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 Post subject: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sat 13, 2019 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 14, 2006 4:54 am
Posts: 472
Location: San Joaquin Valley (CA) 93311
I have several old consoles that were completely electronically restored. They sit for months at a time without being played.

I have always wondered if it benefits them to be played every so often. In other words, does sitting around without being played adversely affect them?

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sat 13, 2019 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
In my experience .... (yours might be different) ::

Radios which have been played regularly often work and work reasonably well as rec'd even if they have not been serviced. There's something about being used that seems to keep capacitors in better shape then sitting.

Radios which have been sitting with old components (not serviced) tend to have filter caps that have failed while sitting.

Radios which have been serviced with good modern components .... I have yet to have one that didn't work properly, even several years later. How quickly will modern components fail? ,.. no idea.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sun 14, 2019 12:37 am 
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Joined: Nov Tue 14, 2017 5:09 am
Posts: 1938
Location: Austin, Texas
I find that radios that sit for 6 months or more are likely to develop mechanical problems like slipping in the tuning mechanism. They also develop noisy volume, band switch, and tone controls. I haven't seen any problems with modern caps and resistors.

Jay


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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sun 14, 2019 12:51 am 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
The modern electrolytic cap is a bit more resilient and leaks less, but will still deteriorate if not used. The recommendations which I have seen, suggest use, or reform within two years.

This is one of the issues with "spare boards" in case the other fails.... As it has been left so long, without rotation .... Its chance of failure is greatly enhanced.

Marc


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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sun 14, 2019 1:22 am 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
To deal with my worry of electrolytics going bad from sitting, I have switched to 630 volt film caps instead. This is just for my transformer sets that can smoke in an instant if one were to short. I especially do this for customers that I know might play the radio once a year. Good insurance.

In AC/DC sets I use electrolytics without any worries. Besides, if they made film caps to match values in these sets, they’d never fit in the radios!

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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Sun 14, 2019 11:33 pm 
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Location: Ohio 45177
That makes me ponder. I guess you could DIY a combo line noise filter and fuse holder into a small enclosure to use with those sort of radios. Of course you would have to install a fuse of sufficient but not excessive value for each radio, based on the power rating, if given, or a good estimate, in the case of experienced users. I would hope that if a cap blew that had not been used for awhile, a proper fuse could pop before any sort of serious damage takes place, such as fry the transformer. My Heath isolation transformer has a fuse but it is somewhat limited in power handling itself. OK to test table radios but high power consoles would tax it heavily, at the least. My big isolation trans are not fused.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Mon 15, 2019 4:58 am 
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Bring them up slowly on the variac if you wish, no harm in using some caution.
Something like an 80 or 90 volt AC power supply would suffice for a substitute for a variac. Let the radio warm up for a while at the low voltage, then if you have to turn off, wait a few minutes before applying full power.

I have blown a rectifier tube by switching off and on quickly, so now I always wait a bit, letting tubes cool before powering up again. I think what happens is the tube filaments are hot, but the caps have discharged, so there is a excessive surge, Poof. :x

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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Mon 15, 2019 8:54 pm 
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Joined: Jun Fri 19, 2009 6:34 pm
Posts: 8857
Location: Long Island
Radios were made to be used, not stored. Everything benefits from regular use (but not over-use). Electrolytics stay formed, tubes maintain their vacuums better since the getters are heated enough to work, humidity is driven out of transformer windings, carbon resistors, and paper capacitors (if you are still using any). Leakage paths across other components are also dried out.

Of course you aren't going to play your antique radios every day--most of us don't--but a little "on" time every couple of months or so does a lot of good, particularly during humid seasons.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing radios occasionally....
PostPosted: Jul Tue 16, 2019 4:05 am 
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Joined: May Sun 13, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 12638
Location: Central PA 16801
I have about 60 in my new room, all on shelves.

they get rotated out one at a time, out in the living room, and I sit it beside the lamp on a very large waist high and long cabinet.

I turn it on for a few hours a day for a few days whilst someone is in the house.

when I think of it, I rotate another into the queue.

steve

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