Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

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Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:06 pm

I am a collector and restorer of old time radio programs having a collection of thousands of programs. I purchased a 1937 Zenith, which happens to be the same model I listened to during the 40s and 50s and had it completely rebuilt. My main use is to receive programs through a SStran AMT3000 that are stored in my computer. What I am trying to achieve is to recreate the listening experiences I had during the golden age of radio, and it is working just fine.

I would like to learn just how this radio works and be able to understand the signal flow and the way the circuits work. I have been reading the MYE Technical Manual as well as some other books published by the ARRL.

For example, the first circuit shown on the schematic is a 6A8G which is apparently part of the detector/ocsilator and is a pentode. I cannot figure out how the coils, variable capacitors, and resistors work. As I understand it this part of the radio receives the broadcast signal of the station I am tuning and by using a combination of the input frequency and ocsilator changes the internal signal to 456KC with the audio riding along. I cannot understand how this works.

Is there anyone who can help me by either explaing and pointing me to on-line courses or tutorials to help me figure this out.

Any help greatly appreciated,

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:04 pm

Start by reading our turtorial dept. here. Cliff , and, I can help you on how the circuits work. Be patient with us, please. We will be glad to help.
Cliff, got any suggestions?
I'll let him start it off. Others may join of course.
Welcome to the tube radio forums.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by simplex1040 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:22 pm

I know how it works but can't splain it.
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:26 pm

O.K. I'll begin.
1. The antenna picks up all the signals at all frequencies.
2. The tuning capacitor through the change of the variable capacity, changes the frequency you have selected and at the same time allows the oscillator to change and track along with the change.
3. The first tube amplifies and blends selected frequency with the oscillator frequency
4. The Oscillator tube injects it own frequency which is added to the mixer tube
5. This causes Harmonic frequencies that the I.F. Coils and attached I.F. capacitors separate.
6. Once it goes through this stage, it goes to the I.F. detector,
7.The detector stage Which can be combined as two functions in one tube which detects and amplifies electrically the minuscule voltage going through .
8. The Detector stage removes the RF component and allows the audio portion through to the audio amplifier stage.
9. The audio amplifier, and, output stages amplify that signal which then goes to the loud speaker.
The loud speaker turns that electrical signal into an audio signal, and, reproduces the signal...

Now, the resistors play an important part in regulating the voltages in all the circuits. This regulation is important for the proper workings of the receiver.
The capacitors act as filters for AC and bypass to ground unwanted frequencies both AF and RF, also coils do the same function .
Last, but, not least, there is the power supply......
That is the circuit that produces the voltages to light the tube filaments of the tubes, and, the DC voltages needed to operate all the circuits. These have all four elements coils, capacitors and resistors and tubes.
I hope this helps.
Bill Cahill


Last edited by Resistance is Futile on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:08 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling and further details (Cliff))

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Can I Send You a Copy Of the Schematic

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:52 pm

Bill, thank you for your last post. Is it possible for me to send you a copy of the schematic so that I can ask specific questions about the circuitry.

Also I just ordered Elements of Radio Servicing.

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:53 pm

Can you e mail me a pdf that I can enlarge?
Tiny paper schematics I can't read with my bad eyes.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:07 pm

Yes, I can, and already have done this. Please send me your
email address and I will send it right off to you.

Thanks for your help,
Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:46 pm

Look at the links under my name. One shows an envelope. That's e mail.
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Ben Delk on Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:46 pm

Dang Bill.....that's some of the best "how things work" info I've seen in a while. You da' man......Great job!
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:19 am

Bill Cahill posted an excellent response on the workings of a superhetrodyne radio as my Zenith appears to me to be.

Now I have some detailed questions centered around the first circuit. Bill has uploaded a copy of the schematic to the photo bucket so that anyone trying to help a real neophyte can reference in helping me into the wonderful world of antique radio.

Some Initial Questions and Observations Regarding the First Circuit – DET-OSC 6A8G

I will start with Some initial questions starting with the details on the first circuit:

1. The signal comes in from the antenna. What is the function of the coil marked 2 and the variable capacitor that appears to be parallel to the coil? I understand the way C22 is varied as it is a 2 gang and appears to me to be how the frequency selected on the dial picks up that particular frequency coming in the antenna. The schematic shows both capacitors are variable. What influences the capacitor to act as variable. These variable capacitors appear elsewhere in the schematic as well. What influences them?
2. It appears to me that the antenna signal passes through C22 and enters the 6A8G in one of the pentode grids where it looks like it is influenced by two of the pentode grids. What comes out of the plate? How does the signal get to the IF stage, the next tube in what looks to me like the signal flow? Is the IF stage where the audio is seperated from the 456KC signal in the detector/oscillator circuit.
3. What are the functions of the grids in the 6A8G? In fact there seem to be more than what I have in a chart of schematic symbols

I appreciate any help,

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:27 am

The coil first questionned is the oscilator coil, needed to produce the frequencies needed for the oscilator to work. The two gang capacitor connected by jagged lines in the schematic is the variable tuner itself, which is used to seperate those frequencies. It is variable capacitance used at both the anetenna end, and, the oscilator itself.
The other capacitors, some mica help with the frequencies.
The switches used are to seperate the different band frequencies.
There is a coupling circuit going through the first I F transformer coupling the signal to the first I f stage, which amplifies the signal slightly. The plate voltages in all circuits is important so the circuits will work properly, as is the screen voltage.

