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 Post subject: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Mon 29, 2021 4:04 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. L8R 3H4
This radio was purchased at a vintage store for $15 CDN.

The inside is decent and has no rust but just black stuff that comes off with alcohol. A quick recap of the 4 main caps and a cleaning of the tuning capacitor, and it's working, although it does tend to drift off frequency.

Does anybody know if this type of inter-weaved AM antenna works any better than the type that is not inter-weaved but from the 50s era (I'm not talking about a ferrite rod antenna)?

Also, strangely, this radio's tubes don't get nearly as hot as the tubes in my other radios. Perhaps it's because this is the oldest radio I have (1947), and these tubes work a little differently?


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'51 Sparton 141XX
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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Mon 29, 2021 9:11 pm 
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Thanks for the pics, but could you show the front with the light behind you? That pic has shadow and glare, I know, picky picky.

Baby Champs started out with the waterfall model and morphed through several cabinet styles. The later models have knobs separated and wall to wall grill.
Those are the correct nobs, too, congrats.

Certainly glass mini tubes concentrate the heat over a smaller area, the better to burn you with. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Mon 29, 2021 9:49 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. L8R 3H4
Thanks for the pics, but could you show the front with the light behind you? That pic has shadow and glare, I know, picky picky.[/quote]
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Somebody had decided to paint it.


westcoastjohn wrote:
Baby Champs started out with the waterfall model and morphed through several cabinet styles. The later models have knobs separated and wall to wall grill.
Those are the correct nobs, too, congrats.

Lol, thanks.

This unit was made in Belleville, Ontario. I like units that are made close to home.

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The original speaker was worn out, being 75 years old. I replaced it with another speaker, 6", instead of 5", and 8 ohm instead of 4 ohm. Not sure how much stress this will put on the unit, but whatevs. It sounds much better than it did.

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'51 Sparton 141XX
'57 Heathkit EA-2 Amplifier


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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Tue 30, 2021 4:16 am 
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They were factory painted Bakelite, but maybe yours was repainted.
At the time, open backs were still permitted, but most manufacturers were adding backs to support the antenna loop, as well as adding protection for the consumer.

My wife's older sister worked at the NE factory in Belleville in the mid 1960's.

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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Tue 30, 2021 1:35 pm 
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westcoastjohn wrote:
They were factory painted Bakelite, but maybe yours was repainted.
At the time, open backs were still permitted, but most manufacturers were adding backs to support the antenna loop, as well as adding protection for the consumer.

I'd prefer an open back anyways. I don't like the look of that cheap cardboard/wood backing that went on the later radios.

westcoastjohn wrote:
My wife's older sister worked at the NE factory in Belleville in the mid 1960's.

Ontario was full of factories in the 50s. Most of the radios I buy locally are actually made in Canada.

...

I took an output transformer from another radio and used it as in input isolation transformer for this radio—there was actually enough room to squeeze it in! Sounds great and has an insane amount of amplification and is quite quiet when turned up all the way with no input.

I disconnected the AM radio until I can find a switch to toggle the input. This unit puts out more (2.1 watts vs 0.8 watts) than the other late 50s units I have.

I may eventually gut the AM radio and have it just as an open amplifier, without the casing.

But all is not well. Whilst plugging in the computer headphone connection, I accidentally touched the live back plate with the RCA connector, thereby ending the life of my computer headphone jack. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Mar Tue 30, 2021 3:36 pm 
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bedtime wrote:
.
But all is not well. Whilst plugging in the computer headphone connection, I accidentally touched the live back plate with the RCA connector, thereby ending the life of my computer headphone jack.
Ouch, that could also have put an end to audio output for your laptop.

Vacuum tubes are voltage devices, transistors are current devices - they don't play well together.

There should be no common connection between the digital device and the radio. We don't recommend using an AA5 radio in that manner for personal safety reasons, but also that tingle you sometimes get from a hot chassis is deadly for digital circuits.

A simple Bluetooth hookup would give your laptop or cell phone real protection from burnout. But I guess you're having fun messing around and learning.

