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Old 20th Aug 2019, 8:20 am   #1
Beardyman
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Default Oh dear! What have I done!

My first post in this section but I've been mainly restoring radios up until now!

My better half spotted this on eBay and basically fell in love with it which meant it would be appearing in the workshop at some point. I've only had a cursory glance at it but from what I can see it seems to be a Philco series 55/56 chassis but is missing the RF shield from the three valves at the left hand side. The turntable is a single speed (78rpm), stamped as a BTH YL series. I've not managed to identify the exact model but on several websites in the USA it is similar to a 26J although that model has 4 knobs on the front rather than my three. This will be a long restoration job I'm thinking!

The turntable motor has a metal canned capacitor (dual?) which I've yet to get to. All in all a totally different animal than those I am used to so any help in identifying it or really any information at all would be much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.

PS the valve line up is as follows: 36, 39/44, 36, 42E & 80S. The first three are for the RF end of things, the 42E is the audio output and the 80S is the rectifier. Under the chassis it has definitely been "got at" but a long time ago.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 9:32 am   #2
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Was this designed for the U.S or for sale in UK? If U.S then it will be 120V 60Hz which means that the motor will run slow on our 50Hz mains...and of course you will need a transformer to step down the mains......
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 9:55 am   #3
Peter.N.
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

I think this motor might have a mechanical governer on it although I can't see it, but I know some of that era did.

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Old 20th Aug 2019, 10:52 am   #4
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Certainly a very american looking set, they tended to make more fancy cabinets than we did during the 1930's. Good luck with the restoration.
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 11:55 am   #5
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

From what I've managed to glean from it so far it is wired for 240V. The transformer in the chassis is as I've run it up on a variac (all valves removed!) & the heater & HT voltages were as predicted. The motor has no mechanical governor I can see but does use 4 windings & its brushless so my thinking is that one of the capacitors is acting as a dropper & the other as a "run" capacitor. I can't find anything about the BTH YL series of turntables on the good 'ol interweb but that doesn't mean it's not out there somewhere. The turntable chassis has some information about it being able to run from 100-240V & 50Hz only. The motor has four terminals, two of which are, at the moment, bridged with a substantial piece of brass strip. There are some very similar looking I'll admit but the previous owner assures me it has been in the UK since it was made/imported & he had seen/heard it working when he was a lad. Anyway, it's going to be interesting if nothing else!
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 11:58 am   #6
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Quote:
My better half spotted this on eBay and basically fell in love with it
Lucky B, fun and keeping in the good books!
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 12:21 pm   #7
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Hello,
The loudspeaker seems to be mounted on a fret which is shaped like it came from a cathedral set.
The Philco 56E seems to have a similar chassis.
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/philcofran_56e.html
Yours, Richard
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 12:28 pm   #8
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Philco GB were established in 1931 to import US made sets and the Perivale factory opened in 1935 for production. The radiogram looks to be late 30's judging by the valves (which are american types). Very american cabinet style of course but it would be nice to know if it was made here or imported. AFAIK most american sets of this size made for the home market would've been fairly luxurious both in the cabinet and chassis, your chassis looks much more in line with other UK makers' specs, i.e. less sophisticated, my thoughts anyway
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 12:49 pm   #9
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Mr Moose,
The speaker is definitely not original as it is indeed mounted on a piece of the donor sets front panel, they even used to cannibalise stuff back then! The speaker that is there is absolutely shot mechanically, totally seized up & cone in pieces. As it's a dynamic type I'll keep the coil in circuit.

MerlinMaxwell,


McMurdo,
From what I can find out Philco imported sets to the UK for the UK market, as you say. Apparently even in the USA these sets are rare. I thought the chassis was a bit "run of the mill" myself! The fact it fits exactly & there are no extra holes even underneath leads me to think it (or something darn close) is original.

