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Topics - TC Chris

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
1
Wanted / Battery jar
« on: May 02, 2017, 07:56:17 PM »
My aunt in Alabama is looking for a battery jar, one of the big 12" high rectangular ones.  If anybody has a lead, let me know.  I found one but its price is similar to the "I'm gonna get rich" pricing of some of the consoles.

Chris Campbell

2
Sightings / Ca. 1942 Zenith console
« on: May 02, 2017, 07:54:04 PM »
OK, I'll mention this just in case there are Zenith fanatics filling in empty spaces in their collections.  I was wandering a big antiques mall on Sunday, looking for a battery jar for my aunt, and came upon about a 1942 Zenith radio/phono console.  It's a "shutter dial" model.  The original 78 rpm changer has been replaced with a newer, multi-speed Knight changer.  The original field coil speaker apparently lost its voice coil, so the field coil is mounted on the baffle to continue providing choke services, and so is the output transformer.  There's a PM 12" speaker added.

The radio has AM, SW, and pre-war FM bands.   The case is mahogany.  It's located in Bay City,MI and I can provide details f anybody is interested.

Chris Campbell

3
Chat / Vroom, vroom
« on: April 14, 2017, 03:31:29 PM »
Today I had half a day off, and the sun was shining, and the temp was in the 60s... time to get the Mustang out!  So first I rolled out the Magnavox Provincial Serenade, which lives behind the Mustang, and the 1955 Evinrude Fastwin 15, and the old Dutch bicycle. 

Last year, the battery was a bit fatigued and the system voltage dropped so low on starting that the radio lost all its presets.  It's a Pioneer aftermarket device with all sorts of bad habits.  Like, when it loses presets it goes into "demo mode."  Worse, when it's in "demo mode," it's always on, even when the ignition is off (what brilliant engineer thought of that trick?) so it runs the battery down when you're not looking.  You have to go through the complex process of getting out of "demo mode." 

This year I climbed in, turned the key to the first detent so the electric fuel pump would run and build pressure.  Whirrr...stop.  Then I clicked it one more over into the start position.  The starter stumbled for half a second, cranked the engine, it fired and ran on all cylinders (no missing).  That's a first after sitting all winter.  Better still, the radio didn't opt for the stupid "demo mode" so all was well.  Then I pulled out of the garage and turned down the alley.  The clutch chattered a bit as it always does after sitting all winter (moisture?  Maybe a bit of rust?).  Off we went for an 18-mile loop just to get things stirred up.

Then back into the garage, followed by the Magnavox, the outboard, and the bike.  Rain tonight.

Chris Campbell

4
Music / More LPs
« on: April 11, 2017, 08:58:47 PM »
My work takes me into neighboring counties and there's a Goodwill store on my route home from one.  I stopped in today to check out the LPs and CDs.  Today's haul included three Command LPs recorded on 35 mm film.  All three were engineered by Robert Fine.  He's the guy who made the classic Mercury Living Presence/Living Stereo orchestral recordings in the late '50s and '60s.  Of the new LPs, one is Enoch Light's prchestra playing Irving Berlin tunes in a Carnegie Hall concert; one is Light playing movie themes, and the third is the last performance on the Paramount Theater organ in New York.  I've haven't listened yet--FM radio program on right now; will check 'em out later.  Also bought several other movie music LPs.  I have a weakness for movie music.

Chris Campbell

5
Chat / Sympathy?
« on: April 06, 2017, 07:44:06 PM »
OK, I have the sense that there are a few other old farts in this group, so maybe I can get some sympathy.  I just finished applying online for my Social Security benefits.  I turn 70 in June, so delaying won't get me any more money but it will cost me if I miss some months.  It's like making a doctor's appointment--easy to put off ( and out of mind).  Hitting "send" on that application made me feel really elderly.  Maybe I should buy a cane or hearing aids?  My commute to work today was by bicycle, as it is almost every day, so maybe there's hope still.  It's always shocking to look in the mirror in the morning because the face that looks back at me doesn't match the age I feel.  There was one of those online sayings the other day-"I knew I'd get old. I just didn't realize it would happen so quickly."  Social Security!!??  It's for old people!!

Chris Campbell

6
Chat / High fidelity (visual)
« on: March 31, 2017, 06:36:46 PM »
I woke up Thursday morning to some sort of odd sound from somewhere in my house.  It was like when the little boiler keeps trying to ignite, but louder. Maybe another dead mouse in the flue gas exhaust fan? A strange noise is always bad news.  So I put my robe on and wandered into the basement... boiler OK, flue not especially hot, so it's not that.  Looked outside to see if they were doing maintenance on the house next door.  Nope.  And then I saw it.  A robin was attacking my bathroom window.  He was seeing himself, and lacking the human capability of recognizing individuals, he assumed it was a rival robin.  He's been at it ever since--as I type this, in fact.  Guess the image he sees is realistic enough for his little brain.  That's hi-fi, folks.

