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 Post subject: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 5:18 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 23, 2021 4:45 am
Posts: 4
Location: Knoxville, TN
Hi,

First time poster, glad to have found this forum! Got a couple of questions for y'all.

My grandma passed away last year and she gave me her Zenith stereo console (model SFD2535M, photo below).

In total, the console runs pretty well – there are a few issues, namely the turntable drive belt sporadically being noisy, as well as some audio interference that comes through the speakers every now and then – seemingly stuff that can be fixed.

However, I've gone back and forth on actually removing everything from it and adding all new stuff. I am at the point where I really want to ball out on a whole turntable setup. If I were to add all of that inside the console, there are a couple of problems I can think of:

1 – The turntable in the console has springs on it that help with vibrations – if I were to change the turntable out, I think I would need something else to soften the vibrations since the turntable is in the same console as the speakers. I don’t really know much about that aspect and wondering if anyone uses a similar setup and how they dealt with it e.g. a specific turntable, or spring attachment, or stuff that dampens vibrations. I could put the speakers outside the console, but would prefer not to.

2 – If I put a stereo receiver in it, it would be difficult to operate because the front of the console isn’t open at all, and pretty much all receivers have the controls on the front. I also don’t want to orient it in ways it wasn’t meant to be in. The controls for the console are to the right of the turntable, and I could conceivably put it there, but it would need to be one that has the controls on the top of the receiver. Does anyone know where I could find receiver like that?

Has anyone one done something this before? Any other suggestions on stuff I haven't thought of? Would appreciate any advice on this!

- Adam

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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 6:12 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Welcome to ARF!

It looks like a Stereo unit as it is...

Changer should be stereo as well

It will need service like a new cartridge, cleaning and lubing the changer. The electronics will likely need new electrolytic filter capacitors and possibly other caps in the circuitry.

Replace or clean the grill cloth to get rid of that shadow. While cloth is off, paint the speaker back board flat black (with speakers removed please) then the openings will not show through the cloth.

IMHO this is a nice compact console, no "mods" required...

There may be an auxiliary input jack on the rear and a switch position on the panel. If so easy matching up for a blue-tooth or input from a cell phone source. Play youtube tunes :) chas

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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 6:16 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
Posts: 1484
What you have is a mid grade Zenith console. The turntable will not damage records and is better than anything that's available today. This stereo will sound very good with its original electronics, deep, rich sound. It should have a tape input for a Bluetooth receiver.

To be blunt, there's no reason to change the electronics out. It's a massive downgrade.

The amp will need to be rebuilt electrically. Do not power this up any more until this is done, it a certain set of parts go out, it can at very least take out irreplaceable parts or at very most start a house fire. Once the amp is rebuilt, it will be completely safe and ready to go another 30 years


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 7:21 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 23, 2021 4:45 am
Posts: 4
Location: Knoxville, TN
OK great, thanks for the responses -- seriously appreciate it!

Some follow-up questions:

Chas wrote:
It will need service like a new cartridge, cleaning and lubing the changer.

I got a new cartridge wire and cartridge from https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/ and have soldered it in. Is the cleaning / lubing difficult? -- I know the guy who runs https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/ said I can send it in so thinking of doing that. Is it good to be replacing any metal parts or the like?

Chas wrote:
Replace or clean the grill cloth to get rid of that shadow.

What's the best way to do that?

Artcurus wrote:
The amp will need to be rebuilt electrically. Do not power this up any more until this is done, it a certain set of parts go out, it can at very least take out irreplaceable parts or at very most start a house fire. Once the amp is rebuilt, it will be completely safe and ready to go another 30 years

That's very good to know, thank you. This is a noob question, but are you referring to the preamp and normal amp? And when you say rebuilt, do you mean just getting a kit like these and putting them all in? -- I had actually emailed that eBay seller about a kit a while ago and he said he had the stuff to replace mine.

A few other questions then:

1 - I do experience some static-y interference every now and then in the speakers. Not all that common, but can show up and not go away for 1-5 minutes. Often, if I change the bass level by turning that knob, it will remove the interference. Any idea what the issue might be there?

