Pics someone else's electronic shenanigans (v. gee isnt the only one doing this)

someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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Firstly, if some of you are still on the M and have already seen this, go fuck yourself, I don't care ;-)

Because I live in New England, year round outdoor projects are a no-go, and since I have no garage, I can't work on car projects all year long either. I needed to keep myself busy during the winter.


Aside from cleaning out the workshop/basement this winter, I went and put together an electronics workbench





I've been into electronics since I was born basically. My dad owned a TV and Radio repair shop for 20+ years, after working at it since he was 14. He sold the business in the mid 90s, as the business was getting slow because a. the city the shop was in was declining rapidly and b. a lot of stuff was going from complex repair to replace whole boards or throw the TV out. Also, he got a fuck load more money than the building was worth because the city wanted to tear it down and build a school. So he brought the business home, doing side work here and there and went to go work for a larger TV and Appliance dealer in their repair section (Later moving over to sales).


Needless to say, I've always been into electronics. I'm partial to the vintage stuff, because that's what I grew up with - my dad has always had some kickass radios around the house. Aside from that, I'm just positive I was born in the wrong decade. So heres the workbench. The top and legs came from Ikea. The top is green because a. its awesome, and b. it was the cheapest top they had - 5 foot top for like $26.





The magnifying lamp on the left was at my dad's workbench for the last..oh I dunno, 20+ years? It was made in wonderful Worcester, MA. The lamp on the right I bought at Ikea for like $9. I'm very impressed with it. Bought a 18w directional daylight fluorescent. Bright motherfucker.


this is my soldering iron, an old Weller. another hand-me-down. Might need a new pencil, this one's getting finicky.





Above the bench, this rack was an Ikea special. I keep my solder, my DMM and other small shit in em. Above that is a chart of all of the Ohm's law equations. Quick reference guide - another item stolen from my father. He always had it above his bench.





And above all that is my BK variac isolation transformer:





Basically, it protects me and my house from what I'm working on, while also allowing me to choose how much power goes to the device, from 0-130ish volts. And if you happen to know about any of this kinda stuff, BK makes some good shit.





This is my toolbox, an older wooden machinist box. It needs some work. Some kid enjoyed taking things apart too much when he was 8. (Yeah, that would be me.) The tupperware on top is another Ikea special. like 4 bucks, and they are perfect for putting pieces of a project in to keep everything together.





Under my desk are my speakers, Pioneer CS-88's, a box of assorted wire, cords, and wall transformers, a box of projects and parts, and a very special box.











The box of tubes. This old Zenith box is actually highly collectible by Zenith fanatics. My dad used to take this along to jobs when he would go work on console radios and television on house calls. I have a couple big ones down in the basement. I'll likely clean them up and sell em. Maybe toss a bunch of tubes in em to drive the price up. I loaded this box up with all the tubes I have. My dad still has a box or two of tubes laying around i need to go through.


Since I have to work tomorrow morning, and will have to get up and shovel, I'll get into some projects tomorrow.
 

someone else

Half-staff Member
Oct 28, 2012
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My first project was putting together a stereo and CD player for my mother. the carousel on her stereo died, stopping it from playing CDs, and she doesn't have any desire to own an ipod. I took this as a chance to have some fun


I'll preface this first: I didn't do a good job documenting.





I took a flight case a DJ buddy of mine used to transport his CD's with before he went digital. I gutted it and cut 5 holes. 2 for woofers, 2 for tweeters and one for a car headunit. I was initially going to build my own cage for the head unit, but I managed to find one I had lying around.





the back. The holes were roughed out. They didn't need to be exact for the speakers. The one for the head unit was too big (we'll see this later) and I had to shim it.





I picked up an ok set of components from crutchfield on black friday - they are Sound Ordinance. They actually sound pretty good.





and heres the back with the speakers loaded in.





I mounted the crossovers up in each corner. Build quality seemed fairly decent. I was surprised.





And this is the last picture I have of the build. As you can now notice, the headunit is on a slant. This held me up fixing it and straitening it out, so I was on a time crunch to finish. It actually sounds excellent.


I used a Pioneer head unit that puts out about 22w rms, the sound ordinance components, a switch salvaged from a previous project, a 120mm panaflo case fan, a computer power supply from an old desktop, and a 12v DC, 1amp wall wort transformer.


I used the transformer to act as the 12v "always on" of the car battery. Wired it all up, and put an outlet box inside the case, and wired that to a plug. Now this way, the power supply can be shut off and the radio can remember stations, volume, and time. Any specific questions on wiring and what not, post and I'll answer them, but I didn't see the need to list it out here.


Total cost? $50, for the pair of component speakers. Everything else was re-purposed from something else.


So that was the first project. Here's a teaser of what I'm working on now, and what i'll be working on in the foreseeable future.


