Motorola 57CF2 - nice cared-for clock radio. Sometimes the best thing – Retro Radio Farm

Motorola 57CF2 - nice cared-for clock radio. Sometimes the best thing to do is NOTHING!

Here is an old 1957 Motorola CF2 that is in absolutely stunning condition. No heat cracks on top - which is amazing. Unique black face clock. All original.

 

These old Motorolas in funky colors scratch my old retro radio itch like none other. Wild and wacky, but well made. Heavy thick urea plastics which actually smell funny when you polish them. Smells kinda like...um...pee. The weird thing about them was the plastic was so heavy, they were inherently brittle. So, over the years, most of them developed heat cracks on the top with prolonged use. This one, however, did not suffer that usual fate.

The other thing I don't particularly like about this design is the "placir" circuit board. Yuk! They are tricky to troubleshoot because the circuit is on both sides of the board. It's tough enough trying to troubleshoot a circuit that's on one side! The other thing is the copper circuit traces tend to lift off the fiber backing when you unsolder the components because the adhesives holding the copper traces onto the fiber board have dried over the years. What a nightmare to troubleshoot and perform circuit repairs!

When I opened up this radio, the insides looked great, although dusty. Untouched. Nobody has opened this thing up since the 60's or earlier! What a beautiful sight. ("eyes of the beholder..")

No missing or mismatched screws even. I likey.

When I plugged it in for a listen, it sounded great! These old metal canister filter capacitors are a lot more reliable that their paper beeswax counterparts. It features a thicker factory power cord with safety interchange so you don't accidently shock yourself replacing the tubes. This radio's cord, however, had become extremely stiff over the years. Needs to be replaced.

The clock looked good also. No needed repairs. Just a little cleaning.

Really, all this clock radio needed was the good cleaning, and it didn't even really need that. I'm sure I could have found things to repair and replace. Any repairs no matter how simple it may seem, always imposes some risk. You never know what might get screwed up by taking on some small unneeded repairs. I don't know how many times I've finally gotten something to work and then some unfortunate accident happens and the whole thing is toast.

 

This radio repair was an exercise in restraint and originality. "It's only original once." I take a lesson from my days collecting vintage guitars. There, originality is everything. Broken solder points and replaced electronics, not to mention any kind of cosmetic repair or modification, even when necessary, usually affects the value of the instrument in a negative way.

Remember that, please, out there. These old radios may be very valuable someday. Just think of all the old muscle cars that were chopped up by well intentional do-it-yourselfers, and ruined forever. How about old Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls that were refinished or routed to accommodate the whims of their owners. What a shame and a loss!

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