Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

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CitroJim
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Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by CitroJim »

To keep me occupied and stimulated during the days of tight lockdown and my accident recovery when I could not leave the house nor move around it very freely I rediscovered my love of vintage wireless and audio, something I'd not touched for as long as I'd not done anything with cars. A long time in other words :roll:

After fixing two duff amps for a friend in a scenario similar to how I ended up fixing Zel's Activa, I rediscovered my love just as I have now with cars :-D

I then turned to a load of my own 'projects' that had been waiting a long time to be looked at... A couple had been bought simply for spares with no intention of ever fixing them...

First up was a very scruffy Leak Stereo 30 Amp that had been bodged and 'modified' badly... It was filthy, had odd knobs and blew fuses. After a lot of work to put it back to standard and lots of replacement bits - many elecrolytic capacitors, several resistors and transistors - it is now working beautifully and is in use every day as the amp for both my vintage iPod and a Leak FM tuner. This amp often now in use for 14 or 15 hours a day! I did a small mod of my own to it to make it more suitable for iPod use...
Leak Stereo 30
Leak Stereo 30
Next up was an equally scruffy Leakl Troughline FM Tuner. Again, just bought for spares as it had several valves missing and a missing knob.

Several valves, a few resistors and capacitors later and it's as good as gold :D It still wears its '£5' sticker - what it cost me - as I cannot remove it without damaging the fascia...
Leak Troughline II
Leak Troughline II
The problem with the Troughline is it's a mono tuner so wanting a stereo version I acquired, via the 'bay, a non-working Leak Stereofetic. It's called that because it's a stereo tuner and was a very early adopter of FETs (Field Effect Transistors) instead of valves in the front-end. It was always known as the 'Stereopathetic' :lol: as it's not tremendously sensitive but given a good signal it's fantastic.

All it needed to make it good was a full RF alignment and a couple of capacitors...

It's now the main signal source into the Stereo 30 amp :D
Leak Stereofetic
Leak Stereofetic
Interestingly, I have another Stereofetic but it's called a Leak Delta 30 and looks much more modern in a nice wood case. That one is partnered with my big amp and speakers in the lounge...

A reel to reel tape recorder was next up. A Sony TC-255... This one needed no electronic work but needed lots of mechanical TLC on the deck due to worn belts and dried-out grease. It needed a new VU meter and I was able to source one from the 'bay...
Sony TC-255 Tape Deck
Sony TC-255 Tape Deck
This Trio Tuner/Amp was given to me by a friend for therapeutic purposes. It was incredibly filthy after being rescued from a skip! It needed a good bit of TLC including an IF Transformer and an IC... It's good now :D Back in the early 70s it was quite desirable...
Trio Tuner/Amp
Trio Tuner/Amp
And the current project ongoing is this early Philips CD player... It mostly works but is a bit edgy and fussy about what discs it will play... I'm getting there with it and investigating a problem with the spin motor speed regulation. The spin motor does exactly what it says and spins the CD around at high speed :) The thing is that it has to spin it at different speeds depending how far into the track the laser is and they can struggle to spin the disc fast enough as the laser tracks toward the outside... Unlike vinyl discs, CD's play from the inside out...
Philips CD150
Philips CD150
As winter encroaches, more projects will find themselves on the bench in my little electronics workshop :)

I also have a gorgeous high-end MiniDisc (MD) player/recorder too. Given to me as not wanted. It needed no work and is superb. I've archived much of my treasured vinyl to MiniDisc. MD was a format that missed the boat somewhat... The best of both CD and Compact Cassette.. Shame it never really caught on. MP3 and streaming saw it off...

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Paul-R
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by Paul-R »

If you're looking for a project Jim, I have a Yaesu FT726R in need of some attention

I bought it as an unknown quantity in a silent key sale a good few years ago and recently (well, about four months ago) decided to see if it worked. When plugged in to power the display just says 'E', which the manual helpfully says means an error!

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mickthemaverick
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by mickthemaverick »

CitroJim wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 16:12

First up was a very scruffy Leak Stereo 30 Amp that had been bodged and 'modified' badly...

Next up was an equally scruffy Leak Troughline FM Tuner.

