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 Post subject: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 3:14 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 122
Location: Lake City, SC
Hey all:

This is my first try doodling around in an old radio.

My Airline 62-363 started as a 1938 farm radio, AM & shortwave...along the line it picked up a different power transformer, a No. 80 rectifier tube, and some new capacitors which are now antiques as well.

Here is a chassis shot.

The Riders schematic isn't helping me much and I don't know if there are any radio folks in the South Carolina area. Very few SC antique shops have old radios...it's hard enough finding the old windup phonos!

If anyone has an idea where I should begin, not knowing what I'm doing here, then fill me in. If anyone wants to make a bit extra folding money or trade for antique headphones or Califone phonographs, let me know. All I know is, I might not have an idea what I'm doing but the radio stuff is fascinating.

Sincerely
Charles F.
Florence County, SC


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 4:29 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
If it's your first foray into an antique radio, I'd set it aside until you get your feet wet. You'll need to compare the print against the actual parts and wiring.

Not too difficult to do, once you have experience using schematics. Print out the diagram, and where you see different parts and wiring, draw them in. That would apparently be right at the power and rectification circuits, since farm radio's never had power transformers, or rectifier tubes. This circuit used a vibrator, which I assume was removed.
BTW, does the set operate now?

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 6:50 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4468
Location: British Columbia
When you stated that this set used to be a battery radio that was converted I first thought of a radio that used battery tubes, and ran from a set of "A" and "B" batteries. Then I read further and found that it used to be a 6 volt radio with a vibrator supply, this improves the chances of the conversion being a successful one, if they set used 6.3 volt AC tubes to start with. There were some vibrator radios that used all battery tubes, and with those if someone tried to convert one to AC using AC tubes, there is a good chance that the result would be a hack job that would work poorly, if it did at all, much like a similar conversion on a straight "A"/"B" style battery set.
Regards
Arran


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 7:13 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4468
Location: British Columbia
Anyhow I had a look at the schematic, the original power supply used a synchronous vibrator, meaning that it had two sets of contacts, the second set eliminated the need for a rectifier tube. The vibrator supply, along with the transformer, was mounted inside of a can in the same corner of the chassis where they mounted the rectifier tube and filter condenser cans.
http://www.nostalgiaair.org/Resources/481/M0011481.htm
I do not really like the way this was done, it may have done the job, but it looks very crude to have a power transformer sitting on brackets outside the chassis, with it's bundle of wires, wrapped in tape, feeding through a hole in the side. Now the rest of the set, minus the magic eye tube, all used octal sockets, so assuming that nobody rewired anything other then the power supply, it looks like they may have left the rest of the set alone.
However this is the sort of set that I would have to think about before tackling, and I have been working on this stuff for years. Would I work with what is there, but clean it up so it meets the electrical code? Or would I look for an unmolested chassis, with it's vibrator supply intact, and restore it, possibly with a solid state substitute for the synchronous vibrator? It is more then a simple recapping job, one would have to go through it and check everything, comparing it to the schematic, before planning a course of action. The factory engineers were good at what they did, so I would go by their decisions on what goes where verses a weekend mechanic.
Regards
Arran


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 8:29 pm 
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Arran wrote:
Would I work with what is there, but clean it up so it meets the electrical code? Or would I look for an unmolested chassis, with it's vibrator supply intact, and restore it, possibly with a solid state substitute for the synchronous vibrator? It is more then a simple recapping job, one would have to go through it and check everything, comparing it to the schematic, before planning a course of action.

He never answered if the set works or not, and this is normally the starting point before a restoration is done. Assuming that it does work, I would suggest changing out the wax and one black capacitor, spec the resistors, replacing as necessary, and then rearrange the power transformer to a neater position on the chassis. Or it could be left alone, until another virgin chassis is found, but that might be some time in coming.

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 122
Location: Lake City, SC
I did fire it up before I cut the power cord and it "worked" considering I did not have an antenna or ground. While I could get no stations all the controls did something and the tubes light.