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I'm a bit disappointed with Northern Electric not installing a phono switch to go with the jack.
It must have been a last minute addition, fighting to keep their share of the post-war market. I haven't checked the schematic.

Update ; The schemo shows switch terminals ahead of the volume control, switch in the parts list, so a switched jack was proposed and maybe never installed...? The photo shows a shielded wire straight to the volume pot.

http://pacifictv.ca/schematics/ne5200manual.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Apr Sat 03, 2021 3:11 pm 
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westcoastjohn wrote:
bedtime wrote:
.
But all is not well. Whilst plugging in the computer headphone connection, I accidentally touched the live back plate with the RCA connector, thereby ending the life of my computer headphone jack.
Ouch, that could also have put an end to audio output for your laptop.

Vacuum tubes are voltage devices, transistors are current devices - they don't play well together.

There should be no common connection between the digital device and the radio. We don't recommend using an AA5 radio in that manner for personal safety reasons, but also that tingle you sometimes get from a hot chassis is deadly for digital circuits.

A simple Bluetooth hookup would give your laptop or cell phone real protection from burnout. But I guess you're having fun messing around and learning.

Yep, can't keep me from experimenting, learning, and most importantly, destroying things. :P

westcoastjohn wrote:
Attachment:
Aux Input.jpg


I'm a bit disappointed with Northern Electric not installing a phono switch to go with the jack.
It must have been a last minute addition, fighting to keep their share of the post-war market. I haven't checked the schematic.

Update ; The schemo shows switch terminals ahead of the volume control, switch in the parts list, so a switched jack was proposed and maybe never installed...? The photo shows a shielded wire straight to the volume pot.

http://pacifictv.ca/schematics/ne5200manual.pdf


Thanks for the drawing! That's exactly how I thought it would be done, but great to have a picture for reference. I'll have to dig up some resistors somewhere.

Actually, the phono plug has some type of built-in switch which is activated when the plug goes in, but it doesn't seem to work well at all, and it is extremely unstable—just moving the RCA jack the tiniest bit causes disconnection and crackling. It's basically switched by bending metal toward other metal. The metal inside it is black, which I think is likely dirt of some type, and not easy to clean as it is so fragile.

Like you said, I'd expect more from a '47 radio set than this type of cheap shortcut. Nonetheless, I do appreciate all the extra room inside the chassis; you can do just about anything in there, and servicing is so easy!

* Sorry about the late reply. I hadn't noticed this thread until now. *

*EDIT*

Oh, and I'm sure you're curious about what the RCA phono connection switch looks like. I'll grab a picture later today. It's the least I can do in return for your drawing.

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'51 Sparton 141XX
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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Apr Mon 05, 2021 3:21 am 
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bedtime wrote:
I'll grab a picture later today. It's the least I can do in return for your drawing.
No worries. Your description and the manual answer the question, thanks.
Re; the pic, I have pasted that a dozen times for the reason that there are drawings in circulation that show the outer shell of each jack bonded together, not needed, and not healthy plugged into an AA5.

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 Post subject: Re: Baby Champ 5200 (Northern Electric)
PostPosted: Apr Thu 08, 2021 7:59 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. L8R 3H4
westcoastjohn wrote:
bedtime wrote:
I'll grab a picture later today. It's the least I can do in return for your drawing.
No worries. Your description and the manual answer the question, thanks.
Re; the pic, I have pasted that a dozen times for the reason that there are drawings in circulation that show the outer shell of each jack bonded together, not needed, and not healthy plugged into an AA5.

No point in posting a picture if you've seen it before; I'd rather not pull that chassis out any more than necessary.

I managed to find a couple pairs of resistors in an old clock radio of mine (was made in Taiwan, so I can care less about its demise)—a pair of around 4k and 1.4k, so I chose the 1.4k. So far, it sounds good, and it seems that there is barely any noticeable loss across the resistors. As to distortion coming in from the bluetooth, that remains to be seen, but it's been okay for now.

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'51 Sparton 141XX
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