: 1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"  ( 991 )

TJ

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« : January 26, 2021, 08:07:04 AM »
I've been wanting a portable record player for a while, and I had been admiring a Motorola SP29 on eBay for a while, but was not admiring the $450 price tag and there is another one for $389.  I just happened to see one listed, but they didn't list the model number in the listing, and it was also stated as not working. The owner had put in a new cartridge and needle as well as a new idler wheel already.  I still paid more than I wanted, especially because of how crazy shipping rates are right now. But, I now have an SP-29, and to call it portable, is stretching the truth a little.  I would call it luggable as it weighs 50 Pounds, it's basically a luggable console LOL. It arrived in one piece, and it has seen some use over the years, but is still in pretty good condition for being a 60 year old portable.

The SP29, and its SP30 counterpart (The SP30 has the addition of a vibrasonic reverb tank) have a three-channel amp.  It uses single ended 6BM8 tubes for the left and right channels, and a pair of 6BM8 tubes in PP for the center bass channel.  Each speaker wing has 2 speakers plus the center bass speaker.

One of the tubes was out of its socket and the evacuation tip had broken off.  I put in a spare 6BM8 and turned it on and got nothing but filter hum.  I replaced the 2 Cathode bypass caps, which tested OK, and replaced the main filter can which was very bad; every section was testing 10uF below spec and had a about 10 meg ohm of resistance, aka the sections were starting to short out.  Per usual Motorola, there were disc caps throughout and the resistors all checked within spec.

Plugged it back in, put a record on and voila! It lived! This thing puts out some power; I can set the volume to 5 and fill the entire house with sound.  These big Motorola portables must have been one of, if not the best sounding portables on the market at the time.  They were not cheap either, the Motorola Catalog has the SP29 @ $200, and the SP30 @ $250, there were full-sized consoles that cost less.

This video is not mine, but an example of an SP29: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdbEKrGBBmc

My Consoles:
1962 Motorola SK112CW-FM, All original tubes
1958 Magnavox Continental - DIY Concert Grand!
1957 Magnavox Brittany - Amp 148 Magic!

firedome

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #1 : January 26, 2021, 10:00:37 AM »
Nice "portable"! bet it sounds good, but at my age though I think it'd need wheels! lol
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

Bill

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Re: 1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #2 : January 27, 2021, 06:35:40 AM »
I agree with Roger, that is a nice looking Motorola portable.  And yes, they are very heavy.   Good job Trevor!

Bill


Bill

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #3 : January 29, 2021, 10:20:42 AM »
Hey Trevor,

I was just looking on E-bay and found a Motorola portable model SH22E.  It's in St. Joseph Michigan and it's a buy it now for $200.00.  I looks very similar to your SP29.  Not sure the difference, maybe just years?  Will yours be a keeper?

Bill


TJ

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #4 : January 29, 2021, 11:38:28 AM »
Hey Trevor,

I was just looking on E-bay and found a Motorola portable model SH22E.  It's in St. Joseph Michigan and it's a buy it now for $200.00.  I looks very similar to your SP29.  Not sure the difference, maybe just years?  Will yours be a keeper?

Bill

The SH22 looks to be an earlier version of the SP29 from 1960.   Yes, mine is a keeper,

Motorola's high end equipment does not disappoint
My Consoles:
1962 Motorola SK112CW-FM, All original tubes
1958 Magnavox Continental - DIY Concert Grand!
1957 Magnavox Brittany - Amp 148 Magic!

TC Chris

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #5 : January 29, 2021, 07:17:50 PM »
Hey Trevor,

I was just looking on E-bay and found a Motorola portable model SH22E.  It's in St. Joseph Michigan and it's a buy it now for $200.00.  I looks very similar to your SP29.  Not sure the difference, maybe just years?  Will yours be a keeper?

Bill

But the price... ouch!!

Chris Campbell

TJ

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #6 : January 30, 2021, 08:36:00 AM »
Hey Trevor,

I was just looking on E-bay and found a Motorola portable model SH22E.  It's in St. Joseph Michigan and it's a buy it now for $200.00.  I looks very similar to your SP29.  Not sure the difference, maybe just years?  Will yours be a keeper?

Bill

But the price... ouch!!

Chris Campbell

It also has a 3-channel amp, 5 speakers (2 in each wing + center woofer) , a nice VM changer in an attractive case.  These were/are high end portables.
My Consoles:
1962 Motorola SK112CW-FM, All original tubes
1958 Magnavox Continental - DIY Concert Grand!
1957 Magnavox Brittany - Amp 148 Magic!

firedome

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #7 : January 30, 2021, 11:47:35 AM »
What kind of speakers are in the "wings" and the main section itself? Really interesting unit, had never seen one quite like this one.
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

TJ

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #8 : January 31, 2021, 09:39:52 AM »
What kind of speakers are in the "wings" and the main section itself? Really interesting unit, had never seen one quite like this one.

According to the Motorola Sales brochure in the downloads section, there is a 5.25" and a 4" speaker in each wing, and the center channel has an 8" speaker.
My Consoles:
1962 Motorola SK112CW-FM, All original tubes
1958 Magnavox Continental - DIY Concert Grand!
1957 Magnavox Brittany - Amp 148 Magic!

Bill

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #9 : January 31, 2021, 12:25:03 PM »
It looks like you have another unit to add to your list on the forum. 

I have a Motorola SH12N.  Like yours it's very heavy, and built like a tank.  All the tubes are original, and I have recapped it.  It has tons of volume, the treble is ear splitting, but the bass is very disappointing.   All the bass control does when you turn it up is make it sound thicker.  There is no thump, to rumble, just plain no body to it.  I'm guessing with yours Trevor having that center bass channel you have good bass?   I'm jealous if that is the case. 

Bill


TJ

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #10 : January 31, 2021, 06:48:46 PM »
It has decent bass for an 8" speaker.  The 6BM8 tubes in PP for the center channel help more than just having Left and Right channels do the bass.
My Consoles:
1962 Motorola SK112CW-FM, All original tubes
1958 Magnavox Continental - DIY Concert Grand!
1957 Magnavox Brittany - Amp 148 Magic!

Bill

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Re: 1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #11 : February 01, 2021, 07:30:04 AM »
OK, now I am jealous!

Bill

thermofin

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Re: 1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #12 : March 04, 2021, 03:40:18 PM »
Hi All, I am looking for some help troubleshooting a problem I

thermofin

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Re: 1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #13 : March 04, 2021, 03:48:28 PM »
Hi All, I'm having trouble posting. I tried to copy and paste but I guess that isn't working.
I'm looking for some help troubleshooting a problem with a Motorola SP29E that I recently bought for $75 and it is in spectacular shape, just needing a basic restore. I recapped the amp, rebuilt the changer and it's operating well, but I'm getting random static on the center bass channel that comes and goes. There are 4 6BM8 tubes and a 12AX7A. I have replaced the 12AX7A and swapped around the 4 6BM8's but the static continues always on the center channel. I went so far as to connect another changer to eliminate an issue with the current changer, same static issue. The pots have been de-oxed multiple times. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to focus my attention to track down the culprit?
Thanks
Guy

Bill

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1962 Motorola SP29 Three channel "Portable"
« #14 : March 04, 2021, 05:07:47 PM »
My next suggestion for you would be to clean the tube sockets and tube pins. I have had several units that had the problem you are experiencing and for me it turned out to be dirty tube sockets and pins.  I hope this helps Guy?

Bill