Rather than have this information/update separate from the rest of the story, I have posted it ate the end of the previous entries - "Zenith Got it Wrong" and "Zenith got it wrong Part Deux" (Duh):
Actually acorns - Oak nuts,
I did not think they would last long, even after slathering them with polyurethane.
The birds never thought much of the Crosley Buccaneer. So it quietly disintegrated.. The birds found the Fiver much more interesting. Turns out it was not an eagle nesting in there ;-) but a bunch of Acorn Woodpeckers decided to use it as a store-house.
The Fiver is now bursting at the seams - filled to the top with acorns. When it was filled to the dial they began stuffing acorns through the cracks, which became wider and wider (it is near complete structural failure).
Acorn woodpeckers prefer location to tube count.
I knew that Sue's radio was unusual but it is more special than I had thought:
We now know the the Aetna model is 252P under Walgreens. It is a 4-tube + ballast Tuned Radio Freq receiver from 1936. Most of the radios found in this cabinet are 550s, which is a superheterodyne rather than a TRF. The super is relatively rare. The TRF is much more unusual.
I know that a lot of people have wondered what would happen if a person was to design a receiver - a TRF receiver, that had one high gain tube driving another and so-on. With this chassis it is easy to find out. Like the front end in a Zenith Stratosphere this chassis has a tuned 6D6 driving another, in this case a 6C6. Well, the answer is that LOTS of RF gain can get you - squealing, motorboating and eventually - nothing. Even in the Strat, they had to turn off one of the 6D6s on some bands to keep the noise down to a controllable level. Unlike the Strat, or any super, this radio has no IF to narrow and amplify a specific freq so strong stations can be over powering to weak stations.
With this radio it is best to decide what kind of antenna you are going to use and align the radio to that antenna. A longer antenna will provide the noises mentioned above and a shorter one will make weak stations - weak. While the schematic in Riders says not to bend the plates on the tuning cap, linearity across the band is poor. Maybe someone already bent the plates or maybe they need some adjustment, but the spot (freq) you choose to align to is going to be the sweet spot all else going down hill from there.
No wonder they replaced this chassis with the 550 super.
I thought that I took some chassis pics as we updated the radio with re-stuffed caps we found over the last 7 years. I'll try to find them.
For internet searchers:
What the hell is wrong with my -
OR any early 5516 chassis.
Use this post and the Part 1 below to correct later 5516 chassis parts discrepancy.
It seems that Zenith never posted a corrected schematic or parts list. All of these issues come from the early use of a 2125 ohm field coil speaker. Most of these chassis came with a 1000 ohm speaker.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When servicing one of these chassis it is not mix and match. If your speaker has a 2125 ohm FC use the original schematic . If your chassis has a 1000 ohm speaker use the corrected schematic and parts list.
In all honesty, the original configuration does not work as well as the latter. I suspect that the speaker spec was an error and , rather than eating the cost the wrong part, Zenith used them anyway. From what I have seen radios having the early speaker (2125 ohm) are far less common. I have observed both the 6.5" and the 10" speakers with 2125 ohm FC, but I have not seen an 8" ((49-152) speaker with the 2125 ohm FC.
Original graphics courtesy Nostalgia Air/Ryders
And Now for Something Completely Different
I have been studying these radios for a while along with their battery powered brethren. So I ended up with quite a few "extra" parts.
I have (had) a 5648 chassis out of a 6-S-330 complete with speaker, all restored. I didn't have a cabinet and never really liked the photo finish offered on the 1938 model. So I put the slightly better 6 toob chassis in a 5-S-127 cabinet and the result is 6-SX-127, the radio they never built but should have.
The cabinet for this one came from PayBay. There is a seller offering a lot of parted-out cabinets and chassis parts. This one looked ok from the sale pictures, but when it got here, well, it was a mess. It had been refinished poorly and sanded hard and dropped at least once. So I decided to reveneer the top and front with book-matched walnut burl, which is a lot more figured than the Zenith stock veneers.
