UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum

UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum (
-   Vintage Radio (domestic) (
-   -   Ekco ACT96 restoration (

stevehertz 3rd Jun 2022 6:43 pm

Ekco ACT96 restoration
3 Attachment(s)
This Ekco ACT96 came in a truly excellent condition bakelite cabinet and all original knobs with only a very dirty, shrunken dial scale to make it seem in anything less than in great condition. Take the back off and the real set is there to see - rust, mould, dirt, dust, spider's webs. So, I have to restore it.

The Ekco ACT96 has internal aerials in the form of a long wave coil on one side of the set and a medium wave coil on the other. These are quite large structures comprising the coils wound between rectangular plywood side cheeks. One of them is totally rotten and covered in mould. I've bought replacement, 'cut to size' MDF boards of the correct size to use when I get that far on with the restoration.

For now I've been dismantling the set and using my compressor to blow away all the dust etc. Plus I've started wire brushing rust areas in preparation for the application of Kurust.

I'm treating it as a long, 'bit by bit' job rather than the usual two or three days and it's done kind of thing. There is an awful lot of work to be done!

stevehertz 3rd Jun 2022 6:45 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
3 Attachment(s)
More photos.

Ed_Dinning 3rd Jun 2022 7:02 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Hi Steve, I may have some of the valves for that set if you need them; including a B9 base FC if that is what is fitted


cathoderay57 3rd Jun 2022 7:08 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Hi Steve, from the look of it, you must be a man who enjoys a challenge.....Best of luck! Jerry P.S. if Ed can't help, I have all the valves (used & tested) in stock. I think the FC should be an FC4 so 7-pin.

stevehertz 3rd Jun 2022 7:41 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Thanks guys. I think I'm going to be ok valve wise. A few weeks ago I removed the valves and tested them. Together with ones already in my possession I think I have it covered. Sorry to be a bit vague but clearly I've got a long way to go before inserting valves. But I'll holler for sure if I need a couple.

PJL 3rd Jun 2022 10:49 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
I have restored worse, the rotten wooden structures make it look terrible but once replaced it will look a lot better. So you know what you are getting into I would check the transformers and coils next. Do you know the history? If it's recent damp you might should dry out the mains and output transformers.

Anecdotally, my Mullard Tester showed signs of leakage in the mains transformer but has gradually improved over about 5 years!

mark pirate 4th Jun 2022 7:14 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
That does not look too bad, the chassis appears to be quite good, it looks like only one side has any significant rust on it.

My AC86 was far worse, but surprisingly clean under the chassis, my dial had also warped & shrunk, but a few weeks under pressure straightened it out enough to be useable, you may be able to source a reproduction dial if yours is too bad.


stevehertz 4th Jun 2022 7:37 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
PJL, Mark, you're right, I too thing that it is not as bad as it looks. The rust isn't too bad and as I'm finding already it's relatively easily treated. Of course some issues are less obvious, for example the aluminium rivets on the plastic connection panels are all rotten and will need replacing, the mains pins are bent and so on. Yes I will test the trannies asap, but I'm minded to complete the restoration anyway and if I have to replace or rewind trannies so be it.

Apart from the huge cleaning up aspect, my first problem or poser is how to transfer a set of 'square' aerial windings from that rotten former to those new side cheeks. I'll remove one side of the rotten former and see the lie of the land, things should be clearer. Thanks for your input so far.

stevehertz 4th Jun 2022 7:36 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
The earlier photos show the state of the upper chassis' back panel and the aluminium rivets holding the gram and extension speaker panels that have all but rotted away. After having throughly clean the upper chassis surfaces with repeated applications of plain water on a cotton cloth and allowing to dry thoroughly (actually I wire brushed the rusty areas first), I applied a thin coat of Kurust to all rusty areas and spots on that chassis. It's now an equally ugly shade of shiny black, but probably much better than rust and I'm more than happy with it as an 'honest', stable repair. I never intended to strip the chassis and do a repaint - I take my hat off to people who do that!