I acquired, via the 'bay, a non-working Leak Stereofetic.

Interestingly, I have another Stereofetic but it's called a Leak Delta 30 and looks much more modern in a nice wood case.

As winter encroaches, more projects will find themselves on the bench in my little electronics workshop :)
Are you sure that shouldn't be plumber's shed Jim? :-D

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Try spraying that £5 label with some isopropanol alcohol (if it would not adversely affect you, Jim), let it soak in, and then see if (with care) that label will come off. You might need a few applications of IPA for it to work.
Last edited by Hell Razor5543 on 05 Sep 2020, 21:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

I dont think I'll be able to contribute much to the detail of radio/audio repair but maybe I can use the thread like a public convenience to dump random "old radio" spottings I come across on my travels!
Image
I wouldnt even know where to buy a transistor never mind get the right ones! I suppose somewhere within the depths of this intimidating shop they will have a little drawer with the right stuff in if you know what you are asking for. We park next to it when going to one of our go to Coffee Shops...Cullercoats Coffee.

I actually did go in once and came out with a paper bag with little crocodile clips and a few 2 to 2.5 ohm resistors :-D
the specialist shop
the specialist shop
Regards Neil

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CitroJim
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by CitroJim »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 21:17
I actually did go in once and came out with a paper bag with little crocodile clips and a few 2 to 2.5 ohm resistors :-D

Image
Gosh! What a treasure Neil :D Shops like that are now virtually extinct sadly... Look after it!

The Internet comes up with the goods so easily it's driven shops like that right to the brink. Amazingly, almost everything you need is available for old radio and audio stuff. Still lots of NOS about. It's easier to find a part for a 50 year old Leak amp. than it is for a ten year old Citroen...
mickthemaverick wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 19:05
CitroJim wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 16:12

As winter encroaches, more projects will find themselves on the bench in my little electronics workshop :)
Are you sure that shouldn't be plumber's shed Jim? :-D
:lol: Yes, good point well made! Especially as most capacitors are replaced because they've gone leaky...
Paul-R wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 18:44
If you're looking for a project Jim, I have a Yaesu FT726R in need of some attention
Paul, I have a vague belief they can be a bit of a 'mare when they display an 'E'. Something about the backup battery that maintains the memory having failed and caused the memory to loose all its data. The memory needs to be reprogrammed... An interesting one. Let me do a bit of research on that ;)
Hell Razor5543 wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 19:25
Try spraying that £5 label with some isopropanol alcohol (if it would not adversely affect you, Jim), let it soak in, and then see if (with care) that label will come off. You might need a few applications of IPA for it to work.
James, thanks! That's worth a try. I do have some label remover but I'm very allergic to it so cannot use it. Goodness only knows whats in it. It smells very strongly of oranges...

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by myglaren »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 21:17

I wouldnt even know where to buy a transistor never mind get the right ones! I suppose somewhere within the depths of this intimidating shop they will have a little drawer with the right stuff in if you know what you are asking for. We park next to it when going to one of our go to Coffee Shops...Cullercoats Coffee.

I actually did go in once and came out with a paper bag with little crocodile clips and a few 2 to 2.5 ohm resistors :-D
There used to be a similar one on High Bridge (Newcastle). Aitken Brothers. Great place. You could go in and ask about a problem and they would explain how to fix it, get the bits off the shelf, draw a circuit diagram on a brown paper bag, turn it over and add up the cost of the parts, that they then put the in the bag and exchanged for your money.
Rebuilt a Sinclair Spectrum power supply with parts from them, for very little money. It's still in the attic.

