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 First Bakelite... Hotpoint L64ME
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 6:13:14 PM on 27 May 2016.
Austfox's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 27 May 2016
 Member #: 1930
 Postcount: 10

Hi!

As a boy I was lured to the AM 'talk' stations in Sydney, where I would listen to the broadcasts until the wee hours of the morning. This was in the late 70's / early 80's, so all my radios were transistorised. For some time I was keen to purchase a valve radio and have a tinker.

My first valve radio / bakelite I purchased from eBay last year. It was, what I thought, a pale yellow Hotpoint L64ME from the 50's. Resisting the urge to power it up, I removed the case and gave it a good clean, to what I soon discovered was cream in colour. Impressed on how easily I managed to improve the case, I fell in love with this model, and have since purchased another 2 (a brown Hotpoint and another cream AWA Radiola). I am still in the process of restoring the circuity, so have yet to test any of these purchases, but I am finding it immensely rewarding reviving these 60-year-old radios.

In the last few days I replicated the valve diagram that was attached to the inside case. I am assuming these were produced to allow the owners to easily swap out any faulty valves? This one took a little over an hour to re-create and is almost identical. I have seen a similar vavle diagram in another AWA model, but I am unsure if these diagrams were produced by other manufacturers or only by AWA?

I have this diagram in PDF format if anyone else needs one for their Hotpoint/Radiola, and I also wouldn't mind doing a few more for other radios if anyone has the need?

Steven.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:01:20 PM on 27 May 2016.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1074

Hi Steven,

Good luck with your hobby (well, our hobby). The yellow radio may have been a result of belonging in a smoker's house for a while.

The "valve diagram" I assume is the sticker on the back that shows what valves go where? They could be handy, can you post a link to them?

Hopefully you can get more radios and post photos of them, and a story of whatever difficulties were found during restoration.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 7:44:17 PM on 27 May 2016.
Austfox's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 27 May 2016
 Member #: 1930
 Postcount: 10

Yes, no doubt it was yellow from decades of tobacco smoke. Surprisingly it came away quite easily. The small pieces of speaker grille were a little more fiddly, but also came up like new, and benefited from a re-glue.

AGE Hotpoint Mantel Radio
AGE Hotpoint Mantel Radio


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:58:25 PM on 27 May 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5262

I am unsure if these diagrams were produced by other manufacturers or only by AWA?

They aren't unique to AWA/AGE but they aren't as common as we'd like them to be.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 10:40:49 PM on 28 May 2016.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5505

Good work on the cabinet. One of the best finishes I've seen on this model. It is prone to small cracks along the top where the two halves meet. If yours has no cracks, or even only one or two, it will be worth quite a few bob. The other weak point for this model (and other AWA Champion models and AGE equivalents) is the knobs. On these models AWA unwisely fitted ones made of thermoplastic and these pretty much fell apart, especially with the lighter colours. Some members here know people who can make replicas if you are hard-up for good knobs.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 10:46:11 PM on 28 May 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5262

Nice work on both the cabinet and the reproduction label.

The original cabinet appears to have copped both kitchen grease and nicotine.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 12:42:07 AM on 29 May 2016.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1074

I'm pretty sure I have one of these in my offsite garage, tuned permanently to 2CH. It's the AWA version.

At least I know it has a N78 output valve, and is the same shape. The brown weave is mostly detached though, looking rather poorly.

Can't remember what the other valves are as I haven't opened it for a long time. One of the knobs is bigger than the others.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 10:46:18 AM on 29 May 2016.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5505

On this model the knobs should be equal. The later plastic models had the two outer knobs slightly larger than the middle one, just to complicate matters I think.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 11:02:39 AM on 1 June 2016.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1074

Yes my memory was playing up again.

I checked the one in the garage, it is a Radiola and the case is the same shape but the front is completely different. Unable to make out the model number. It had a N78 which has been replaced by a 6AQ5.

However, I was sure I had a radio the same Austfox's, so I searched further and found it. It is a Hotpoint L64ME, same case, rather dirty and a little yellowish. Knobs all the same size. Plugged it in and it works. Lots of cracks around the top join, but nothing broken.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 8:27:30 PM on 1 June 2016.
Austfox's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 27 May 2016
 Member #: 1930
 Postcount: 10

It is prone to small cracks along the top where the two halves meet.

