UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio and TV Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Vintage Radio (domestic)

Notices

Vintage Radio (domestic) Domestic vintage radio (wireless) receivers only.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 24th Nov 2022, 5:35 pm   #1
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 7,288
Default Newly found VEF Spidola

I recently picked up a nice condition, all complete VEF Spidola on, of all places, Facebook marketplace. Having not long owned it, this (so called by the seller) 'working' set has only received a cursory clean and a battery check by me. Inside, the battery compartments are clean and nothing seems to have been got at. Switching on, as the volume control is steadily increased a simultaneously increasing in volume mild rushing sound is heard, but the tuning control and band selection controls do nothing towards tuning in a station. The on/off control itself is intermittent (no rushing sound sometimes), so in due course I will clean it when I extract the chassis from the case. I have also cleaned the turret tuner contacts with a glass fibre stick.

I've read previous threads on the Spidola radio on here, mainly by Howard, but not, as far as I can see, any reference to an inability to tune in given that it does produce the aforementioned rushing sound.

I'm not so much looking for general vintage transistor radio check suggestions (I've fixed a fair few), but more if anyone has experience of Spidola sets like this. Thanks.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	20221124_163233.jpg
Views:	239
Size:	75.8 KB
ID:	268661  
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th Nov 2022, 10:36 am   #2
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 7,288
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Ok, anybody own one of these?
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th Nov 2022, 11:10 am   #3
Paul_RK
Dekatron
 
Paul_RK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Fakenham, Norfolk, UK.
Posts: 3,608
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

I have the same model in the alternative blue/grey case. It probably hadn't seen power in 15 years - putting in a set of batteries produced only a very subdued hiss even at full volume, then after about ten minutes suddenly lively performance on LW and a little life on MW, so cleaning the turret contacts would be the obvious next step there. I expect the delay was down to electrolytics, probably you've already given yours ample opportunity to re-form.

Paul
Paul_RK is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 25th Nov 2022, 1:23 pm   #4
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 7,288
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_RK View Post
I have the same model in the alternative blue/grey case. It probably hadn't seen power in 15 years - putting in a set of batteries produced only a very subdued hiss even at full volume, then after about ten minutes suddenly lively performance on LW and a little life on MW, so cleaning the turret contacts would be the obvious next step there. I expect the delay was down to electrolytics, probably you've already given yours ample opportunity to re-form.

Paul
Thanks Paul. Like I say, I have cleaned the turret contacts, but I'll try your suggestion of just leaving it on and see what happens.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th Nov 2022, 11:14 pm   #5
majoconz
Heptode
 
majoconz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ashhurst, Manawatu, New Zealand
Posts: 541
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

I have the "Convair 1" which is probably the same thing in different clothing - mine goes quite well for a radio of that vintage made to sell through the "Comet" warehouses. I had to replace most of the electros which were leaky and the speaker was jammed with magnetic particles. I'm sure it would go a lot better if I made a dummy scale for it - as you see the dial scale is on the case and the RF stage trimmers and coils are on the rear of the turret - most awkward. Be careful with those ceramic trimmers - they are quite fragile and seem to be locked as they come free with a jerk like something has broken. Cleaning the turret and the associated spring contacts is a must as you have found. Have fun!
__________________
Cheers - Martin ZL2MC
majoconz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 2:03 am   #6
radiograham
Hexode
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Manchester, UK.
Posts: 297
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
Ok, anybody own one of these?
Hi,yes i have one buried in the attic somewhere,have you found a circuit diagram? i dont think i did but it was long before i had owt to do with the internet. Graham.
radiograham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 4:24 am   #7
TonyDuell
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Biggin Hill, London, UK.
Posts: 4,673
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

I do have the schematic which it appears I downloaded from the radiomuseum website. As a result I'll not distribute it but I assume you can also get it from there.
TonyDuell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 8:04 am   #8
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 7,288
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Martin, Graham, Tony, thanks for your input.

As I have not yet removed the chassis from the case, (does anyone know where I can buy time?) I have only managed to clean the rotating turret contacts, but not the static, spring ones that are presently inaccessible. Clearly I have to remove the chassis. For sure, one thing I have noticed is that rotating the turret band changing switch does not cause a crackle (other than the rushing sound already there). So the contacts are either really bad on the spring side, or something is 'blocking' the signal after that point.

