Yesterday--after asking Russ at what point it would become possible to get electrocuted--and he answered, "Not until you plug it in," I decided to work on "my" radio. I approached the bench.
Russ had carefully arranged the old Westinghouse on a towel. Must be leaking something, I thought. Maybe battery acid! Russ, as if reading my mind said, "The antenna coil was unwinding; it's starting to fall apart." Oh.
I peeked underneath the chassis --for any of you who may not know, it's a flat piece of metal, on which a number- of what appear to be dingy brown, wax-coated, small firecrackers; shredded, discolored, frayed wires; and some other stuff, sit. What he apparently referred to, was a decaying piece of paper with a wire wrapped about it a bunch of times. I didn't look like any antenna, I'd ever seen, but he was the expert.
Russ disappeared and reappeared with some wax. I assume, he fixed the alleged antenna right up. "You have to be careful when you're working on these old radios,"
Well, technically I wasn't working on the old radio quite yet. "Let's get started." My nano-patience timer was already sounding an alert. Quick review. Day one, we (and of course when I refer to we, I mean Russ) had cleaned and disassembled. We had removed the tubes and the tube shields (one brownie point). Oh yeah, and Russ said "we" also tested the filter choke, the field coil and the output transformer. How silly of me, I'd forgotten that.
Finally, we ( this time me- an exception to the rule) got to do some hands-on work! I'm excited. I'm surprised to find, I'm getting interested. Russ explains we will be replacing the paper caps with new film caps. (A cap, again for you who may not know, is a capacitor.)
Oh, goody! That means I get to use a tool. Russ reluctantly relinquishes his man cave implement. I'll need to unsolder the old caps to remove them, then solder the replacements back in place. I quickly learn the important of remembering where they come from.
I poke at the old cap with the soldering iron. This seems to displease Russ greatly. "No. You want to hold it steady, heat it up, and when it's liquid- you can pull it out. You may have to wet it."
I put the soldering iron down and head for the sink. "Where are you going?
"I'm going to get some water."
Russ looks frustrated; he has a puzzled look on his face. Light bulb. "No," he says as if he's in pain, "I meant wet it with solder." Oh.
We determine the caps are bad by using a leakage tester. Russ said, "I already knew they all needed to replaced.." Oh.
He lines up the correct replacement parts- colorful, plastic-coated, little orange, mini-pillows and sunny bright, baby-barrels. Our (my) task seems to be to replace the ugly ones with the pretty ones. I like it. Done!
Till next time...when we check the resistors. (Russ says, "Resistance is futile.") :)
Have you ever been in "over your head" ?