After the first I F stage amplifies the signal, it goes to the second I F transformer, and, second stage, where it is amplified slightly more. This circuit does not seperate the audio signal. Just amplifies the signal as a whole.
The next tube is the audio detector stage, which turns the I F frequency into audio frequency.
at that point, the audio amplifier takes over, and, amplifies the audio frequencies.
The audio output is the final amplifier stage where the signal is amplified. From there, it goes to the loudspeaker which changes the voltage into audio sound.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:08 am

Bill, maybe I am getting too detailed here,

1. Is the output from the Det-Osc now at 456KC with the audio riding along?
2. Where does this signal enter the IF Tube part of the circuitry? Is it through the coil marked as number 5 and going to the emitter in the IF tube?

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:54 pm

No, it is not.
It becomes the I F frequency at the I F stages.
The audio signal rieds along. But, the I F has to be changed to Audio at audio detector.

A crystal set is somewhat similar. Except it leaves out the middle man, the i f stages.
It Is brought in as rf, and, tuned, then, changed at crystal to audio .
Earphones turn signal into weak audio.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Resistance is Futile on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:30 pm

Also as a note the tuning knob on the front of the radio has a direct mechanical connection to the Main variable tuning capacitor (with two sets of movable inter-meshing metal plates) That's why they show the dotted or dashed lines to show the mechanical attachment. The other variable capacitors have screws and have a tiny sheet of mica to separate one side of the capacitor from the other so they can not short out. These are found normally on the variable tuning capacitor and help fine tune the larger capacitor sections. One is for the antenna and the other for the oscillator section. These are used to help the radio track frequencies and helpful when doing alignments.
You seem to have a good grasp of some of the basics, but I would ask you to search for a set of books that the Navy put out, they are available on the web for free in PDF format.

Seriously it would help you if you read them before asking for all the details here. The books are called the N.E.E.Ts a lot of details that cover your questions would be answered faster then us explaining, because of it being a reference to other details we might not cover. It has a lot of pictures that are worth a thousand words. Trust me, it is an invaluable reference that the Navy provided beginners that know nothing about electronics or radio. Hope this helps in part.
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:09 pm

Hello Cliff,

Have already purchased some books and there seem to be a bit of what I want in some of them.

I searched the web using Google and could not find any reference to N.E.E.Ts. If you can point me to a link I will gladly get them.

I know I am asking a lot of detailed questions because I am just trying to trace the signal path from the antenna, through the tube circuits, to the loadspeakers. This desire for this level of detail comes from my experiences in the computer industry going back to 1958. I was involved in programming, control program design, sensor based computing, event driven programs, etc. In all cases we used a detailed flow chart to understand the logic flow. Anyone armed with a failure symptom, the flow chart, and the source programming code could eventually find the fault and repair it. Schematics seem somewhat similar but for me much harder to understand because there seem to be so many capacitors and resistors that I don't know the function of. I would like to take a copy of the schematic and use a highlighter to depict the path of the signal. I believe that once I do that I can then delve in the circuitry supporting each stage and try to understand. I might even understand things well enough to diagnose a problem in a radio and fix it.

I am in my mid seventies and electronics is a brand new area for me so please be patient with me. Hopefully, when I learn enough I can be a contributor to the group.

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Resistance is Futile on Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:26 pm

There are a number of the chapters to download, Fiber Optics isn't needed.

Capacitors are used to Pass alternating current but block DC current. So it allows a signal to pass to another part of the circuit, or to act as a short to ground for AC signals. So they are called coupling caps,if they pass a signal and and called a bypass cap, if they short a signal to another circuit such as ground.

Resistors will pass DC and AC but limit the voltage/current.

Coils will act as a wire to pass DC but Limit certain AC signals, They can be used in power supplies or in circuits that manipulate how the audio and RF are used.

Then when these components are combined they can help generate signals or block certain signals. and that is when you need to know electronic theory to see electrically how signals and power are used.