2 - The speaker balancer seems to be off. If I turn the balance knob counter-clockwise to increase the left speaker, sound in each speaker will slowly get smaller and smaller. If I turn the balance knob clockwise to increase the right speaker, the sound in the left speaker will get smaller and smaller, and the right one will get louder and louder. I am able to get the speakers to be equally balanced in sound level, but it's clearly not working how it should. Seems like there's an issue with the left speaker, or something else going on that I don't understand. Not really a big deal, but if I were able to fix it, I would. Any thoughts on that?

3 - I have a couple issues w/ the tone arm. First, sometimes when I trigger reject and have a record ready to drop, the record will drop and tone arm will go in like 1-2 songs length in. Not all the time, but sometimes. Second, sometimes after playing through a full side, the tone arm will go back to it's starting point, and then go back to the start of the record or a position 1-2 songs in and dropping instead of going back to the resting position and stopping the turntable from spinning. Any idea what the issue is there?

Once again, really appreciate everyone's help here, y'all are great!

- Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 8:00 am 
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Joined: Dec Sat 28, 2019 4:18 pm
Posts: 672
Location: Corinth, TX
You can order a parts kit or save about half the cost by just ordering the parts yourself.

Turntable problem: there's a good chance that cleaning and lubing everything will restore normal operation.

Balance problem: Sounds like the left channel is dead. If you have one working channel, a stereo amp is relatively easy to fix. You simply compare measurements from the dead channel with the good channel.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Jun Wed 14, 2006 11:49 pm
Posts: 7320
Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
Adam
Welcome to ARF. From the sound of your questions I am thinking your probably better off getting the pro's to do the work on the Tuner/Amp and also on the phono changer. Gary Stork and his people are the pro's to handle the phono. And probably will know who can handle the radio/tuner/amp as well. Consider this. Mess something up and you have a big problem in getting it fixed. You should update your profile with your location. Near the top left of any page on ARF is the link to User Control Panel. Very possibly your in the Livonia area since you said you knew the owner of Sound Of Music. In that general area there are many who can handle the needed electronics work on the radio/tuner/amp.

Good Luck
John Goller, k9uwa

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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Tue 23, 2021 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 14, 2007 11:37 pm
Posts: 1486
Quote:
It looks like a Stereo unit as it is...


I could be wrong but I don't think that receiver is stereo. The amp and turntable are.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 2:13 am 
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metzman wrote:
Quote:
It looks like a Stereo unit as it is...


I could be wrong but I don't think that receiver is stereo. The amp and turntable are.


I think your right on this one. Stereo FM not until sometime in the early 60's. where Stereo Phono's came in 1957. Not sure of the model number of this radio phono combo. If we had the model number. It is probably on the back or inside the rear of the cabinet?
John k9uwa

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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 3:15 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 20, 2007 3:16 am
Posts: 1036
Location: Winter Park, Florida
That looks like a 1959 or 1960 model, tuner is mono.

On the mid and lower priced Zeniths of that time, the auxiliary (tape) input jacks were a dealer installed kit option if desired.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 3:32 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15563
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
If there are stereo auxiliary jacks in the rear, they could be used for a stereo tuner input...

IMHO in reading the questions I would suggest getting the electronics and the turntable professionally refurbished.

For the grille cloth, leave for now until the unit is up to snuff...

Sorry to hear the unit may not have a stereo FM tuner...

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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 6:16 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 23, 2021 4:45 am
Posts: 4
Location: Knoxville, TN
Thank you to everyone for all of the replies!

I attached a bunch of photos of parts inside the console to answer various questions.

KX5JSC wrote:
Balance problem: Sounds like the left channel is dead. If you have one working channel, a stereo amp is relatively easy to fix. You simply compare measurements from the dead channel with the good channel.

And if that is the case, I would need to replace the capacitors for that channel, or something else?

k9uwa wrote:
Adam
Welcome to ARF. From the sound of your questions I am thinking your probably better off getting the pro's to do the work on the Tuner/Amp and also on the phono changer. Gary Stork and his people are the pro's to handle the phono. And probably will know who can handle the radio/tuner/amp as well. Consider this. Mess something up and you have a big problem in getting it fixed. You should update your profile with your location. Near the top left of any page on ARF is the link to User Control Panel. Very possibly your in the Livonia area since you said you knew the owner of Sound Of Music. In that general area there are many who can handle the needed electronics work on the radio/tuner/amp.

Thanks John!

