Adapting WACKY LOOKING Philco G826-124 to play Bluetooth MP3 – Retro Radio Farm

Adapting WACKY LOOKING Philco G826-124 to play Bluetooth MP3

Here's a very nice looking retro Philco with a wacky chevron shaped cabinet in Salmon Pink. Playbook fifties style. This is a twin speaker model so it sounds better than one speaker in theory. However, the truth is the speakers are just 4" in diameter and spaced just a few inches apart. Plus, it is not a stereo with high fidelity audio circuitry.

On the plus side, it is a highly desirable piece as a retro decor statement. The gold plastic applique is half broken. The left volume knob was missing its center gold metal cap insert. I plugged it in and here's what it sounded like. Youtube video. Typical 60 kilohertz cycle hum. Needs to filter caps for sure.

Here's the back:

No cracks. Nice.

All the numbering and paint was still intact on the dial. There was this yucky paste-like crud on the dials. I see this often. Looks like some kind of waxy chalky build-up.

Probably the most disconcerting blemish is the broken front center applique. I'm not hopeful I'll ever find one of these as a spare part. Forget eBay. You would need to buy the whole radio to get the part. If that is the case, the donor radio would probably be a better restore candidate. I will need to fabricate one by myself. Not easy.

I took everything apart and did not find any major molestation inside:

In fact, the radio powered up and sounded great right after I replaced the filter capacitor. I performed some minor circuit board repair. The circuit trace lines get un-adhered over the years and need to be re-adhered. I re-flowed some solder points which looked crusty and baked.

At some point, someone melted the plastic fastening posts which hold the speakers. This is a good repair even though it looks ugly. It's inside the radio so nobody ever sees it. It's better to perform this repair than have speakers flying around inside the radio.

Due to this prudent and timely repair, the speaker cones were not punctured. The inside was plenty dirty and dusty which I appreciate. I would rather open up an old radio and see all this original old dirt than find one that was spic and span inside.

After a long session with warm soap and water and various cleaning brushes:

Looks clean!

Next, I wanted to adapt this radio for MP3 and Bluetooth. I wanted the modifications to be as unobtrusive as possible.

I decided to tie the power cord to protect the power cable interconnect joint from further fatigue. Here's a snapshot of the wiring on the inside.

Not too hard. I put it all back together and plugged it in. Sounds great!

YouTube video here.

The fabrication of the center gold applique was a pain. It was tapered with a v-cross section and gold painted. Not easy for me to make. I'm sure someone out there has all the right tools and materials to crank these out in seconds. It took me hours.

The little gold metal cap for the volume knob was a pain too. I'm sure there's tons a ways to manufacture this thing easily. I just stamped out a round disk from a gold metal sheet and pressed it into shape. Not perfect but works.

Here what the finished product looks like. Nice!

 

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