Hello, Radio Fans!

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Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by hismastersvoice on Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:10 pm

I'll try not to be too wordy...

Hello, my name is Ava. I am a complete newb to vintage radios. I just discovered them like yesterday...okay, it was last week. Whatever. I have my first radio on the way. It's an RCA Victor BX-6 Globetrotter. Non-working. I come to this forum from another forum that didn't have an Introduction thread, and some pretty staunch fellows who believe in forum search features. I joined, but didn't post. I actually felt lost, so Google brought me here.

What I've Learned So Far

I have been devouring every piece of information I can find about how to restore these radios. I know they can injure/maim/kill you if you're not careful. I know you can just clean them with any old thing because it could damage the case and other parts.

My Ambition

I am passionate about conserving the integrity of the device as a piece of history and restoring it to its original working condition. I would also like to add additional modern functionality in the form of Bluetooth, so that music can be streamed from other devices such as computers, phones, and tablets. However, I want to do this is a way that doesn't compromise the value of the piece. I want any components that I add for this purpose to be completely removable so there's no trace they were ever there in the future. I have developed a method for this that I think is respectable.

What I Don't Know

I know nil about electronics hands-on. I have read a ton of information on how to restore a radio. What I don't know is what does a capacitor do? What about a resistor? I know the caps will probably need to be replaced, and that I need to find some new ones of the same voltage, etc. I have a brand new soldering iron, and I've also been educating myself on how to use it. I feel confident that I can do this, I just need some answers. The books I've managed to find online are expensive.

What Am I Asking of You?

Only what you are willing to give...which could be nothing, or it might just be a link. That would be perfect. Most of all, a friendly "hello" will suffice as I continue on my journey. I hope to become a valuable member of the forum. Thanks for your time!

* EDIT *
I see there is an extensive forum of links! So..just "hello" is fine.  Smile 
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by N7ZAL on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:06 pm

Welcome to a very helpful forum with great members.
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:17 pm

Hello and welcome!  There are a number of folks here who will be glad to help you, including myself.  One important thing, when you get your BX-6, don't plug it in nor turn it on until you have checked it out hopefully with our help.  Some components, especially capacitors don't age well and after 60 years can cut loose easily with the application of household current.  Do you have a multimeter yet?  They are a necessary tool in troubleshooting radios.  It is OK to build your tool kit as you need the items.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with a complex radio and you might want to start on a cheapie 5 tube AM unit.  You will find the experience very valuable  Don't be afraid to ask as you need to.  A capacitor acts as a filter in a circuit to dissipate noise.  Electrolytic capacitors act like a weak battery and filter out audio noise, usually in power supply portions of radios.
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by hismastersvoice on Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:39 pm

Thanks for the welcome and advice! I think I found the right place!
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by hismastersvoice on Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:50 pm

Thanks for the welcome and advice! I think I found the right place!
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by Dr. Radio on Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:57 pm

Welcome aboard! It's a great bunch here. We're not grumpy (too much) and avoid arguments (when we can) Laughing 

You can learn a lot by reading and asking questions. Looks like you are already on track.

Here's some good newbie links, although, ask away if you need more insight.

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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by hismastersvoice on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:06 pm

Thanks for the welcome and advice! I think I found the right place!
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:02 pm

Welcome to TRF. We have a great group here.

Regards

WC

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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by willy3486 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:25 pm

I can probably guess the other site, many like myself came here from there. Were a good group here and no fusses for the most part. A good group here. Like it was said before don't plug it in. Most of the time I take a radio I want to redo and replace all the caps. Then I test the tubes and turn on. Many times that can get one going, I got one going today like that. Ask the questions you need. Someone usually replies.

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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:23 pm

Welcome to TRF, you will find a nice group who are willing to help and have the knowledge to do so.

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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:13 am

Welcome to TRF..........

That said, a capacitor can have several functions. One basic function is to block a certain amount of electricity, generally DC from getting into an unwanted circuit. They are not a resistor, and, should not be mixed up with resistors... Capacitors in radios are used in two ways..
Bypass, or, coupling.
In coupling, they connect one circuit to another without having some of the operating voltage from the one circuit go into the other. One good example of this in a radio is the coupling capacitor from the plate of a 12AV6, Detector, and, audio pre amp tube to the control grid of a 50C5 Audio output tube. The capacitor allows the signal to get from the one tube to the other without allowing all the DC voltage from the plate of the tube to get into it. Now, while that may sound like a resistor, it's actually not. A small amount will still trickle through.
Bypass.
A bypass capacitor in a radio can do several functions.. As a mica in the oscillator, and, IF sections, it actually helps tune the radio operating circuits to the correct frequencies.
In the audio stage, it is used most commonly as tone compensation for the audio signal..
On the AC circuit, most commonly used from B- to the chassis, is is used as an isolation capacitor to not allow full line voltage from being applied to the chassis...

Resistors, on the other hand, are to regulate the amount of voltage going to a given circuit. They cut the voltage down to a desired voltage..
I know this is a simplified idea of what they do, but, I hope this helps..

Now, on why to replace these parts. Let"s not delve into all capacitors at this time, but, simply go into the most commonly found "paper" capacitors found in electronics. Things such as atmosphere dampness, insulation breakdown, etc.., will cause these capacitors to go leaky electrically, or, actually short out. If power is applied to a shorted capacitor it will most commonly explode from drawing too much current.
On leaky, it will allow more voltage that you don't want into circuits, and, cause damage to other circuits, including tubes, controls, etc...

There are also electrolytic capacitors used in the power supply, and, in some cases, to other circuits as well. When these go bad, they generally either open up, which in the case of power supply capacitors, will cause a loud hum through the speaker. When electrically shorted, not always readable on an ohm meter, they cannot function because the chemicals used in the dialectic base as part of how the capacitor works, dries up. Sometimes they can be properly rejuvenated to re activate the capacitor. However, especially in vintage capacitors, I highly recommend against this as when that chemical dries up, it will eat some of the insulation used inside the capacitor, and, the part becomes less usable...

There are many reasons why an unrestored piece of equipment should never be plugged in until completely correctly gone over, and, all bad items, including rotten bad wiring, bad capacitors, shorted tubes, and, off value resistors replaced.. There are other things that can go wrong, of course, but, I am only covering the basics here.....

The excitement I have always found, is when we get these classic pieces of history properly playing again. I get a certain amount of excitement when I hear a tube radio playing that I restored, Play a record on a record player, or, on televisions, see the face of the picture tube light up, and, show a proper working picture....
Hope this helps.
Welcome to a very exciting field...
Bill Cahill

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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

Post by hismastersvoice on Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:46 pm

Y'all are great! Thanks so much. I am waiting patiently for my radio to arrive. I won't plug it in! Thanks 75 and Bill for your simple explanations of the components I'll be dealing with. Sometimes it helps to understand the purpose of a part. In the meantime, I am reading and reading and reading some more. I'm thankful to be here, and I'm certain it's the right place for me.
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Re: Hello, Radio Fans!

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