I don't know Gary, but have discussed my issues w/ him over email. I live in Knoxville, TN, and Gary had pointed me to an electronics shop that could work on the tuner/amp (Dixie Audio Video Electronics Service), and his associate David who I could ship the changer to. Doubt there is anyone here from Knoxville and has worked with Dixie before, but if you have, let me know what you think of the service you received.

k9uwa wrote:
I think your right on this one. Stereo FM not until sometime in the early 60's. where Stereo Phono's came in 1957. Not sure of the model number of this radio phono combo. If we had the model number. It is probably on the back or inside the rear of the cabinet?

Not really sure where to find this, check out the attached photos. Once again, the console is a Zenith Stereophonic High Fidelity console, model SFD2535M. I'm generally not concerned about the radio for this as I will only be using the turntable (or possibly the aux jack if it has one).

orthophonic wrote:
That looks like a 1959 or 1960 model, tuner is mono.

On the mid and lower priced Zeniths of that time, the auxiliary (tape) input jacks were a dealer installed kit option if desired.

What would the auxiliary tape input jacks look like? -- check out the attached photos.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 1:46 pm 
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Location: Leo, IN or Zellwood, FL
awpharr wrote:
the console is a Zenith Stereophonic High Fidelity console, model SFD2535M. I'm generally not concerned about the radio for this as I will only be using the turntable (or possibly the aux jack if it has one).


The radio chassis has the entire pre-amp and all the controls for switching to various modes. Below is the pictorial drawing which identifies only the resistors and coils on the bottom side of the radio chassis. You can also see many of the capacitors in this view.So after you go through all the resistors and replace all those that are out of spec plus 100% of the old capacitors. test all the tubes and replace any that are bad. Then the Amp chassis is a bit simpler do the same with the amp chassis. Don't forget all the can type capacitors that are on top of both chassis that also need to be replaced.
Source is https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/zenith_sfd2535m_ch_9d26_ch_3d32.html

So you can't just fix the amp. You would have to also go through all the rest of the radio chassis replacing bad parts. Gary's wouldn't have pointed you to a shop that wasn't competent to do the work. Just be aware that between the radio/amp chassis work and the turntable up to Gary's guy your probably looking at a few hundred dollars.
John k9uwa


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Dec Sat 28, 2019 4:18 pm
Posts: 672
Location: Corinth, TX
KX5JSC wrote:
Balance problem: Sounds like the left channel is dead. If you have one working channel, a stereo amp is relatively easy to fix. You simply compare measurements from the dead channel with the good channel.

And if that is the case, I would need to replace the capacitors for that channel, or something else?

Who knows? Could be caps, could be a resistor, could be a tube, could be voltage, could be switching. But if a cap in one channel is bad, caps in the other channel are also questionable.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Wed 24, 2021 6:05 pm 
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We are looking at a Zenith Mono tuner with the IF transformers that often have SMD and need to be rebuilt. I did my Zenith C845 table radio last year, same circuit, a difficult job. Then it feeds a single-end amplifier (not push-pull) that had 5 watts per channel until one channel died. It would be a waste of a lot of money since this was low-end to begin with.

I would just get a simple working solid-state stereo receiver with a magnetic phono input and the usual aux and tape inputs and put it in, vertical mounting won't hurt it. If you don't listen to radio, just put a good amplifier in, instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions About Updating A Zenith Console
PostPosted: Feb Thu 25, 2021 6:20 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 23, 2021 4:45 am
Posts: 4
Location: Knoxville, TN
k9uwa wrote:
So you can't just fix the amp. You would have to also go through all the rest of the radio chassis replacing bad parts. Gary's wouldn't have pointed you to a shop that wasn't competent to do the work. Just be aware that between the radio/amp chassis work and the turntable up to Gary's guy your probably looking at a few hundred dollars.
John k9uwa

OK makes sense, thank you for that info. I'm not too concerned about the money part.

BikenSwim wrote:
I would just get a simple working solid-state stereo receiver with a magnetic phono input and the usual aux and tape inputs and put it in, vertical mounting won't hurt it. If you don't listen to radio, just put a good amplifier in, instead.

Thank you for the recommendation! What are some good examples of both the solid-state stereo receiver and amplifiers that could be used for this?

So given all of the suggestions y'all have given me, it definitely seems best to take it to a professional. Will likely send to Gary's associate for the changer, and my local shop for the rest. When I go to my local shop, is there anything y'all would recommend me making sure they know about the console, or other things I should be asking for?


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