Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

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Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:45 pm

Hi.
I've had this machine for more than 30 years.. At one time I had it playing, but, sound was weak. Then, other problems happenned, and, it got set asside for the last 24 years. I'm now finally back on it.
Started out by polishing the chassis, and, speaker.
I have repairs to do, and, case work to do.
Pictures are mixed, up. Sorry. But, I'll be doing this possibly in sections.
Well, here goes. Here are photos of it. Oh. By the way.
Tube line up follows: 1 5U4 Rect. 2 2A3 Audio Output. 2 6J5. ONe is inverter, other is pre amp.
It uses a driver transformer for ouput stage.






























Well, what do you guys think? It was sort of playing 24 years ago, but, after getting the correct schematic for it, I found out the electrolytics I had put in, all at 450 volts, were too low. I needed 500 volt instead..
I think several of the parts are chrome plated.
I believe apeaker frame is also chrome plated.
Magnet assembly isn't.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:52 pm

Here are more pictures of it.































Well, what do you guys think? It was sort of playing 24 years ago, but, after getting the correct schematic for it, I found out the electrolytics I had put in, all at 450 volts, were too low. I needed 500 volt instead..
I think several of the parts are chrome plated.
I believe apeaker frame is also chrome plated.
Magnet assembly isn't.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:34 pm

Great job- really!
How do you get the parts so clean? I have one set, the chair side radio, that was pretty much that clean. All I had to do was use some steel wool on the tube shields.
Did the phono cartridge work or did you replace it?

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:43 pm

The original cartridge was still working. Don't know now.
Thanks. I couldn't get some spots, but, tried hard.
I used Brasso with paper towels.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Guest on Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:44 pm

That really looks good!

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:38 pm

I've heard that sometimes heating, or baking, the cartridge will rejuvenate the crystal. Have you ever heard that?

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm

No. Not true. Heat destroys crystal, and, I highly reccommend against it.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by willy3486 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:28 pm

Nice phono. I had a motorola radio given to me about 1984 that I just got going a few months back. It feels great to get one going you set aside or got stumped on so long ago. As far as the brasso goes I have a question on it. Back years ago when I was into the radios before people never thought to go to the effort as is done today, mainly refinish if needed and get the radio going. You never heard of stuff like taking out the old caps and putting in new ones in the old paper shell. Anyway I hear a lot on using brasso. I assume its mostly for the chassis. But for some reason I think I read or heard you could use it on bakelite. Is this true or did my ears hear wrong. I have heard a lot of good tricks I never knew years ago.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Guest on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:47 pm

I have used it on bakelite and clear acrylic plastics. Brasso is basically rottenstone, kerosene and ammonia.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:07 pm

I have had excellent luck with brasso, even on plastics.
I've used it on a number of nasty looking vintage telephones in my collection.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:25 am



This was green and pitted when I got it. A mess, but it worked. A few hours of fine grade sandpaper and steel wool and it sold for $125.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:39 am

Here are some pictures I missed.................








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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:10 pm

Had a mini nightmare, but, I replaced the electrolytics tonight.
Had to redesign the set up.
I'll get more pics as soon as possible.
At least that nightmare is finnished.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:14 am

I hope you're gonna be able to post a video of it working.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:57 am

I'll try, but, I've been having speed issues with both you tube, and, Photo bucket. Both, on a 5 min. video upload wanted to take up to five hours to upload. And, they were living to it.
Twice, I tried on both sites, and, after 45 min. trying to upload, they both were 1 percent done.
Something's definately wrong there.

Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:00 am

Something else... I don't know yet the present condition of the cartridge. I will be initially trying the amp with a 45 rpm deck.
I have to rewire the tone arm, and, that will be a bear.
If I have to rebuild the cartridge, I'll have to find a reliable rebuilder.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:33 pm

Humm- are you on dial up? My internet connection runs at 10 meg, which is pretty slow. I use Microsoft Movie Maker. Once I load the photo or movie files into my computer I import the file into Movie Maker. There I can do stuff to it, like add a sound track, use video transitions, etc Most of my videos are made from clips just like the ones you've posted here. The RCA video is the first time I actually used a movie file. Note- YouTube only accepts a .wmv file no longer than 10 minutes.

I you have a Mac there is a program similar to Movie Maker but better.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:01 pm

No. I am on cable, and, it's fast.
100 meg fast............

Tried amp today. Have problems with it, plus, one of my cartridges took a dump, but,I am getting fairly good volume. But, it has some issues, and, at least one is a very bad resistor.
I need to replace that.
I think mica tone caps are also bad.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Sounds like you are having lots of fun.

100-meg IS fast. The highest offered here is 50 meg. However I've found that 10 meg works fine. I can watch videos and movies with out any lag or 'hiccups', and it only costs $15

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:05 am

I just posted this on ARF, and, wanted to share it with you. I worked on machine tonight. Here is what I said.

I have had this machine for over 35 years. When I got it it was still barely playing with it's original 1939 factory Crystal cartridge.
I repaired it at the time, and, it put out some audio, but, not alot.
Well, alot happenned, and, I haven't touched it in 20 years, approx.

I got back on it about two weeks ago after my flyback fried in my Raytheon tv.
I put new electrolytics in it again, and, started repairs.

Well, it's still got issues, but, guess what!!
The original crystal cartridge is still very much alive!!!!!!
The wire leading to it was shorted because rubber insulation on center wire had crumbled off.
The wires solder to the back of the cartridge, and, there is a shorting switch mounted on the cartridge to short it out while changing needles.
I don't have great wire, and, it's causing me major headaches. But, with fiddling around, I get fairly decent volume out of that cartridge, with good bass response.
I can't play a record yet because of mechanical problems, including a gummed up motor.
But, with difficulty, I can drag a record, and, it had decent volume, admittedly with vol control turned all the way up, but, still, decent volume, with good bass.
I'm not even going to rebuild this one. I'm leaving this cartridge alon!!!!
Very Happy Very Happy
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:25 am

Did some messing around with motor, and, connections, and, a fussy mercury switch, and, got it to play records. With original old saphire needle it was distorted. I put a new 78 needle in, and, now, it plays GREAT!!!!!
Lots of volume, good bass, clean, and, clear.
I am IMPRESSED!!!!!
Bill Cahill

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:40 pm

Alright!! Good for you.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Guest on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:56 pm

Sometimes it seems like they heal themselves up at least somewhat when they are shelved for awhile. Very Happy Congratulations!

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by terrydec on Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:01 pm

19&41 wrote:Sometimes it seems like they heal themselves up at least somewhat when they are shelved for awhile. Very Happy Congratulations!
I hope that works for my Philco.

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Re: Restoration of RCA Victor R-98 1939 table top victrola

Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:25 pm

Surely you are kidding. Well, last night I took it back apart.
Replaced, er, rather jury rigged in new grommets for tone arm..'Since I had it apart I cleanned severely dirty, and, coroded part on bottom of tone arm that activates the switch. Got that working again. It's smooth now, but, noisy. Is the roller that rides against it metal, or has a rubber tube turned to concrete???
I had to take arm back apart. I had so much trouble with new flimsy wires, they got too short, so, I have to rewire it, again.
Haven't looked into other amp problems, yet.
I will say this, though not like new, for a 73 year old cartridge, it's actually playing very well.
It has one issue due to dried out rubber on needle chuck. Oh, well... It plays....
Bill Cahill


Last edited by Bill Cahill on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:03 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Speeling due to bouncing picture.Xoomtext problems....)

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