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Vintage electronics thread
Old 11-07-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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Vintage electronics thread

Today was the acid test for my latest electronic project -- resurrecting a 1936 vintage capacitor analyzer. When I first got it for $15, I found a loose mica capacitor in the wooden case and could not tell from whence it had come, which made me reluctant to do the old "plug it in and see if it works" trick.

I didn't have a schematic, a parts list or a manual when I started. I was also unable to determine the proper values of many of the installed capacitors and resistors because they had no indication on them. So I had to get my old electrical engineering textbooks out of the attic and try to figure it out by inspecting the actual installed wiring and re-designing the circuit myself. My task was complicated by the fact that somebody had apparently tried to repair it before me and had screwed up the wiring in several places.

Eventually, I found a schematic on the internet, but it had no component values. I also found a manual, but no parts list. Eventually, I determined what the component values "should be" and then, by means of some internet search that I could not replicate if I tried, I finally found an old parts list. I was happy to see that the values agreed almost exactly with those that I had sussed out by myself.

Yesterday was my day for disassembly, cleaning, component replacement and undoing the improper wiring. Then I put it away last night so I could sleep on it. After a final inspection today, I fired it up and, miracle of miracles, it works like a champ! I did the triumphant victory dance in the garage.

For those interested in electronics, it really is quite cool. It uses a Wien bridge to measure capacitance, using a "magic eye" tube as a null detector. It also measures leakage with a neon bulb relaxation oscillator. The DC power supply is an ancient 4-pin half-wave rectifier tube. It can also measure resistance using the bridge circuit. I tested all the old paper capacitors I had replaced and found, not surprisingly, that they leak like crazy, so it's a good thing I didn't just turn it on when I first got it.
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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Today was the acid test for my latest electronic project -- resurrecting a 1936 vintage capacitor analyzer..........

What a great project. My house came with a 1972 era electronic air cleaner which didn't work. It sat for 17 years until I retired, then I, not remembering squat from my electronics engineering classes, replaced each suspect component (diodes, capacitors and resistors). Amazing the dang thing works great. I admire your perseverance.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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Gumby, a splendid project, even better that it ends well. No substitute for the satisfaction of making something work.


Remember the magic eye. I dis-assembeld destroyed the family radio when I was about 9 years old, simply because I wanted to know what made the magic eye work.
Took another ten years before I finally understood it.
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Vintage electronics thread
Old 11-29-2010, 02:27 PM   #4
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Vintage electronics thread

Bought Old 1924 Westinghouse radio. Sight unseen complete. Hope nothing important is damaged. Looks good in pictures. I have some work cut out for me.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:07 PM   #5
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Bought Old 1924 Westinghouse radio. Sight unseen complete. Hope nothing important is damaged. Looks good in pictures. I have some work cut out for me.
Nice box, cool tuning coils, missing A battery, B battery , power supply stuff.

Good winter project. I'm guessing all tubes triodes. Never seen one in real life. Is there a patent number on it?
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Due to an email gaff the pics above are not the one I bought. Same model. I had to substitute. Will take some in detail when I get my hands on it. Don't know for sure about a patent number but the dates are 1917 to 1924. Tubes are probably UX201A and UX201B. Batteries probably connected to wires via fahnestock clips. Have to build battery eliminator. I have a schematic somewhere but Westinghouse changed parts monthly so it may not be exact. May start a thread for old electronics.
Bruce
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:18 PM   #7
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Due to an email gaff the pics above are not the one I bought. Same model. I had to substitute. Will take some in detail when I get my hands on it. Don't know for sure about a patent number but the dates are 1917 to 1924. Tubes are probably UX201A and UX201B. Batteries probably connected to wires via fahnestock clips. Have to build battery eliminator. I have a schematic somewhere but Westinghouse changed parts monthly so it may not be exact. May start a thread for old electronics.
Bruce
Nice old radio; I have an old 1936 EH Scott. Lots of info at the following:

Antique Radios - The Collector's Resource
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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Cool radio. Does it just play old music and newscasts?
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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Cool radio. Does it just play old music and newscasts?
Funny you should ask. What is on the AM dial nowadays?
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:49 PM   #10
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A thread for old electronics might be fun. I've been into old radios for a long time; even put myself through computer school in 1969 with them. I used to buy them for a dollar or two from the Salvation Army "as is" store in north Minneapolis then fix them and sell for anywhere from 25 to 50 bucks each. I really wish I had some of them back but all I still have are the Scott and a 60s Zenith Transoceanic.
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Vintage electronics thread
Old 11-29-2010, 07:37 PM   #11
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Vintage electronics thread

I started this thread for those of us interested in vintage electronics.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:06 PM   #12
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Due to an email gaff the pics above are not the one I bought. Same model. I had to substitute. Will take some in detail when I get my hands on it. Don't know for sure about a patent number but the dates are 1917 to 1924. Tubes are probably UX201A and UX201B. Batteries probably connected to wires via fahnestock clips. Have to build battery eliminator. I have a schematic somewhere but Westinghouse changed parts monthly so it may not be exact. May start a thread for old electronics.
Bruce
The following data may be helpful when you are building the power supply.

Nostalgia Air: Tube Substitution for 01A
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:20 PM   #13
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My brother, when he moved from the UK to the US, brought with him an old radio. When he tried it out in Sunnyvale, CA, the only station he could receive was the BBC ...

Peter
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:11 PM   #14
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I started this thread for those of us interested in vintage electronics.
And I'm enjoying it, thanks!
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:25 PM   #15
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OH boy....... this is a good thread!

Wish I had more digital pics ready to post. These pics were taken of stuff I'm selling or have sold:

Collins S Line - 75S3-C 32S-3 312b-4 516F-2

Collins 51S-1

Drake C Line - R4-C T4X-C

Drake 2-B

Hallicrafters SX-100

Misc mountain of other "stuff" qualifying me as a guy who needs to thin the collection!

This is primarily ham radio related, not quite as vintage as the example above, but vintage just the same.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:42 AM   #16
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very cool. Is it a superheterodyne receiver? I think they were building those by the 1920s and I think it can be done with as few as 5 tubes...
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:21 AM   #17
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Thanks for this thread everyone! I'm interested in finding a desktop antique radio for my home office. I assume that I'll find one in non-working condition, so these resources will help me bring it back to life.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:16 AM   #18
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very cool. Is it a superheterodyne receiver? I think they were building those by the 1920s and I think it can be done with as few as 5 tubes...
No this is a TRF. At least the tuning capacitors are ganged. There are others that you have to tune each individual stage separately.

I bought an old regenerative tombstone last month. It is made by International Radio. I think they are in Michigan. It is going to be a major project. One of the coils needs rewinding, tuning cap is seized Regeneration control is also seized. It may become a display only.

I have a working Westinghouse Batteryless and a working Phonola Superhet and a whole bunch that I should either sell or fix.

Nostalgia Air From Gumby's post is very useful

Nostalgia Air

This one could keep a person busy for days with all the info and links they have.

Antique Radio Websites

Phil's Old Radios - Welcome!

A couple more

OVRA - Gallery

Hammond Museum of Radio Home Page

More Later
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:16 AM   #19
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1937 Sears Silvertone model 4787

1934 GE model m-56 - works

1965 Williams Lucky Strike with animated backglass - works. No tubes but lots of relays, step motors, and solenoids.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:04 AM   #20
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Here are some pics of my EH Scott and Transoceanic
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