The speaker makes a noise as well--sometimes just scratchy sounding like bad connections (I guess the potentiometers are dirty) and sometimes that whistling noise that an AM radio makes. SW and BC bands sound different.

So I guess the radio might even work as is, but I don't know. As far as position of the power transformer, I'm fine with that. It's not pretty but it's kind of neat how they converted over this rather plain old farm radio to work on a modern power line, and I actually would rather have that than have to go pull the battery out of the Model A weeknights to listen to a broadcast. Especially since I don't own a Model A. :D

Well, it's a conundrum, but I guess I'll have to mess with the caps & find out. Schematics are helpful so I could find the ground & antenna connections.


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Tue 26, 2019 10:52 pm 
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OK, a little more information has been helpful. I would suggest as your next step to connect an antenna wire to it; even if just 10-15 feet thrown on the floor. Don't worry about a ground. To consider it working, it has to pick up at least one broadcast station, regardless of how low the volume is.

If it does not, next step is to determine if the oscillator is functioning. Search the board for "second radio test" if you don't know, and perform that. Please post your progress.

Here's the service info. Look for the antenna coil at the rear of the chassis, behind the tuner.
http://www.nostalgiaair.org/pagesbymode ... 011481.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Wed 27, 2019 12:10 am 
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Location: Long Island
Looks to me like very little was done to the radio except the addition of the power transformer, 80 tube, and a can style electrolytic capacitor. It looks old enough that it might have been done in a part of the country that was electrified in the late 1930s when the set was still new enough that an AC conversion was worthwhile. As such it tells an interesting story of continued usage and I would not go ripping it apart and changing things around just because the transformer bracketed to the side looks a bit "folksy." It appears that whoever modified the radio knew what they were doing and the set remained in service for decades afterward. No reason to think it won't work again or that the lack of a schematic will be a hindrance.

As for getting it working again, I would treat it the same as any other radio of that era. Most of the wax-encrusted paper caps are certain to be bad and will have to be changed, and you will need to install some new electrolytics to take the place of the can style one mounted on the chassis. It should be marked as to the values it contains; looks like it has two sections. Easiest way to deal with that is to leave it on the chassis and simply solder two new radial leaded electrolytics in underneath. The old can must be disconnected from the circuit when you do this; an insulated terminal strip installed nearby makes that a breeze.

One thing I would suggest, however, is regardless of the voltages marked on the paper capacitors, use 630-volt replacements. The replacement electrolytics should be rated for 450 volts. Reason why is, farm sets often ran lower voltages than AC powered radios as that meant less battery drain. The conversion may have made the voltages in the radio higher than they were originally. It appears from the picture that some of the old caps might be 200-volt or 400-volt types. Thing is, those old caps had huge margins and could operate at their rated voltages or even somewhat higher without any trouble. You don't want to try that with modern caps! Just a few percent over their rated voltages and they hit the proverbial brick wall.

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 3:55 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 122
Location: Lake City, SC
Thanks to all who responded. I am going to be digging through the old capacitors of this thing. Today the chassis got a compressed air bath and, after expelling vast amounts of dirt, looks more like a radio again.

Trying to read those flat tablet-looking mica capacitors is tough & I will be taking a few days to do it.

Parts I need:

2 dial lamps
Dial string
Capacitors
Power cord & plug
Resistors probably
Chassis washers (make these)
One knob
Four feet
Parts from pushbutton mech (those red felt things)
Wires
Grille cloth


And yes, I have to refinish the cabinet too, but I'll do that once I get more of the radio together!


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363--big fun, it wo
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 12:58 am 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
Posts: 122
Location: Lake City, SC
HEY! Guys, guess what--It Worked!

I wired it up with a power cord & a chunk of old wire for an antenna and the thing worked. I accidentally left it in Short-Wave mode
without knowing it, and suddenly my 1930s radio woke up and started speaking Italian. I was even able to get the BBC over it, all the way from England.

Switching over to Broadcast was interesting,as the dial came alive with many stations out of state I had been unable to reach over modern AM/FM sets. WHYM, our local AM broadcaster, came in super-loud & clear, very well balanced.

