Author Topic: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear  (Read 300 times)

MikeNinNH

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Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« on: April 11, 2017, 12:20:47 PM »
So I was trolling through local flea markets and second-hand stores over the weekend and got my hands on a pair of cool things. One is a Silvertone desktop record changer, circa 1956 which I plan on restoring to working condition - the old 12AV6-50C5-30W4 amp isn't showing signs of life, and the Crescent changer needs a cleaning to not gag when lifting the arm and swinging it to the record (the mechanism process works fine, and I think the cartridge is okay as well). 

The other thing I got for a few bucks was a Wollensack T-1515 portable reel-to-reel player marked As-Is. I figured if it worked, great, I'll re-sell it, but it didn't appear to me to be a particularly valuable and sought after model, so I would part it out if it didn't work. As expected,  I didn't get any signs of life from it but upon checking it out I found a treasure-trove of useful parts:
  • a 7025 (12AX7) that sounds great plugged into another amp I have, on a pre-amp module I'm repurposing;
  • 4 other cushion-mounted tube sockets with metal spring-caps - the tubes look good but haven't been tested yet
  • A 120VAC to 200/12.6/6.3V transformer
  • Of possible use - four idler wheels almost exactly the same diameter as the bad one on my Magnavox portable's Collaro changer - but sadly with spindles instead of bearings in the middle. Same width on the rubber too. I wonder if there's a way to change the rubber on these idler wheels...
  • Numerous resistors, ceramic capacitors, terminal strips, etc

So, I took a look on ebay and some other sites and decided it wasn't such a valuable model that I would feel too guilty parting it out, still I wonder if I missed something or made a mistake.  I always try to weigh the value of the device restored versus the use of the parts to get others working (or to make new projects).  Sometimes it's harder than others. Has anyone else had to decide parts versus restore? How do you decide?

TC Chris

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Re: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 09:15:00 PM »
The Wollensak machines are actually classics of their time.  They were high-quality devices at a time when most consumer-grade products were crummy and marginal.  They met NAB broadcast specs--not a huge high hurdle, but one that most home recorders did not. And they did it all using tubes in a relatively tiny case.   I have a T-1500, an earlier model.

One way I make decisions about preserving vs. parting-out is to consider whether something is a special representative of its time.  The Wollensak machine really is.

The first consumer-grade Dolby-B cassette deck was sold by Advent.  It used a Wollensak cassette transport with really good mechanical specs at the time.

Another way I judge restoration potential is by how much work and expense it would take to make something functional.  If I find a bare chassis with major parts missing or dead (power transformer burned, IF transformers missing, tubes all gone) it may become a donor device.  Otherwise, I remember that "they don't make those any more" and honor it with a place on the shelf at least.

Chris Campbell

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Re: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 08:06:59 PM »
I'm squarely in the "they aren't making these any more" camp. If the item can be repaired/saved then that's whats gonna happen if it comes home with me.
-- Aloha, Ken

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electra225

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Re: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 08:37:30 PM »
I'm in the preservation camp as well.  I realize that sometimes certain devices have to be sacrificed to repair a more fortunate example.  I appreciate having parts available when I need them. 
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

MikeNinNH

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Re: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 04:31:44 PM »
I figure the parts I don't use I can sell on ebay or at a swap meet for a few cents to someone restoring one of these. I'm aware they don't make them anymore, but there's a reason I only got it for a few bucks as is. :) The leftover stuff will help at least one of these get to working condition again.

danrclem

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Re: Preserving vs. parting out vintage gear
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 10:52:11 PM »
I'm all for preserving also but sometimes it's just not worth it to restore one that's in very bad shape.  I parted one a few months back and even though it wouldn't have been worth restoring I still felt kinda bad.