That's why you need to understand basic electrical principles and after that go on to electronic principles second, if you try the other way you will just get confused. That's where reading those books will help.
Now if you run into problems look at the end of each chapter for answers to the questions in the books (chapters) You will need a good calculator with scientific notation and some advanced math. to work out the problems.
There are also several Electronics web pages and forums on line and you can pose a small questions in the browser search box. And be directed to several places. another one is wiki they have some good explanations of capacitors, resistors, coils etc.

Click Here For NEETS
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by willy3486 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:20 pm

I have a generic radio diagram that helps me out to keep in mind how a radio works. I printed it out and have it on my workbench. You can print it out as well. Its at
http://image85.webshots.com/85/5/50/18/2685550180101948653RTlbig_fs.jpg

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Resistance is Futile on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:30 am

I am forbidden to log on or view, However I do have the schematic In Beitmans, and I think its in BAMA probably and several other web sites, you can also download most schematics at one time, Look for Riders and Beitmans PDF volumes (each has about 18-24 volumes in PDF format for free.)
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:54 am

Thank you for the information on the block diagram. I have it.

Following is my understanding of the signal flow through the Zenith using the block diagram and the Zenith schematic

1. The signal flows into what is called the DET-OSC and emerges as an unmodulated signal RF + 456KC.
2. The emerged signal flows into the element called I. F. Tube and emerges at 456KC as an amplified signal
3. The signal enters what is called the 2ND Detector and emerges as the audio portion of the original RF input
4. The signal enters the 1ST audio tube and emerges as an amplified audio signal
5. The signal enters the Power Tube further amplified audio signal and is then enters the loudspeaker

Please tell me if I have a correct understanding the basic signal flow through the Zenith.

In my way learning things my next step would be to try to trace the actual signal through the schematic. Can anyone help me here?

Once I have mastered the signal flow I would move on to understanding the individual components and how they influence the signal flow.

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:25 pm

Well, this is where I'm bowing out. I am a technician. I know how to repair, and, what to repair. You need an engineer, which I am not.
Maybe Cliff can help you there.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:27 pm

Bill, thank you for all your help.

If I were to undertake a repair on a radio of this type wouldn't I need to take certain measurements along the signal path in order to disgnose the problem. In order to do that I believe I would need to understand the signal path from the antenna to the speaker.

Am I missing something?

Cliff, If you see this, what is your opinion as well?

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:31 pm

First, not all antennas are a loop. And, the loop rarely opens.
Next, the most common problems in antique radios are bad paper capacitors, bad mica capacitors, off value resistors, bad tubes, and, leaky, and, shorted electrolytics.
Why do you need to know all the ins, and, outs of the signal path for that?
Common sense, to start off, works very well at restoration, and, repairs end.
In any antique electronics which includes radios, televisions, and, record players, among manny other things, the things that fail the most is the paper capacitors, and, the electrolytics, followed colsely by bad rubbbber, and, cloth wirring in alot of them, and, off value resistors.
Upon replacing the paper caps, bad electrolytics, any bad wirring, and, off value resistors, that eliminates the most common problems.
Common sense also rules that you try to put most compnnents in as close to the same position as the orignal, as this can cause some problems in sensitve circuits.
At times, realignment is needed on the set, having instrustions from the mannufactures can be of a big help when it's availlable. Yes, you need some test equipment for that, which includes a good working signal generator.

Televisions are more crittical than radios because of some crittical circuts, alot more circuits, and, generally much higher voltages.
Knowledge on how to properly solder, use test equipment, properly reading schematics, how to use euipment, and, the different safety precautions, as well as a good general knowledge of what ciruits do what is also important.
But, not every radio, or tv will use the same componnents.
You don't need to know absolutely every function of each individual part.
A good general knowledge is a good plus, of course..

Remember that when these things were built it was never intended that people would be repairing them 60+ years later. The longest most were intended to last was ten years.....

I'm not knocking people that know what you know. If it wasn't for you guys, alot of the stuff never would have come into being.
But, while I fully support a good general knowledge of how they work, most techs don't need to know every last thing about the design.
yes, coils go bad. That's where general knowledge, plus experience comes in very handy........
For instance, starting about 1949 Zenith was the first companny to save money by building the capacitors used on I F transformers in radios directly into the bottom of the transformer where the terminals are.
This continued well into the early 70's on most, though not all I F transformers installed by almost every companny.
What wasn't taken into account is the types of rivets used to hold these capacitors together. They have a tendency to corode, and, that leakage leaks into the capacitors, eventually causing them to fail.
Proper ways to check that if you only have a low audio hum is to check voltages. You will generally find that you will get a positive voltage on the secondary where you should be getting a slight negative voltage. That's knowledge, and, common sense.
Also not all radios work on I F frequencies. The erlier sets work on RF frequencies, and, though the workings are similar, they are a different creature completely! LOL

Then there is the occasional tube failure, etc.....
It's very good to know how a radio works. But, if you have a good general knowledge, with proper equipment, parts, and, if possible, schematics, you don't need to know how absolutely every componnent works....