Fuzzy, the ATV riding shop-cat and friend for almost 20 years had just passed so I had no inspiration to move on. The cabinet just kept getting smoother and shinier until it was hard to photograph, especially outside like I normally do.
I miss that old cat.
Say it isn't so!
This is a follow-up to the chassis restorations presented below:
In that post we discussed differences in the 5516 chassis - and replated a couple of them.
Obviously, each cabinet is different and this chassis was placed into 6 different models. Production changes are expected and were not particular to Zenith. Philco was notorious for dozens of changes in some 1930's models as were many smaller manufactures.
What is unusual are the undocumented changes to this chassis in that the published schematic represents a version that had a significant flaw and most radios found do not comply.
Pictured above is the 5-S-127 chassis that I replated and restored in the previously mentioned post. This layout is what is typically found.
But , take a look at the schematic. Many restorers have come to this point and then spent days trying to figure out why their radio is significantly different. And it appears that the largest fraction of chassis produced DO NOT conform to this schematic or parts list, BUT their radio seems to work fine.
What is worse is that if you try to follow this schematic the result is a radio that works - poorly.
Most noticeable is the difference in the field coil impedance, most as-found with 1000 ohm field coils. In these radios the power transformer is significantly larger. In the second picture (from the top) you can see both the size difference in the PTs and different speakers.
The "spec" field coil is 2125 ohms (or 2150).
When you dig deeper a person finds that R5 and R10 are way off from spec - not that they drifted, it was built that way! R10 is most often 490k ohms rather than 990k ohms and R5 is 240k ohms rather than 190k ohms.
I have heard it said that these differences were to accommodate the different field coil values and that is probably true since you would need to change these parts to accommodate the larger field coil impedance.
Well, then why doesn't it work? Or, why does the radio with the 1k ohm F.C. work so well with the wrong resistor values?
I should note at this point that there are several other differences, like band switches that are different enough to require different knobs in order to point to "A", "B" and "C" and a lot of minor stuff.
Above, as found - as most are found not conforming to the parts list. This radio would have (does have) a speaker with 1K ohm F.C.
Above, conforms to the schematic, has a 2150 field coil and works poorly.
So what is the deal?
Most people speculate that parts availability explains the need to "redesign" the radio in mid production, but here is the problem:
A radio with the 2125K F.C. and the non-spec resistors (R10 240K, R5 490K) will have about 285V on the 6F6G plate and -37V bias on the grid. This is almost twice the allowable bias according to the RCA tube manual which shows -20V on the grid.
A radio with the 2125 F.C. and the resistors on the schematic (R10 190K, R5 990K) will have 167V on the 6F6G plate and -27V on pin 5, the grid. This is better but the audio is still limited and settings in the upper third of the vol. cont. range are distorted.
A radio with the 2125 F.C. and the resistors on the schematic (R10 190K, R5 990K) and the 1.5K ohm resistor placed in parallel with the F.C. will have 255V on the 6F6G plate, 265V on the screen and -21V on the Grid. The radio will work normally and the volume is good through the range.
A radio built with the " non-spec" resistors (R10 240K, R5 490k)) but with a 1000 ohm F.C. (49-165) will work just fine as-is..
Higher line voltages today will also raise these voltages somewhat.
The speaker F.C., though in the return leg, was designed to avoid the typical candohm used to generate a negative bias voltage and provide some ripple filtering on the B+..
A resistor in parallel with the F.C. does not offer the same inductance so some hum might appear, though this was not the case on mine.
I checked both 5-S-119 and 5-S-126 radios on display in the museum and they were the 1000 ohm F.C. variety.
I checked as many radio pictures as I could find on-line and they were consistent though I don't know their history and a lot of pictured radios had owners/restorers that I referred to earlier (WTH is going on here???) so my first hand observations of original and mostly original radios is the basis of my conclusions. Input is invited.
