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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 4:43 am 
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jrehkopf - Thanks for the additional note on dial. You mention 'friction fit' and interestingly, mine were just that. Even after all the years, Once the tuning capacitor hit the stop, the knob / dial would still rotate - though admittedly with extra force required. One of the caps was crudded up enough that it was intermittently sticking / turning with the dial... end result, all three dials should read 0 - 100 across the range of the cap, but they were all three at different locations in their range...and the one was slipping/turning so any given tune would never correspond to the same number on the dial! Will work to get all that fixed up!

Chas - Thanks once again for all the details on the faceplate and other bits. I think for now, I'm just going to give the rubber a sand and see how it goes. Like you say, it will gunge up again in the future, but I guess that is part of the nostalgia!

Anyway, bunch of little details today...

Capacitors!!!

So I started by melting the tar out of the bathtub caps with a heat gun to free up the terminal strip and remove the original capacitor.

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After some minor clean up on the terminals, I soldered in some replacement 0.47uF caps.

Everything fit very nicely - the modern caps are smaller... and probably 3-4x the voltage rating of the originals - not that it will be needed, but these are the caps I had on hand.

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Since only having a small volume of the original tar, I needed to make up the difference... in went the modern 'tar'... hot glue!

Once I had the tubs nearly full, I went ahead and topped off with remnants of the original tar to keep things looking original... even though these will be bolted 'tar side down' on the board. I had thought about just refilling with epoxy potting compound, which would keep everything much more stable. But if they need to be rebuilt in another hundred years, the hot glue and tar can still be melted out. The epoxy is a one-shot deal and not much outside a hammer and chisel will remove it... which would likely destroy the original 'bathtub'.

When all was done, I've got two functioning 'half mike' (or very nearly so) caps again!

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I also went back for a second opinion on the two mica caps while I had the tester out... The "002 MF" cap did show "1833 pF", or "0018 MF" so I think we'll call that good!

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The "00025 MF" cap still shows as bad and I get no conductivity between the terminals at all. This is the standard response for an open circuit.

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So I dug through the drawer and found a couple of 150pF caps which fit nicely on the back side. Paralleled, they give me "000315 MF", or 315pF, so again - ballpark good. If it makes a huge difference to be 250pF on the nose, I can always change this one out pretty easily.

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Also gathered up all my cleaned parts and reassembled the main power switch.

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It works again!

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I also took some time to look at the coils. It was sort of funny... I had one coil which had an 'air wire' over to the tuning capacitor and I thought 'wow' one solder joint I don't have to touch!"

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Then I could hear the ringing words of a wise man saying 'retouch every solder joint', but I thought na, this one will be fine. Then I saw it!...

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So, yes, I'll retouch EVERY solder joint!



Also looks like the coil has sustained some damage over the years. Luckily no broken wires, though a few might be questionably shorted.

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But overall didn't take too much to gently nudge them back into position with tweezers and I'll likely give them a couple coats of clear lacquer to help hold and stabilize the coils. I get a pretty consistent 0.23mH across all secondary coils, so I think even this buggered up one will ultimately be fine. I get 0.03mH on two primary coils and 0.01mH on the third. I don't see any physical damage on that low coil. But will have to take a look with fresh eyes in the morning!


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 5:21 am 
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Doin' fine... 315pf is O.K. I am surprised the cap is open... Get those Phillips screws outa there :shock: Use all brass slotted from the hardware store...

The coils may have had a dunk in white shellac... But what is important if need be, to determine what the liner is of the primary over the secondary. If it is a celluloid sheet, there may be corrosion present. Check the coils for leakage between the primary and the secondary. The high B+ will get through and ruin the bias on the next stage if thee is corrosion leakage. GL Chas

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 3:26 pm 
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Quote:
Get those Phillips screws outa there :shock: Use all brass slotted from the hardware store...


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:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 3:54 pm 
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:D I'm not, really a purists, I take my restoration shortcuts too.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 10:35 pm 
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Some comments on hard rubber panels in this article:
http://kd4hsh.homestead.com/Zenith-3R-00.html
http://kd4hsh.homestead.com/Hints-n-Kinks.html
Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 11:16 pm 
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Hello KCs_in_KS,
It's coming right along very nicely .

