Where do I start?!

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Where do I start?!

Post by JeepSpeed on Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:02 am

Hey all!
If you managed to catch my intro you would have notice I picked up a RCA model 56X1. You may also have noticed I know squat about repairing/restoring electronics. The reason for me starting this topic is, what should I do to start restoration? Nothing happens when I plug it in and turn it on. I have no tube tester and don't know anyone else with knowledge of old tube radios.
Any help or suggestions to point me in the right direction will be greatly appreciated!
JeepSpeed

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:09 am

To start out, read this section. There is good beginning info here.
Read books on radio repairs.
Start out simple, and, work your way up.
Learn what tools you need.
Here, I can help you....

Good tube tester
Reliable vom, or, vtvm.
Good set of test alligator leads
different types of screwdrivers, pliers, side nippers, hex head tools, later on, anyway, nut drivers
Pointed pliers
Good soldering gun, and, or, good soldering pencil or, soldering station
Different sizes of solder.
Good quality electrical tape.
You won't need all of this at once. You can work your way up.
But, crtainly, a good vom, tube tester soldering equipment, and, tools are a good beginning. More stuff comes later.
No need to be overwhelmed.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by JeepSpeed on Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:42 am

Thanks for the push Bill!
Can you recommend some tube testers or at least the minimal requirements for an inexpensive one? I've looked quickly on eBay for one and there are so many to choose ranging from $10 to over a thousand!
Thanks
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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:56 am

You certainly don't need to spend a thousand to get a good one..
Partly depends on type of radios you will be collecting, but,
Hickock made some very good testers. I have a 605A myself.
Eico 666, 667 models were also very good.
The list is endless, but, stay away from cheapies like Precision.
No tube testers are one hundred percent accurate. They are a starting point.
Some of the military tube testers were also very good, but, today, are quite pricey for me.....
I still reccommend against ones like "You test 'em".
They were deliberately set to check most tubes bad.
Terribly inacurate.
I think collectors like them for the advertising, and, the space to store tubes.
These were often drugstore gems.
We had oneat one of our two drugstores.
Almost every tube my mom tested was bad. She finally got wise when even all the new ones were bad.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by mikhail7 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:43 am

Hi,

Make sure any tube tester is properly calibrated before serious useage.

Mike

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by GaryRabbitt on Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:04 pm

Hi JEEP,
I pass this on to new restorers:
http://antiqueradio.org/powerup.htm

You might not understand it all right now, but it could save your radio from being damaged.

You don't need expensive equipment. Basic tools like Bill mentioned. Check the classified sections of this and other radio forums. Some guys have been known to donate a piece to a new member seriously interested in the hobby.

The set is a great start. Not difficult to recap that chassis.
As soon as I get a set, I don't power up right away. I remove the chassis, dust it out, and make an inspection f the chassis. Burned wires, missing parts or cut wires. Maybe new parts that were recently added.
If there are hanging wires or new "work" done, it is almost a must that you see if the wiring is correct according to the schematic.
You never know if someone got in there, ans willy nilly started replacing parts. Now the set doesn't work.

I would guess that you have a tube with an open filament, they are connected in a string, like the old Xmas lights. In series, when one goes out the others go out too.
You can check the tube filament continuity with a simple Ohmmeter. You will be able to find tube data, and pinouts on sites like Duncan Amps, or just google the tube number, like '35Z5 tube data'.

Check into a dim bulb tester, you can build yourself.
http://www.antiqueradio.org/dimbulb.htm

With a transformerless set like yours, you could bring up the voltage slowly on a Variac, or power it uf for a few seconds. That is, if everything else looks ok. You might hear a hum, power down immediately.

Sign of dried out filter caps. Replacing the filter caps, power up the set again. If all is well, you may hear stations. Power it down.

From this point, you know the circuit is receiving, the filter caps are working (no hum). You can now replace paper/foil caps one or two at a time, then test.

That way, if you make a mistake, you will know which 2 caps to check for proper wiring.

Sounds like a lot right now, but work slow but sure and you will be OK. Ask questions if you are in doubt of anything. Triple check your work. You will do fine.

Good luck,
Gary.

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Alfred Corbin on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:57 am

Jeep:

First of all, go to your local library and find a book on the subject. Pick up a little knowledge about the general workings of a radio, then dig in with the help of the Forum.