B+ on the detector was also high. Spec. is 75V and it was as high as 150V in some configurations. B+ was high everywhere do to the decreased load presented by the 2125 ohm F.C.
There would be better ways to "fix" this problem but most would result in several visible changes to the layout. What I chose to do was use the parts as speced in the schematic and add a 1.5k ohm 3W resistor in parallel to the 1K field coil. This increases the current draw on the B+ by 20ma and does not seem to cause a noticeable temperature rise in the stock (smaller) P.T.. I partially offset the total draw on the P.T. by using LED lamps for dial lights. (small light green WW resistor above)
Above is my 5-S-151 console who's chassis is described by this schematic. It calls out another 2125 F.C. speaker, 49-144, a 10 inch model.
This is the speaker that is actually in the console - a 1000 ohm unit, (49-118AB). I have never seen a console with the 2125 ohm field coil speaker, (49-144). I do not know if they exist.
So what percentage of chassis/speaker combinations are compliant with the schematic - I do not know. At this time, I have the one pictured. From my files I found one that was sold about 10 years ago to a local fellow that used it at night to drown the high pitched whine caused by tinnitus. I don't recall much more about that unit though it was a "looker" (cabinets really do vary a lot). If he was to read this post, I would like to do a check-up on that radio too.
In conclusion, for what ever reason, Zenith built quite a few of these chassis/speaker combinations that worked poorly. The change was probably to correct this error. The power transformer change was probably called for by a slightly increased B+ load. The error is well documented. It would make sense that the error was in early production. In mine it appears on the plated chassis rather than the painted chassis though I am not certain if this is always true.
See also: https://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=401068
Has anyone ever seen a schematic with the proper parts?
P.S. I want to tell you about the lighter colored 5-S-127 cabinet with the replated chassis. I really like those veneer choices. So many of them are really dark.
And what is it with the 1937 Zenith band switch drawings - in particular the antenna switch section on the multiband radios? It seems to be in an impossible position. Those connections - the one connection alone - never occurs in any of the switched positions - maybe in radios with an X-band, but still that would have been specified. Best I can tell it was drawn with the contact rotating from the wrong direction BUT this is not the only contact on the wafer, those are correct.
AND have you checked a 6A8 on your Hickok tester lately. I found the settings on my roll chart ARE WRONG, particularly for the bias which is 30-something on the chart but only 11 on the trusted Consolidated Test Data For Hickok Model 533A-600A-605A Tube Testers. No wonder I've seen so many sales of "low testing" tubes.
I am still looking for 5516 chassis to further study (any variety) and complete projects. I also need period correct Zenith tubes. Thanks to all who have helped.
But Wait! There's More
Here are some more changes that apply to the later, large transformer/1000 ohm field coil units.
This chassis has a shield, wrapped in a fiber insulator, that extends over the 6K7G IF tube's base.
Here is a close up of the shield.
Also note the bottom of the antenna coil (upper right under the trimmer cap). There is no external "Antenna Choke" part number 2 on the schematic. It is incorporated into the antenna coil and as a result the antenna coil has an extra ground contact which is missing from the unit pictured below.
The schematic above highlights some additional parts changes besides the "antenna choke" #2.
C 15 .1 MFD 22-294 might be .05 MFD part # 22-523
R4 30000 ohms at 1/2 W might be 1W
R11 80000 ohms at 1W might be 100000 ohms
Chassis W/O shield and with external "Antenna Choke" external to the Antenna Coil.
Close up of External "Antenna Choke" part # 2.
This part is wired as drawn on the schematic, just external to the antenna coil can.
IN a previous post I mentioned that one of my favorite Zeniths is the 1937 5-S-127. It was far from top-of-the-line, in fact,, closer to the bottom. I suppose that the real attraction is the cabinet design, though the radio is not bad for only having 5 tubes.
The Crosley 6H2 is probably my favorite Crosley. Like the Zenith, it is the cabinet design with a not-too-bad radio that appeals to me. And, like the zenith, it seemed to have been popular at the time of sale. Far from the WLW (or stratosphere), it has good performance in a 6-tube chassis.
