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Old 7th Sep 2017, 11:57 pm   #21
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

The Black Knight finally arrived this morning.
I jury-rigged a trio of 18650 cells for 12V and let it rip. This video doesn't do it justice, and I'm pleased to note the sound quality has steadily improved throughout the day.
These things need to be used, which I intend to do on a regular basis.
Apart from the top panel, the radio is in very good condition and everything seems to work ok.
I don't think I'll bother with a restoration of the top panel, but a coat of paint, some small Dymo labels (not the dreadful embossed ones, which only belong in a workshop setting, not on these) and a coat of laquer will do for a kitchen radio.
A short video for your delectation and delight...
https://youtu.be/u-J0WYLHx9g
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 11:06 am   #22
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Very nice.

Don't forget that Li batteies like that can deliver a lot of current if something goes awry with the radio, so it's essential you fit a fuse to avoid a fire.

You might be best just cleaning the remaining paint off the top panel with a non-stick pan scourer and some Cif and leaving it at that. Who needs labelled controls anyway? Many wooden- and Bakelite-cased radios had no ID of the knobs other than paper discs under them which were designed to be discarded once you'd become accustomed to what did what.

N.

P.S. How do you charge the Li cells?
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 11:12 am   #23
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell View Post
Not radios per se but wireless communication has been around for more than 100 years (only just but...).
True, just, but I don't think that there can be many collectors buying huge generators, spark gaps and coherers!
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 1:50 pm   #24
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Don't forget that Li batteies like that can deliver a lot of current if something goes awry with the radio, so it's essential you fit a fuse to avoid a fire.
Or to put it another way: Every circuit powered by a rechargeable battery contains a fuse, even if it does not look like a fuse.

My preferred technique when working with rechargeable batteries is to separate out just one strand from the (usually 16/0.2) connecting wire I use, and use that single strand for the final connection to the battery. And it has saved me a few times .....
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 2:52 pm   #25
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

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Originally Posted by julie_m View Post
My preferred technique when working with rechargeable batteries is to separate out just one strand from the (usually 16/0.2) connecting wire I use, and use that single strand for the final connection to the battery. And it has saved me a few times .....
A good idea: my other favourite is to use a 2-prong 0.1 inch "header" [as used for the jumper links on old PC boards] as a tie-point then wire-wrap the 'fusewire' between the pins.
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Old 8th Sep 2017, 3:46 pm   #26
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Good point about the fuse - since this is a temporary arrangement I didn't bother at first.
I have inline fuse holders and a few small sub-500mA glass fuses around somewhere.
The cells are just recharged as part of their normal routine, in an X-Tar charger, and others. I have plenty of them salvaged from prematurely defunct laptop batteries, which are scrapped when one cell drops low (the cell the monitor drains to the non-return point, funnily enough).
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Old 10th Sep 2017, 2:03 pm   #27
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

I use defunct laptop cells, and have been charging them with a bench dc power supply which allows one to set it up as a constant current output, where I guess a suitably small current. Is there a problem with that (I've not been so very bothered, as the cells are free, and they seem to have lasted OK with this approach).
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 3:30 am   #28
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

I just trust the X-Tar charger and others to take care of it. Otoh, I periodcally check how the cells are retaining charge and every so often have to bin a couple. It's not so bad - 20-odd batteries yielded close to 100 cells and 80+ of them were good. I'm now left with about 48 good ones after four years.
They get cycled though my vaping kit, flashlights, and now radios
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Old 11th Sep 2017, 9:20 pm   #29
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

I think valve and solid state radios are analogous to steam and diesel trains. One type is much more interesting while it's working. It almost as if you can actually SEE it working if you like.
I always used to love the smell of old radios too, which I think must be a mixture of dust and wax capacitors, because it seems to disappear when a radio is restored.
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Old 12th Sep 2017, 12:03 am   #30
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Just old alone doesn't do it for me. It's got to be something interesting, something especially good. I'll even put up with new stuff if it's both interesting and good, but as so much new stuff is frankly awful.

Valves or transistors? I'll take either provided they're in something really well designed.

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Old 12th Sep 2017, 11:51 am   #31
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_in_manc View Post
I use defunct laptop cells, and have been charging them with a bench dc power supply which allows one to set it up as a constant current output, where I guess a suitably small current. Is there a problem with that (I've not been so very bothered, as the cells are free, and they seem to have lasted OK with this approach).

If they're Li-Ion rechargeables, just constant current isn't good for them (it's fine for NiCd and to a lesser extent NiMH). Better to charge to a constant voltage- 4.2V max, slightly less for longer life/slightly lower capacity with a current limit to stop any mayhem.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 12:39 am   #32
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

The second Hacker (Sov II) arrived today and it needs almost nothing done to it, apart from a clean-up and re-aligning the dial finger / pointer /thingy, it being 1/2 a MC off on VHF. Nothing show-stopping at all.
It's complete and even had a couple of decent batteries in it, but obviously hadn't been used in a while as all the controls were slightly stiff. They've freed up nicely and an annoying random crackle turned out to be nothing more than loose-fit battery studs.
The batteries have a shelf-life date of 2013 on them, so I'd hazard a guess they date to 2010 or thereabouts.
It sounds gorgeous. I'd say it has the edge on the Black Knight, but not by that much.

I notice on this one the external aerial socket has a smaller pin size than the BK (which happily accepts a standard car aerial plug), and I don't want to needlessly alter something if I can find a proper plug for it with the smaller pin.
I find that both sets absolutely shine on FM when I connect them to an indoor loop, so I'll be running cables from a master FM aerial later on. May as well use the right thing if I can find one.
On MW, the Sov pulls in stations I can barely hear on my main receiver, which says a lot for that honking great ferrite bar in there.
I would say I'm quite happy I bought these, but I'd better stop for now; especially since I started looking on ebay.germany and was intrigued to find some very interesting stuff for not a lot of money...

Last edited by Farzooks; 13th Sep 2017 at 12:47 am.
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Old 13th Sep 2017, 3:22 am   #33
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

Update:
It's too late, I just paid for a Blaupunkt stereo receiver, an STG 3091. Ah well, beans and toast this week again.
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Old 14th Sep 2017, 2:02 am   #34
Farzooks
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Default Re: The Lure of old radios

This all started with my dissatisfaction with the kitchen radio, and as well as wanting to improve the sound, I needed a preset radio to quickly kill off sports programmes which take it over on weekend afternoons. Retuning is slightly awkward, so a preset seemed to be just the thing.
Aside from being diverted by Hackers (which I now love the sound of), I also acquired a Roberts RP26B, which fits the quick-change requirement. Reading a post on here about improving the sound of an RP26 prompted me to stick some 1/4" foam inside the Roberts case. I'm happy to report it's now almost indistinguishable from the Black Knight in sound quality. Not as good as the Sov II, of course, but I didn't expect that.
The RP26 does quite a creditable job with its 4" speaker, I must admit.
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