    There's usually several, and are of the electrolytic type, and you're right they are always defective by now. This design is a sealed canister filled with a wet paste, and allows for a high voltage rating and high capacitance in a relatively small package, at low cost. They have always been a weak spot in electronics though, and remain so. They should be replaced as a matter of course, in my opinion. They dry out. No "reforming" is possible in a dried out electrolytic capacitor. Military grade FP cans are sealed better and may not be defective, maybe. Sprague and C-D made good stuff, but "Consumer" sets didn't get those. Their design life was maybe 10 years or so. A key tell overall is to measure the current draw against the nameplate. Even if no hum is evident when the filter supplies go bad, resistors out of tolerance etc, things get roasted, transformers, tubes, etc. Rectifier tubes will tend to get heater cathode shorts trying to plow through. If the filters are bad the rectifier is probably toast as well. New filters + New rectifier = Happy Electrons.

    Tubes are easy to find, but some of those rectifier tubes are getting spendy. So I like to baby the innards. Capacitors on the other hand, are inexpensive.

    Now the various waxed foil/paper coupling and bypass capacitors are a completely different animal in terms of construction. Some see only relatively low voltage, and a little DC "leakage" won't really hurt anything. What I've found though is a radio will tend to work OK for a little while after the radio is put back in service with new filter supply caps, but soon starts to fade with the waxed paper caps.

    One thing I can say is I've never had a tube failure in my recapped sets. Ever. But when I try to use incompletely repaired or refurbished sets they have problems. The "Bomber" radio has been running for years 24/7 on line voltage with the same tubes, it only draws about 20 watts. Vacuum Tubes are actually pretty reliable outside of Televisions.

    Ceramic disc type capacitors are also very reliable, although there are some bad runs or vintages that are notoriously bad. Mid 60s Zenith had some clunkers with those.
     
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  15. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Here's the next Zenith Trans-Oceanic in the line, a 1946 8G005. Has improved ergonomics and more rugged design, and the addition of push-pull output tube section. Audio is excellent, and the radio stations back then didn't generally let squeeky voices on the Air. No Sir. They generally had guys with deep, booming voices like Orion Samuelson doing Farm Market reports at 6 in the morning, as God intended. This one is loud enough to get the cops called on you for a noise complaint. It is an overseas export model, with dual 110/220 capability as well as DC battery power.

    IMG_0592.JPG

    And here is a radio related item, if anybody needs any vacuum tubes tested, come on over! This isn't a fancy unit, but it does have an accurate Shorts test (very important) and has all the sockets for testing for very early tubes from the 1920s to the end of the tube era. If a tube tests "Good" - it may, or may not, work, depending on the application. This was kind of the Achilles Heel of tube testers. Anyone of a certain age remembers Drug Store Tube Testers.

    The idea was, overworked underpaid dear old Dad could maybe save a few bucks (Televisions were expensive in those days, esp. Color Televisions) on a Service Call from a repair shop by testing the tubes on the TV set. Usually didn't work that way. Rumors were that the Drug Store U-Chek-It type testers were sometimes mis-calibrated to display a "?" or "Bad" indication in order to sell more tubes. Replacing tubes without good reason is generally not going to "fix" a radio or television.

    IMG_0594.JPG IMG_0597.JPG
     
  16. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Aaaand... if you look closely at the settings, I made a mistake on the switch settings for testing 807! Have to REALLY pay attention when setting up, probably a LOT of tubes were ruined by tube testers back in the day. Incorrect filament voltage settings is the usual culprit. This mistake didn't seem to matter.
     
  17. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    6inarow
    Member

    ME TOO!!!!
     
  18. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 750

    sevenhills1952

    Sir that is one nice tube tester! I have a small Hickok that works ok...yours is really nice and does amazing job.
     
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  19. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 750

    sevenhills1952

    Maybe ask truck 64 if he would be willing to test tubes for a fee of course + shipping.
     