Good luck

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by ddelby82128 on Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:05 pm

Get a tube book and then check the tube filaments for continuity. If there is continuity on those 2 pins, the tube should be fine. I use a tube tester very infrequently. I see no need to get a TT.

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:45 pm

I'm sorry, but, I must disagree with you here.
Good filaments certainly don't prove the tube is good.
I have seen many weak, dead, shorted, and, gassy tubes to prove you wrong.
Testing continuity only proves they are not yet burned outl
Bill Cahill

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Resistance is Futile on Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:25 pm

Bill: I would say you are correct, but as a beginner without a tube tester and just a VOM that is a good beginning to test the filaments. Learn and study----> study

Then comes tube substitution (if you have the extra tubes) Suspect study


But a guys gotta start somewhere Cool study


Then you have to learn about schematic reading

and component identification, --->> http://ankythera.com/Tubes/Restoration/parts.htm

then electronic theory.study
Then tools to use. And the list goes on, and on, and on........study

-------->>>>>> Heres the first place to visit if you want to lean, a complete FREE study source.

http://www.tuberadioforum.com/tutorial-and-electronics-tips-f3/navy-training-manuals-in-zip-neets-electronics-technician-t656.htm
----------------

http://www.tuberadioforum.com/tutorial-and-electronics-tips-f3/basic-youtube-military-electrical-classes-t886.htm

http://www.nj7p.org/Tube.php


http://www.tuberadioforum.com/tutorial-and-electronics-tips-f3/rider-s-manuals-downloads-in-pdf-t739.htm

http://www.tuberadioforum.com/tutorial-and-electronics-tips-f3/beitman-s-manuals-downloads-t679.htm
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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:18 pm

Let's not scare people off here. I know very little theory, but, I have learned alot on what causes what, and, how circuits work.
Forget the math. I have others do that for me.
All nice things to know, but, if you are dumb like me, good experience, practicality, etc., are great tools to learning.
Yes, schematic reading is VERY important, and, being able to identify parts.

Learning the abc's of what makes things work is also good.
I gained alot of my knowledge the hard way, but, in the best electronics school there is.
"The school of hard knocks".
And, folks, don't start with projects that overwhelm you.
Start simple, and, work your way up...
As far as equipment. Let me help you here on basics.
1 good set of different sizes, and, types of flat blade, and, phillips head screw drivers.
1 set of nut drivers.
2 Sizes of regular pliers.
1 set pointed pliers.
1 set needle nosed pliers.
2 sizes of side cutters.
Solder
A good soldering pencil
A good soldering gun.
Bench light.
Some insulated adjustment tools of different types.
A good VTVM, Or, VOM.
Tube testers.
Eventually,
Test equipment.
But, don't get overwhelmed.
Alot of this takes time to build up, and, you won't learn everything at once.
That's why I say start simple, work your way up.
Newbies, don't buy a 10 tube 4 band radio as your first set.
Start with little 5 tube ac dc sets.
Get your teeth into it, and, the rest will eventually work its' way through.

Let me put it this way.
I just got the schematic for a tv I recently got delivered from Michigan. It's a 26 tube Stromberg Carlson.
1950 set.
I've been into restoring antique tv's for over 40 years, now.Yet, looking at this set, it's a technician's WORST nightmare! Not for a beginner, definately!
I will be taking it slowly with this bad boy!
Not all tv's are like this. If I had just started with tv restoration, this set would have scared me off for sure.
Bill Cahill

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by denver on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:00 pm

Sounds like arf all over again. Laughing That,s what i did
Checked filament . Still had problems bad tubes.
If they glow still can be bad. Evil or Very Mad Best thing to do get started , ask questions .
Don,t be shy ask any and all ,you will learn. Be surprised. Very Happy
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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by tube radio on Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:24 am

That is tooooo much information for me.

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by JeepSpeed on Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:31 pm

Haha. Thanks for ALL the information guys! I plan on using this restoration project as a stress reliever between classes and work.... at least that's what I hope it will be!
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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by sprman on Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:49 pm

Were to start ,keep it as simple as possable!Ameter and a sig gen and soldering toolss.You learn the rest as you go..Ask questions..Good luck..Sprman : )

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Re: Where do I start?!

Post by antiqueradiobuff on Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:32 pm

Well where to start The All american 5s are quite simple
I may have a few if your interested for a reasonable sum of monies pm me if your interested keep in mind there great starter sets
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