Air Castle 932

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Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:19 pm

I just started restoring my scrapyard salvage Spiegel / Air Castle (I think it's a model 932, but there are no markings on the chassis and the label is long gone), it was butchered up pretty bad by a previous owner so I've got my work cut out for me. I was able to get the chassis shined up, but the pushbutton tuner is caked in crud and I'm a little leary of taking it apart. Is there anything out there that I can soak the entire assembly in to get rid of all the gunk? The tuning condenser needs a good cleaning too, so any advice on that is welcome as well.

I've been looking for a legible schematic for this radio, but the best I've been able to find is a few fuzzy Riders pages. I can't make out the values of a few of the components and since the radio has been modified so much, I can't really go by what's in the radio now. I haven't found a listing for this model on Sams Photofacts website or in Beitmans (1941 or 1942 issues). Does anyone have any other resources that lists this radio?
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:06 pm

The restoration has begun... this radio is a mess! The clean up has been slow going, lots of scraping and scrubbing but it's getting there. Tonight I finished up the pushbutton assembly & tuning condenser, hopefully tomorrow the chassis will get a fresh coat of paint. I've posted a few pictures of this project and a few past projects here. http://s1100.photobucket.com/albums/g407/woodrow219/Air%20Castle%20932/
More to come soon.


Last edited by Motorola man on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by willy3486 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:08 am

I have had pretty good luck with the LPS brand lubricant. I usually spray it on pushbutton areas and such to get them to loosen. Then I go back with a spray cleaner. After the piece is clean I lightly spay some more of the lps if it needs it. The lubricant will loosen the dirt and grease so it gets soft. Then the cleaner washes it away and another coating if it needs it of the lps will keep it loose.

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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Resistance is Futile on Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:19 pm

That Air Castle is an unusual design, looks like a keeper.
If you run into crud like that shown on the push-button tuner selector and you have the finances, invest in an ultrasonic cleaner. I have used it with very good results, and less time and labor involved.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:19 pm

I've never worked on a radio that was as crusty as this one. It cleaned up fairly easily though, it was just time consuming. I tried a few different techniques and found the best way to get the crud off was to lightly scrape it with a small screwdriver and then brush it with some solvent. It's not a showroom shine, but atleast everything is moving again.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:09 pm

The chassis is painted & reassembled. Now on to the electronics. Most of the wiring will need to be replaced, along with all of the caps & resistors. A previous owner made a few shade tree modifications which will need to be corrected as well.


Last edited by Motorola man on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:57 pm

Well, normally, I'm dead set against painting radios, but, by the looks of your work on this one, I'd say it looks darned nice. Great job!
May I see the bottome, and, also the case? Thanks.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:35 pm

Normally I wouldn't have painted it, but this one had some rust and someone cut a section of the chassis where the original power transformer was (note the cover plate on the left side, this will be the rectifier tube will be located.) I removed as much as I could from the top and masked off the rest. I also masked off the inspection stamp which looks a bit out of place on the shiney chassis but I wanted to keep it visible. I didn't want to gut it out, so the underside hasn't had the same treatment as the top. It's still pretty nasty, but nobody's ever going to be looking under there. I've posted a few more photos of this radio and a few other pieces of my collection here. http://s1100.photobucket.com/albums/g407/woodrow219/
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:52 pm

Replaced a few resistors with what I had on hand, also a new power cord and added a fuse. I need to order everyting else. I'd like to find an original power transformer, but I have my doubts whether that's going to happen. If anyone comes across one, let me know.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by stromberg6 on Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:44 pm

Bill Cahill wrote:Well, normally, I'm dead set against painting radios, but, by the looks of your work on this one, I'd say it looks darned nice. Great job!
May I see the bottome, and, also the case? Thanks.
Bill Cahill

WOW! That looks great. Congrats on a handsome job. Wondering if it has an RF stage, or separate mixer and oscillator stages for better SW reception. Question

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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:37 pm

Thank you. I'm regretting painting it before recapping. The paint scratches pretty easily, but what's a 70 year old radio without a few scratches here and there?
I've been trying to resist temptation. I want to replace a few more resistors, but they're buried under some caps and it will be lots more work if I do it now. I need to be a little more patient and wait 'til I get the new caps.