Removing the rivets from the speaker panel and the mains panel (the paxolin panel had warped on the latter, forcing the pins to point inwards) was quite an epic. They were corroded tightly in place. Apart from the two really badly corroded ones, removing the rivet heads didn't help at all, they simply weren't for knocking out, so I had to drill them out using successively larger drills in a Dremel. The aluminium constantly galled with the drill bits, their tips needing frequent freeing up using an awl. One drill bit broke creating an even bigger problem, and to cap it all my Dremel failed. I took an hour taking the Dremel apart, but no obvious signs of a fault. So I bought another, much the same, the 3000 model. I always use the flexible extension because being much smaller I find it easier to get into tight spots. So then just a matter of fitting new pop rivets. In the case of the small paxolin panel holding the mains pins, I simply turned it around so that the chassis pulled it back into (flat) shape.

Next, a similar tackling of rust on the lower chassis and other oddment areas, support straps etc.

stevehertz 4th Jun 2022 7:42 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
4 Attachment(s)

mark pirate 4th Jun 2022 8:50 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
It has probably been in a leaky old shed for years, I agree to check the wound components first, I have an equally bad Ekco, but found no real problem, bar the usual capacitors.

How is it under the chassis?


stevehertz 5th Jun 2022 1:56 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
2 Attachment(s)
I've been continuing with applying Kurust to the lower chassis and any remaining metal straps etc. In doing so I have removed the speaker on its wooden baffle board and the latter is delaminating badly, so a new one will have to be made.

The dial scale has shrunk, but it may still be useable so long as its top and bottom edges are able to be clamped in position as per original by the set's peripheral mountings. The decorative curved mazac bar that sweeps across it will need new mounting holes to be made in the scale (or existing ones elongated, not sure yet) to enable it to be fixed. Fortuitously the bar will help straighten the distorted dial scale. The scale legends are good and strong and the opaque colour is kind of 'original' otherwise you would be able to see the 'workings' of the set through a clear scale. In the photo I have begun cleaning the right hand side of the scale. Nonetheless, I seem to recall that a forum member made a new dial scale and I would be interested to hear how they did it. I do have a drawing of an ACT96 scale but converting that into an actual scale is another thing, someone's experiences would help greatly.

cathoderay57 5th Jun 2022 7:20 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration

I do have a drawing of an ACT96 scale but converting that into an actual scale is another thing, someone's experiences would help greatly.
I've never done a dial scale for one of these but the principles are similar. If you have a high definition jpg of the scale then import it into MS Word within which you can resize it easily by dragging the corner of the image. Trial prints on paper will help in getting the overall size exact. Then print onto clear sticky-backed paper (I always struggle to get my head around whether you need to reverse the image but I think not in this case). Then cut some translucent perspex or clear plastic to the right size and stick the scale "transfer" onto it. You can also use waterslide transfer but this is fiddly and it is all too easy to split or wrinkle the transfer when applying it to the plastic base template. If you want to tint the image to emulate the yellowing then it can be done in Photoshop or similar apps or even MS Photos. Jerry

stevehertz 6th Jun 2022 7:26 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Thanks Jerry. As I say above, I think a clear scale would show the workings of the set through it. Does anyone know if scales were tinted as new? I'm not so concerned about apeing 'ageing', more so originality. Saying all that, my gut feeling is that the scale would have been made using clear celluloid, not tinted. Does anyone know?!

cathoderay57 6th Jun 2022 11:41 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Not sure, but from images at RM and similar vintage sets eg A22 the scale was probably translucent cream background. Jerry

stevehertz 6th Jun 2022 12:39 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Thanks Jerry. I've made a paper version for now to check for sizing etc.

cathoderay57 6th Jun 2022 9:27 pm

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
If you want to do the cream background you will struggle because domestic printers don't print white ink. Best bet would be to print clear and stick onto a translucent cream plastic backing piece. Various suppliers such as this Jerry

cathoderay57 7th Jun 2022 6:56 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Another option would be to print the scale into cream coloured translucent sticky-backed film such as this, then cut to size and apply to a clear plastic stiffener. Jerry

vinrads 7th Jun 2022 8:38 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Steve I have one that I can spare, it is sized to the original ,but it seems to fit ok maybe you can use it to fill in the green and re size if needed ,this is for an AC 86 I stuck it to a clear sheet then used a piece of off white paper so you can still see the tuning light , Mick.

stevehertz 7th Jun 2022 10:06 am

Re: Ekco ACT96 restoration
Jerry, I think the 3mm thick acrylic would be too thick to slot into the curved lower clamp - I'll check. The cream coloured printable sticker sheets may be a better idea.

Mick, thanks for now, but I think I'm going to try the above route. Cheers.

All times are GMT. The time now is 8:48 pm.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2021, Paul Stenning.