Warco Radio

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Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:29 pm

Anyone ever heard of one???

I've heard Warco Supply in Indianapolis sold home goods, radios etc, but have no proof this was sold by them.... Apparently they were bought out by Service Merchandise in the early '70s...

It's a bizarre little radio, built by some back room operation(well a unknown independent at best), of whatever they could source just after WWII... Still used a resistance line cord and has a 400ma 6K6 in a otherwise 300ma string consisting of 6SA7, 6K7, 6SQ7 & two 6J5 in parallel as rectifiers(yes those are triodes)... The AC feed to rectifiers is tapped from 6K6 heater in a attempt to increase heater current...






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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:16 pm

It's odd they couldn't make one more small bend with the sheet metal brake to form a tab to mount the chassis to the cabinet. It looks almost like they spot welded folded chassis knockouts to the chassis to serve the purpose.
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by Guest on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:50 pm

75X11 wrote:It's odd they couldn't make one more small bend with the sheet metal brake to form a tab to mount the chassis to the cabinet.  It looks almost like they spot welded folded chassis knockouts to the chassis to serve the purpose.

It's much more expensive to do what they did. I wonder if they "acquired" the chassis from some other abandoned project and adapted them to this radio.

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:45 pm

Someones brother-in-law must have owned a spot welder, sockets are welded in as well... That is unless it has a ground lug, then they used a screw to secure it and one end of socket...

Can't look at the chassis sideways if stomach is queezy, will make one sea sick...



First I.F. isn't exactly a model of fitment either...



Boing!!!! I just realized the tabs were likely chassis knockouts...

Thanks for picking that out... Waste not want not... LOL
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:55 am

The radio was probably made during the time frame when people were desperate for any new product offerings after the production curtailments of the second world war.  People could sell new product regardless of quality of manufacture and many didn't know about accepted manufacturing practices and would make it up as they went along, til the parts ran out.
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by Guest on Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:16 am

After looking at the photos, I don't think they owned a sheet metal brake!  Shocked 

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:55 am

It's hodge podge of parts, I have the feeling someone was collecting components so they could start production as soon as the war restrictions were lifted... One tube has a March 1946 code date, but all the others are in 1945...  

Don't have a picture but the dial scale mounting is welded on as well, no way to replace dial cord if it were to break, luckily it's still in place... Chassis was no doubt bent after the holes were cut...

This is the company that I suspect sold it, but as yet have no proof...

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:45 pm

I got another one, same cabinet but has tan dial scale and uses a 43 instead of 6K6 for audio output... Chassis is formed nicely and is aluminum vs the steel chassis that appears to be bent across a 2x6...






Chassis was really dirty but it's coming along...

Except for the dial lamp bracket there are no welds in this one, all screw, nut & rivet(that I believe every one is loose), installed a ground buss so little items like filter cap, cathode bias resistor etc will have a good ground...



This one uses 6J5 triodes as rectifiers as well..


Used brake cleaner on tuning cap(yes it was removed)



Now completely recapped and playing very good, will put it back together in a couple more days...
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:21 am

Good work!
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:15 pm

Thanks, I bet no one else has one and surely not two...

Here's the schematic I drew of the P/S and output sections... Other than the unconventional rectifiers it's standard fare, though I doubt a big pin 43 was ever used in another radio with 6SA7, 6SQ7, etc, the 25A6G is the octal equivalent...



Oh yeah the 43 socket?? Don't believe everything you see...



AND while I'm tossing up schematics, here's schematic of the first one that uses a 400ma 6K6 in a 300ma string... This is the poorest design for any radio I've ever seen, Warco was no doubt building with what they could get... The 6K6 only had 4.2v on it's heater took over a minute to warm-up enough to play... Note curtain burner line cord...



This is the redesign, uses a # 1822, 36v 100ma dial lamp in parallel with the 300ma tubes to boost the heater current to approx 390ma, once warmed up, current draw across the 6K6 heater is close to 400ma... Also uses AC dropper cap to supply heater voltage(as now does the second one), no heat is generated with the caps(using two in parallel to make correct value)...  

