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Vintage Television and Video Vintage television and video equipment, programmes, VCRs etc.

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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 9:34 am   #1
MartinMarris
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Default Appeal Of This Hobby

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Originally Posted by sexton_mallard View Post
... one of the reasons why I love finding and trying to resurrect old TVs. Being able to connect to the past in a way not possible by merely visiting a museum or web site. To someone born in 1969 these sets really do come from another world and I hope we try and save some of the consumer electronics of the past for future generations. A tribute to the hard work and ingenuity of these people, and a little but important 'two fingers' to the throwaway 'culture'.
I am quoting from the GEC BT 2147 post but my reply is off-topic so here is a new thread. I just wanted to add some more about the multi-generational appeal of the hobby.

I am mainly into restoring 1950s test equipment and homebrewing ham radio gear of the same era, but have been following this forum with interest. I was born in the late fifties and, as a teenager, coaxed a 20-year-old 405-line set back to life in the early 1970s (and look forward to doing the same again soon). I am old enough to remember watching lots of 405-line TV and of course hearing the ubiquitous line whistle!

I can think of several attractions about the restoration hobby:
(1) I can own stuff that in the past was financially out of reach and could only dream about. In fact, the more beat-up and broken the item is, the better a "deal" it is and the more enjoyable to repair/restore!
(2) It is a technically demanding hobby and as someone with a non-scientific path (except for A-level Physics that I never completed, switching to the Arts halfway through 6th form) it a good brain-stretcher.
(3) There is a huge nostalgia factor of course, since I am old enough to remember these sets when everybody had them in their homes. Even the smell of a valve set warming up can set off a "flashback."
(4) It is a lot of fun to interact with other people who have the same interest and particularly fascinating here, where you can find people who worked professionally in this field.
(5) Friends and family think I am a little bonkers, but it is a fairly harmless brand of eccentricity.

This forum has helped me figure out that the sets in my grandparents' Hampshire house in the late 1960s were (1) a Bush TV125 in the living room and (2) a Bush TV115 in the guest bedroom, fitted with a 405/625 switch but never converted to dual-system. In about 1973, they replaced the living-room set with a Grundig Colour 1500 (pictured in link below) which my grandfather bought not just because he wanted colour but also because it had very good sound and he was a bit deaf. He particularly liked the two-position tone control mounted inside the slide-out power switch, which apparently made speech much more intelligible.

http://www.marcelstvmuseum.com/grund...1500%2002.html

At the time, my parents did not have TV (they were very late converts) so TV was something I associated with the grandparents!
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 10:11 am   #2
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

I totally agree with all of that. But the old 405 line fix reminded me of my very recent wife and I in our early 20's in a flat in Southampton in about 1979. The delightful Scottish landlady said she had an old TV, and we were welcome to it - it didn't work, but perhaps I could fix it.

This old beast (the TV, not the landlady!) was in the usual veneered cocktail cabinet casework. I quickly found the problem - the mains dropper resistor was open circuit. No visible value on it, so I off-wound it, in two sections of course, and measured the resistance. Replaced it with a modern high power wirewound and it woke right up.

Watched the first space shuttle launch on that old TV. All before transmission on 405 line was discontinued.

I then got a TV (transistor) tuner front end, and tweaked it so that it produced an output that I could feed it into a Heathkit FM tuner, and into the hifi system. So we had an ancient 405 line television with hifi sound!

All great fun.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 10:25 am   #3
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

I started in the trade in 1954, while we still had only one channel and a lot of sets with mains EHT, but I must admit it was the most interesting part of my life, I even got to grips with transistors but when IC's came along I started to lose the plot as you could no longer fault find down to a single component and a lot of guessing was required. When digital came along as you couldn't see it on a scope I didn't believe it existed, I retired about then anyway.

I still believe the '50's to be the most rewarding time in the trade and yes you can re live it with the vast amount of equipment that still survives.

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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 3:02 pm   #4
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

What I find most enjoyable is the pleasure in knowing how to establish how something works and therefore how to fix a device that has ceased to function. Be it any AV item or a domestic microwave oven, a friend was much impressed when we installed a new gas cooker without the need to call in "professional" help - all connectors were gas safe I assure you.

Like many my own background is in electronics, a former BBC engineer of many years, but have worked with computers since the 90s.

A few weeks ago at a charity where I volunteer I was given an old reel to reel tape machine to "look" at.

After finding some tools and giving the brakes a good seeing to it was a pleasure to compare the rough feathered edges of an old reel of tape to the smooth edges of my library wound reels.