There is some confusion over the number of this model. Instead of giving it a name, like Buddy Boy, Crosley used a model number. 6H2 was assigned to the chassis and this is usually the "Model" on the tag, though there are certainly variations of this chassis. In some cases the model is called the 61 which seems to refer to the radio/cabinet configuration. Confusion is amplified by the question of model-year. I call the radio above a 1934 model, but there were likely to have been versions of this radio sold several years later
I did replace the broken pointer after this picture was taken..
So, the real mystery, for me, is - Why did they change this popular cabinet during its production run?
I have always wondered why Crosley slapped the hardwood panel over the top of the scroll work.. Possibly more to the point, why did they do the scroll work in the first place? It was not a common feature of radio cabinets at the time. It would have cost production time/money (which Crosley was famous for conserving). Was the original appearance so objectionable (to somebody) that it needed to be covered by the panel which would have cost more time and money?
The radio cabinet without the enhancements appears to be produced later than the more common version. Did they finally run out of cabinets with the panel and just decide to skip the whole thing? Or was the change made simply to save production costs?
What do you think?
Tired of being locked-up. Me too.
Just as we were seeing signs that the SARS-CoV-2 thing might be coming to an end, it appears that our county is going to move back into the "extreme" category.
Since we are not a business, anymore, we are only constrained by good sense, but, we have been adhering to the OR Governor's "gathering" guidelines. We don't want to have anything to do with making one of our radio friends sick.
Still, we remain optimistic. We hope that, by June, we will be able to reopen the Radio Shop/Museum to visitors. If we start with small groups, maybe by the middle of summer we can accommodate larger groups and clubs.
At first we will require masks. We will also require a completed Covid vaccination card ( you show me yours and I'll show you mine). Politics are not part of this and we don't care to discuss that aspect anymore - or ever.
We still have a lot of restored radios sitting around looking for a display spot - or a new home. By mid summer we hope to have a "Radio Shop" sale, possibly attended by other local radio collectors who also have accumulated WAY TOO MUCH STUFF over the last year (or years). Dates will depend on so much - If we have another fire season like last year - you might want to bring a fire-hose.
So - - if you would like to set up a visit, send us a message using the contact form. Or if you already have our email address, use that. Tours are still free. If you have an old radio that needs help, bring it along. Any advise (good or bad) or restoration assistance, is also free of charge.
Looking forward to "normal",
Russ & Sue
Like most radio collectors, there is a point that a person becomes more choosy about which radios to add to the pile - I mean - collection.
For most, this limitation is applied to radios without a high number of tubes or radios that are not rare or valuable (rare does not always = value). Or radios from a certain period. Almost everyone stops buying consoles at some point.
Some collect brand-name radios. Zenith is always popular as are the high-end manufactures like Scott. Crosley is not usually considered a high end manufacture (WLW excluded). This thinking is what led to my comments about passing on Crosley "Fivers". (See posts below)
Well, the WLW is not the only high-end Crosley. In the collection of radios that was donated last year was a 9-tube Clipper which is a 915-EK. This chassis employs a shadow meter rather than an eye-tube so it would be the equivalent of a 10-tuber w/eyetube. Actually, a shadow meter is superior in that this one has lasted 85 years which is very unlikely for an eye-tube. It is a table model. It is rare. Check, check, check! Maybe I should keep this one.
It is difficult to find another picture of the Clipper though the cabinet may have been used on other models like the 1055 EK Constitution from the same year.
There was very little corrosion on the chassis and what existed was easily treated.
This is another radio that had many original components removed and replaced with modem ones. I was able to locate original parts (mostly capacitors) by original part numbers and they were rebuilt and reinstalled in the chassis. Above is an after picture.