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Mon 12, 2020 3:51 am 
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lol - Well, truth be told, I searched for ~45 minutes through all my bins because I wanted brass screws in there too... apparently I'm a little low on brass 6-32's at the moment, but found those phillips screws. Figuring it's on the bottom side of the cap anyway ... and being used to attach the 'modern' caps, I figured modern screws would work!

Robert - thanks for that link. Inspirational... there was a lot more wrong with that radio than I am facing!

On the coils - it looks like the primary is well insulated from the secondary with a strip of fabric soaked in tar. Probably shown best in the pic below. Obviously the tar and fabric have deteriorated somewhat, but the physical distance between the two coils is also pretty decent, so I think they should be fine for the expected voltages. Either way, they're getting soaked in lacquer to help stabilize the coils, so that should help with insulation, too.

Also - in looking at the low resistance / low inductance coil, I suddenly realized it has only 12 turns of primary wire compared to 18 on the other two. So I don't think the wires are shorted... just fewer turns / lower resistance / lower inductance. This is also the first coil in the series, the one physically hooked to the antenna.

Image



So on to today's work:

Sanding and surface finishing...

Got the breadboard where you might actually want to eat bread off it, again. Man, that is some hard, dry wood!! Tough sanding and I got a couple of good static jolts off the sander...super dry wood dust getting sucked through the plastic vacuum hose built up a pretty good charge!

I went just far enough to get all the discoloration out, but didn't worry about every little imperfection. Had some stain on hand that was pretty close to what the underside looks like and what was left in a few ghost patches under the components topside. Probably need to give the lacquer a week or so to harden. We're loosing those hot days of summer to really drive off the solvent!

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Got the rheostats(!) back together. All the old, hard grease is completely gone... nice, smooth movements now. Curiously, one wiper would momentarily catch on one coil on one stat. No indication of any damage, just seemed like that might have been 'the way it's' always been'...but a little tweaking restored it to smooth operation.

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I went ahead and dove into the front panel. Decided to give a light sanding a go, so I started with 1500 grit wet sanding and that just made a lot of dirty water and ... holy crap!! Who lit all the matches?!?!?! Wow that is a lot of sulfur!

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So after getting some ventilation going, I backed up to 400 and sanded some more... more sulfur, but no real progress on getting the panel to look much better... so I backed up to 220 grit. Finally started making some progress removing the 'green' and getting back to black.

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So I kept working with the 220 until it looked pretty good, then went back up to 400 grit again. At that point, it sort of reminded me of a clean black chalkboard when dry... no visible scratches, just a matte finish. Given the makeup of this material, I don't know that it will ever take and keep a nice polish. But I'll see what I can do at this stage to preserve the nice matte look. I think it needs to have a little contrast with the black dials.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Mon 12, 2020 4:44 am 
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I am surprised (not) that there is an asphalt tape. I think it is "friction tape" a asphalt electrical tape used by electricians before the "3M Black Plastic Tape" was available. Friction tape is still available...

The process pressing thermo setting plastic under heat and pressure migrates the filler material away from the large surfaces. That and polished plated molds transfer the shine to the product. Once that surface has been worn away the filler (barytes) cannot be buffed to a shine. I have never buffed and sealed a hard rubber panel. I did sand one but left it mat finish only to have it turn green again.

I worked for Acushnet Golf Titleist in R & D, to get balata rubber to take paint takes washing with chlorine and through drying. Previous washes to the rubber were a wash with bicarbonate of soda, and before that, extraction with hydrochloric acid and acetone, the cure was compound or "R2" in a bath at 110F... This panel is a thermal cure but the sulfur has not completely reacted. Ammonia neutralizer was exchanged for 5% hydrogen Peroxide to further whiten the rubber.