I have now, as a member, downloaded the schematic from Radiomuseum's web site. Thanks for the tip.

During my earlier cursory 'glance' at the component side of the PCB, it's not immediately apparent, as it would be with a UK set, which caps are electrolytics - an clues please?

One thing I will do is remove the trannies, one by one (!) and clean their legs and push in bases. Having waggled them previously I don't think that's the problem, but tarnished spring contacts are always suspect on something 60 years old.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 10:49 am   #9
Neil Purling
Nonode
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 2,077
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

If you had a very quiet hiss the audio stage is probably working. Have you tried the trick of standing another working radio immediately next to the Spidola? Just wondering if the Spidola's osc is not running or if the fault is somewhere along the IF strip. After that you may need to use a signal generator if you have one.
But firstly... Can you provide us with an image of the PCB component side, so we can help you to identify the electrolytic capacitors. They are usually in cylindrical aluminium cases. As well as the value & working voltage you have the month & year of manufacture. Well, later stuff usually does
I think that you might have to replace a few capacitors.
What sort of contact-cleaner do you have?
Cleaning the transistor sockets will do no harm at all & you can test them if you wish. I expect they are huge 'top-hat' germanium devices, which the Soviets made for far longer than anyone else.

The original manual may be on the Web. the point being that it usually has a full schematic and a diagram of the board tracks that tell you where the components are.
Neil Purling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 11:34 am   #10
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 24,902
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

The Soviet designers really liked turrets, but the contacts don't age well and often cause problems. You really need to dismantle the turret and clean the contacts properly. I had to do this with a B215 and it wasn't too difficult.
paulsherwin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 2:11 pm   #11
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Quote:
Originally Posted by majoconz View Post
I have the "Convair 1" which is probably the same thing in different clothing
Me too! They're all much of a muchness, just with different case designs.

I'm old enough to have bought one of these brand new with my saved up pocket money as a youngster. I think it was from Exchange & Mart / Headquarters & General or some such. It was my second bought from new transistor radio, the first being a Sobell which I sold to buy the Russian set. The Sobell was bought because it had shortwave and strangely, after a lifetime, I've recently been given the exact model of that radio. I bought the Convair for the six shortwaves and also because I thought that due to its larger size that it would have a 'good' tone compared to a smaller radio - it didn't!

I still have the Convair to this day and at this moment in time it just stands as an ornament / display item along with several other smallish radios on top of the piano. I took the batteries out a few years ago to prevent damage, but I still have them on a shelf in the workshop as they were still good when removed and I could keep an eye on them if they started leaking, and they haven't. I just went and had a look at one and its use by date is 02/2008, I measured it with a DVM and it was still indicating 1.51 volts, admittedly off load, so I'll feed this set of batteries to the radio a bit later and see if it's still working.

The faults with this radio (and I'd imagine they're what you'd regard as stock faults) are the turret tuner contacts need the occasional clean, especially if the set stands unused for long periods. The ground end of the volume control goes o/c intermittently, giving full volume at minimum setting. The on/off switch itself intermittently doesn't work, meaning that the set sometimes doesn't switch on and then when it's on, doesn't switch off without a bit of a fiddle and putting ones ear to the speaker to check whether it has actually switched off completely - the 'click' of the switch is still perfect, it's just the operation of the contacts themselves that are unreliable.

I remember the original batteries with their cardboard cases and Russian writing that came with the radio, now long gone. I was disappointed with the sound quality of this radio for its size. My parents used to take in policemen as lodgers when I was a kid and I remember one of them had a Perdio Town & Country, which had what I considered to have great audio tone for a portable radio, so I was very disappointed that the Convair was nowhere near as good as that particular radio. The circuit diagram is in the original handbook, which I still have somewhere. I did have the original box, but my younger brother pinched it decades ago and used it for something - it's just possible that he still has it. I'll try the set of batteries/cells in it later and give it a bit of a run.