Finding original parts to rebuild is becoming more difficult. I have used most of my Crosley-branded caps in recent projects. If anyone has a stash of old parts that were removed from any early radio, I could use them for rebuilding and that would be superior to using them to line a garbage can (clink). (You can always ID a bad paper cap because it goes "clink" when it hits the can)
It is tough to compare this radio with other manufactures products such as the Philco 116B since the small speaker that Crosley used is clearly inferior to the 10" used in the Philco (which also uses a shadow-meter)
The cabinet was in good shape but had been refinished - so I refinished it again.
Colored dots on the band selector match band colors on the dial.
Pictures copyright Russ' Old Radios
Most mornings I spend about an hour answering radio-related emails. Many fall into the categories of :
How do I get my radio fixed?/ help with repair.
What is my radio worth?/Will you buy it?
What kind of radio do I have?
This Email falls into the last category. I found it particularly interesting, so, with permission, I am posting it here.
Thomas from Stockholm said:
Dear Russ !
Our family owns this very old big radio that used to belong to king Gustav the 5th of Sweden in the 1930 ´s . Would you with your expertise now what model it is and when it was built ?!
We would truly appreciate your knowledge!
It is a very large radio/phono combination.
I suspect that the switch, center/rightt is a radio/phono switch as you would find in a Panatrope of this vintage. (Panatrope was the name used by Brunswick a company that used RCA radios up until the time that RCA acquired Victor)
Looks like a Radiola escutcheon without the RCA/Radiola text.
It has an Electrola decal.
This was my reply:
The radio section its self appears to be a RCA Radiola 28, but that is not the model number of the whole assembly.
In 1927 and 1928 RCA was in the process of acquiring the Victor Talking Machine Co. That is where the RCA Victor name came from. This is an Electrola, a name denoting the electric phonograph as opposed to a wind-up model. It is likely to say Victor talking Machine Co somewhere on it. The gold escutcheon near the roller knobs would have said “Radiola 28 Super-Heterodyne Radio Corporation of America had it not been made to be put into the Electrola (Victor) cabinet.
I do not know the model of the whole RCA Victor cabinet/assembly Which may have been a very limited production or even a custom assembly.
If you were to send larger pictures I might be able to tell more.
If you like I could post your pictures and story on my blog. Other people might know more about it and reply.
Radiolas are not my specialty. I can tell you about the many versions that I have worked on - This is not one of them. The radio is in storage so no additional pictures are available at this time.
Thomas is going to monitor this blog for comments, which are invited.
Steve, on ARF Said:
That looks like a Victor Hyperion. That is quite a radio/phonograph!
Fran, on the Philco Phorum said:
What the king had there was a Victor Hyperion (Victor model Fifteen-One). !926 to 1928 which listed for $900.)) US. The radio was an RCA Radiola 28. This was Victor's first all electric Orthophonic Radio - Record player combination. It is described on page 222 of Robert Baumbach's book - Look for the Dog (first edition).
There should be a plate within the record compartment (to the rear of the compartment on or adjacent to the motor board) with the Victor model name and number.
It was impressive at 57.25" High, 47" Wide and 19.5" deep.
The cabinet styling was Italian in nature, using walnut and maple.
Michael, posted this on ARF:
Here's some info on the Hyperion: http://www.victor-victrola.com/Hyperion.ht
https://books.google.com/books?id=Ck9IG ... or&f=false
Vintage Hyperion Upgrade: hhttps://forum.talkingmachine.info/view ... 9&start=10
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1LdVTMcBTE
Thomas has provided a history of the radio:
Briefly …. : my granddad ( founder of Centrum radio ) Bertil Gylling senior delivered his famous ” Centrum royal map radio" 1933 to King Gustav the fifth,
in return from the royal castle he got the Victor Hyperion to store or just take care of . The Hyperion has been kept in its ”BOX” since then.
The "Centrum royal map radio" came about from a joint venture between the King and my Grandfather. A map over Europe was displayed on the ” lock ” over the radio & gramophone ” and when one of 33 european stations
was reached a light showed where on the map the station was situated , for example Wienna or Copenhagen . ( se pic ) …. high tech in those days. There are only 3 left in the world of this radiorarity .
