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Topics - Motorola Minion

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Phonographs / RCA - RP224 no shutoff
« on: December 03, 2018, 02:25:02 PM »
It is in a friend's portable VJP-98, now it won't shut off. I just fully disassembled, cleaned and restored. 8) The amp/speakers/etc was in sam's 950, which I copied for him as a "manual" of sorts.

I was playing this portable a week ago, with some RCA dynagroove Christmas collection LPs, and my daughter was getting a kick out of the changer action ;D BUT seriously its only got a very tame 4-watt (yes-total) stereo amp.

I had put a Pfanstiehl 648-DS in it besides the full re-cap and it sounded nice and mellow as it did when new. I have to give it back, though the heaviness of this Victrola portable will not be forgotten. ;)

The end of record shutoff is not operating though it starts, runs and rejects as it should. I disassembled the little clutch associated with the run-out groove and cleaned it to no avail. :-[

He will pick it up soon, I let him know he would have to manually reject at end of each record, not a deal-breaker.

RCA Solid State Discussion / 1967 RCA Victor VJT-76W
« on: November 21, 2018, 03:33:47 PM »
Just picked this up. What a heavy beast. More photos when I open it up. Power rated at 500 watts? Got the 1967 full line brochure too. Need to scan that for downloads.

Console Tales / 1962 General Electric TV-HiFi model M781WWD
« on: November 21, 2018, 03:21:27 PM »
When I picked up the RCA VJT76, I was told there was another stereo upstairs with a TV in it. Both were leftover from an estate sale and in a big, old, awesome and original farmhouse. The owners passed away and the next door neighbor bought the place to fix up as a BnB, so he wanted these gone! The price was unbeatable at $25 each!

Imagine my surprise to find an all-tube GE console with a 1974 Philco 19" "BOSS" chassis color TV retrofitted into it. It was no hack job either! A shop I worked in did this to many RCA and Magnavox combos using a 25" colortrak 2000, when the tube color chassis was no longer worth new CRT, etc.
My guess is that the 23" BW TV needed a CRT and the HiFi was too good and attractive to say good bye to.

I will post photos in "Tube Consoles - other makes" as I get it open. The Sams shows a PP 7355 tube amp, separate preamp, MPX and tuner chassis which was a good bit better than what GE put in most of their value sets.

Sightings / RCA Victor 1968? - PA
« on: November 08, 2018, 11:56:27 AM »
This is pretty local for me, and after I saw the phonograph picture, I realized it is a more expensive model.

It would be nice to get some Victrola Brochures in Downloads so we can look these up. The style is not unlike a VLT-51W I have already but the receiver and changer are different.

Sightings / Magnavox Chairside - 1947
« on: November 06, 2018, 10:06:00 AM »
Saw this a while back and thought about getting it. I got a free Zenith X940 with non-operating changer from a retired guy with a shed (refuge workshop) and he still wanted to have a record player. I was thinking of a few un-restored portables I have from late 50's.

Then I saw his collection of older compilations of Swing Era and other legacy records (no 45s) , I figured a Webcor changer and Magnavox 197 AM/SW with 10 watts and a big speaker would be perfect for the shop he has.

I wont do finish work beyond a good scrub-down, the electronics is a snap for me but the changer does not appear to have the pianissimo tone arm like the catalog states ??? 

Wanted / Motorola SK17W companion speaker
« on: October 23, 2018, 08:36:43 AM »
I have a 1959 Motorola SK-17 stereo (pre-stereophonic) in French provincial walnut, I need the speaker cabinet even if its been emptied of the Jensen drivers :P

Sightings / 1960 Concert Grand - Chicago
« on: October 04, 2018, 04:05:09 PM »
I saw this on videokarma and figured it would look good here. I thought it said $100 but I must be hallucinating :-[ again .

Chat / Few consoles in vintage CU books
« on: October 01, 2018, 03:15:20 PM »
Consumer Reports tested many products but I could not find stereo consoles in their reviews, even after I bought a dozen year-end issued "buying guides" on fleabay.

Then I saw a side bar discussion in the 1961 issue, under the listing High Fidelity equipment, where a selection of low-mid priced consoles were tested...and deemed unacceptable, mostly due to the record changers that came in them. It seemed that a Webcor Coronet and a few others were barely-acceptable consoles.