 

someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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So - onto the things I have coming down the pipeline. I have stocked myself with a good deal of old radios that are most likely all in need of some form of repair. The goal is to fix and sell - not looking to make a bunch of money, but fund further work with the proceeds.


Admiral 4F22 tube radio with the Rotoscope Antenna. The antenna pops up, and then can turn around until you get the best signal. Complete aside from the ADMIRAL lettering on the front. From what I've been told, and from the research I've done, these are fairly rare, from 1957ish





Hallicrafter WR-600 AM and Shortwave radio. Exactly the same thing as the S-120 with a different cabinet. By all regards, a nice starter shortwave radio. Plus the name just means money. runs the All American Five tube lineup, a common configuration of tubes in american made radios





Magnavox FM040 AM/FM tube radio - Nice wooden case, missing a knob and the cover for one knob, but the grill cloth is complete, unmolested and ORIGINAL, so I'm happy on all fronts.





RCA 8-x-544 - AM tube, from 1949. Case is in good shape, but this one will need a thorough going through out back. It appears someone thought they knew what they were doing.





RCA 65U - AM tube, from 1947. This one is a basket case, and is going to need a full resto. Someone thought painting it was a nice idea, and its a mess inside. Got this one for $1, and I figured it would be good practice for EVERYTHING, because this thing is a tragedy. My oldest set.









Travler 5305A - cool little portable radio, similar to the Admiral. this ones complete and looks good, Need to fix the hinges on the back, otherwise the case is nice





And this isn't a project, but just a cool diagnostic tool: A tube tester








Now this one isn't all too fancy, and iirc, this came as a kit and you would put it together in your own case. This one is basically good enough to determine if the tube has any shorts and if its generally good. Not going to be able to tube match on this one, or get exact readings, but its good enough for what I'm doing at the moment. My dad has a Heathkit or BK hidden around somewhere, as we dig we'll find it.


Aside from the Travler, I haven't tried powering up any of these radios to determine the extent of the work needed. Best way to power up an old radio like this is to do it slowly to reform the caps. The capacitors in these old radios were never meant to last this long, and the electrolytic fluid in them tends to dry out and effect performance. By "reforming them", bringing the power up low and slow, you can sometimes get the capacitors to cooperate properly and at least give you a baseline to work off of. I'll turn them on, put em on the variac at 35v for 3-4 hours, then bump it to 70-80v for another hour or two and then crank it to 115-120v to see what happens.


They are all going to need a re-capping of the filter condensor at the very least, and any molded paper caps or film caps, and then new grounded cords, and anything else they need.


The current project I'm working on is a Zenith K731 AM/FM tube radio. It is complete, the case isn't chewed up, and it was working. You saw the chassis on the bench:





A really nice radio, even by today's standards. Uses a speaker and a horn, and it sounds excellent - except for the abusively loud hum. The wavemagnet antenna, you see it on the case back behind the chassis, pulls in AM like crazy - I was pulling in 1010 WINS the other night from New York (I'm just south of Boston).


Hiding under that Pedroia t-shirt is the case:











It really is a great looking radio - I cover it up so my cat doesn't get any bright ideas with the grill cloth - that shit is not cheap and not easy to come by.


I've got some NOS multi-can caps from when my dad was a tech, and so I pulled a couple of them out to test this unit, and as I predicted, the filter condenser is bad. I've ordered parts for this radio and, to the best of my knowledge without digging too deep into every radio, all the capacitors I will need for the rest of the radios. I ordered the capacitors as a whole because that is generally the first thing to go on these radios. Once those are replaced I can go about troubleshooting any other issue. With the Zenith, I had already dug into it and had an idea of what was wrong to begin with.


That's all I've got for now. I'll get some pictures up in the next few days of some troubleshooting and I'll show you what some of the old parts used were. Shit has changed in 60 years, haha. I'll even try to get a video up to show the difference a new filter will give.

Oh, and if anyone has an OLD radio they might have laying around they would like to get rid of, or maybe have repaired, shoot me a PM or post here. I'm always on the lookout for something new.
 
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someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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So, last I left you, I had troubleshot the Zenith. The filter condenser (capacitors) was bad. I put together a short video showing you some of my methods for troubleshooting this issue.

[video=youtube_share;3tgQPal3b6w]http://youtu.be/3tgQPal3b6w[/video]

So we have diagnosed the issue. Lets get soldering.

This is the starting point. I haven't touched anything at this point.



And here is where we will be working. The blue finned object is the selenium rectifier. On the early radios, the rectifier was a tube. On later radios, the made them out of selenium. Nowadays they just use a small rectifier diode. I tested this one with a 3amp rectifier diode and got a big boost in voltage, bringing the B rail voltage up where its supposed to be, so that will get changed as well.

