EBay Bought Radio - I Got What I Paid For But Not What I Bargained For!
A few weeks ago, I scored this little lovely:
Here's the story of my purchase.
When I saw this Philco, I knew I had to have it! I've had this model in coral, white with coral painted grill, turquoise, and grey-blue, but never in white with turquoise painted grill. I thought this was the most attractive color combination of these models I've seen.
This series Philco is great sounding because they have two speakers! Some of them have the little High-Low tone switch in back. This radio has that tone switch. You've all heard parametric equalization and graphic equalization. This is the predecessor to all that: binary equalization! There is a lighted tuning dial. The on-off switch is pull to power on. Why Philco chose to do that is beyond me. My wife calls this radio the 'winking eye' radio because it looks like a person is winking at you! She even chose this radio series design as the artistic subject for Retro Radio Farm T-Shirt (see here).
This design embodies the classic 50s retro spirit with its 'W' shaped profile. There was a time in 1958-1963 when this look was experimental. Needless to say, it did not resonate. Look at the 1963 Mercury Monterey with its breezeway rear window or the 1959 Lincoln Continental Capri, and you'll see what I'm talking about:
I was surprised I was the only Ebay bidder on this radio even though it was expensive. The seller represented the radio as non working and needed new bulb. So, I thought this would be a quick fix: new filter capacitors and bulb and I'm off to the races.
EBay is such a tricky little minx! She-bay seduces me with her wares, playing on my frailty and lust. The thrill of beating someone else out with the higher bid just causes me to open my wallet wide! Real w-i-d-e!
The radio arrived exactly as described. No cracks or chips (key). The factory painted grill was in better shape than I hoped. It was nearly pristine. It was not painted by a previous owner. Uh, yeah, I'm sure.
A quick mention on price. This radio was ALOT more expensive than it was worth. It's rare. It's beautiful. But, in the end, it doesn't work. Almost $120 is a lot for shelf art for most folks except rabid radio collectors in my opinion. But, $120 and an hour or two to replace filter caps, clean up, and new bulb is not as bad for a working AM radio. $120 and an hour or two above that for AM working, plus Bluetooth and/or Amazon Echo, now that's ok I suppose.
But, this radio turned out to be a lot less than what I bargained for!
It needed filter caps, that's true.
But, the static-y sound was SMD (silver migration disease) in the second stage IFT. Easy enough fix, if you know what you're doing. But, it takes a little more time.
See the IFTs on the left? Which one is diseased? Can you tell from the static waves crashing sound?
The inside was untouched for about 60 years except for replacement of a few tubes.
The rectifier tube in foreground looks original but the amplifier tubes right behind it doesn't. How important are original tubes? Not important to me. I'd rather buy a nice original radio with strong non-original tubes versus a beat up radio with all weak original tubes.
See the nice original speakers?
No punctures. No rips. No separation.
After the IFT was repaired and replaced, the radio still sounded really weak. I tried aligning but the volume was still weak.
Turns out, the pre-amp stage cathode resistor at pin 7 100ohm was measuring 1000! No wonder. Note: this was not ascertained in just a few minutes.
There was a .047uf bumble bee capacitor that was blown apart. Nice. It did not look blown apart on the circuit board. Only when I removed it did I find there was a small seam. I broke it apart for the photos but electrically speaking, it was destroyed. Can you tell whether the capacitor in the background is blown or not?
Not a good idea to plug this radio in without first fixing these issues. If you buy an old radio off Ebay, someone who is qualified should repair it first before you decide to put back into regular use.
The power cord interconnect looked great on this radio:
The pilot bulb was a no-brainer to replace. I have tons of them.
After that, with proper alignment, the volume was loud and clear. This radio was ready to rock!