I've noticed that just about every panel or piece of wood that can be removed has the number 783 either in chalk or stamped. Perhaps a serial number?
I'll be having a much deeper look at the weekend, best get on with some work I suppose!
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Old 20th Aug 2019, 1:50 pm   #10
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
The radiogram looks to be late 30's judging by the valves (which are american types).
I couldn't date it offhand from the valve types - possibly some more recent replacements? - but from the record playing equipment, cabinet style and small tuning escutcheon I'd have said not much later than 1932.

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Old 20th Aug 2019, 9:31 pm   #11
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell View Post
Quote:
My better half spotted this on eBay and basically fell in love with it
Lucky B, fun and keeping in the good books!
Exactly!!! I wish that my wife was so enthusiastic.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 8:03 pm   #12
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Hello,
Could it be a model 24L https://philcoradio.com/gallery2/1932b/#Model_24L
It says the 24L has a type 52 (https://philcoradio.com/library/down...20Vol.%201.pdf) chassis which uses 2.5V valves which may have been replaced with a 55/56 chassis.
Yours, Richard
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 7:56 am   #13
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Mr Moose,
Now that makes a lot of sense. It would go a long way to explain the smaller speaker & "Baby Grand" front panel! Well done sir!
I'm guessing the original 52 chassis went bang at some point & was replaced with a 55/56? We will never know for sure but as other have said, these were expensive bits of kit in their day so it would have been worth doing.
The picture from the link looks identical to mine although the schematic does have some differences from the 55/56 model. I shall delve deeper into the mystery at the weekend. Many, many thanks!
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 9:00 am   #14
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

http://www.tuberadioland.com/philco5...dral_main.html looks very similar to your chassis.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 4:04 pm   #15
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Some more progress, thanks for the links & the more I look at it the more I'm convinced I have a 56 chassis!
Lots of progress on the woodwork, its actually looking half way reasonable. My skills are very limited as is no doubt apparent but its a fair bit tidier than it was. The first picture shows what has been done so far. The second is a close up of the turntable mechanism & as you can see it is dual voltage so my assumption about a capacitive dropper was right & its 50Hz so definitely made for the UK. All I have to do now is make it work!! Have a good evening one & all.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 6:23 pm   #16
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Turntable is made by BTH: British Thompson Houston. So almost certainly made in UK, possibly mated to American built (or at least designed) chassis.
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Old 8th Sep 2019, 8:20 pm   #17
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Evening all. Having spent most of the weekend fettling the turntable motor it would seem it has a shorted coil. There are 4 in total arranged in a square around the rotor. DC resistance of three is just over 1k, one coil is reading 5R. Earlier I had gingerly powered it up on a variac & whilst it did spin it was way too slow, I timed it at about 48RPM at the turntable. Nothing got hot or smoked! It has a tin can capacitor which contains two seperate capacitors of 1uf each. Both these were way off, 100nf or their abouts so I hooked in a couple of 1uf poly caps. I did this before any power was applied by the way. I'm quite disappointed in some ways as I would really like to be able to play 78's on it rather then the turntable just be there for show. I've looked around the internet & at the few Philco sites out there, my chances of finding a replacement motor are less than zero! I was thinking about possibly getting it rewound & am still considering this as an option.
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 8:21 am   #18
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Having reviewed the situation I have decided that removing said coil is likely to cause more problems than it will solve but I do have a solution using a brushless DC speed controlled motor, still in the design phase but it will work. I may have to use the original rotor as a pulley of sorts! We shall see. Anyway, now the cabinet has had a final coat, dried & re-assembled we decided to put it in it's place in the parlour, the fact it took up most of the space in my workshop is neither here nor there!
My better half is very pleased thus far & cannot wait to hear it burst into life once more, preferably before Christmas she said! We shall, as they say, have to wait & see.
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 8:28 am   #19
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

Judging by the photograph of the cabinet it should look lovely. You are lucky that your wife is supportive. I am in negotiations regarding having my Mcmichael 365 in the living room but it isn't going too well. I might have to look for a no deal exit for it!!
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 9:48 am   #20
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Default Re: Oh dear! What have I done!

The cabinet looks wonderful, and really at-home there.
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