Yes, unfortunately my Hotpoint does have a few hairline cracks at the top where the 2 parts of the case meet. Why are these cracks mainly seen in the lighter colours? (I suspect UV exposure).

My recently acquired ivory Radiola only has 1 hairline crack at the top, but can't swap it over because it also has cracks on the front, which obviously are a lot more noticeable.

The other weak point for this model (and other AWA Champion models and AGE equivalents) is the knobs. On these models AWA unwisely fitted ones made of thermoplastic and these pretty much fell apart, especially with the lighter colours.

Someone had advised me that these knobs were made from bakelite. My plan was to heat them with a hot air gun in an attempt to straighten them up somewhat, as they appear to be complete but warped. However, I was not sure how successful that would have been as I understand bakelite requires extreme heat and pressure. Learning that they are indeed thermoplastic has got me keen to try this soon!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 10:20:49 PM on 1 June 2016.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5505

Urea based Bakelite, which is used on coloured sets is not as stable as phenol based Bakelite, used on brown, burgundy and black sets. The lesser stability leads to cracking, warping, stains, especially where more than one colour is involved. Stress fractures often appear in marbled Bakelite where two colours meet.

Plastic knobs can be heated back into shape with care, if they aren't too badly done by. An element of luck or some previous experience is also necessary. No go with Bakelite - once it takes shape in the press that's it.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 9:40:05 AM on 15 June 2016.
Scraps's avatar
 Location: Blue Mountains, NSW
 Member since 10 March 2013
 Member #: 1312
 Postcount: 401

Without a doubt my favourite radio. They came from the factory with at least 3 different output valves that I'm aware of - KT61, N78 and 6AQ5. They also came in 4 colours - walnut, cream, bergundy and a moderately rare lighter brown. I have AWA versions (well they're all actually made by AWA) of all colours and at least 1 example of all the different output valves as well as a beautiful bergundy Hotpoint. About 8 radios in total and all restored.

I have never seen a cream version with knobs that aren't warped and the light brown radio came from the factory with cream knobs. I haven't found anyone that does reproductions of these knobs and have had a few failed attempts at making them myself.

Dont be tempted to try staightening the knobs with heat, I've tried it and they tend to shrink and buckle into a horrible mess.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 1:21:52 AM on 23 June 2016.
Austfox's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 27 May 2016
 Member #: 1930
 Postcount: 10

Hotpoint Advertisement 1951


They came from the factory with at least 3 different output valves that I'm aware of - KT61, N78 and 6AQ5.

The three units I have all have the N78 output valve and I was aware of the KT61 being used, but the 6AQ5 is news to me.


They also came in 4 colours - walnut, cream, burgundy and a moderately rare lighter brown.

I have seen pictures of the burgundy version and it does look spectacular. All the Hotpoint advertising I have seen for the L64 always only mention 3 colours, so I am guessing the light brown was only available in the AWA branded Radiolas. Any chance you could post a photo of your light brown model?

Steven.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 1:58:44 AM on 23 June 2016.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1074

I'm not sure if 6AQ5 is a factory job... it's a plug-in replacement for the N78, but the output impedence is different. 6AQ5 = 5000 ohms, N78 (6BJ5) = 7000 ohms. In practice though the 6AQ5 seems to work perfectly well, and it's much more common.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 11:06:13 PM on 26 June 2016.
Austfox's Gravatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 27 May 2016
 Member #: 1930
 Postcount: 10

Well, today I picked up another ivory Radiola 429. This one has the case in very poor condition (many cracks and some pieces missing) but my first with the non NSW/QLD dial plate. I am not sure on other AWA models, but the 429 has 2 different dial plates, with stations identifiers for NSW/QLD and the other for VIC/SA/WA/TAS.

I left one of my other dial plates soaking in soapy water overnight by accident, only to find the next morning that some of the station identifiers had washed away. My tip for anyone cleaning these is to wipe the painted side of the dial plate (rear) very gently with soapy water, just to remove any grime, and when dry spray with a clear finishing sealer (available from craft shops) to protect it from future damage. The new dial plate I will swap over to replace the one I damaged earlier.

I have recreated the Radiola dial plate and will do the other version, as well as the two Hotpoint dial plates, in the next couple of weeks. I might even make up a screen printing frame from the artwork sometime in the future so that I can print new dials as required!

Steven.

AWA Radiola Dial Glass Faceplate


 
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