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:48 pm

That must've been an exciting time, making money out of scrap electronics! I'll bet the cabinets were the most complex construction of the whole unit. You are probably the only advocate those radios have nowadays. And it is an interesting bit of history.
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:09 pm

Yeah I really figured I'd never see another(bought the first in '06) and when the second one popped up on ebay acouple weeks ago I bid on it mainly because it was different from the first...

BTW the first one for as bad a design as it was orig, now plays great... At first I considered swapping the 6K6 for a 25A6, but because it is bizarre I wanted to keep it as orig as possible... The 6K6 plate & screen is still somewhat voltage deprived, supposedly only produces .7w in this configuration, still it's fine for general useage...

BTW Except for the 6SA7 in the one I just bought(was repl in '51) the tubes are all marked M-R which stands for maintenance and repair... Was a identifier for supposedly substandard tubes that could not meet mil specs, these were available to the repair shops and should not have been in any OEM equipment... I'm guessing they were available after the war at discounted prices so that's what Warco was buying... As far as a OEM, I doubt the operation qualified...

Sylvania M-R tubes in my second radio, not pictured is the Raytheon 43 that also has a small M-R on it's base...

BTW these all have a third quarter of 1945 code date, while the three Sylvania tubes orig to the first radio has one each from first, second & fourth quarters, as well as a March '46 Raytheon(latest tube of all)... Makes one wonder which was produced first...

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:25 pm

69 years out of "substandard" tubes. Wonder what the manufacturer of your radios would think of that? It makes one wonder if other makers went the same route? It's really something that your units made it today to reveal their secrets.
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:18 pm

75X11 wrote:69 years out of "substandard" tubes.  Wonder what the manufacturer of your radios would think of that?  It makes one wonder if other makers went the same route?  It's really something that your units made it today to reveal their secrets.

Now if I could just get ET to phone home(wherever that was)... My first came from around Seattle, second Phoenix, I'm thinking likely mail order.... Need to find more about Warco in Indy...

These tubes were supposed to be for replacement use only, I've seen a few in boxes with the M-R markings(box & tube), and a odd one here and there in radios that were around in WWII but never a full set...
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:21 pm

Had both Warco's out for a stroll across across the workbench today and noticed something I never realized...

Chassis is almost a inch deeper on the aluminum version, plus osc/antenna sections of tuning caps are reversed...

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 75X11 on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:45 pm

Wouldn't it be interesting to see the shop that built them.
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Absolutely...

They had to resort to using screws on the aluminum chassis version, couldn't weld on the dial scale like on the steel version(which means the dial cord can't be replaced without drilling out the welds)... Tube sockets are welded as well...

They also use different dial pointers, the black one was glued on with what looks like Elmer's white glue, the other has a shim on the tuning shaft to fit the pointer snugly...



The tuning shaft was re-purposed from something else... Hey Joe these shafts are too long, that's OK takem' in the back and get the kid that sweeps up to hack off what's not needed...

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Re: Warco Radio

Post by Dr. Radio on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:25 pm

The one on the left used some Philco salvage apparently. That pointer is uniquely Philco... Philco had plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Tom, you might just have the most comprehensive collection of Warco radios in the world!
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Re: Warco Radio

Post by 35Z5 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:45 am

Dr. Radio wrote:The one on the left used some Philco salvage apparently. That pointer is uniquely Philco... Philco had plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Tom, you might just have the most comprehensive collection of Warco radios in the world!

You know I should have realized the pointer was Philco, I have a PT30 here with same one... I did have the thought "that pointer is familiar" but with the other research and and figuring out a better heater string using the original tubes, didn't look to see what it may be...  Thanks!!!

As far as most comprehensive collection, that's probably true...

Too bad they ain't rare $20 gold pieces...  Laughing


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