I would carefully consider the material and decide if an acrylic polymer, like Mop and Glo floor wax and applied like a French polish may work or the product "Rain-X" These coating "breath" and may help prevent or delay the "greening" French polish with shellac may also be applicable. I think I stated earlier, the panel was somehow fastened to the bench, a straight edge that could with stand the action of the sanding block. The straight edge is increment carefully across the panel using medium grit open coat paper is used to make a fine textured finish. This is then sealed with boiled linseed oil. The advantage of such a process is that the surface can be renewed or touched up without a buildup of material. This type of panel treatment can be seen on some early Grebe and Paragon where a gloss is detraction from the overall look... Over all it was up to the builder. Hard rubber panel also came pre-textured, one such was the Florentine embossed panel.

Be interesting to develop a chemical method to extract the sulfur as was done to remove the beige "tan" from ABS plastic that was exposed to UV...

I might mention, a had rubber panel is fragile, often radios will have a broken corner or other chip out...

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Mon 12, 2020 1:36 pm 
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My experience with old hard rubber panels is to NEVER use water base cleaners.... Only mineral spirits and Go-jo or Goop type hand cleaners. Buff with 220, 400 grit paper and finish with steel wool. If it is black hard rubber, I've discovered a Turtle Wax product called Black Magic....

https://www.turtlewax.com/our-products/ ... gic-black/

It is a colored wax.... It does NOT make a dramatic color change, but it helps to darken micro-scratches and give a darker sheen.

Just this year I have even applied Mohawk Ultra-Penetrating Black stain to a hard rubber panel. It will make the panel black alright BUT there is a critical reflection angle where you see a very obvious magenta hue. The 'cure' is to go over it with the Black Magic wax coat. And ta-dah! Success...

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Tue 13, 2020 4:29 am 
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Thanks for all the tips! Still sort of playing around with different finishes to see what sort of 'sticks'.

Not much to report today between a full day back at work and a full evening setting up Halloween.

Had only a bit of time to try and line something out for a replacement grid leak resistor. Mine seems to alternate between ~38 meg and open depending on just how the glass ends are pressed.

So I had these brass standoffs and I thought 'well, they sorta look like resistor ends..."

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and after a little turning on the lathe

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Still have a ways to go. The ends are just a little bigger diameter because my glass is a little bigger, though I can probably shave them down a bit once they get mounted... I'm a little doubtful I can chuck them up and bore for the glass if the wall thickness gets much below 0.030"! Hopefully have a chance to cut some glass soon!


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Tue 13, 2020 5:16 am 
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Apply heat to the metal ends of the grid leak, I place the leak in between the the nuts of a Weller soldering gun. That shunts the current through the metal end, breaking the sodium silicate bond to the glass and expanding the metal end. Carefully and quickly removed with a cotton gloved hand the using two pliers that have heat shrink on the jaws twist off the hot end. Repeat on the other end, sometimes the glass breaks ... With a little bit of hand reaming using a twist drill the solder can be removed. so a length of borosilcate glass lab tubing can be inserted. Drill tiny hones in the cone end of the cap large enough to accept the leads of a 1/10 watt 3 meg resistor. The resistor colors can be blanked with a black sharpie if desired, or remain so it can be read without a label... The leads of the resistor are soldered in place and will hold the assembly together without an adhesive. A tiny dab of super glue can be used. The higher the leak value the greater the sensitivity but the lower the volume. Loss of volume is made up with the AF filament control. The limit is when the leak allows the grid voltage to go so negative it cuts of the detector then the plate voltage rises, only to be cut off again, rapidly sometimes causing a "putt putt" sound, motor-boating. To complete the "sensitizing" of the detector the plate voltage and the filament intensity are varied. Generally, the plate voltage is lowered as the grid leak resistance is increased. A radio fan would select a '01a that is known to be gassy for the detector or replace with a 00a gas detector to exploit the non-linear qualities of the grid leak detector.

There should be a pair of "S" shaped forked and perforated clips that are screwed to the body of the .00025mf condenser. That is where the grid leak is mounted. If not they will be a separate Bakelite mount with similar clips and wired in parallel to the grid condenser elsewhere. The photo provided did not have resolution enough to show the leak detail... The grid leak resistor is almost always in a readily accessible location. for quick substitution. So important was the leak that many builder radio fans used a variable leak like a Freshman or a Bradley-Stat (a compression carbon pile), mounted on the front panel...