Chris Campbell

7
Chat / Hardy northerners vs wimy southerners, continued
« on: March 27, 2017, 08:38:10 PM »
OK, spring is within a stone's throw up here in snow country, and it's getting to be the season when I drive 145 mi. one way on weekends to get the elderly sailboat ready for the summer on weekends.  So with April just a couple days away, I decided to throw all caution to the winds and take the snow tires off the faithful red truck.  In the fall, I replace the rears with the snow tires.  In the spring, when the weather is usually better, I rotate.  Fronts off.  Former rears that have lived in the garage all winter, on the front.  Snow tires off; former fronts replace them on the rear.  Once a year, fronts and rears get exchanged that way.  After that I head for the gas station to pump everything up to proper pressure. 

All went well until I got to the gas station.  I filled the snow tires, lying in the bed.  They have aluminum wheels, and one is a bit porous and needs air more often than the other.  Then the fronts.  Next to the back.  First tire, OK.  Next one, whoops, why is it hissing at me when I put the air hose on it?  Wiggle wiggle.  Why does it hiss at me when I wiggle the valve stem?  Oh, s__t.  The stem is broken.  The floor jack and my wrenches are  at home.  The truck's jack and wrench are all behind the seat.  It's dark and I'm hungry. What to do?  I wedged the plastic lid of a gas-station coffee cup to hold the stem in the non-hiss position and headed for home. 

And I actually made it.  The tire was a bit low, but centrifugal force held it in the non-hiss position when it spun, even after the coffee cup lid blew away.  So I got home and got out the floor jack and the wrench and tried to jack it up.  But by now the floor jack was low on hydraulic fluid and wouldn't get the tire high enough.   @#^%$**!!!   And *&^%$!!!  But I stuck a 2x10 under the jack and got the tire high enough and put a snow tire back on.  It's enough to make me almost jealous of you guys in sunshine land.  Almost.

Chris Campbell

8
Music / Sunday night music
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:15:20 PM »
Sunday night is my roots and blues night.  The local public radio station plays "Amrican Routes," the wonderful program with Nick Spitzer from Louisiana, and then at 8 it's three hours of the blues with Robert Barclay, "The Duke of Juke."  He's been doing this as a volunteer for 32 years (!!).  If you want to listen, go online and search for WCMU.

Chris Campbell

9
Music / Chuck Berrry documentary
« on: March 26, 2017, 02:05:35 PM »
Last night our smaller downtown theater, one of the two that Micheal Moore's film festival has created or renovated, had a listing for 11:30 p.m.--"Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll," a documentary of a Chuck Berry 60th birthday concert in St. Louis.  11:30 p.m.?  But what the hell, its Saturday night, and he only other film showing is some Disney remake (no, thank you). So off I go in the rain to the movies.

It was apparently organized by Keith Richards, who plays in it.  We also see a bit of Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Etta James, and Linda Ronstadt performing, and interviews with Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Bruce Springsteen, the Everly Brothes, and Roy Orbison.  The live performances were high-energy and creative versions of Berry's vast output.  We get a bit of insight into Berry's life, showing us some bitterness and regret.  But we also see a guy who was leaping around onstage at age 60 as though he were 25.  We were seeing a projection on the big screen of the DVD.  The video quality was a bit compromised (it was filmed in Panavision but we didn't see film) but the sound from the big theater system was good. You should be able to find it if you want to see Chuck Berry and others.

Chris Campbell

10
Music / Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« on: March 13, 2017, 12:05:41 AM »
I was out working in my shop Sat. night, and played a compilation CD my brother made up.  One of the songs was Neil Young singing "Four Strong Winds."  I'd never make it as a singer, because songs like that one always choke me up.  I couldn't remember who wrote it, buy Google helped me to remember Ian Tyson.  It also reminded me that he wrote "Someday Soon," another one of those songs that I can't get through without the eyes leaking.  Tyson is from Alberta, and I think you can hear the big open spaces of Canada in his songs.  They're wistful and a bit melancholy or lonesome. 

Music of all kinds is a constant in my life.  We owe a lot to the artists who write and make our music.  And it's something that we humans have done for a very long time. We seem to have some sort of drive to make music (and other arts).  I'm always puzzled by people who argue that arts education is a "frill." 

I just hung up a simple plywood board out in the shop.  It has 8 cup hooks on it, and from them hang 8 squares of wood of different species.  It was Mr. Sonnevil's teaching device--his students had to identify the woods.  Mr. Sonnevil was my 7th and 8th grade shop teacher.  He taught mechanical drawing and basic wood, metal, and electrical skills to me and my brothers in those grades.  We talk about Mr. Sonnevil all the time. At some point the schools decided not to teach shop any more to grade school kids.  My mother went to the sale.  She didn't me one of the elegant Oliver wood lathes, but she did buy this sample board.  But the lives of kids are poorer for not having a guy like Mr. Sonnevil teach them that they can make things.   The other day I made a new handle for a brass corkscrew.  I had some scrap sheet brass for the handle part, and secured it with a rivet I made from the shank of a broken brass or bronze screw.  Mr. Sonnevil was in my mind as I peened it over.

