Author Topic: RCA Victor VCR-244  (Read 241 times)

Motorola Minion

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RCA Victor VCR-244
« on: September 21, 2017, 03:18:13 PM »
I got this about 2 years ago along with a Sylvania SS console for $40 with some other stuff. I was not in a hurry to find out how bad it was inside after I read Larry's thread on one in similar condition. I was pretty sure I would get around to it soon and then a second and much better condition RCA 3VF516 showed up.

So I decided to take it and sell it along with my usual selection of old radio/tv stuff so I took it to the twice a year, mostly antique radio swap meet at Renninger's in Kutztown PA. I got a few questions but nobody bit, so that is the last damn console I'm taking there. I was also glad I did not take the 1964 Admiral there again, since the guy from Arizona that wanted it (but had no room) last year did not show up this time.   

Then...I saw an article in a 1960 PF reporter on phantom 3rd channel stereophonics, showing the various design approaches by Zenith, Motorola, CM, Webcor and others. RCA's design looked interesting and because my other RCA is straight stereo, I decided to plunge into this. Pulling the tuner and amp out tomorrow.
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Dave

HiFiFun

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 06:12:36 PM »
Dave,
Can you source or post that article on the 3-channel set-ups ?
I find these to be fascinating consoles.

RCA had some cool looking flight instrument controls
in these. Your modern cabinet style is real boss.
I especially like the RP215/216 record changer. Easy to restore,
and it works very smoothly.

One thing to watch are the speaker terminal blade connectors.
RCA did not spend money on them, sometimes they break
off easily.

HFF

Motorola Minion

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 12:18:50 PM »
HFF- about the speakers, the terminals are often held on by faulty rivets that fall apart. Using a dab of JB weld on them seems a good fix to replace the rivet head. someone actually soldered the lugs on the spades of the 12" woofer ???

I plan to pull these speakers out and check them over good, all five of them. The grill cloth is going to be replaced with some reasonably priced guitar amp pattern that is close. 



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Dave

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 01:34:56 PM »
 Checkout the funky plug, with the green slime and crud. That will be replaced with a grounded plug, so the chassis is solidly grounded for the device input cord I'm adding.
The tuner is interesting enough, just before the multiplex standard, when AM and FM simulcasting was fed to left and right channels.

Tune to the AM station with bottom knob, tune the FM with the middle knob, make sure both are tuned in  and then select AM-FM to play both.

"Living Stereo" seemed like it was a popular phrase. But was that usually found on RCA records??? :-\
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Dave

Motorola Minion

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 01:50:47 PM »
The real cool part of the console is the amplifier. I am restoring it first and the tuner just to see what three separate channels sound like.

The way the amp chassis came out, I'm guessing it was not ever serviced. Ill know once I test the tubes, which look all original as well. 

The record changer will be last and the cosmetics may be left to the next owner after replacing the grill cloth.

I am also adding a device cord to the "tape" input using the RCA-only 3-pin plug. The 3-channels from any external stereo source should be interesting.

Because the FM has no multiplex adapter, I cannot to compare this 3-channel system directly to my Motorola until I get the RCA's record player done.  (I posted in downloads a related article on different 3-channel systems)
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Dave

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 04:27:02 PM »
update on the tubes:  All the 6CG7 twin triodes all tested good, all 3 6BQ5 were so weak as to be un-usable.  12BE6 and 19T8 showed shorts.  Im thinking this did not sound too good before it was "retired".
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Dave

Motorola Minion

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 03:36:49 PM »
Second update: All three output transformers have 300 ohms primary continuity  :), 3 Mullard-made, Radio Shack gold-pin 6BQ5 tubes found and tested.

This amp has about a dozen electrolytic capacitors, including two for the voltage doubler power supply. Having no schematic to go by, I will simply test and replace what I see. Has worked quite well in the past. Look at all the wax-paper caps. its a wonder anyone has the nerve to plug in a console like this.

Record changer removed, looks like it was not ever serviced. Hope the idler is good, damn things are $50 rebuilt including tax and post.

Current issue is how to remove the tuner. It drops but the two 3/8" mounting bolts do not release it.
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Dave

TC Chris

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 06:25:38 PM »
I'll bet the failure rate on the paper caps s a lot lower than on old electrolytics.  A bunch of my 80+ year old radios still function on their paper ones but the consequences of electrolytic failure are so much greater.

Chris Campbell

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2017, 10:48:20 AM »
I'll bet the failure rate on the paper caps s a lot lower than on old electrolytics.  A bunch of my 80+ year old radios still function on their paper ones but the consequences of electrolytic failure are so much greater.

Chris Campbell

I see the same thing, 'specially the older a unit gets. My extreme case is a 1934 Philco Radio-record player console I picked up almost 30 years ago after I spotted it at a yard sale. I asked how much -$25, then asked if it worked (duh!) and then plugged it in, getting no hum and carefully operating the 4-position bandswitch amid crackles, the local AM station popped in nice and loud. I handed them cash, loaded it the back seat of my '83 Rabbit and sped off with the front seats full-forward ::)

That big beast was moved right into the living room, operating surprisingly well on AM and 3SW bands using all its original "solar" paper caps until a few years ago after I got my mind right about shot-gunning all caps, and took it out of service. Those electrolytics had to have been replaced as there was no hum ever. But that is a bad bet not to check and I'm lucky nothing suddenly shorted. It is sitting apart in my shop the last 4 years, with a bucket of new caps from "Just Radios", a rebuilt 12" speaker and no SPARE time to put all these goodies in. Back to the uh...RCA.... ???
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Dave

TC Chris

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2017, 08:43:01 PM »
1934--that must be before Philco started sing those caps potted in Bakelite housings?   I can't remember when that started.  I've got a ca. '34-'35 Model 45 that was working just fine on original parts when I moved 24 years ago.  It has been sitting in the storage room since.  Too many toys, not enough time. 

Chris Campbell

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Re: RCA Victor VCR-244
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 08:33:37 AM »
A bit of Philco knowledge goes a long way. Most of of the chassis used the bakelite condenser blocks, part locations and cap/resistor values detailed very well in Riders schematics. A model 15 from 1934 had those blocks and barely worked until I restuffed, after the power supply cans of course. I would agree the bakelite caps are not always open, as tested but do not hold up past 100 volts either, failing power factor.   

Philco and Zenith sometimes used solid tinned copper wire, with dried-cracked rubber insulation, that self-destructed if moved. That started in 1937 models and like the condenser blocks, found in some units after 1937. Restoring a pre-37 Philco is often less time but I should check the Philco Repair Bench, before saying its that simple. You cannot say its not worth it, they are like RCA's and Zeniths that way.

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Dave