Masthead

This page is set up for a variety of small projects that don't deserve pages of their own. They were either small fixes, things done (largely) by my-father-the-expert and I mostly watched, or were determined to be too-far-gone so very little, if anything, was done.

Still, there might be something worth reading here. (Pictures later when I get a chance)

Arvin Voyager

Arvin VoyagerThis was one of several portable tube radios I purchased as a lot on eBay (along with the Motorola, Olympic, Philco and RCA.

Had I known what would happen, I would have given this its own Projects page. Sweet Jesu. For something that looks so simple, it was a pain.

Opened it up and the antenna and the AC wires are already detached, and the filter capacitor is swimming. A lot of jockeying around and finally got the chassis out. Like the Motorola, this one has a PC board, but seems to be a nicer one. No breaks.

Power on and we get filter hum, which goes away if we plug in a 20µF cap. The filter cap in it is 4 stages, only 3 are used, and the unused one is 20µF—so why not cut the bad red lead and splice the unused, good green one in? Great idea, but for some reason (don't know why) it doesn't work.

So we put another 20µF in and voila! the radio is now dead. Do I have a schematic? No.

We decided to call it a day.

Day 2: I bought a SAMS for it. We look at it a bit but nothing jumps out, and decide to test tubes. I'm in charge of the tube tester, which means I forgot to reset the filament voltage down from 12 volts to test the 3V4, so it wasn't dead when I started, it was definitely dead after I got done with it.

But wait! There's another 3V4. WTF??? A previous owner had swapped out the 1R5 on the opposite end for it. Okay, I test that one and it's dead too. Is it me or do I really have two dead 3V4s? Yanked another (known good) 3V4 out of another chassis and it tested good. So it's just weird that I had two 3V4s in this chassis, and neither of them work (though one could have been my fault).

Anyway, my father dredged up the two missing tubes, and the radio came to life, but humming badly. S--- canned the old filter cap and pulled out a known good one from the junk box, and soldered that in. No hum. Radio seems to be okay, and I'm tired and don't feel like aligning it, so we reassembled it, which was like putting a cat in a box to go to the vet. Finally got that done, got the antenna hooked up, realized that it was missing the AC prongs to plug into the back and made a set using an old whip antenna, fired it up and it mostly works, except for a god-awful squeel and misalignment and who knows what. We'd have to pull it apart again to see what's wrong now. Nooooooo! Back in the box. Maybe some day I'll take another look at it. Some day.

Tube Compliment

1R5 - Converter
1U4 - IF
1U5 - 2nd Detector
3V4 - Audio out

General Electric C403-A
GE C403-A clock radio

At least I think it's a C403-A; mine has no identifying marks on it whatsoever. If it is, it's from 1961. Another clock-radio to go along with my other GE, the Bendix, and a Zenith (below). Picked up for $2 at a thrift shop. I was going to scrap it out for a junk box because I never liked this styling, but my sister likes it so I'll fix it and give it to her. It needs the usual filter capacitor, but otherwise it's in good shape.

From what I've seen, I conservatively estimate that GE made 1 billion of them. They liked it so much that they kept the cabinet and fitted later models with solid-state guts. This guy has both.

Motorola 5P31A

Motorola 5P31AThis was one of several portable tube radios I purchased as a lot on eBay (along with the Arvin, Olympic, Philco and RCA). I was told it was working (not that it mattered) but no. Found and patched a couple cracks on the PC board (my father says this was a common problem on Motorolas). Works but reception is awful. My father says the ferrite antenna in the handle is broken (a very common problem on this model). The fix is to find a parts donor with a good handle. Or set it up, find a station, and then rap on the handle until/if the reception improves.

Tube Compliment

1R5 - Converter
1U4 - IF
1DN5 - 2nd Detector
3V4 - Audio out

Olympic 489

This was one of several portable tube radios I purchased as a lot on eBay (along with the Arvin, Motorola, Philco and RCA).

Unlike the others which are AC/DC, this is DC only, which means I have to rig up an appropriate power supply if I want to try it. Basically this one is a box and the on-off switch is in the cover (close the cover and the radio turns off). There's a latch on the side that lets the works swing out of the case. Haven't tested it yet due to the lack of appropriate batteries or DC power supply. And frankly I have too many other things going on ahead of it.

RCA 8-BX-6

RCA 8-BX-6JThis was one of several portable tube radios I purchased as a lot on eBay (along with the Arvin, Motorola, Olympic and Philco). Bright, attractive case (I always thought RCA had attractive visual design) and clean looking inside. The problem was a bad AC hum, so we replaced the filter capacitor. Works great.

Tube Compliment

1R5 - Converter
1U4 - IF
1U5 - 2nd Detector
3V4 - Audio out

Stewart-Warner 9152-B

Stewart-Warner 9152-B radio$11 at an antique mall—horrendous AC hum. Made up a replacement out of three 20µf caps (one 20 and one 40 stage) and it works great. The case is dark brown vinyl (not bakelite). The cabinet is odd in that the main box is just that: an open box. The front face is a plate that pushes on and is held with snaps (mine is glued). The back is cardboard. The chassis was probably originally designed for larger components (like octal tubes), because it's hugely oversized for those little 12-volt tubes, but makes working on it very, very easy. Circa 1950.

Tube Compliment

12BE6 - Converter
12BA6 - IF
12AT6 - 2nd Detector
50B5 - Audio out
35W4 - Rectifier

Zenith K511W

Zenith K511W clock radioBought it at the same time as my Stewart-Warner above—but this was only $5. I don't need or want another clock radio, and frankly I never liked this styling, which is post-modern meets Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup. But I like Zeniths (though sometimes I wonder why) and it gave me the practice of identifying two bad tubes (the 35W4 rectum-fryer and the 12BE6) and the might-as-well-not-be-there-at-all deceased filter capacitor. At least the Westclox electric movement works.

The cabinet is grimy and the way it's designed, there are all these nooks and crannies that make it very difficult to clean, so I don't know if it'll ever look good. Plus it has some battle scars on the sides, so I tend to see this as a parts donor.

Zenith liked to assign different chassis and cabinet numbers, so this cabinet is a K511W from 1966, but the chassis is a 5J02, which shows up in Beitman's Most Needed Radio Diagrams in 1963 (see Model 5J13C).

Tube Compliment

12BE6 - Converter
12BA6 - IF
12AV6 - 2nd Detector
50C5 - Audio out
35W4 - Rectifier

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