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 Post subject: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 04, 2020 12:36 am 
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Joined: Oct Thu 26, 2017 5:04 am
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I recently got a GE Superadio II and it sounds pretty good, though the FM seems a little distorted and the dial pointer is off by a couple of MHz. I finally have all the stuff to do a sweep alignment so I thought I’d try doing one on this radio.

Before I try to align the FM, I’m wondering if I should replace any of the electrolytic capacitors. I believe the radio was manufactured in 1990, so the capacitors are at least 30 years old.

At a minimum, I’m planning to replace the AC power supply filter capacitor, since I figure it gets stressed more heavily than the other electrolytics in the set. I haven’t done much AM listening yet, but if AM is similarly distorted, I might replace some of the audio stage electrolytics, possibly the bigger ones in series with the IC audio amp outputs first.

Anyone have any experience with recapping these sets? Did you replace all the electrolytics or only a few? Or none? :)


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 04, 2020 12:51 am 
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Electronizer wrote:
I recently got a GE Superadio II and it sounds pretty good, though the FM seems a little distorted and the dial pointer is off by a couple of MHz. I finally have all the stuff to do a sweep alignment so I thought I’d try doing one on this radio.

Before I try to align the FM, I’m wondering if I should replace any of the electrolytic capacitors. I believe the radio was manufactured in 1990, so the capacitors are at least 30 years old.

At a minimum, I’m planning to replace the AC power supply filter capacitor, since I figure it gets stressed more heavily than the other electrolytics in the set. I haven’t done much AM listening yet, but if AM is similarly distorted, I might replace some of the audio stage electrolytics, possibly the bigger ones in series with the IC audio amp outputs first.

Anyone have any experience with recapping these sets? Did you replace all the electrolytics or only a few? Or none? :)


I picked up one of these radios a few years ago. The AM reception was only so-so, and it needed the RF amp transistor replaced. That fixed the AM issue, but since that required extensive disassembly I did a full electrolytic recap at the same time.

The radio is an excellent performer on AM and FM. I did not touch the alignment. You may want to rule out other problems before tweaking anything.

Most of these solid state portable radios are not built for easy disassembly. I damaged a tone pot just trying to remove the knob. There are plenty of other fragile bits once you get inside. Proceed with caution. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 04, 2020 1:01 am 
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processhead wrote:
Most of these solid state portable radios are not built for easy disassembly. I damaged a tone pot just trying to remove the knob. There are plenty of other fragile bits once you get inside. Proceed with caution. :wink:

You can say that again, Paul! I had a time simply replacing the power switch on one of my two.

Electronizer, I would suggest comparing it's reception against another good performer on each band. If it seems at least on par, if not more sensitive, I'd leave it alone.

Neither of mine have been recapped, and they'll stand up next to any but my Sony ICF-2010.

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 04, 2020 2:20 am 
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Try:

http://www.davidmoisan.org/radio/supera ... r_faq.html

FWIR the output coupling electrolytic can leak and cause distortion.

Chas

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 04, 2020 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 26, 2017 5:04 am
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Thanks for the comments everyone!

Fifties, good suggestion about comparing to a different radio. I put my Grundig Executive Satellit next to it and noticed that the Satellit was also a little distorted on the FM station I had picked. I played around with the Superadio some more on AM as well and the dial pointer was more accurate, with many stations coming through crystal clear. So, I think I may take your advice and leave it alone.

There is a spiderweb behind the dial glass, though, so we’ll see how long before it bothers me enough to want to clean it out...


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 05, 2020 7:46 pm 
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Chas, thanks for the FAQ link! There’s a lot of great information there. I liked this part:

Quote:
The dial calibration on my Superadio is off!

This is a common problem with slide-rule radios such as the SR. Many of us who are used to digital displays are thrown by this.


