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 Post subject: Philco 37-690
PostPosted: May Thu 26, 2011 7:27 pm 
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Location: Moline Illinois
I bought this locally from a fellow collector last year for what I thought was a very fair price for an original finish and already recapped top of the line in 1937 Philco.

The 690 has 3 real speakers, 4 "clarifiers" and 20 tubes on 2 chassis. It was Philco's 1st major radio made to compete with some of the Scotts and other High end sets on the market. It even has a High Fidelity decal prominently displayed on the cabinet. I believe about 2500 of these were sold for a princely amount of $375.

My new baby needed a good cleaning and that was about it when it was delivered last September (photos before cleaning seen here):

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I got out my cleaner and spent a day going over it and listened to it playing. All the controls worked nicely and the tweeters were more noticeable than on my 38-690 which to me is one of the best sounding radios I have heard play. I think the 37 has less Timbre but more of a natural tone sound with more emphasis on the mid range and upper frequencies.

I discovered the veneers used were spectacular and very high quality. The set cleaned up very nicely.

After a few days, I accidentally pulled the volume control shaft out while trying to remove the pressed on knob.

I pushed the set into the back room and let it sit for 8 months till last week. I got a burst of energy and decided to work on the chassis.

It turned out to be a simple repair on the volume control shaft with a small set screw tightening required.

Some photos of the beautiful factory veneers used after my simple cleaning:

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The underside of the chassis-note the long copper colored shaft to the right of center. That is the volume control shaft I had to repin. Recapped in the past by an unknown person in Iowa:

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A closeup of the volume shaft and the set screw that I had to tighten after reinserting the shaft:

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I got out my tube tester and found I had a bad output tube (6B4) and luckily I had a good one in my tube stash. I also replaced both rectifiers with NIB tubes and now the set is really thumping. The two bass/treble(selectivity) controls both affect the sound and you can really fine tune this to your ears. The dial has a fast and fine tune control and when the bearings are good (like mine were),the tuner is a delight to dial in a station. No eye tubes here either in the 20 tube count.

I have been checking the two transformers with my new laser temp checker from Harbor Freight and after 7 hours today, I get about 108 and 97 degrees respectively. Philco used that odd setup with the rectifiers stuck on top of their transformers.

All in all a very nice radio from 1937 that showed what Philco could do if they wanted to make a nice big dog.

Thanks for looking !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Thu 26, 2011 7:38 pm 
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Location: Pennsylvania, 18706
VERY NICE! Makes me want to pull out my 201x and start ripping into it! I LOVE the 30's Philcos.
Joe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Thu 26, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Berkeley, CA 94709
That's one great looking and performing radio. Philco definitely pulled out all the stops on their top end radios in 1936-1938. My 38-690 is easily the best sounding radio in my collection, and you're right -- those radios are a joy to tune. I love the look of the 37-690, though the doors aren't very practical unless you leave enough room on the sides to open and close them. Of course if you were living in a 30 room mansion that probably wasn't a huge concern. :lol:

Bob


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Thu 26, 2011 9:22 pm 
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Very Nice Bruce ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Thu 26, 2011 10:15 pm 
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Yessir, she's a beaut! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Sat 28, 2011 2:43 pm 
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Location: Central Michigan
That is a beautiful radio Bruce! And, with 20 tubes it has the performance to match. A very nice find indeed!

Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Sat 28, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Location: Ellington CT
Nice work. Makes me want to get off my lazy butt and start working on my 37-690.
Kevin

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Sun 29, 2011 1:50 am 
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Location: Sedona, AZ
Bruce, what a nice looking set, love the wood, and a great job on it. I will continue working on my speaker, someone will have the proper set up. Both work well, just need to get the rest to work as a unit.
Jerry

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Sun 29, 2011 2:42 am 
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Location: Indy
I have one, it's the highest tube count radio in my collection. Unfortunately I haven't done anything to restore it. If I don't get to it in another few years, I should probably move it along to someone who would enjoy it, but getting rid of something so heavy and valuable (?) is somewhat daunting.

Peter

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Sun 29, 2011 3:21 am 
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Very nice Bruce!
Congrats!!
Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 37-690
PostPosted: May Sun 29, 2011 7:13 am 
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Location: Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
y2k Bruce wrote:
After a few days, I accidentally pulled the volume control shaft out while trying to remove the pressed on knob.


The same thing happened to my 38-116 when I moved.


y2k Bruce wrote:
A closeup of the volume shaft and the set screw that I had to tighten after reinserting the shaft.


Hmm, my 38-116 didn't have a set screw, I wonder if it was removed before I got it? I think it had a clip near the front of the chassis that I lost, but now I wonder.

y2k Bruce wrote:
I have been checking the two transformers with my new laser temp checker from Harbor Freight and after 7 hours today, I get about 108 and 97 degrees respectively. Philco used that odd setup with the rectifiers stuck on top of their transformers.


I havent taken the temp of the transformers of my 38-116 but after 16 hours of playing the other day it did not feel hot at all to my hand.

y2k Bruce wrote:
All in all a very nice radio from 1937 that showed what Philco could do if they wanted to make a nice big dog.


I am still amazed at how good my 38-116 sound but I still need to do an alignment and some cabinet work to it. I would love to have a 37 or 38-690 though. Even though I use an AM transmitter I wish one of Philco "Big Dogs" had a phone input I would love to see how it sounds with a CD player hooked directly too it.

You have a beautiful radio Bruce One other Philco I would love to have would be the 16B cathedral. It should be a little less expensive that and 37-116 and hopefully I can find one in my price range some day.

Rpd.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 37-690
PostPosted: May Sun 29, 2011 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 5326
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
hotrod wrote:
y2k Bruce wrote:
After a few days, I accidentally pulled the volume control shaft out while trying to remove the pressed on knob.


The same thing happened to my 38-116 when I moved.


y2k Bruce wrote:
A closeup of the volume shaft and the set screw that I had to tighten after reinserting the shaft.


Hmm, my 38-116 didn't have a set screw, I wonder if it was removed before I got it? I think it had a clip near the front of the chassis that I lost, but now I wonder.

Rpd.


Bruce's radio someone had replaced the volume control or else LOST the rear clip and pin. Most likely replaced the volume control is why it had the NON-Philco shaft coupler in the radio that the setscrew came loose from. Normal is a pin in the rear end of that long shaft and a hole in the original slotted Philco volume control with a small spring steel U shaped clip. Then at the front of the chassis on the inside is a U shaped clip that slides over a slot in the shaft to keep it in place. All those were missing from Bruce's radio and the front clip must be missing from your 38-116. That front clip is a common part to lots of 37 and 38 year Philco chassis.

John k9uwa

PS: I also have a 37-690 and it is one of the best players in our collection. Probably #3 to the Z1000 Strat and the 30 tube Scott Phillly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Mon 30, 2011 1:24 am 
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Location: Indiana
Great Looking philco must say !

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jun Wed 01, 2011 3:49 am 
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Location: Indiana
just in case you might want to see what a philco volume control like most used back then , I posted a picture in Philco photo album

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 37-690
PostPosted: Jun Fri 03, 2011 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Rockford IL USA
Bruce, I'm pretty sure that 37-690 was a Dave Johnson restoration.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 37-690
PostPosted: Jun Fri 03, 2011 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sun 22, 2009 5:50 am
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Location: California
That is a great looking radio! Philco made some great radios in the 1930's.


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