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  20. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Yeah picked it up at a yard sale for $10, Sylvania wasn't a big player in the tube tester world like Hickok was, but they made a nice product. They made a lot of tubes, so it seems reasonable that they would know what needs to be done to test them properly. The point to point wiring bundles under the hood are almost a work of art. This sounds weird, but when I first opened it up to peak inside the innards - vintage electronics has a distinctive smell that I like. Old solder flux and varnish or ozone or something.

    The problem generally is a tube might test OK, yet not necessarily work at all in a particular application. If they test bad though, that is a better metric and is where tube testers are most useful particularly if a tube is shown to be shorted. It should not be tested further as it may damage the tester, nor used in the device for the same reason. Rectifier tubes - diodes - can be tested for shorts but otherwise tube testers like this aren't much use for those. They really need to be measured in the device for proper voltage output under load. There's no use for an "emission" test of a rectifier as such as I understand it.

    Tubes that just test "weak" on the other hand, may work fine in radios. So judgment is required whether or not a tube will work or not, and the radio or device is the best test. Replacing tubes in an old radio is usually a waste of money. Everyone seems to think tubes are rare, expensive, or hard to get, and this isn't really true. Some of the guitar amplifier output and hi-fi signal tube types, yes. Most of the old radios I've messed with (a lot) the tubes are usually just fine.

    What's interesting to me is tubes generally have an unlimited shelf life, so long as the vacuum or glass hasn't been broken 100 year old tubes are just as good as when they left the factory. Transistors on the other hand, sometimes don't fare so well over time and circuits are sometimes really picky about what will work and what won't.
     
  21. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,852

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The first radio (RCA) was purchased by my mother-in-law around 1939-1940. According to my wife, they bought it to follow overseas broadcasts as the war was already going over there then. The dial reads Kilocycles as well as Megacycles. I guess one was for overseas and one for the U.S.. Not positive, so if someone can tell me if that is wrong, I'd appreciate it.
    [​IMG]DCP_6092 by TagMan, on Flickr


    The little 6-transistor Philco radio below, was also bought by my wife's family, just after they bought their first new car, a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere. My father-in-law was a dirt farmer and didn't have enough money for a extravagance like a radio, which was an option in '55, so he bought the little Philco. My wife was about 9-years old and remembers thinking how magical it was to have a radio in a car.
    [​IMG]DCP_6091 by TagMan, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  22. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    TagMan, yes, that radio has shortwave as well as the standard AM broadcast band. Many people in the US listened to the BBC during the war years. There isn't a whole lot left on the shortwave bands these days but at one time the bands were full. Foreign nationals living in the US were technically precluded from owning radios with shortwave bands by executive order. If they took a radio in for service the repairmen were instructed to disable the shortwave bands. The national government took things seriously in those days and apparently was actually sincere about their desire of wanting to win a war. They had a "4 Year" rule then too it seems.
     
  23. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    6inarow
    Member

    These are the 2 I have had for years. Going to build a current limiter then restore them.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  24. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 4,943

    chevy57dude
    Member

    IMG_20181008_122336053.jpg
    Philco followed me home today.
    Anyone interested? Neat, but not my thing.
     
  25. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,140

    6inarow
    Member

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  26. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 4,943

    chevy57dude
    Member

  27. Yeah I used to fix the ones I could be recapping them it would fix them 90% of the time. Good thing I learned how I can recap my 48 olds radio and it will be singing once again


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  28. NWRustyJunk
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 233

    NWRustyJunk
    Member

    It's amazing to me how many of these old radios survived. I've always wanted to get one, they are just plain cool!
     
  29. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,442

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    They can be addicting. It's kind of a thrill to fire one up for the first time, sort of like getting an old engine running again.
     
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  30. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 6,352

    mr.chevrolet
    Member

    i've got a few more but didn radio3.jpg radio1.jpg 't have time to dig them out
     
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