Also I saw a “fix” for dial calibration that involved scribing lines on the dial every 50KHz and using the left edge of the plastic dial pointer to tune instead of the center line. I noticed that the right edge of my dial pointer is much more accurate than the center line, so now I use that edge to tune FM. It’s much easier to quickly change stations now! :D


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 05, 2020 8:42 pm 
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Electronizer wrote:
Chas, thanks for the FAQ link! There’s a lot of great information there. I liked this part:
Quote:
The dial calibration on my Superadio is off! This is a common problem with slide-rule radios such as the SR. Many of us who are used to digital displays are thrown by this.
Also I saw a “fix” for dial calibration that involved scribing lines on the dial every 50KHz and using the left edge of the plastic dial pointer to tune instead of the center line. I noticed that the right edge of my dial pointer is much more accurate than the center line, so now I use that edge to tune FM. It’s much easier to quickly change stations now! :D
Ugh,
I discovered the dial errors when I used the SR-1 (AM) in one of the monthly Radio Boards receiving "contest". I also found I could not hard wire the rear antenna/ground connection to a loop either series of parallel and get reasonable tuning (peak) from the loop condenser. The contest was an adventure in discovery for the SR-1. What I plan to do is inspect the antenna input circuit and see if it is correct (broken), then using a generator and a counter use the LOG scale and set up a tuning chart.

I would not modify the external cosmetics of the radio, possibly, consider modification to the external antenna input, maybe.

The radio has been my constant companion since, hmm, '85? I bought new as a factory refurb, I have the shipping carton :roll:

The links I posted may contain some info on the Amp. I understand it is not class "A" and when set for bass response there is a low level growling to the program material at low volume levels, IE distortion. I, initially, blamed the speaker, rubbing voice coil, dunno.

I have also used the same SR-1 to snoop for RFI does the job admirably, trick is to tune in between the stations so the AGC kicks the gain up...

Since I am a "mostly" 20's era collector, working with "0 - 100" is second nature :)

Chas

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 26, 2017 5:04 am
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I hadn’t played around with my SR II much on AM so I decided to give it a try. I’ve been disappointed with the AM offerings where I live so I usually just go with FM. However, at night with the SR II I was easily and consistently able to pull in stations that were over 300 miles away. It was fun listening for the call sign or other clues to the location of the broadcast, and then looking up the transmitter coordinates to calculate the distance. Now I see why people enjoy DXing so much!


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 10:10 pm 
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Electronizer wrote:
I hadn’t played around with my SR II much on AM so I decided to give it a try. I’ve been disappointed with the AM offerings where I live so I usually just go with FM. However, at night with the SR II I was easily and consistently able to pull in stations that were over 300 miles away. It was fun listening for the call sign or other clues to the location of the broadcast, and then looking up the transmitter coordinates to calculate the distance. Now I see why people enjoy DXing so much!

Look online for a list of the 50KW blowtorches across the country, and try tuning in those frequencies after sundown. You will be pleasantly surprised to receive stations well over 1,000-1,500 miles away, often consistently night after night.

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 2:22 pm 
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I have an SR1, SR2, and a good SR3. They all work as well as they did originally.

I wouldn't replace caps unless you know there is an actual issue, but that's just me.

As for the power supply cap, that replacement could also be postponed / avoided by using batteries, bypassing the need for that cap to be stressed....

Superadios are generally terrific on a set of D cells, especially heavy duties or alkalines. They can operate for weeks, or even months, on a set.

All this said, if you do plan on digging into the SR2, proceed with caution, as the others have mentioned. The power switch is vulnerable to breakage during disassembly, and the dial cord is vulnerable to breakage if you happen to touch it by accident with a soldering iron. Just an FYI.

Good luck with your SR2 and have fun. Mine fell off a refrigerator and still worked -- and still works. Overall, SR's are built like tanks.
:-)


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 8:17 pm 
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Thanks for the advice! Yes, I think I’m going to leave it alone for now since it works well and sounds great. I tried plugging it in once, but have been using batteries the rest of the time. There’s one other reason for not touching it—I have way too many other projects that need attention :)

Last night I tried targeting some 50kW stations about 700 miles away but wasn’t able to confirm any hits. I found one promising signal but after listening for quite some time I still hadn’t heard a station identification. Still, it’s fun and I’m amazed at what this radio can do on AM with the built-in antenna. I’ll keep searching for distant wins!