Directly to the left of the rectifier you can see the bottom of the filter capacitor. The Triangle you see indicates the 60uf (uf = microfarad) 150v capacitor lead. Above it is the 80uf cap and to the left is the 40uf cap. Each capacitor has one positive lead, marked, and share ground leads, which are soldered directly to the chassis.



This is the filter condenser as viewed from the top.



I desoldered everything that was soldered to the leads on the filter and then cut the filter leads. I left the grounds in place to re-use, and because I didn't want to take the filter out - this way the chassis remains stock looking from above.



Here I have soldered in the three replacement capacitors. The 40uf cap was axial, meaning one lead came out from each side, so I soldered the negative lead directly to the chassis off to the side. The other two caps were radial, meaning both leads come out the bottom, and those were soldered to the negative leads from the original filter that I left on the chassis.



Here is the 3amp rectifier diode I replaced the selenium rectifier with. I sleeved both sides with some heatshrink so with any shaking they wont short out to the chassis. Diodes only work one way, so I used different color heatshrink to remind myself the direction it needed to be hooked up in.



Here is a closeup of the diode in place. I cut the lead off of the selenium rectifier to get it out of the way. Again, i left it in place for appearances.





lit up at night
by megalime, on Flickr

Then I went and cleaned up the case. I used some Old English wood stain and polish. It polishes, cleans and lays down a light stain all at the same time. This way, it fills in the little scratches. I also cleaned the knobs and the front panel up the best I could.















The final test was a "torture test". I turned the radio on, and let it run for 24 hours. Sounded just as good the first 10 minutes as it did the last 10 minutes it was on. Now it is ready to be sold. Time to find a buyer.

And that's all folks.



Restored Zenith K-731
by megalime, on Flickr
 
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someone else

Half-staff Member
Oct 28, 2012
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Oh yes, and then there is this: (I couldn't do two videos in one post)

Here is a short video of it running. You can still hear some scratching and hum, but that is due to the volume and tone potentiometers (pots) being dirty. Cleaned those with some Deoxit...5? I think. The one safe for plastics. Most of the old pots are metal, but I keep the safe for plastic stuff around because it works on the old stuff and the new stuff.


[video=youtube_share;3aRnBw1wFco]http://youtu.be/3aRnBw1wFco[/video]
 

someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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Next up on the bench is the Magnovox FM040 AM/FM tube radio. I just pulled it apart to check the cord and started the slow powering up process, reforming the caps. I turn the radio on and hook it up to my variac power supply/isolation transformer running at 40v for about 3 hours. Then I'll turn it up to 70-80v for another hour or two, and finally I'll crank it up to 115-120v and see where we are at. This gives the old, dried out capacitors a chance to reform and makes troubleshooting easier.









This radio is very similar to the Zenith, and they are from about the same time period as well. Unfortunately, this one is going to need more work. We have some chipped veneer on both sides, a missing knob, and one knob is missing the inner golden liner. Finding some new knobs will take some doing. But we'll see how bad off this one is once I get it running at 120v.

Lastly, I dug up a new tool to use. Not the most used tool in the world, but a nifty one:



It is a BK Precision capacitance tester. I can test the values of capacitors, batteries, leds, resistors, and transistors to make sure they are up to snuff.
 

fly

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Man this is some neat shit. I wish I knew about electronics. My stupid hands shake like Michael J Fox, so I couldn't even solder stuff. :( But I'd like to think that I would be doing a ton of cool shit if I hand the knowledge.
 

someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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So I believe when I left you last, I was here:



I have since sold the Zenith. Kinda sad to see it go, being the first one I finished and all, but I made some goooood money on it, so on to the next one!



So once I got the Magnavox warmed up and started, I had NO output on the speakers. Ok. First step: test the tubes



I tested all of them, and two tubes were toast: the 12BA6 AM Detector and FM Driver, and the 12AL5 FM Ratio Detector. This would be why I would have ZERO output. Quick summary of a detector (From Wiki)

A detector is a device that recovers information of interest contained in a modulated wave. The term dates from the early days of radio when all transmissions were in Morse code, and it was only necessary to detect the presence (or absence) of a radio wave using a device such as a coherer without necessarily making it audible. A more up-to-date term is demodulator, but "detector" has a history of many decades of use, even if it is a misnomer.

So I happened to have another BA6, but not an AL5, so I had to get one from ebay.

Flash forward a week, and voila!



SHE'S ALIVE! and while I waited for new tubes, I borrowed a Sam's Photofact from a buddy of my dad's. He's a vintage TV collector, so occasionally he'll toss me a neat radio he found in his travels. On top of that, he has pretty much a COMPLETE catalog of Sam's Photofacts dating from about 1980 back. My dad has a bunch as well, but his are mostly newer - he sold all his old ones when he sold his shop. Sam's Photofact was a subscription service that produced schematics, diagrams and parts lists for radios and televisions (and other stuff too) for repair techs. With the photofact in hand, I checked voltages and whatnot, and the radio is spot on. Which leads me to this...