I bought a potentiometer in there when my grandson was three months old. Sat on my windowsill for years waiting to be soldered into a harmon/kardon sub/sat system. Lost it, dumped the sub/sats after thirteen years then of course found the pot.
Last time I was there it was some sort of DJ place. :)

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by Peter.N. »

Don't like transistors - now give me something with valves, that I understand. :)

Peter

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bobins
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by bobins »

I had the pleasure of going to M&B Radio's warehouse out on a windswept industrial estate once. What an astonishing place :) We wanted a specific bit of kit that was somewhere at the back of the pile, so things had to be moved to get to it.... I was climbing on old BBC Radio broadcast turntables and leaping like an agile mounain goat over unidentifiable electronica. At one point I used one of those expensive white 'high speed' telescopes that they use for tracking missiles and aircraft as a hand-hold :lol: We had to move a huge old television - I think it was previously used in television studios... it was big, and heavy, and expensive looking. No problem, the 'boss' told me to hook it up to the gantry crane using the handles on the side of the TV. So I did. Those handles failed whilst it was up in the air - and it crashed to his feet. He shrugged his shoulders and we carried on :-D Apparently he used to use a lot of the old kit in there for film and TV recordings where they'd be used on set as set dressings.
Happy days :)

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Little bit of Nostalgia about Aitken Brothers from another place....

https://www.modelflying.co.uk/forums/po ... 134158&p=3
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 02/03/2018 16:28:02:
It's an institution in Derby (RF Potts) . Are there similar shops elsewhere?
Posted by John Privett on 02/03/2018 21:29:13:
I've no idea if it's still there, but 'back in the day' (I'm thinking 1970's) Aitken Bros. was a shop that sounds very similar in Newcastle.

Tucked away down a little back lane off Bigg Market they sold electronic components and some larger electronic gear. It was a tiny shop, somewhat in the style of the "four candles" (Two Ronnies) shop with a counter and lots of shelves and drawers behind it. The knowledgeable staff there would turn to these drawers, get you your 1k 1/4W resistors, couple of 2N29296's, a BC109, some ceramic capacitors etc. etc. and quickly have you on your way to build whatever it was you were building. Always busy, but never too long to wait to be served.

They were of course a little more expensive than the mail order shops of the day - Electrovalue was the one I used a few times - but not too much more, and somewhat quicker. I recall Tandys opening a shop in an expensive shopping centre in Newcastle and I had to laugh at their prices when I first went in there for a look. 1/4W resistors would be about 1p each from Electrovalue, maybe 1.5p or 2p from Aitken Bros, but from Tandys you had to buy a pair of them on a blister-pack card for something like 30 or 40p! I feel Maplin headed in that sort of direction too...

"Until recently, this was the famous Aitken Brothers electronics store. Everything from a resistor to an an oscilloscope was obtainable here. Latterly it had morphed into disco balls and boom box mixers. Part of the Newcastle scene vanished with the demise of first one and then the second of the brothers and their quirky, yet popular store."

Edited By John Privett on 02/03/2018 21:34:40
Craig Carr 03/03/2018 08:04:14
That’s a real blast from the past John surprise i used to often visit aitken bros “when I were a lad”. Great place and fondly remember my father buying me an airband radio to listen to civiliian aircraft comms from Newcastle airport.

Happy memories. I’m luck enough to still have a similar shop not far from where I live ESR in cullercoats.....a similar Aladdin’s cave... top staff...
REgards Neil

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Paul-R
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by Paul-R »

We used to be well supplied with surplus electronic stores round here. I have a feeling we've mentioned this before but in Birkenhead there was Bert Ault's and Browning's. Over in Liverpool there were two or three electronic and audio shops, not necessarily surplus, including NEMS which was run by Brian Epstein.
CitroJim wrote:
06 Sep 2020, 06:58
Paul-R wrote:
05 Sep 2020, 18:44
If you're looking for a project Jim, I have a Yaesu FT726R in need of some attention
Paul, I have a vague belief they can be a bit of a 'mare when they display an 'E'. Something about the backup battery that maintains the memory having failed and caused the memory to loose all its data. The memory needs to be reprogrammed... An interesting one. Let me do a bit of research on that ;)
Yes, I read that as well. I tried sliding the reset switch to no avail though. Given its age, and reading around, I suspect that it needs a huge dose of re-capping.

