General Electric Model 218

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General Electric Model 218

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:59 pm

I dug this little set out of my "Untested" pile. It is a 6 tube plus selenium rectifier AM-FM with a 5" speaker and a bakelite cabinet. The service notes are in Riders Vol. 21, GE pages 4 thru 9, for those who would like to follow along. Slusser dates this radio as a 1951 model, and worth $30-$45, give or take. Its greatest socially redeeming value lies in the fact that, under all the dirt, it is in remarkably good shape.

I began by removing the chassis from its cabinet. I sealed the label on the bottom of the cabinet with clear shipping tape, and fed the cabinet to the frau's dishwasher, cold water only, no dry cycle, pot-scrubber rinse. Makes bakelite sparkle and gets all the dirt out of all the little parts of the speaker grill. I turned the chassis up on end and fastened it to the bench with clamps. It was totally original. There were two black beauties there, C33 which is .01 @600 and C36 which is .05 @600. The filter cap assembly was also original. I customarily replace all the caps without even trying to operate the radio. Since this radio did not have a power transformer to endanger by my tinkering, I decided to fire the thing up to see what I had. I performed a safety check first, to preserve the "magic smoke." This safety test is simply measuring resistance from the rectifier cathode to B-. If the reading is over 25K ohms, I figure it is safe to proceed. I may get a hum from a leaking filter cap, but I should not let out the magic smoke by having a dead short in B+. It passed the safety test, so I plugged the chassis into the Variac and slowly ramped up the voltage. I got to full line voltage, no smoke, NO HUM, but very weak audio. I could bring in several stations, and selectivity seemed good, but the output was quite weak. Time to recap and recheck.

I changed all the paper coupling caps, including the two black beauties. I left the filter cap alone, pending final testing. All the resistors checked okay. I did not check IF transformers and the coils, since the radio sort of worked, and if any of those components had been defective, I would have had a dead radio. I tested all the tubes and replaced the 19T8. The triode section of this tube that serves as the first audio amp was almost completely dead. The rest of the tubes were okay. Capacitor C14, .005 @ 600 was in such a position that I had to cut it in two to remove it.

I double checked my work against the schematic and made a final inspection for dropped blobs of solder and anything else that could cause problems. Finding my work acceptable, I plugged it in for the big test. I had a radio, on both bands. Good volume, tone, selectivity and sensitivity. I have just a touch of squeal on some stations, so I still need to touch up the alignment. It doesn't need much. I did not have this thing on my outside antenna, and there may have been something interfering with this radio. I had the golf cart on the charger, and that charger has been known to make noise in my radios. I am going to put the chassis back into the cabinet and run the original filter caps and selenium rectifier for awhile. B+ is good, the capacitor does not get hot and I feel like taking my chances. Apparently, I get to keep this one. My wife does not find it "cute", thereby suitable for her collection. I was waiting on parts for a couple other radios I had on the bench, so this made a nice rainy day project.

Regards

WC

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Guest on Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:47 am

I had the golf cart on the charger, and that charger has been known to make noise in my radios.
 
The charger for my rider mowers does the same thing.
 
My wife does not find it "cute", thereby suitable for her collection.
 
Dana always does this to me too. If it is a pink, light blue or mint green plastic mid 50's radio, she just has to have it!

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:50 am

You're lucky that your wife likes certain colors. I never know what mine will glom onto. She manages to find out what I am working on and informs me well ahead of completion whether she thinks it is "cute" or not. This one has an incorrect center knob (no brass ring on it), so I need to find one. It also has a weird dial bulb. It is shaped like a T-71/2, but has a bayonet base with double contacts, 110 volt. Probably unobtanium. Retrofit or "upgrade" may be necessary on that.

Regards

WC

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Guest on Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:16 am

I thought I would add this link so everyone can view the radio you are working on;

http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/general_el_218_1.html

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:52 am

Thanks, MR MEZ. Yep, that's the baby. Why would my frau not think that it was "cute?" It is a pretty good performer. I would have added a tone control if I had my choice, but we all know the bean counters' mentality. I listened to WSM on it last eve with no outside antenna in my metal-roofed garage. I have lots of trouble with 19T8's for some reason. I seldom find one in a radio that is good.

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WC

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:09 pm

I was listening to Rush this afternoon, when this radio went suddenly silent. Just hash from the speaker. Bummer.

I pulled the back off and looked around. All the tubes were lit, everything looked okay. No smoke or anything unusual at all. I put the back on, hooked up the antenna, and the radio started playing again. What the.....? Investigation revealed that I had likely not gotten the antenna connections securely plugged in. The vibration from the radio caused one of the plugs to fall off the antenna, rendering the radio mute. Lesson learned. Check the simple stuff first.

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WC

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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by 75X11 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:49 pm

Sounds Like Rush made for a good shakedown cruise. Great thread!
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Re: General Electric Model 218

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:12 pm

The only thing to listen to around here during the day is either Rush or sports talk. I chose the lesser of the two evils.

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WC

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