The filter capacitor has been changed recently. (within, say, 20 years). If it was original, it would most certainly be metal on the outside, and most certainly would be bad. But voltages were spot on with what is expected in the diagrams. Sweet!



The replacement tubes were an RCA and a Philco. other than that, all the other tubes are original.



It still sits like this. I'm on the hunt for knobs. and these ones, 1/4" spline type push on knobs, are fucking hard as hell to find. Most shit was 1/4" half moons. I'm hoping to get over to the flea market tomorrow and see if I can locate some. Otherwise, I'm going to have to keep scouring Ebay.
 

someone else

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Oct 28, 2012
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While I waited for the tube to come in from Ebay, I got into a small little project:



A vintage Honeybreeze fan. When plugged in, it worked, but it spun very slowly and the cord was rotting away.

So, I took it apart and cut the cord off.





As you can see, not safe to use.

Once you get into it, the fan is extremely simple:



The problem with these older fans is, the motor gets varnished on the inside. So once apart, I used some VCR head cleaner first to get the varnish off, then used some red lube to lubricate the SHAFT.



Put a new grounded plug on it and Presto chango, we have a working fan:



Theres some play in the output shaft, but thats to be expected for a 60 year old fan.



EDIT: Oh yeah, and here's whats on the bench right now:



The Hallicrafter. This one is COOL. Once done, I'll get you some pictures. This ones proving to be a bit tricky.
 
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gee

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Sep 29, 2012
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Fucking awesome. Kudos for keeping this old gear going, and knowing how.

I was given an old Tek oscilloscope many years ago that had no display, and used tubes inside. Had a round screen and the works. Didn't know where to start, how to test anything and figured the thing would be full of hard to get tubes, so I gave it away. Sometimes wish I hadn't.
 

Canucker

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Dec 5, 2012
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cool thread, some neat gear in there.

My next project is replacing all the caps in my vintage B&O TV (there are loads of caps, loads) I'll post some pics up when I get around to it.
 

fly

Osharts 11
Oct 1, 2004
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While I waited for the tube to come in from Ebay, I got into a small little project:



A vintage Honeybreeze fan. When plugged in, it worked, but it spun very slowly and the cord was rotting away.

So, I took it apart and cut the cord off.

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/VmbrSGD.jpg[/IMG]

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/sMWBjFG.jpg[/IMG]

As you can see, not safe to use.

Once you get into it, the fan is extremely simple:

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/Z5Z6EdD.jpg[/IMG]

The problem with these older fans is, the motor gets varnished on the inside. So once apart, I used some VCR head cleaner first to get the varnish off, then used some red lube to lubricate the SHAFT.

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/ZtwsGOZ.jpg[/IMG]

Put a new grounded plug on it and Presto chango, we have a working fan:

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/EM2TNsD.jpg[/IMG]

Theres some play in the output shaft, but thats to be expected for a 60 year old fan.



EDIT: Oh yeah, and here's whats on the bench right now:

[IG]http://i.imgur.com/UA1yi.jpg[/IMG]

The Hallicrafter. This one is COOL. Once done, I'll get you some pictures. This ones proving to be a bit tricky.

Whoa, Im pretty sure that I had one of those fans in my room as a kid. IIRC, it would give you a nice little shock if you touched it while it was running or something. :lol:
 

someone else

Half-staff Member
Oct 28, 2012
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Fucking awesome. Kudos for keeping this old gear going, and knowing how.

I was given an old Tek oscilloscope many years ago that had no display, and used tubes inside. Had a round screen and the works. Didn't know where to start, how to test anything and figured the thing would be full of hard to get tubes, so I gave it away. Sometimes wish I hadn't.

Haha, that would be cool. I've got a couple of B&K Scopes to play with and an HP IIRC. I gotta really learn how to use them first. I only have cursory knowledge of them. An old tube one would be very cool to tinker with. Its not so hard, really. and you would be immensely surprised how easy tubes are to come by.

cool thread, some neat gear in there.

My next project is replacing all the caps in my vintage B&O TV (there are loads of caps, loads) I'll post some pics up when I get around to it.

How vintage is vintage? And yeah, even on these radios there's a butt load of caps. The ones you really need to worry about are the electrolytics and the wax paper/molded papers. The micas and the poly's generally don't degrade with age like the others. Occasionally you'll have some issues though. Would love to see some pictures. I don't know much about Bang and Olufsen stuff.

Whoa, Im pretty sure that I had one of those fans in my room as a kid. IIRC, it would give you a nice little shock if you touched it while it was running or something. :lol:

Haha yeah thats not supposed to happen. This ones for sale if you're feeling nostalgic!