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 Here to fix a couple of Radios for a Friend!
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 7:00:51 PM on 29 March 2017.
Tombi's Gravatar
 Location: Ashfield, NSW
 Member since 29 March 2017
 Member #: 2087
 Postcount: 4


My friend is in the process of moving house and has amassed a pretty serious collection of junk over the years.

As part of the move they are culling some old stuff and found two valve radios that her husband had planned to repair.

I recently got back into electronics as a hobby. I studied computer engineering many years ago but haven't really used any of the hardware knowledge (I work as a software developer by day). In the last couple of years I have enjoyed buying broken stuff on Ebay repairing it for fun. These include a Tektronix 475, a HP 53132A counter, a GW Instek 875 Spectrum Analyser plus I repaired a few things that broke in my house (samsung blueray PSU) or for friends.

So I have some basic electronics knowledge but have no clue about valves (FETs with pilot lights I've heard them called).

So the radios my friend gave me are a Philips 115B which I think I will tackle first and the other one I am not sure but it looks like an AWA Fisk Radiolette Empire State.

I have schematics for the Philips and they don't look too bad. Luckily it appears to have a transformer between the mains and the circuitry.

My plan is to re-cap the unit first rather than risk damage from leaky paper caps, check all the resistors and then fit a 3 core mains cord, a fuse and maybe earth the chassis. I want to keep the big caps looking original so I might fit electrolytics inside the original cans. I haven't figured out what to use for

Next I will remove the valves (apart from the rectifier) and check the PSU. I have an isolation transformer although it looks like it won't matter for the Philips.

Finally I'll start work on the actual radio.

Apart from replacing some covers to make it electrically safe, I won't do anything with the exterior but will leave that for my friend's husband.

Does that sound ok?

Should be fun!

Anyway I live in Sydney's Inner West.



 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:50:45 PM on 29 March 2017.
GTC's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6010

Welcome to V-R.

FETs with pilot lights I've heard them called

FETs in bottles is what our lecturer called them back in the early 70's.

Your restoration approach is a safe and logical one. Another thing to look out for with old sets is perished point to point wiring. Some are worse than others in that respect.

When replacing the mains cord, make sure that you anchor it firmly to the chassis.

I have re-stuffed a few multisection electrolytics -- the type that are usually found in cans above the chassis. I have never bothered with re-stuffing axial ones below decks, but people some do who want to preserve the original look throughout.

I bring up newly restored gear slowly with a Variac while watching the current and applying all the senses to the gear in question. (Some will say there's danger of cathode poisoning with the Variac approach, but opinions very widely. I've never had a problem myself.)

Another approach is to use a dim bulb tester (Google it, if necessary) to give early warning of shorts.

Empire State sets can fetch a premium, though I'm not a fan of the design myself.

If you have any questions or issues as you go, start a thread in the Tech Talk section. Plenty of help available here.

And I guess you know that the mighty AWA factory was there in Ashfield?

 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 11:58:01 PM on 30 March 2017.
Tombi's Gravatar
 Location: Ashfield, NSW
 Member since 29 March 2017
 Member #: 2087
 Postcount: 4

Thank you!

Yes been meaning to build a dim-bulb rig - good time to do so.

Actually no I didn't know it was in Ashfield - that is rather close to where I live. I didn't grow up in Sydney.

Good point on the mains cord - it's currently knotted behind the grommet.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 12:14:17 AM on 31 March 2017.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1378

Well, at least you have WES Components nearby on Parramatta Rd. They sell suitable capacitors, and axial electrolytics as well.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 8:26:45 AM on 31 March 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

The AWA Radio-Electric Works (a Dodge car/truck assembly plant before AWA bought it) was where the BP servo and Hooters is, almost at the foot of Great North Road. The site included all the large blocks of flats behind the retail precinct.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

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