My father Bertil Gylling ( 92 ) is still around to tell the story .
If you want to se what the factory of Centrum looked like in the 30 / 40 ´s check this film ( in Swedish …… ;) ) the part about Centrum start after ca 3 min after an episode about Violins . very old school cinema reportage style …
at the royal castle in the 30 ´s more or less every day a sort of ” Lord Chamberlain ” played records mostly classical music to the King & entourage, you see the Centrum royal map radio and how its placed + stacks of 78 records in special shelfs :
We all appreciate Thomas and his family for sharing this history with us.
Don't miss the radio assembly video (link) that Thomas provided. It is one of the best that I have seen. Makes me feel old when I see that young woman throw the big table-top into its box - I have a hard time lifting those onto the bench.
Meissner was mostly a radio parts supplier who also produced "kit" radios to be assembled by the user. They were part of Maguire Industries Inc.
I believe that, like many manufacturers in the radio business, they wanted to show what they could do and the result was the 2961.
Produced around 1947, the radio is AM-FM-SW with a Webster phonograph and 29 tubes.
As rare as the radio is, there are even fewer with cabinets. While I have not weighed this monster, it has to check in at around 100 lbs. The cabinet is well built, but the weight probably added to the demise of many cabinets through rough handling.
I generally don't care for late 1940's cabinets but the wood work on this one makes it stand apart even before you open the doors.
The radio incorporates a separate amp/power supply. The amp uses 4 6L6GA tubes in PPP (parallel push pull ) configuration wired for triode operation. This yields about 20 watts output which is a considerable reduction in output from what a 6L6 amp with a pentode configuration could produce. The sacrifice was made in an attempt to produce better audio quality than a pentode could (in theory).
Above: I know this resembles the scene from Star Trek The City on the Edge of Forever just before the radio blows up, but let me assure you that there were no flames here.
As fun as that would be (flames) it would also be a tragedy since the picture above is not likely to be repeated any time soon. Just one of these amplifiers is so rare that having a pair for stereo is likely unheard of.
It is as unlikely as having two Zenith Stratospheres on the same bench - -
- - Well I'll be darned, two Zenith Stratospheres.
Anyway, I did add a preamp and had a listen using the speakers in my office.
TWO Meissner 2961 amps wired for stereo.
How did they sound? OK. Like many high-powered amps, they seemed to lack a little on the top end (treble response - NOT tribble response - she can't take much more of this)
In a way I was glad that they did not sound great since they take up a lot of shelf space and I might have never put the radio back together again.
Interesting that the FM dial is "channelized" rather than reading in frequency as most modern radios do. This format was adapted from the previous FCC channel allocation (around 42 mhz.) but it was generally dropped following the war in favor of the 88 - 108mhz display format. This leads me to believe that the design was from 1946 or earlier. It probably took some time to put such a radio into production especially in such limited numbers.
The channel numbers on this FM dial are 200 to 300.
The control area is leather and is normally protected from wear with a clear plastic sheet, removed here to reduce glare.
The upper row of push-buttons are for bass and treble control and work considerably better than the more common "tone" control. The lower row are for AM (only) station presets. The station presets are controlled by the row of knobs at the bottom. This arrangement makes setting preset stations easy. The radio drifts very little so there is no need to fiddle with the controls after selecting a station.
While the outside of the cabinet had been refinished, and, I refinished it again, the interior, including the speaker baffle, was in good shape, so it remains original - and yellowed by age. One day the new lacquer will yellow as well, but for the moment it is kind 'a two-tone. I believe in preserving as much as possible while making the project function and presentable and, hopefully, future owners will see enough value to prevent the destruction of American Technological Artifacts like the Meissner 2961.
The phonograph is a single speed, 78RPM record changer with a ceramic cartridge. Watch the demo above.
Russ Webb & Fuzzy
Best Buddy, Radio fixer