Tone control worked too. It went from a brassy 1940s-announcer sound all the way Deeeep down in the low range.

The only question is, the 80 Rectifier Tube gets pretty hot. It's not glowing like a light bulb but it is hotter than the tuning eye or the other pieces. Now I have but to change a bunch of capacitors. Where do I start finding values on all these? I did get myself a Digital Multimeter today & a nice soldering iron.


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363--big fun, it wo
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 2:26 am 
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VanEpsFan1914 wrote:
Tone control worked too. It went from a brassy 1940s-announcer sound all the way Deeeep down in the low range.

The only question is, the 80 Rectifier Tube gets pretty hot. It's not glowing like a light bulb but it is hotter than the tuning eye or the other pieces. Now I have but to change a bunch of capacitors. Where do I start finding values on all these? I did get myself a Digital Multimeter today & a nice soldering iron.

If a rectifier tube isn't too hot to touch, it isn't working.

Forget replacing the mica caps(dot coded), those are rarely bad. The value should be marked on the added electrolytics, and on the paper caps as well. The paper cap values should be shown on schematic.

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 2:37 am 
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Lucky day, you got a winner. 8)

Mica caps are usually still good. Those black square caps if they are Micamold are usually bad. To decipher the square caps, use the color codes.

https://technifest.com/technical-docume ... tor-codes/

The wax caps are marked in Mfds and voltage. Buy the closest values in capacitance you can find, such as .022 if you can't find .02. or .047 in place of .05. Replace them one at a time to minimize mistakes.

For voltage ratings, choose the higher values, 450 volts or more.

For your power supply caps, use polarized electrolytics and make sure you have the polarity correct. For an 80 rectifier, keep your first capacitor at 30 mfds to reduce the surge of current thru the tube at start up.
What cap values were used by Mr. Handy originally?

The 80 tube gets hot, fairly normal, but if you can get a temperature, post it here.

(A 5W4 tube will do the same job while it draws 25% less current, 1.5 amps rather than 2. But a change to an octal socket is not worth it.)
Use a laser thermometer to monitor your transformer heat. If it gets too hot supplying the radio, we can help you bring the heat down.

A piece of rubber hose with a slit cut in it would make a grommet for those taped wires. Cheers on a great start, and enjoy the SW!

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 7:45 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4468
Location: British Columbia
My dislike for how the power transformer is mounted has nothing to do with it being "Folksy" it's crude, sloppy, and potentially dangerous. Considering that there is potentially 700 volts of ac or more coming out of one winding I would not want to trust decades old friction tape, and rock hard wire, as an insulator. As for the historic value, well, we don't really know when the work was done, or who did it, but I doubt it was a professional conversion job. You aren't really altering history by altering something that was already altered, if it makes it safer, and more reliable.
As for operating a radio with a vibrator power supply, no you don't have to rely on battery power, in fact the 6 volt output from a modified car battery charger would do, combine that with a solid state sub for the synchronous vibrator (if necessary) and you are all set. It's a moot point with this set but it can be done if the set was original.
Regards
Arran


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 8:00 am 
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Arran wrote:
in fact the 6 volt output from a modified car battery charger would do, combine that with a solid state sub for the synchronous vibrator (if necessary) and you are all set.

He doesn't even have to do that. I've powered two Zenith 6 volt 2 amp farm radios by simply using a 6 volt power transformer, Diode bridge, and filter cap to supply the stock vibrator, and it works just fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
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Location: Lake City, SC
Well, here's the plan.

Arran--thanks for the input. I'll probably upgrade some wiring because of safety and likely will fit a better transformer mount. I don't have the inclination to spend a bunch on a new chassis--why buy a new chassis for a radio with a junk cabinet? But I will heed your warnings & bring it up to code.

Everybody else--thanks, especially for the tip to use a 30mfd capacitor to slow the "jolt" starting the tubes, and for the advice on not ripping out the flat capacitors because those last a long time.

After that, then I gotta get the push buttons working. I've no idea what makes them work. It doesn't appear to be anything. Some kind of coil is wrapped around them?