The pleasure is knowing we know and can apply our skills beyond just the devices we have worked on in years past. The limitations are only availability of spares and impossibility of replacing SMC or glued together technologies.

I'm still proud that I can repair PCBs where sections are missing due to on-board fire.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 4:37 pm   #5
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For me it's very much the problem-solving aspect that interests me. To be honest, in a lot of cases I somewhat lose interest in a device after I have got it working properly _and_ fully understand how it works (the latter is not trivial in the case of some of the things I work on).

There is also the joy of taking something that is regarded as scrap and getting it going again. And the pleasure of owning test gear and other items that I could never have had when they were new.

Unlike many here, I have no formal training in electronics or engineering (I am actually a particle physicist by education...) and have never worked in the industry.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 4:40 pm   #6
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I have the same thing when it comes to the problem solving side of things. Then moment it’s done I lose interest. I think that’s why I seem to collect test gear. It’s usable afterwards to fix other things. Unfortunately it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up more oscilloscopes as it goes.

I really like old cruddy Heathkit stuff that has been badly assembled. That’s a world of masochistic fun to get working again

What I’d kill for is an unassembled Heathkit television.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 5:08 pm   #7
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

Thanks for all the answers. I too really enjoy the trouble-shooting aspect, which fits in with point (2) in my original post.

With reference to TV restoration, I could add a sixth item:

(6) Watching programming, including era-appropriate TV programmes from the past, on a vintage television.

Which leads me to a question of some interest to me. How many of us make substantial use of these sets once they are restored to viewable condition? Do they largely stay cantoned to the workshop (or home "museum") or do some of them end up in the living room getting daily use?

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I have the same thing when it comes to the I really like old cruddy Heathkit stuff that has been badly assembled. That’s a world of masochistic fun to get working again
Yup, I've done quite a lot of that, especially the "educational series": the "EF" series (learning how to use test instruments such as a VTVM, a 'scope or a signal generator) as well as EK-1 and EK-2A and -2B (Basic Electricity and Basic Radio).

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Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
What I’d kill for is an unassembled Heathkit television.
They very occasionally turn up on eBay here in the U.S. although of course they are the NTSC versions.

My family lived in the Washington DC area in 1969/70. I remember my dad taking me to the local Heathkit store and seeing the assembled TVs and electronic organs.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 5:21 pm   #8
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

I think "this hobby" is a subset of what most of us do.

I love making something work, it could be a self designed thing, a broken thing, twiddling a radio for the best sound, putting in plumbing/electrics. The list is endless.

Using ones hands and brain to do something useful, learning how and why (the why is most important) it is such great fun with an added smugness when it works. It's grin grin all the way!
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 5:30 pm   #9
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

Let me add another one, inspired by the previous post:

(7) Doing stuff with one's hands. In my "day job" I'm a graphic designer and glued to a PC all day. So much of the world today is "virtual" and it is so great to get away from that and build (or repair) something tangible. One of my other hobbies is plastic modeling: another example of doing stuff with one's hands.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 5:52 pm   #10
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

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So much of the world today is "virtual"
Too true, we have a young chap at work (post A levels for experience, and he gets paid, a bosses' friend's son) he is enjoying just handling stuff and learning how it works. Very clever and polite too I must take in one of my battery portables for him to see, I think he will go far.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 6:00 pm   #11
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Nothing in the company I work for isn’t in a computer. That’s probably a reason I do this stuff at night. I’m slightly loathed to even use modern test equipment.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 7:14 pm   #12
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I use i phones and computers like everyone else these days but I have no interest how these things work.
The TV sales and servicing business was still going reasonably well up to the end of the 1990s but when the noughties came trade just degenerated in to something really awful. Even the last of the CRT TVs were nasty things to repair. LCD TV repairs are a dead loss.
Much better is old tech. Even if a service manual unavailable you can trace through a circuit without too much effort. Nice wooden cabinets to repair and polish. So I'm living in the past, so what!