He died at 96.  A couple years before that, I took all the shop class projects I could find, put them on a blanket in the back yard, and snapped a photo.  I sent it to Mr. Sonnevil with a note about the Campbell kids' fond memories of him.

Chris Campbell

11
Music / Anton Bruckner
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:39:15 PM »
OK, Bruckner isn't going to make it to the top of most people's lists, but I love his huge sprawling symphonies.  And right now I'm playing No. 7 because Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, long-time conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and a Bruckner expert, just died at 93.  He was still conducting after his 93rd birthday.   He took up conducting after a Nazi bomb damaged his hands and he couldn't play piano. In 1959, he and his wife snuck out of Communist Poland. He got a job in Minnesota in 1960 and lived there the rest of his life, traveling around the world to conduct.  When his musicians were locked out by management in a contract dispute, he led them in concerts in other places.  Cool guy.  And Bruckner's music is extraordinary.

Chris Campbell

12
Chat / Magnavox consistency
« on: February 19, 2017, 06:09:25 PM »
Somebody else just posted a photo of his Magnavox console ID tag.  It made me pause and think.  This was a company that made changes in their product line at a bewildering pace.  They would make changes in the circuit, or change the cabinetry, or change the other components all the time.  But through it all, they used that same tag format, over and over and over for many years.  It's actually kinda cool.

Chris Campbell

13
Chat / Movie consoles & cars
« on: February 11, 2017, 11:13:09 PM »
I went to see the movie "Jackie" tonight, about Jackie Kennedy just after the assassination.  The electronics are there, but I couldn't identify makes.  There's a big console in the oval office, a smaller phono in the private quarters, an RCA portable TV, and some larger TVs, likely radio-phono-TV combos.

And cars--the Presidential limousine, based on a Lincoln... the '61-'66 Lincoln was probably the prettiest car ever designed, but also some Cadillacs, including a '61, and a '59 Imperial, and a '63 Pontiac ambulance.

Chris Campbell

14
Music / Hearing live music in a cool place
« on: February 02, 2017, 10:29:35 PM »
Tonight I drove out to the Interlochen Center for the Arts, about 15 mi. SW of here.  It's a boarding high school for all the arts--last week I drove out to see short films by their film students.  Tonight it was a piano recital by 13 students, again all high school kids, but all far more talented than your standard H.S. musician. If you've had a kid and were forced to attend a piano recital, this was NOT the same thing.  These high school kids are approaching professional levels.

It's always a good idea to hear live performances of music, especially unamplified acoustic music, to serve as a measure of how faithful--fidelity--our recordings and equipment are reproducing sound.  The kids are from all over the world--Uzbekistan, China, S. Korea, UAE, and then Georgia (U.S.) and Saginaw, Michigan, within 20 miles from where I grew up. 

Here's what Interlochen says about its graduates:

    43 Presidential Scholars, the nation's highest award for outstanding achievement in the arts by high school students, more than any other high school in the country
    Interlochen alumni typically account for 17 percent of the musicians in the nationís major orchestras
    11 MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipients
    124 Grammy Awards received by Interlochen alumni, not including the countless Interlochen alumni that have participated in Grammy Award recipient orchestras and ensembles
    26 Tony Awards received by Interlochen alumni

Pop performers include Norah Jones and (for us old people) Peter Yarrow of P,P, and M.  The place started as a summer "band camp" and expanded to a boarding school in about 1966. 

The performance was in their cool big auditorium, designed by one of Michigan's foremost 20th century architects, Alden Dow (his dad founded Dow Chemical). 
 
Chris Campbell

15
Other Tube Console Brands / Philco 51-1733
« on: January 30, 2017, 11:31:30 PM »
This is the 1951 Philco console that I snagged after it had spent a winter outdoors, buried under a snowbank, outside the building next door to my office.  Needless to say, the cabinet was toast (is that the right word for "completely delaminated"?). But it had shielded the innards, the chassis, speaker, and record changer, all of which survived without notable scars.  So this fall I replaced the filter caps (lost the can from the original, which  had cut off and carefully saved somewhere).  I fired it up a few weeks back.  A bit weak on FM, no good at all on AM. Then I realized that the big copper-clad loop that Philcos of that era had stapled to the back of the cabinet was the AM antenna, not the FM as I had assumed.  I retrieved it from the garage, soldered on the wire that had come adrift, and plugged it in.  Bingo!  Good AM reception.  FM is still less than stellar, but that's because I haven't soldered a dipole to the little two-pin plug that has a 2-foot wire connected to it now. 

This was a low-end model.  The power amp is a single 6V6 driving a 10" speaker with a small magnet.  But the AM and FM tuning capacitors both are 3-gang, so it ought to have a little extra oomph in the RF department.

And on the subject of the speaker.  The numbers I see that seem like EIA codes are "P 232 101"  232 is a Magnavox code, but this is a pretty wimpy speaker with ts tiny magnet structure.  Would Magnavox have been selling OEM speakers to Philco in 1951?  By the way, the date code number, 101, correlates to the console model number's year.

Chris Campbell

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