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 Post subject: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 3:35 am 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1083
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
One of my favorite transistor radios is the Sylvania Thunderbird 7 transistor radio. Although the radio I have is missing the Sylvania logo, the radio works quite well with its original components. Sylvania provided the new owner with an information card that highlighted the components of the 7 transistor radio:

- Tuning Capacitors - Assists in selection of desired station from the multitude of broadcasts in the airwaves.
- IF Transformer - High quality coils which reject unwanted broadcasts and increase the sensitivity of your receiver.
- Transistor - There are seven (7) of these electronic wonders detecting and amplifying signals in your receiver. The same transistors which made the modern electronic computer possible. More compact and rugged than conventional type tubes.
- Thermistor - A temperature sensitive component used to control current in the sound section.
- Circuit Board - Specially processed copper foil, mounted on phenolic plastic to carry power and signal voltage to all components with micrometer precision.
- Electrolytic Capacitor - Used to assure maximum transfer of energy to the loudspeaker, providing studio clear reception.
- Driver Transformer - Transfers sound signal to sound power section of receiver.
- Disc Capacitor - Picks out the wanted broadcast.
- Resistor - Regulates the flow of power.

Sylvania uses Automation. The precision assembly and soldering of components which assures you the finest in electronic equipment. Designed and built for lasting performance.


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 4:21 am 
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Posts: 592
Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
3 Transistors,

In 2008, for purposes of writing a book about the golden age of electronics in the US, I began researching the Sylvania Electronics Company's "Emporium (PA) Tube Division", which was, at one time, the second largest in the world - RCA's Harrison, NJ tube plant being the largest (disputed by Mullard). I live near (what was) the location of the facility, BTW.

I interviewed 19 (average length of retirement, 45 years) retired employees of that facility, who shared some of the really neat tales from WWII, and the 1L6 Pentagrid Converter, along with Sylvania's entry (late) into transistor manufacturing and development. The transistors for your radio were (all but one, I believe) manufactured in a hastily constructed 15,000 Sq-ft building on Emporium campus. Your radio was actually part of what was probably a "practice run" to assist Sylvania with fulfilling large government contracts for transistors capable of delivering high frequency amplification and switching functions. I was told that they had one of the very first "true" clean rooms in the United States, and that one of their earliest "demons" plaguing the manufacture of semiconductors was uric acid crystals, which was discovered after their purchase and utilization of an electron microscope for substrate analysis. This finding forced employees to go through several steps before re-entering the transistor division production floor. Sylvania was the first manufacturer whose transistors were "considered capable of withstanding temperatures necessary for drag-soldering operations. Those tales told the story of what was the beginning of what would become the Sylvania-ECG line of semiconductors.

The Thunderbird was a source of pride for just about everyone who worked for Sylvania, the entire company, that is.

You have a wonderful piece of American history there!! Thanks for sharing!!

Tim

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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 4:32 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5316
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hey Mark,

Thanks for the pics and interesting text from the info card---like the part about the disc cap function ! They're neat looking radios and am curious on how well they perform & sound ?

And thanks to Tim for the neat bit of history he just posted !

John


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 4:42 am 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
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Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Tim - Thanks for sharing the story about the Sylvania Thunderbird transistor radio, which reminds me of when Delco Electronics was developing the Mission Computer for the C-17. I was loaned out to the group that was developing the Mission Computer as I was in the Military Armament Group (LAV-25 Tank Turret, C-130 Gun Suite). During development, the failure rate for the chips being used was over 90% and they were so sensitive that static electricity from a foam cup would damage it. As a result, all foam cups were banned from the facility. But Delco did deliver the Mission Computer to McDonnell Douglas, with a lot of help from Hughes Aircraft, which GM had purchased a couple of years earlier.


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 4:55 am 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1083
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
John - The Sylvania Thunderbird sounds a lot better when you open up the radio. It is also a lot easier to use the controls when the lid is open. The radio has a good tone, better than most of the transistor radios I own. The use of 6 AA batteries, which are mostly hidden when installed, opens up the view of the components.

The transistors used in the Thunderbird use pin connectors (not soldered) and appear to be original to the radio. I have a Sylvania Model 7P12 7 transistor radio, which is also all original, and still works well, even though it has seen a lot of use.


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 29, 2012 6:32 pm
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Mark,

Nice radio! Hopefully you can find or make a replacement logo. I have one of these radios as well and it works pretty good now that electrolytic capacitors have been replaced (I made some effort to hide the replacements, but it's not perfect. If you have a scanner, would you mind scanning that brochure?

Matt


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Sylvania thunderbird small.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1083
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Matt - I enjoyed viewing your YouTube video on the Sylvania Thunderbird transistor radio. I also have a "Battery Installation Instuctions" card for the Thunderbird radio, which I can scan and send to you, along with the information sheet that Sylvania prepared for the Model 3102. Send me a message with your email address and I'll forward you a scan of the documents.

I've been looking for another Sylvania radio with a logo that would fit on the Thunderbird radio. Would you mind posting a close-up of the logo on your Thunderbird radio when you have a chance? Thanks! - Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sat 01, 2014 7:22 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 29, 2014 6:17 pm
Posts: 2445
Doesn't a diode pick out the wanted broadcast rather than a disc capacitor?


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Nov Sun 02, 2014 12:48 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
db gain wrote:
Doesn't a diode pick out the wanted broadcast rather than a disc capacitor?

Good eyes, they blew that one, lol! Actually, the Diode detects the RF signals. "Picking out", or selecting specific frequencies is the job of the tank circuit, composed of the antenna coil and variable tuning cap.

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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 24, 2018 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 24, 2018 6:04 pm
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My wife inherited a Sylvania Thunderbird from her great grandfather. It’s special as it has his name ingraved on the cover. I opened it up yesterday to remove what appeared to be original batteries, old Eveready Energizers for Transistor Radios, No. 1015. But, I failed to note the positive/negative postioning. So I can’t determine the direction of the new batteries. I guess they didn’t have battery diagrams in 1957. I saw that someone had battery installation document. Would it be possible to get a copy?


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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sun 25, 2018 4:42 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 26, 2009 10:02 pm
Posts: 5316
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Hello and welcome to ARF, Dmeharg !

The battery info should be on the inside front of removable cover. Below is a picture of mine which should help...

Excellent performing radios when working properly and very neat looking !

Please let us know how your wife's set turns out...

John


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ARF TBIRD BAT INFO.jpg
ARF TBIRD BAT INFO.jpg [ 100.36 KiB | Viewed 548 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Sylvania Model 3102 Thunderbird Transistor Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sun 25, 2018 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 16, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1083
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Check out Matt's youtube video on the Sylvania Thunderbird transistor radio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvqMUNUUFKQ


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