Author Topic: Suggestions on a restoration project  (Read 484 times)

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Offline joeybass

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Suggestions on a restoration project
« on: July 18, 2018, 06:56:31 pm »
Hi, I'm interested in starting a vintage electronic restoration project and I'm looking for suggestions for a beginner.    I originally looked at mid-1970's stereo receivers, but i quickly realized that this would be way beyond what i can do.   I repair smartphones/tablets for a living, but I don't have much experience soldering.   I figure this is a valuable skill anyway, so I might as well learn.   I was thinking maybe I could buy a broken vintage tube preamp or an old guitar effect pedal, and this would hopefully have much simpler electronics than an audio receiver.  Is this a good place to start?  If not, what would be recommended? Thanks!
 

Online james_s

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Re: Suggestions on a restoration project
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 07:56:24 pm »
How about a radio? They made millions of the classic "All-American Five" AC/DC 5 tube AM radios and there are quite a few of them around still. Some of the less attractive models such as the type in bakelite cabinets can be had fairly cheaply. The circuits are well documented and well understood, as well as very robust. The tubes are largely all readily available and there are lots of resources out there to help with your restoration. It all adds up to being a reasonably good candidate for a first vintage restoration.
 

Offline Old Printer

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Re: Suggestions on a restoration project
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2018, 08:16:11 pm »
I am "restoring" my old Fender Champ tube amp. I will likely be mostly replacing the electrolytic capacitors & tubes and maybe a few other components if any don't check out. I bought it new in 1974. I haven't played it much because it sounded terrible last time i used it. Since learning a bit about electronics in the last couple years I thought it would be a good project as there is a lot of information on them. I have a thread over in the repair section, but i am just ordering the parts now so it will be a while before much is added. I had thought about looking for some old tube radios at garage sales, and I may do that yet, but this project was a natural for me.
 
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Offline innkeeper

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Re: Suggestions on a restoration project
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 08:57:52 pm »
Just a word of caution... if you take on a tube project.

There are typically lethal voltages in tube equipment and many caveats to concern yourself with from a safety standpoint.
Id not recommend it as one's first restoration project unless your passion has been learning a lot about tube technology and are aware of all these things.

low voltages used in Transistors are a lot safer.

having said that, I love resorting old tube equipment.
Hobbyist and a retired engineer and possibly a test equipment addict, though, searching for the equipment to test for that.
 

Offline JS

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Re: Suggestions on a restoration project
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 10:10:58 pm »
  I was about to say something like innkeeper said, safety with tube gear.

  Having said that, I've been playing around with tubes since 15yo and I'm still alive, few shocks with up to 600V but a lightning in the boat did hurt much more, few hour staring at the finger where the discharge entered my body without being able to move it, few days without feeling anything with it.

  In another forum we have a topic logging the shocks of the members, audio forum so a lot of tubes there, a few lightnings as well and some funny inductive kick backs (been there too)

  As general rule, while working on live equipment probe around with one hand in the pocket, standing up with insulating footwear, once off check the caps are discharged and if not discharge them safely, having a dmm probe with an aligator clip on the other end, with 100k 2W resistor in between helps a lot, the other nice tool is a low-z mode on the EEVblog's BM235 but I didn't have that one when I was 15... Checking the voltage while discharging is nice, discharging too fast doesn't work as the charge builds bac up. On top of that, the usual mains safety precautions, those are quite a thread in it self, so be sure you know them to start with.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Suggestions on a restoration project
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 11:31:28 pm »
I've restored a few tube radios and worked on other tube equipment and no shocks so far. I did do a lot of work on CRT monitors and TVs though which have one tube and higher voltages than most gear so I've developed some pretty good safety habits.
 


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