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 8:24 pm 
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It sounds like they are the capacitor type, changing capacity changes the frequency that is detected by the radio circuit. Each one is set to a station.

The mechanical tuning capacitor does this by being a variable capacitor. Don't sweat about the adjustments too much until you have the radio playing nice. If it drifts off frequency at all, and if tuning needs to be adjusted a lot, the pushbuttons are not going to work right, more of a gimmick anyway.

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
[:l>)


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Apr Sat 06, 2019 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 30, 2019 3:44 am
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Location: Lake City, SC
All this was a big help.

I've not bought caps yet, but I'm wirebrushing the chassis (tubes numbered & removed, of course) and am getting it to look the way a radio should. Apparently Mr. Fix-It bent the chassis putting in the rectifier tube. There must not have been a chassis punch in his shop back in the 1940s.

At any rate it looks nicer, actually worth repairing, so I plan to fix the circuit as is, refinish her case & change a knob, & enjoy me some more radio. It really pulls stations in from a long ways even in its decrepit as-found condition, so for safety's sake I want to keep it working nice without too much more tinkering.


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Apr Fri 12, 2019 4:09 am 
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Location: Lake City, SC
UPDATE:

I got caps on the way, stripped the cabinet, and found beautiful veneer on the front and sides. Someone broke the veneer off the top years ago & finished over it. I betcha any Airline decals are now gone. Better find some to put on, I guess.

Trying to find a small chunk of veneer to make a new top with.

And--in the satisfaction of creative destruction, I removed the speaker frame and ripped out the old nasty grill cloth. Brown silk with cool deco patterns, you are cleared for a landing.

Now I gotta finish cleaning the chassis and all that. I need time to pull the dial assembly apart and get down under there. We'll see what she does with new caps--hope it is as good performance as it was before!


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 Post subject: Re: Restoring an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Apr Sun 14, 2019 3:39 am 
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Location: Lake City, SC
UPDATE:

The "repair" turned into a full monty restoration.

Big dilemma: can't put knobs on it. The stem for the tone-control knob is a full inch shorter than the rest. Do I lengthen the stem, or put in a new pot with a long stem already in it?

Right now there's new veneer on the top, stains and lacquers on the rest. Washed the dial glasses and got the gold plating behind it shiny again so it ought to really pop when the twin dial lamps are burning. Cleaned nicotine and dust off the tubes and they are shiny clear again--except the getter which is very silver looking.

Capacitors are still on the way from Just Radios, because they had the easiest shopping lists. Nice.

Question time.

1. Would a set like this have had the gold "Airline"decals?
2. What grill cloth for a 1938 model Airline? A Wells Gardner would be the same thing.
3. What should the back look like? Looking at the wires it is now a "hot" chassis radio, so I want to put a good back panel in.
4. The dial bulbs are #47 type. #44's are brighter and fit the sockets. If I upgrade to #44 bulbs will that hurt the set's performance or cause it to overheat something? I know the old battery sets used lower voltage bulbs for some reason but this one now has all the dinguses installed to run it on AC 110V current.

Thanks much...


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 Post subject: Re: Recapping an AC-converted Airline 62-363
PostPosted: Apr Sun 14, 2019 5:04 am 
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Attachment:
62-363 6volt.JPG
62-363 6volt.JPG [ 197.48 KiB | Viewed 361 times ]


I dug up the picture I remember you posted way back then. Call me Sherlock.
Looking at other Airlines of that ilk, I don't see any gold decals on them. But it should say 'Airline' on it somewhere.

1) A clever guy like you can extend that shaft. Cut a step in a piece of 1/4" round stock and crimp it onthere with a long sleeve.

2)Browse the radoattic pics to find a back shot to copy. Cut lots of air slots in it.

3)I'd keep the dull bulbs myself, easier on the old power transformer, and less likely to melt the dial cover.

4)Any cloth you find today won't be a perfect match but will pass inspection from the masses if it is not too gaudy. New cloth can be soaked in tea or coffee.
Maybe some old granny has a curtain she would part with. :)

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
[:l>)


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