The grid voltage developed on an operating detector cannot be measured with a service instrument when in operation, the current will be consumed by the meter. The detector tube may be influenced by fluorescent lighting (120hz) flicker, causing a buzz in the programming. Cover the detector or change the type of light source. GL chas

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Thu 15, 2020 4:55 am 
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I suspected there might be a tip for the original grid leak. Thanks! But thought, since I have parts, why not make some reproductions and save a bit of history - even though it doesn't really work. Interestingly the grid leak was sort of mounted under one of the tuning caps, (see original photos) I may see if it would mount to the opposite side which would give much better access if anyone ever wanted to swap resistors.

Any - another day, another load of parts delivered in the mail and rounded up off the shelves!

I picked up some of the P-T156 coils. (thanks for the good service / quick shipping, tubesandmore.com) What is the pro tip for these? Seems like red / blue is the primary and green / black / green is a center tapped secondary? For values, I get:

red to blue: 414 ohms, 95 mH
green to black: 809 ohms, 227 mH, other green to black 711 ohms, 182 mH
green to green: 1522 ohms, 705 mH

So it seems, looking at ohms (not sure inductance is really valid for a coil with an air core at the moment), red/blue primary and green/green secondary would give a ratio of ~3.5:1 which is in the ballpark of values I heard of.


On to the pics - Stack of things coming together for some of the more 'tedious' work. Packages coming in from the mail order, had to raid the shelves for some epoxy and parts rolling of the 3D printer.

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Some small joy for the purists...

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Also finished up the coils. Hopefully this will keep the wires stable and not shorting for some time to come.
Image


More as time allows!


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sat 17, 2020 5:32 am 
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Hello KCs_in_KS,
Amazing job!!!!
Sincerely Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sat 17, 2020 6:35 pm 
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Good job... :)

I am watching in hopes to learn more when the radio is finished and operating...

Brass is just about the only answer, nickled brass as finished hardware is not around any more unless one has the hardware plated.

How did the hard rubber panel come out? Chas

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 18, 2020 4:26 am 
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Great job!

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sun 18, 2020 8:37 pm 
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You're doing great! Do you have a power supply for it yet?

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Mon 19, 2020 9:46 pm 
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Thanks everyone for all the encouragement!

The front panel is still a work in progress. I'm finding it can exist in a couple of states...sort of a natural chalkboard black/gray-ish finish. Which I think looks nice and gives some contrast to the black dials, but leaves the panel pretty much unprotected - and any touch or fingerprint leaves a mark which doesn't really disappear. Or I can put various coatings / protectants on it, but they tend to give a darker/shiny appearance which then just makes everything a mass of black with the panel, dials covers and knobs all black.

If I had my way I'd probably replace it with another mahogany panel or throw it on the mill and give it an engine turned finish. But I have to keep slapping my wrist and saying 'that is not the way it was'. So ultimately, I will likely just rub it down with something to protect and polish, and let it go at that. Sounds like it will 'sulfur up' over the coming years and turn brown/green again, anyway.


Anyway, made a bit more progress over the past few days.

My 3D prints finished up and everything seemed to fit, so I started my 'transformer reproduction' plan. First steps were to trim down the extra flanges and wire up the P-T156 coils. Then get them in their new 3D printed cans and sealed with a bit of glue.

Image


Once that set, an injection of epoxy potting compound to fill up all the voids and hold everything secure for the ages.

Image

With fill and vent ports at the top, I was having trouble getting the epoxy to 'settle' into all the little voids and spaces inside the 'can'. I suppose it might have done so over the course of an hour or so (this stuff is super-slow curing...24 hours or so... so it has a fairly long open/work time) But I was impatient, so took them for a ride in the washing machine spin cycle... ur... uh... centrifuge! Seemed to do the trick nicely and after each ride, I was able to inject a bunch more epoxy until it really seemed to 'top off' and the whole assembly felt solid.

So, while this obviously isn't a 'period correct' technique, we should end up with a functional transformer core with the shape/size of the original hegehog.


Image


I had actually planned to experiment with winding my own cores, but then disaster struck as the old plastic core of my #40 magnet wire cracked and fell apart - virtually under its own weight. That's the quick way to turn 10 pounds of magnet wire into scrap metal!

