Author Topic: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?  (Read 347 times)

ITABWODI

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Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« on: June 13, 2017, 09:18:17 PM »
Hi Everyone!  I'm really glad I found this forum, and I hope you all don't mind getting a question from a complete newbie!  So, several years ago I inherited a Fisher Custom Electra V, model E46-X-PM, from my grandfather (who paid $535.60 for it in 1962 - the sales slip was still in it, tucked inside the user manual!).  It did not have much use for a long time, but was still in good condition.  The radio tuner works well, but I've never really tried to use the Garrard turntable.  The more I read on this forum and elsewhere, the more I'm thinking this baby could sound a lot better than it already does.  As it is now, I'm getting humming or buzzing noise with the music regardless of the source (i.e. AM, FM, or external source plugged in to the phono RCA inputs on the tuner module), and it follows the volume level (i.e. higher volume = louder hum).  So my question is, where do I begin trouble shooting this thing?  Or, are there certain parts I should try to replace even before trying to troubleshoot anything?  As far as I can tell, all of the parts are original.  I guess I should also mention that I've never restored a stereo before, but I can handle a soldering iron pretty well. 

Thanks in advance for your help - I'm really looking forward to hearing your suggestions (and questions)!

TC Chris

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 10:53:40 PM »
OK, nobody else has answered yet so I'll start.  On old electronics, the most common mode of failure s capacitors, and in particular, the electrolytic capacitors that serves a hum filters in the power supply.   That's a usual cause of loud hum. Replace them ASAP.  A short circuit could burn up the expensive and rare (maybe unobtanium) power transformer.  I'm assuming this is a tube unit.  Paper coupling capacitors can also fail with age, and if it happens in the power output section, the expensive & rare output transformers may go to meet their maker.  Capacitors are cheap; transformers are not.

The record changer will probably require careful disassembly, cleaning, and re-lubrication.

None of this is rocket science; it's just  a bit time consuming (order parts; wait for arrival; replace them one-by-one).  We are lucky to live in  a time when we have lots of information available online.  But I do miss the old local "radio parts" stores where you could drive down and buy the parts you needed.  Problem was, when we had them, I couldn't afford to buy things very often. 

Chris Campbell

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 05:37:03 PM »
Everything that Chris has laid out is a good start.


You should probably replace the caps in the speaker crossovers as well in order to get the best sound possible out of that unit.


The Garrard changers are among the easiest to do maintenance on. You should be able to find the service info in the downloads section.


Good luck and welcome aboard!
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

AlexanderMartin

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 07:13:39 PM »
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a Fisher is not really something to start on, they are or can be quite complicated and a bit pricier to fix as they used more components for their units, so expect at least $25 in just capacitors, both paper foil, crossovers, and filter capacitors. They are a bit complex so thankfully the tuners at least work, so the work cut out for you is less.

Let's not focus on the turntable for a bit, as turntables, ESPECIALLY Garrards, are an abysmal nightmare to completely clean out and relube. They are better performers but boy are they merciless to newbies.

The first order of business is replacing the power supply capacitors, IE the large silver can capacitors that are near the big transformers. This is what provides your main voltage rails and when these rails get noisy, you have hum. Since the hum varies with the volume control, that indicates that the hum is introduced into the control, which could be a failing or noisy tube, or even a noisy tube socket that needs to be cleaned and reseated. An easy way to confirm this is to tap on the tubes with a soft object and see if any noise comes out of the speaker or if the hum goes away or cuts in and out. This could also be caused by a failing capacitor introducing DC on the tube.

Good luck with your work and if you need any assistance, I am sure TC Chris as well as I would be happy to help. Happy recapping!


Harbourmaster

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 07:54:27 PM »
Well I have to respectfully disagree with your disagreement!


While it's true that this is no AA5  It is still a relatively basic amp and tuner and there is nothing especially tricky about  it...  we all have to  start somewhere.


As for the changer I find the Garrards of this vintage to be quite straight forward, and certainly not "abysmal" to work on as you have stated.
-- Aloha, Ken

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AlexanderMartin

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 02:47:02 AM »
Well, I must disagree with your disagreement!
When I see this, I don't think this is something a new guy should work on:

Harbourmaster

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 01:57:35 PM »
But there is not really a whole lot in that tuner that should/has to be replaced and the Amp is pretty basic.



-- Aloha, Ken

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ITABWODI

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2017, 02:44:08 PM »
Well, I didn't expect to start such a polarizing topic!  But hey, thanks for all the great comments!  I was already thinking I should start replacing capacitors, and you guys pretty much confirmed that for me.  I'm also glad to have the suggestion of starting with the power supply caps - I hadn't thought about the fact that it could be hard to replace the power supply itself.  Also just to clarify, I may be new to working on vacuum tube radios, but I've enjoyed working on electronics since I was kid.  It might take me a little longer to work through a dense circuit board like the one in the picture, but I'm up for the challenge.  Unfortunately, this is a hobby project for me, and I've got a bunch of outdoor projects I need to do around the house this summer, sooo, it might take me a while to have any updates on my progress.  Finally, since I don't actually have any vinyl in my music collection, the turntable is a lower priority for me.  Eventually I'd like to get it working so I can borrow some of my parents' Beatles albums, but first things first.

How about this question: any suggestions for places to shop for capacitors for this project?  I have the service manual, and I'll need to start shopping somewhere.

Oh, and I'll attach a photo so you can see what I'm working on.

Thanks again for all the comments!

TC Chris

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2017, 11:21:13 PM »
I share your problem with the seasons--summer is when I fall behind on indoor projects.  I was out painting the spokes on the winter bicycle the other day.  Ever try painting bike spokes?  But this time of year, it's mostly outdoor recreation plus cutting the grass.

There are lots of sources for capacitors, but I tend to go to Mouser for electrolytics.  I bought a nice kit of film caps from Sal's Capacitor Corner: http://www.tuberadios.com/capacitors.  Antique Electronic Supply sells some reproduction chassis-mount, multi-section can capacitors.  It will be interesting to see who others favor.

Chris Campbell

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 10:54:35 AM »
As the owner of a Fisher Custom Electra 7, two years newer, I can confirm these are a bit tougher than your average tube consoles. The capacitors will need to be replaced of course, but you will also find that resistors will be dead on
Tubes - Magical - Tubes

Dave

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Re: Fisher Custom Electra V (E46-X-PM) - Where to begin?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 02:39:31 PM »
To finish the last post, I would go very slowly and check your work after every few parts you change. The power supply caps are #1 as all here would agree. There is a service manual for your console on fisherconsoles.com has much helpful information. Justradios and mouser, allied or capacitor world can help you with parts but you must change them and then play it again to see some improvement. your hum will probably be gone but improvements are possible.

My E49 amp-tuner are sitting for the time being while I work on its cabinet and Garrard changer. When I looked at it, the seller plugged it, against my advice and yes it was playing a bit, through the awful hum. ::) Most of the work to date is detailed here   http://vintagehifi.net/index.php/topic,1812.0.html
Tubes - Magical - Tubes

Dave