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 Post subject: Zenith Cobramatic H664J
PostPosted: May Thu 28, 2009 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 02, 2008 9:50 pm
Posts: 8
Location: little rock, ar
This is my first time to post since I sold two antique radios here last year. This lady at work asked me if I wanted her parents old radio and of course I said YES!!!!! It isn't what I expected at all. Giant bakelite WOW.

Image

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The radio works on a couple am channels. The TT spins but I would say plays but more like skips growls rumbles and bops along skipping like a little girl. This is way more than I expected it to do. I did bring it up on a variac.

I am ok with an iron. I really would like to be able to play decent mono 78's on this puppy or is the cobramatic to brutal on the records. Are there any restoration guides for these or should I just keep it as a display.

Any advice much appreciated.
Thanks


Last edited by iain on May Sat 30, 2009 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Fri 29, 2009 4:18 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 527
Location: Waynesboro and Richmond, VA , USA
Actually the Cobra-matics are pretty gentle on records compared to others of that era. You have to make sure you have the proper needle/cartridge for the type records you'll be playing on it. The needle and cartridge is an all in one plug in type assembly. When you replace the needle, you are replacing the cartridge too. They come in three color combinations depending on what records you'll be playing on it.

A red cartridge is for 78's only and has a 3 mil. tip. This would be the one you would need to play your electronically recorded 78 rpm records on.

The red/green cartridge is supposed to be a universal replacement that supposed to handle 78's, 45's and 33rpm mono records. It is a 2 mil. tip. I dont recommend using this one as its not good for any of them as far as record wear, skipping and they sound horrible because the stylus doesnt truly fit the grooves properly reguardless of speed. The only speed you can really use this one on is 78's only but it will produce alot of surface noise.

The green cartridge is for 33 and 45rpm mono records only and has a 1 mil. tip.

There are some aftermarket replacements with a .7 mil tip so you can safely play stereo records on this changer. They can be found on most jukebox parts supplier sites. Wurlitzer used cobra cartridges in several of their earlier machines.

I recommend that you find a red cartridge to play your 78's and find a green cartridge if you want to occasionally play some mono 45's or 33rpm records. Dont waste your money on the red/green cartridges. It only takes seconds to change out the cartridge and you'll have a container to place the spare one in when your not using it.

Due to how these are constructed, you dont have to worry about getting a "dud" cartridge as theres no ceramic or crystal element inside these. They work more like an oscillator instead of like the traditional cartridges we're used to. The only bad ones i've run across were ones that the tip was worn out but still had normal output.

I have two of these and one that has the different front and they all sound great when gone through. The 8 inch speaker makes all the difference and produces a nice tone usually found in larger sets. You may have to have the roller (speed control) tire replaced, the idler rebuilt and replace the motor mounts to quiet the changer noise. When these arent used on a regular basis, they will develop flat spots, causing thumps and other noises. Once that is done, the changer is almost silent in operation. The center spindle design is great as even though the changer cycles fast on 78 speed, the design makes sure the records drop smoothly instead of crashing like other changers of this era. I've never had my cobra's break a record during the change cycle. Nice find and keep us posted on your progress.
-Tony


Last edited by Tony V on May Fri 29, 2009 4:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Fri 29, 2009 4:33 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 593
Location: Knoxville TN
The rumble you described sounds like bad rubber on the idler wheel. Not to worry. There is a great guy in Mississippi who rebuilds them. I had him rebuild mine about a month ago. The little cobra head doesn't skip a beat! Have you checked out the Phonograph index here yet?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Fri 29, 2009 11:37 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1417
Location: OOLTEWAH,TN.
I have restored two of them this year and they play very good has a large speaker nice radio your can get the parts you need for the phono from www.vintagelectronics.com good luck SMITHY


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Fri 29, 2009 11:44 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Moved from Antique Radio Discussions to the Phonograph forum because the topic seems more phonograph oriented.

I have a later version of this radio/phonograph. It's a bit less "rounded". Mine has a red/green cartridge and I agree the sound could be better. I think your's is the most sought-after model because of it's unusual shape.

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May Fri 29, 2009 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 02, 2008 9:50 pm
Posts: 8
Location: little rock, ar
Dave Doughty,
Thanks yeah the shape is very cool. It was not what I expected.

SMITHY,
Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

jim campbell,
Excellent I replaced an idler wheel on my Garrard 301 so it shouldn't be too hard. Thanks for the link.

Tony V,
I am likely to only play 78s on this one. So it seems I need the red one. Thanks for the cartridge info as that was much needed.

I was just showing it to a friend and the top dropped down pretty hard destroying an old 78 caught between lid. The recorded didn't stand a chance. After the lid dropped sound doesn't come out of the phono stage any more but the radio is great. I'm going to buy a new tube compliment and see what caps and resistors I need to buy. It can't have that many parts lol.....


Thanks everyone for the information.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Nov Thu 14, 2013 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Nov Thu 14, 2013 3:05 pm
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jim campbell wrote:
The rumble you described sounds like bad rubber on the idler wheel. Not to worry. There is a great guy in Mississippi who rebuilds them. I had him rebuild mine about a month ago. The little cobra head doesn't skip a beat! Have you checked out the Phonograph index here yet?


Sorry to revive an old thread but can someone point me towards the "great guy in Mississippi who rebuilds them"? I live in MS and want to have a 1959 Cobramatic looked at. It will turn on but turns itself back off after a short time.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Cobramatic H664 OOPS 664J
PostPosted: Nov Thu 14, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Apr Wed 09, 2008 3:37 am
Posts: 12671
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Ed Crockett in Mississippi rebuilds idlers and speed turrets, but I don't think he services entire changers like your Cobra.

http://www.vintagelectronics.com/

We have an ARF member in Mississippi, radiotvnut, who services about any brand of changer.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith Cobramatic H664J
PostPosted: Apr Thu 12, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sat 28, 2017 8:15 pm
Posts: 142
Location: Asheville, NC
I have one of these on my bench now. Finished the radio–which sounds great with that 8" speaker.

Getting ready to work on the changer which has some issues.

Need to locate a source of turntable retainer clips (missing one, see photo)

To consolidate the posts a bit here are some useful links:

Radio Schematic – Available on the Radio Museum site:
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/zenith_j6 ... _6j02.html

Changer Service Manuals:
Link to SAMS 145-13 Zenith changers S-14028 29, 30, 31 & 36.
https://app.box.com/s/qkxfsdhxqwgnu6ka3d84

Link to SAMS 149-15 Zenith Model H664 Chassis 6H02.
https://app.box.com/s/y4i3ma293fzgurtjk1qi

Link to Zenith Service Manual changers S-14028 29, 30, 31 & 36.
https://app.box.com/s/ig8z7b6gb89lpxid2eq4

RB


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