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Anyway, have the new coils done and working towards the core. I weighed 20 wires from the original hegehog to get an average, then weighed the entire stack... calculated 546 wires in the original. Given the new coils have a 1/2" x 1/2" core opening, I calculate a 'theoretically perfect' stacking of wires would be 472 wires. Ballpark close enough, I suspect. So guess I better get to cutting!

Image

On the other fronts, power supply wise going to see about staying with batteries. Been working on a box for the C battery, just need to get some A's and B's now.

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On the assembly side, I had originally considered getting everything ready, then setting down for a 'build day' to put the radio back together. But with all the parts and pieces laying about, I think the sooner I start putting things back together, the less chance of loss or breakage! So with that, we'll take one last look at the bare/refinished breadboard and give it one final cleaning/waxing. Good luck for the next 100!!

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Couple of terminal strips to start the show. Interesting trying to polish those. First, I wanted to be fairly light so I could keep the original scracthes for identification...what little there was. But also, it seems most modern polish/cleaners have to have some sort of fruity, gumball or sweet smell. So, go to town polishing this material, and soon it smells like a combo of lit matches and candy.


Image



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Couple of rebuilt capacitors. Going to have to be extra careful with all these slotted screws to make sure the blade doesn't slip out and gouge anything critical!! Of course my OCD side wants to line up all the screw slots, but my practical side is saying it's probably better to just get them 'firm' and not crank down up to an extra half turn against the century old parts.

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Tube sockets - more brass! Suppose I should mention here that the original screws were steel, but were so badly rusted/corroded (some even broke off in the wood!) that they just weren't worth saving.


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One coil mounted - specifically sorted out the one with the 12T primary, so I don't get it confused with the other two 18T coils!

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Well, that is all the fun and updates so far! I might be a bit less frequent in the big run-up to Halloween, but will add more as I can.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Mon 19, 2020 11:02 pm 
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Try boiled linseed oil on the panel, it will take some two weeks to polymerize, no gumball smell. Just that good oil paint smell, and it is a repairable finish... chas

Oh, sorry about that reel of #40, few bucks for a spool that size...

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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Fri 23, 2020 11:17 pm 
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On and on! ... Here are a few more updates


Picking up where we left off... The the other two coils are installed on the breadboard and capacitors are seated back in their homes.

Image



That wraps up the majority of the componentry, except for the two blank slots for audio transformers. More on those in a later show!

Image



Couple of new grid leak resistors are nearing done. I assembled a 1M and 3M. Thought it might be interesting to change between the two to hear any change in audio. I understand there is also supposed to be some pan or tray to help catch/contain the leaks?!? :wink:


The glass tubing I had on hand was .275 diameter, so that sent me to the tool drawer looking for a J bit...should give a couple thou bigger hole - enough room for a bit of epoxy, and obviously, the glass isn't going to squeeze into anything smaller!

Image


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Drilling a second/smaller hole, 40 thou, for the resistor leads.

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Took a bit of time to flame polish the ends of the glass, then it dawned on me - the epoxy would probably work better with a bit of 'tooth' on the glass to grab hold of... so I went back to the sander and roughed them up!

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Epoxied and set into an angle channel for alignment and to let everything cure... yes, the eagle eyes can tell I cheated on using a pure carbon strip.

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So far, this is my best lead for art work for the resistor:

Image



Working to restore the battery wrapper. I scanned a good quality image of the original. (with good quality, meaning 'good quality to work with', not necessarily good visual quality!)

Image


Then set to work repairing all the damage and getting uniform color fields. These aren't necessarily the final colors, but because they are 'solid' or 'uniform' colors and split into different layers in the image, it's pretty trivial to change colors to something more 'authentic'. Plus, since I'm not really set up for 'graphic arts' there is a pretty big difference between what shows up on the screen and what comes off the printer. It's just sort of a hit/miss or tune/tweak affair to get something reasonable on paper.


Image




Well, back to the shop for now!


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 Post subject: Re: Rebuilding the 1920's Homebrew Set
PostPosted: Oct Sat 24, 2020 7:27 am 
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Hello KCs_in_KS,
you sure have made some great progress it looks great so far.

Sincerely Rich


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