CU also stated that true stereo realism cannot be achieved when speakers are only 3 feet apart. 6-10 feet of separation was only possible with two-cabinet consoles (none reviewed), with separate components or with only the largest custom and some Curtis Mathes "aircraft carrier" consoles.

I offer a few questions for discussion:

1. Was CU biased toward picking the best individual components, assuming they all can play well together, as opposed to a group of components from one manufacturer designed to work well together :-\ (yes - I am thinking Magnavox speakers and amplifiers here)

2. CU reviews of record players (single-play ) included tone-arms rated ala carte, and separate from the turntables. Didn't Rek-o-kut, Grado and others make good enough tone arms ???

3. CU was a value guide, so were more expensive consoles simply ignored? In earlier buying guides, kits by Heath and Dynaco, speakers by AR and Warfdale were rated very favorably.

4. Due to the relatively good record quality prior to the "give me convenience or give me death" or 8-track and cassette era, was the general preference for high-quality players diminished by then? An example is the fact BSR replaced Mag, RCA and Zenith console changers by this time

Fisher / 1964 Ambassador IV A-69 P
« on: September 27, 2018, 03:13:37 PM »
This was one of the hybrid models that is 85% tubes, with four output transistors for each channel. The 690 amp has the entire power supply for both tubes 300V and +/- 32 volts for the push-pull output transistors. I will recap the power supply first, before trying anything.

Before offering a reasonable sum at a well-known swap meet last Friday, I pulled all four fuses from the amp to confirm nothing bad went down. This amp is the type that direct-couples the push-pull output transistors to the speakers without a capacitor. From the schematic, it would seem a shorted transistor could fry the speakers. 

It definitely needs repairs to the legs before I can put it upright. The cabinet suffered through a few moves by the look of things. Fisher cabinets are one of the more damage prone, based on a lack of bracing found underneath. I have already used structural woodscrews to tie the rear legs into the base trim and glued one leg that split in half.
The legs and most of the "fruitwood" cabinet appear to be cherry, and like my 1964 Electra VII in "distressed walnut", will need to be stripped.

The amp and receiver chassis had all the 12AX7's swiped but the rare 6HU8 tubes were not ??? The Garrard type A record changer is complete and nothing else looks missing.

I was curious about the speakers first, so those are the photos below. Ill have to get a better picture of the tube map.

Zenith / 1958 Zenith HF1284 - just before stereo
« on: September 07, 2018, 12:59:52 PM »
Zenith HF1284 - I have two, limed oak model with E-suffix and the walnut with no changer and messed up speaker grill weave. Getting a record changer found on CL in a $10 beat-up portable near me.

These also have electrostatic tweeters like the Cantata posted. The tweets connect directly to the (PP 6V6) output transformer primary, as they need a few hundred volts to get started. 

I need to find them, both are buried in my garage and need to be moved to a new space so I remember to work on them someday :P

Sightings / Sylvania SC74 tube model - PA
« on: September 06, 2018, 10:27:27 AM »
This one has an owner that will not get back to me but I have a similar model a year newer. Its only an hour up north in the mountains, worth a drive.

These were all-tube, hand-wired and some (this is a single-ended 7868 ) had a push-pull 7868 output stage. That was a special Sylvania tube developed for Fisher and used in their 400 series   

Sightings / 1962 Normandy
« on: August 31, 2018, 04:06:00 PM »
I have one, a 1ST659 with the 93-series amp, horns and 12"woofs. This is noted as a sweet-sounding console yet mine is recapped but still apart as there is lot of connections including FM multiplex adaptor. The tuner-preamps only looked like this for a year or two but they were all-tube.

Sightings / 1962 Magnavox in PA
« on: August 31, 2018, 03:59:16 PM »
This looks similar to the other one I posted. The tuner-preamps only looked like this for a year or two but they were all-tube

Music / Aretha Franklin
« on: August 17, 2018, 08:08:54 AM »
As we have lost one more great talent, I was fortunate enough to hear the Queen of Soul cover "Long and winding road" in a way Paul and the Beatles probably never imagined. I had just missed her cover of "walk on By" unfortunately. So I'm looking on youtube now and imagining how it would have sounded.

