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Success Stories If you have successfully repaired or restored a piece of equipment, why not write up what you did and post details here. Particularly if it was interesting, unusual or challenging. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 7th Jul 2021, 9:37 pm   #1
HowardB
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Default Ekco A104

Would you believe it, I was actually pushed into buying this one by my wife! That doesn't happen often. It was on eBay for 40. She suggested that I make a cheeky offer of 20 and they accepted.

It arrived a few days later and after a few basic checks, I tried running it carefully via a Variac and limiter, but no cigar. No output at all.

I separated the chassis from the cabinet and hoovered up all the muck and dust. Thankfully the underside of the chassis was clean and untouched.

The wooden cabinet had lots of scratches and looked its age but no major problems.
The main issue was the plastic front grille. According to the forum, this seems to be an issue on these sets. The plastic had shrunk, warped and cracked. The previous owner had tried to glue it back together and made a right mess of it.

So that's the 'Before' - see the pictures below...
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Old 7th Jul 2021, 9:43 pm   #2
HowardB
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Default Re: Ekco A104

I replaced all the waxy caps and a few resistors.
Replaced a couple of bypass electrolytics but left the original smoothing caps in place.
The rectifier (UY41) was replaced which restored the power supply.

By this time the radio was kind of working but with very low volume.
While I was testing it, I accidentally attached the aerial wire to the PU input and this strangely improved reception, making it a lot louder. That was weird.
I figured this might be caused by a switching fault, so I thoroughly cleaned the wavechange switch. That fixed it. It now received stations loud and clear on all wavebands and with the aerial in the right place.

The tear in the speaker was fixed with tissue paper and Copydex.
The dial back plate was cleaned and repainted.
The rubber bushes on the tuning capacitor were replaced.

But how to fix the plastic grille?
I went through several iterations on this. I had read that place mats could be used. I got a nice one from Wilko (1.75) but didn't use it. Bought some nice speaker material and some foam padding, but didn't use that either. My next waste of money was wire mesh from B&Q that turned out to be too 'open'. I finally hit gold with perforated stainless steel sheet. This was the right thickness, had the right amount of holes and most importantly, it looked the part. It was however very difficult to cut, so in retrospect, I think aluminium would have been a better choice.

The cabinet was stripped back to bare wood using a mild paint stripper. I stained the front and sides with dark oak and the lighter middle sections with antique pine. Three coats of Danish oil followed, allowing the final coat plenty of time to dry. I finished it all off with a few coats of lacquer sprayed from a can.

All In all, a lot of work but I'm quite pleased with the results. I think the radio looks a lot better now and it certainly plays well with a lovely mellow tone.
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Old 7th Jul 2021, 10:55 pm   #3
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Ekco A104

Very nice job.

Ekco used that plastic mesh in a lot of their early 50s models, and it often fails in various ways, so it's good to hear of a successful replacement.
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Old 12th Jul 2021, 3:10 pm   #4
MurphyNut
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Default Re: Ekco A104

Great job, I think the replacement mesh looks better than the damaged original, I never liked that plastic mesh, even murphy used it in a few sets and I think it cheapens the look.
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Old 12th Jul 2021, 4:24 pm   #5
vinrads
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Default Re: Ekco A104

Well done that is a good substitute for the broken grill ,as others have said it's awful stuff ,first class cabinet job ,Mick.
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Old 27th Jul 2021, 9:13 pm   #6
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Default Re: Ekco A104

A very nice cabinet and grill restoration job.... The set looks brand new !
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Old 1st Aug 2021, 11:39 am   #7
HowardB
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Default Re: Ekco A104

Thanks for all the kind comments.
I've now sorted out the banana-shaped back panel using wooden reinforcements.
Don't know if this is standard practice, but it's certainly worked a treat on this radio.
The back is dead straight now.
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Old 2nd Aug 2021, 8:50 am   #8
AD360 Rob
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Default Re: Ekco A104

You've done an amazing job there, I have one of these sets too, mine needed the usual capacitors replacing to bring it back to life. They do sound nice and warm with good bass response.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 12:21 pm   #9
telstar
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Default Re: Ekco A104

I believe that Philco used that dreadful plastic grille on their 1950's radios. The model B23101 is an example.
Cheers
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