To sum up:
1 Replace paper capacitors.
2 Replace electrolytics.
3 Do a general check of resistors, power transformer if they have one, audio output transformer, driver transformers in earlier sets, and, tubes.
8 Times out of 10 just the first two seps will cure alot of problems.

Of course, speakers do go bad, also.
Not all, but, this depends on quality of original spkrs. and, where the set was stored will help determine that.
I have seen some audio output transformers either open the primary, half open the primary on push pull transformers, or, in some rare instances, actually short out. I even had one 1948 Philco radio where the primary shorted to the chassis.
Boy, did that raise havoc!
Bill Cahill


Last edited by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:46 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by Resistance is Futile on Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:05 am

Here's a web page that should answer all your questions in following the signal and how it works.

Click Here

We cannot not provide the details that you need any where as well, books are the best way, for the details you want.
General questions that your asking are difficult as we are not any where near qualified to act as a teacher or tutor on things that should take place in a class room environment, the reason is that teachers can set up experiments with test equipment, and force the student to depend on book study and class room time, followed by experiments and tests to evaluated concepts and skills learned.

We cannot provide that on a physical in person experience, which would be Ideal. We are volunteering our time, so our time too has limits for us.

But General questions are welcomed and problems of repairs, but the questions you are asking would be more appropriate after you have read the books suggested, you will then be able to answer a lot of your own questions. You really need concentrate on basic electronics before delving in to advanced theory.

Ohms Law, and other theorems and laws are necessary and basic to understanding, such as to know the difference and similarities between resistance and reluctance and impedance are crucial, both of capacitive and inductive circuits and how they interplay. Knowing Thevenin's theorem, Algebra and trig related to electronics to follow the logic behind concepts of signal generation, detection, selectivity, sensitivity, broadband vs narrow band, modes of signal, amplification vs attenuation, distortion, Harmonics, Graphing of those, antenna structure and design, grounding concepts in practice and even know how to use test equipment to trace signals and interpret those results, without that, knowing just the path will accomplish nothing.
Do you Have radio test equipment? Do you have basic radio tools to remove and replace components?
What training have you had related to electronics as far as radios go?
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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by willy3486 on Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:32 am

I have a electrical engineering degree myself. I have had to design circuits mostly solid state. With that said I do what Bill said when I work on them for the most part. I change out the caps and test the tubes. Most of the time I at least get it going. If it doesn't I then go to tracing the signal. To trace the signal I have a signal generator and signal tracer I made.

To start out tracing I put the signal generator on the antenna and then clip the tracer about half way in the circuits path. Then I see if I can tune in the signal I inserted. If I can I then move down the circuit. If not I move towards the antenna.

Cliff gave some good pointers as well and a good site to check out as well. As far as getting the hang of it that will come. I worked on these these things over 25 years ago as a hobby and a way to suppliment my income. With life and other directions I was being pulled I got out of them.

Now my life is slowing down that I have time to work on them, daughter off to college, my mother in law is about to be settled in a new home I won't have to be constantly work on and my house is paid off so other than the daughters schooling I don't have the need for as much cash as I use too. Even though I had customers from all over the state I live in at that time and knew how to work on them I am having to reteach myself now.

I have found out the best way for me to be taught something is just try to do it and figure out how to do it. Don't worry that you have to know and understand how everything works on the first radio you work on. Just do like a lot of us do and just enjoy the journey of repairing it.

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

Post by otrman@optonline.net on Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:32 pm

First let me thank all of you gentlemen for your help. I apologize for being so persistent in my pursuit of knowledge. You have given me some basic insights and pointers to resources that will help me learn more about how my radio works. I have purchased 3 modern books and 3 books from the 1940s and am crawling through them a little at a time.

I am not sure that I will ever attempt to repair a radio I just wanted to know how one works. As I said in my previous posts I have worked a long time (since 1958) in the technical aspects of computers and computer software and I always found that a top down approach, i.e., flowchart, sub-routines, and instruction set was the way I learned best.

I did find a book that has been extremely helpful to me, "Elements of Radio Servicing", by Marcus and Levy, published in 1947. This book discussed how to set up a repair bench, tools and test equipment, and step by step repair procedures. The authors take care to remind the reader that the book covers the past 10 years of radio technology so as not to confuse the reader with the evolution of radio received circuitry. After some basics the book is organized by the authors experiences so the chapters are in order to their experiences showing most likely causes and gets fairly detailed in their discussion of circuits in any stage.

It appears that no one likes paper capacitors.

I have another topic to discuss, namely adding an external RF amplifier to my Zenith. Should I start a new topic or discuss it here.

Thanks again,

Henry

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Re: Learning The Zenith 6 Tube Console Chassis 5634

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