Her vocal range was all the more sweet and nostalgic heard through a 1965 "last of all tubes" Zenith Console as I boxed in the speakers. Being one of the last all-Beatles songs, it was always bittersweet anyway, yesterday it was more so :'(

I want to preface this by saying that often, changers seem to work fine mechanically. When they don't, you need to mean business, so get down and dirty!

For oiling spinning metal parts, Zoom-Spout turbine oil must bein every record player toolkit. 3 in 1 type and sewing machine seems like appropriate vintage oil to use BUT it is generally sloppy and attracts dirt. Less is better, always.

I used to HATE doing record changers during the 80s, preferring the carried-in 9" to 20" TVs. The TV road tech pulled the changers from consoles and brought back to the shop for us bench toads, and as you can guess, peak season was October-December.

Doing changers was fun - like taking out the trash, so our service manager had a no-fail 8-step method we used on BSR, Magnavox and RCA units pulled from consoles and brought back to the shop by the road tech. "Just do it" I was often told when I verified it was operating correctly, and already looking for a new stylus (often in vain) in the dusty parts drawers.

Lubriplate or white lithium grease ( aka GC's Phono lube) is mandatory for all sliding parts. Go in ONCE with your best stuff and you'll own the repair. Just do it all, forgetting anything will make you repeat those annoying processes.

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and alternately, lacquer thinner, Q-tips and shop towels are all that is needed to clean off dirt-encrusted grease. it also does a great job on motor capstan "stepped shafts" plus the inside of the platter along idler track

Rubber-Renu is highly reactive oil of wintergreen and seems to work on most but NOT ALL idler pulleys to remove glaze. Only slightly more effective than IPA. If the pulley has deep fissures in the rubber, it probably overheated when the player motor was left on when it stalled, basically finishing off any chances for a lasting revival. Bite the bullet and replace it.

Bottoms-up work first

1- Mandatory motor maintenance - mark positions of every nut, 6-32 screw, washer, spacer and bearing bracket before you take ANYTHING apart. Soak those bearings first with IPA, using a cotton swab to pull the gunk out. Soak next with Zoom Spout or similar super-thin stuff.

2- Clean the changing mechanism with IPA and shop towels, and yes, you must take cycle gear-wheels off shafts or sliders out completely. Sliders on V-M players are tricky but you will not be successful without a thorough disassembly - cleaning and lube. trip levers that slide must be cleaned and having another player along side to compare whats out of place or bent cannot be understated.

Topside last

1- Pull off the platter from spindle. RCA's need a snap-ring pliers, Mags and BSR use a C-clip and V-M's use a small plastic O-ring and grooved center pin. Most are easy but on BSR's - spindle grease turns into JB weld, and must be soaked with lacquer thinner or worse to get it loose, spin-able and removable. I have yet to try "weasel piss" (WD40 or PB blaster) as it is hard to limit overspray.

2- Take idler pulley off and give it the business with IPA and oil the shaft/spring washers. Check alignment with the motor shaft thru all speed settings. If it does not land in the middle of a step, motor mount grommets are flat/gone OR if solid, it may be improper idle shaft washer placement.

3- Move center pin in/out, up and down while dousing with IPA to get ALL the crud out that causes it to drop two records or operate sluggishly. The tiniest bit of oil is all this part needs.

4- Platter spindle cage/ball bearings and washers need a thorough soaking and de-gumming, here we had success with lacquer thinner also. Pay attention to sandwiching the bearing between TWO thin washers. They like to stick and drop off during disassembly. To keep from hunting parts like those washers and center pin balls (V-M) that bounce off the bench, do your disassembling in a dishwashing tub or big cafeteria tray to catch anything that cuts loose.

5- The grand finale included checking speed with strobe disc under light from incandescent or fluorescent on magnetic ballasts. Try all record sizes/rpms and verify it worked on the 45 adapter, run through all cycles and at 78 (or 45) rpm to distribute all the oil and exercise every operation.

It always worked, no call backs, all the more reason to love Magnavox and RCA changers in particular.
About 5 years ago, I had to re-learn the whole process for Voice-of-Music changers, used in all my Motorola and Zenith tube sets.

I may post a thread on V-M by itself, renowned as rugged YET labor intensive to disassemble and re-assemble :P.

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