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by mickthemaverick »

We too were well stocked with component shops. I started my working life as an 11 year old with a Saturday job in TT Reedy (1954) Ltd. which was a TV/Radio shop at 273 St Albans Road Watford. I used to help the resident TV engineer with repairs on the sets which he had collected during the week being unable to repair them on site. He used to do the fault finding and then tell me which components to replace and I would do the donkey work while he carried on with the next set. I learnt a bit about fault finding and a lot about soldering!! :) Then as a member of BT's Special Fault Investigation (SFI) team I spent many hours visiting EGE Components, Garston Radio, Harrow Radio and Langley Road components seeking various components for building mods or workrounds for a failure we had been lumbered with. I believe my final visit to Garston Radio
BFTW
BFTW
was about 30 years ago when I bought the components to build my own windscreen wiper delay board for my Lancia Beta Coupe. A simple parallel RC delay circuit with a series rc timer once triggered. (If that makes sense? :-D )

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CitroJim
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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by CitroJim »

Magic :D I'm delighted to see how this thread is going :)
mickthemaverick wrote:
06 Sep 2020, 12:58
I started my working life as an 11 year old with a Saturday job in TT Reedy (1954) Ltd. which was a TV/Radio shop at 273 St Albans Road Watford. I used to help the resident TV engineer with repairs on the sets which he had collected during the week being unable to repair them on site. He used to do the fault finding and then tell me which components to replace and I would do the donkey work while he carried on with the next set. I learnt a bit about fault finding and a lot about soldering!! :)
Gosh Mick, we have a lot in common :D That's exactly how I started my career! I fairly quickly learned fault-finding and the shop used to save all the difficult ones for me. Especially dual-standard colour TVs... The shop sold a lot of Philips G6 chassis models in the early days and all the regular engineers hated them. I got to love them and can still find my way around them. I also got very skilled with the BRC 3000/3500 colour chassis too... They were our bread and butter.

When there were no tellies and radios to do there would always be a pile of 8-track cartridges to untangle and rethread ~:)

Happy days :D I used to fancy the shop owner's daughter something rotten! She was the same age as me but she went to the posh school so any chance of a romance was doomed - she could not be seen to be going out with some oik from the local Secondary Modern :lol:

I thank one of the engineers for shaping my tastes in music. He introduced me to prog. rock and especially bands like Pink Floyd and Focus... In the evenings he ran a disco and I was often his helper and gofer - another amazingly wonderful learning curve :D

It also led me nicely into a lifelong career involving for the most part professional point-to-point HF radio communications... That's all I will say about it in a public forum ;)

And that love of radio and audio has remained with me for life :D
Peter.N. wrote:
06 Sep 2020, 09:33
Don't like transistors - now give me something with valves, that I understand. :)
I still prefer valves Peter :D To this day I understand them better than I do transistors ;) I was lucky to be learning my trade when valves were still commonplace and still widely used in professional equipment... Getting a good understanding of valve theory was essential... The widespread use of 'three legged fuses' (transistors!) was still a way off... Especially in the high-power stuff I was involved in...

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by Peter.N. »

They were all valved when I started Jim, transistors didn't put in an appearance until the late '50s, I started in '54. Most sets then were 9 or 12", some with a magnifier and all single channel - BBC, many were TRF's. Quite a few sets still had mains EHT. :shock:

The first indication I saw of transistors in TV was a Pye set with 'transistor synchronized'' on the front, and that's what it had, one transistor in the sync circuit, a valve would have worked just as well or even better.

They were the days.

Peter

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Re: Lockdown Vintage Audio Activities...

Post by CitroJim »

Peter.N. wrote:
06 Sep 2020, 20:27
Quite a few sets still had mains EHT. :shock:
:shock: indeed :shock: Mains-derived EHT was lethal in the extreme with all the charge those 'Disconal' capacitors could hold!

And then when those sets mercifully more or less disappeared we then had the 'fun' of early colour sets with their high current 25Kv EHT with the GY501 rectifier and PD500 shunt stabiliser happily emitting dangerous levels of X-rays :roll: How we are still here, health and able to tell the tale is quite remarkable, especially when you consider all the now banned solvents we used to use... Carbon Tetrachloride was brilliant but now we know how dangerous it is!

We have something equally dangerous in our kitchens these days: microwave ovens... They use a form of mains-derived EHT and have even bigger reservoir capacitors...

Many have been killed when trying to fix them... The interlocks and warnings are there for very good reason...