DFWB.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 7:30 pm   #13
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

I have spent the majority of my working life repairing things.
I started on this path as an apprentice researching and developing electronic components.
Because we in Britain develop so few new industries, I am a dinosaur.
We repair nothing of importance so I am out of date, out of work, unemployable as I would wish to work. ( if I hadn't retired long ago )

Yet this hobby based in part on my past is my future.
That is the attraction, at age 68 I can do what I want, when I want, how I want, and is just fine.
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Old 23rd Sep 2017, 8:39 pm   #14
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Martin I think you've hit the nail on the head with your very detailed reasons why we all do what we do. I grew up in my Fathers electrical shop which he opened in 1967 and spent most of my childhood surrounded by radios, televisions, early vcr's, record players, audio separates, and all the usual test gear and components. By the time I was born in 1978 the valve era was over but I remember a lot of old folk bringing in their old sets for a cheap repair. Most of the scrap sets ended up in my hands and I spent many happy days playing about with, experimenting with, and usually pulling them apart before they ended up in the dustbin. I wince when I think of some of the stuff I wrecked, which would be quite desirable now!!
I was given a Bush DAC90 when I was about 10 in 1988, and it worked so I kept it in my bedroom (I still have it to this day) By the time I was 14 I had about 60 radios but no old tellies. These were harder to find by then and 405 line was long gone so I wouldn't get a picture anyway.

Then I dragged home a 17" Dynatron TV38 and Father was pestered to make it work again. We built a VHF modulator from a circuit in 'Television' magazine by David Looser, who provided me with some 405 line VHS tapes and before long we had a picture and I was well and truly hooked!!! Dad enjoyed it too as it was an opportunity to reminisce and the Dynatron became quite a talking point in the shop. I became a fan and acquaintance of the late Gerry Wells and used to go to the Sunday workshops at the museum quite often with sets that I was stuck on. They would always be made to work again before I was allowed to go home!!

The rest as they say is history. Dad's shop is now nothing but a happy memory but the skills I learnt live on and now I have quite a collection of nice 405 line sets. The sight, sound, smell, and the fondness of vintage programmes tick all the boxes for me. The whole process of a restoration is something that I love, from finding a set, the initial dismantling and cleaning to the first power up and the fault finding stage. I love the problem solving side of things, studying circuit diagrams and replacing components. For me this is a form of therapy! sometimes I don't like finishing a set too quickly, as when it's back in the cabinet all your hard work is hidden. Then its on to the next one whatever it may be.

The reward of repairing something and making it work again as we all know is a very satisfying feeling, and this is something I'm still addicted to 30 years later.
I've also been restoring classic cars for the last 20 odd years (a subject for another forum no doubt) but the skills I've gained from this can also be applied to cabinet restoration, such as repolishing and refinishing, repairing rubber masks, remanufacturing missing knobs etc.

We have the greatest hobby. I'm in awe of a lot of the chaps on here who I have the utmost respect for, and whose knowledge far surpasses mine. But you never stop learning. I am an avid reader of the forum and I'm still learning now, so I will never grow bored of the subject.

Long may old tellies carry on to give us so much pleasure.

Matt
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Old 24th Sep 2017, 12:24 pm   #15
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I use i phones and computers like everyone else these days but I have no interest how these things work.
I'm inconsitent about that!. The laptop I am typing this on is a tool -- to get me on the internet, to print out service manuals, etc. I have little idea of what is really going on inside most of it. (one day perhaps...)

But on some older computers I could tell you what every last NAND gate and every last flip-flop in the processor was for. I could take you round the microcode. Those are the machines I repair for fun.
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Old 24th Sep 2017, 8:39 pm   #16
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Default Re: Appeal Of This Hobby

I was born in 1969 my dad was an electrician but could turn his hand to anything, my earliest memories of TV was 405 line and I remember sitting in my dads garage/workshop watching the last transmission on 405 line. He used to bring me stuff home from work, one paticular valved radio, he said would never work but as kids do, I managed to get a few of the roadwork light spring top batteries and tape them together and much to his amazement the radio worked. He also brought me a valved PA amp with speaker, I was already fascinated by valves as I spent many weekends with my dad's sister who had a radiogram, that smell of warm dust and waiting for it to warm up, my love of vinyl came from this and I asked for a record player on my 12th birthday.
I've always been around and loved older technology.
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Old 25th Sep 2017, 6:27 am   #17
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I have had a fascination with electronics since the tender age of five, like most of us did, I used to pull things apart with not a clue what I was doing!

As time went by, I learned how to diagnose and repair valve radios, record players, reel to reel tape recorders and 405 line TV's which were considered junk back in the 1970's, and were sourced from jumble sales, the local tip and friends and family.

By the 1980's, I had got into early colour TV and later in the decade, video recorders.

Fifty years on, I am still hooked on vintage technology, particularly 405 line TV's. While I still enjoy restoring valve radios, I get the most satisfaction from restoring single channel sets from the late 40's/early fifties.

Thanks to the excellent Aurora, these early sets can be enjoyed once more.
I would dearly love to find a pre-war TV to restore one day, but fear that even if one did turn up, it would be way out of reach financially


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