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 8:18 pm 
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What state are you located in?

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 11, 2020 8:36 pm 
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I’m in CA on the coast. I was aiming for some stations out of Seattle. Any suggestions of what I should try to pull in?


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 12, 2020 1:46 am 
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OK, same as me. Believe it or not, one of our NorCal members actually reported receiving a station from Honolulu!

I'm surprised you don't get KOMO/1000/Seattle, or KEX/1190/Portland, as I've found that stations both north and south seem to radiate their signals up and down the coast. Regardless, here's a list of stations worth searching for;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_5 ... ted_States You can click on frequency to sort them, starting at 540.
I've received as far east as Louisville, Kentucky, WHAS/840. It's a real treat to get a "W" callsign!

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Wed 12, 2020 2:09 am 
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Quote:
I tried plugging it in once, but have been using batteries the rest of the time. There’s one other reason for not touching it
I have used batteries consistently with the SR and SR-II. A lot less noise via the line. Fortunately, the battery compartment can tolerate some battery leakage, it does not seem to find the circuit board...

Due for a change signals are beginning to fade, time for some new Sunbeams, their getting lumpy :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Tue 18, 2020 4:52 am 
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Electronizer wrote:
I’m in CA on the coast. I was aiming for some stations out of Seattle. Any suggestions of what I should try to pull in?


KIRO 710 ESPN is a Seattle station that gets out well (probable interference from a 710 in LA, though), also KOMO 1000 is 50 kw and has a good signal towards the south. KJR 950 (sports talk) is a 50kw station that might be receivable in California. KTTH 770 is 5kw at night, but has a couple southern lobes to their signal. KVI 570 (conservative talk) is 5kw but has a good pattern and is non-directional at night. There may be other stations on these frequencies, but often if you listen behind one station you can ID another one...

Good luck and have fun DXing with the SR2.


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 22, 2020 6:33 pm 
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Thanks for the station suggestions! Last night I got KIRO and KOMO within a few minutes of turning on the radio. They sounded like local stations! KOMO was great because they kept saying the station name again and again, no doubt there :D

Fifties, I wasn’t able to confirm any of the other stations you suggested, though I did pull in KFIG 940 from Fresno (only 150 miles) while I was searching for KJR 950. The selectivity is great too—there is a strong local station at 1010 but it was no problem pulling in KOMO 1000.

Amazing what this radio can do with the built-in antenna!

Seems like there are a lot of sports stations broadcasting at maximum power...


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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 22, 2020 7:04 pm 
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I don’t own any GE Superadios but I intend to look for one during garage sale season.

I have several other 1970-1990 vintage transistor radios. I use 2 of them daily. Most of them are still working fine with their factory-original capacitors. One good thing about transistor radios is that everything inside operates at room temperature. It is mainly excessive operating temperature that kills off electrolytic capacitors. But this isn’t a problem for transistor radios.

I agree that if the radio needs to be totally disassembled for other repairs then it makes sense to recap at the same time.

I’m procrastinating restoration of a lunchbox-size National/Panasonic AM-FM-SW multiband transistor radio because it contains 5 different little PC boards hardwired to each other with >50 interconnecting wires. This radio worked great for me in 1995 but today it is weak in volume and thin sounding, most likely because of dried-out electrolytic capacitors.

-EB



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 Post subject: Re: GE Superadio II recapping needed?
PostPosted: Feb Sat 22, 2020 10:26 pm 
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Electronizer wrote:
Thanks for the station suggestions! Last night I got KIRO and KOMO within a few minutes of turning on the radio. They sounded like local stations! KOMO was great because they kept saying the station name again and again, no doubt there :D

Fifties, I wasn’t able to confirm any of the other stations you suggested, though I did pull in KFIG 940 from Fresno (only 150 miles) while I was searching for KJR 950.

You then should be able to get Fresno's powerhouse, KMJ/580. Also look for KYNO/1430. I can get both; KMJ comes in like a semi-local, KYNO fades in and out, but they play continuous '60's oldies.

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