Stages / tube line up is as follows:
6sk7qt - rf amp
6sa7gt - oscillator
6sk7gt - i.f. amp
6j56 - detector
6sq7gt - 1st audio
6j5g - driver
6ac5g - output
7z4 - rectifier
6u5 - eye

Mine has AM and one SW band, but I found a schematic that's almost identical that has 4 SW bands. I'm having to use both schematics because I haven't found one that is completely legible. It doesn't help that some of the parts in this radio have been substituted. Mad
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:33 pm

After a long struggle, I've decided to refinish the cabinet. I normally like to leave the original finish on my radios because it gives them character. I shined up the brass today so I've committed myself to the task. I figured that since I've already done so much to this one on the inside, that I'd give it the same treatment on the outside. I'm not looking forward to working on the corner details, hopefully it will go better than I think.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by denver on Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:38 pm

woowee... doing a great job. Smile I have painted a few of mine. What i found out the cheap spray paint get for a few dollars will scratch easy. Rolling Eyes Get some automotive paint in spray cans. Will not scratch ... dries hard. You can even buy it at lowes ect. now.Better spray outdoors though... smell will get to you pale Make you dizzy. Post more pics please as you go along.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:01 pm

Not much progress recently, but I did buy some grill cloth this weekend. It's in no way original, but I think it looks good. To be honest, I don't know what style cloth is correct for this one. I still haven't found any pictures of this model anywhere. The cloth that's currently on it has about 500 office staples holding it in, so it may have been replaced at some point (or just a shotty repair job). I'm hoping to start the refinishing in the next week or so. Still need to order the caps too.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:16 pm

Cut a new "sound board" and glued on the new cloth. Did a dry fit of everything & I think that I made the right choice with the cloth. The picture doesn't do it much justice, but it's a dark green and gold. After peeling off the ugly old brown cloth, I found remnants of the original cloth, which was a basic black & gold weave.

I'm experimenting with making a new dial glass. I've made one using thin plastic, but it's a bit too flimsy. If I can find something of the same radius to use as a form, I'd like to try my hand at bending glass. If not, then I'll be going with lexan.

Also in the works is a new loop antenna. I harvested some heavy weight cardboard from an old three ring binder & cut a new form, which worked out perfectly since the cardboard is the same thickness & density as the the original form.



Last edited by Motorola man on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by bill57 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:13 pm

Love to see these restorations from the beginning. Chassis sure does look good so I agree with you that after all that work the cabinet deserves refinishing.Hopefully you have the knobs. New grill cloth goes well with it. Please post more photos as you do the cabinet. Would like to see the detail on the corners and under the chassis. Very unusual looking radio. Also would like to see how you do the loop antenna. So what shape is the speaker in?

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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:33 am

I only have 2 of the knobs, but they're pretty generic looking. I've see a few sites that have universal replacements that look almost identical. The antenna is a standard "spider web" style, so pretty straight forward.

I've repaired the usual minor tears in the speaker, but I'm not sure if I'm going to use it. Since it's been replaced once before, I may just go ahead & put a fresh replacement in. Whomever replaced it the first time left the old electrodynamic speaker wired in, pulled out the voice coil (leaving the field coil & bucking coil) & wired a PM speaker to the old voice coil connections. I'm sure it worked, but I've never seen anyone do it quite like that.

Check out the photobucket link on the first page for some more pictures. I'll keep y'all posted on the progress.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:26 pm

I moved the posted photos to a new album for easier viewing & added a few more. Here's the link for the new album. http://s1100.photobucket.com/albums/g407/woodrow219/Air%20Castle%20932/
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:51 pm

I got started stripping the cabinet tonight and was pleasently surprised. Underneath all of the crud and old laquer I found a pretty decent looking radio.

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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:36 pm

Sanded and stained the cabinet tonight. The front and top are a little lighter than the sides, so it will get another coat tomorrow. The upper edge and lower recess will be stained black like it was originally. I'm debating on staining the recesses on the corners. Any opinions on that?
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by fixinmyphono on Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:48 pm

dremel tool sand them out then light stain them to match the rest?
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:54 pm

I would. I'd also stain the edges black.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:10 pm

I've already stained the corners dark walnut like the rest of the cabinet and I'm thinking about staining the recessed areas black.
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:31 pm


Second coat of stain on the top & front. It's still just a little too light, so it will get a third coat tomorrow & then on to the accent stain.

On a side note, I've got a bit of sagging going on with the new grill cloth. It's securely glued to the heavy weight cardboard frame but it's sagging @ the open slots of the frame. Is there anything that I can do differently to prevent or repair this? I'm using a fairly heavy cloth, could the cloth be too heavy & stretching? Should I make a new frame with small holes drilled rather than open slots?
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Re: Air Castle 932

Post by Motorola man on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:32 pm

Finally got the color all matched up. The black stain on the accents didn't take at all, so I'll have find some lacquer paint for that.

I'm having another go with the grill cloth. I'm using a different glue & made a new frame with more surface area to glue to. Hopefully it won't sag this time.
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Re: Air Castle 932

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