Last edited by Techman; 26th Nov 2022 at 2:16 pm.
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 2:14 pm   #12
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 7,288
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Thanks for the tips, let's see if yours works!
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 2:46 pm   #13
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

It works. Absolute Radio on MW and Radio 4 on LW, plus a few shortwave stations, mainly on the 25 meter band - the turret tuner needs a bit of a giggle to get good contacts, but it always was like that until it had been given a clean. Volume control had to be set at full, so batteries probably sagging under load. It was already switched on when I fitted the batteries, so it sprung straight into life - I always leave switches in the 'on' position when not in use. However, I've just switched it off and now it won't switch back on again, so perhaps the switch contacts have finally failed altogether - I remember that they were getting pretty bad the last time it was used.
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 3:45 pm   #14
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Poking a screwdriver blade down the side of the on/off switch and shorting the connections brought the radio back to life and a bit more poking caused the contacts to 'make' again, so the switch is suffering and will need either repairing or replacing for long term reliability.

I've now removed the batteries and this bit of usage has taken the terminal voltage of all the cells down to between 1.46 to 1.49 volts (they all measured 1.51 volts prior to fitting), so were likely to have sagged below this while delivering power - they are very old cells, but decent Panasonic zinc carbon types. I've got a full set of rechargeable 'D' cells for this sort of thing that I could have tried, although these are probably at least a couple of decades old and by their 'type', wouldn't have the full 1.5 volt terminal voltage anyway, although would have been able to maintain the voltage that they had under load, but at least we've proved that the radio still works and it's given its electrolytics a bit of a reforming session.
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 4:08 pm   #15
Silicon
Octode
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Coulsdon, London, UK.
Posts: 1,677
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

It is a bit risky putting rechargeable batteries into a newly acquired transistor radio.

They can supply high currents if there is a 'short' in the circuit.

A miniature 'lamp limiter' made from a torch bulb would help.
Silicon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 4:37 pm   #16
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

I absolutely agree regarding rechargeable batteries in unknown radios, so using the old zinc carbon cells with their likely high internal resistance was very safe. However, with my radio I would have happily used the rechargeable cells in this radio, as I 'know' it and would have risked it - famous last words! I'm also against fitting alkaline PP3 batteries in strings to make up 90 volt HT batteries for valve portable sets, particularly as the HT is nearly always 'live' in these sets, with just the valve heaters being switched off - a fire in the middle of the night just waiting to happen if something goes wrong within the set.

Anyway, I've given the rechargeable 'D' cells a quick charge (I keep them charged anyway, so just a top-up) and I've just fitted them in the radio and WOW, the volume made me jump, proving how the internal resistance of the old batteries must have been pretty high. It would only have needed one of those old cells to be bad to affect the whole current delivery. I'd left the switch on the radio in the 'on' position and it was on Radio 4, so if anyone's been listening to that particular station in the last half an hour...I'm saying NOTHING!
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 5:00 pm   #17
G6ONEDave
Octode
 
G6ONEDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Owston Ferry, North Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 1,183
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

I'm not sure laughing at the turret tuner will help, perhaps you meant to say jiggle.

Dave
__________________
Quote "All is hyperthetical, until it isn't!" (President Laura Roslin, Battleship Galactica)
G6ONEDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 5:43 pm   #18
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

You're right Dave, I hadn't noticed that!

However, I 'was' laughing at the conversation on R4 that blasted out when I screwed the battery covers down for the second time!

It's still on - I haven't risked the on/off switch again yet. It's very lively on medium wave now and receiving three stations on long wave. Perhaps I was a bit hard regarding the tonal qualities, it's not that bad and compares well to many other similar radios, just not up to such as the Perdio mentioned or perhaps any of the Hacker range of portables.
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 8:00 pm   #19
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Radio now fixed.

I removed the chassis complete.

Unscrew the plastic cap from the antenna and then push the centre threaded end down inside the radio.

Lay the radio on its face. With the turret set to either 31 or 41 meters, remove the grub screw and remove the wave change control.

Remove the four bolts complete with their washers (long forceps possibly needed) and lift the chassis from the case, tilting slightly for the wave change turret spindle and possibly the top of aerial if it hasn't been pushed down quite far enough.

There's two sets of switch contacts and only one is used, so I was hoping that the unused set would be good and I could just transfer the connections to the other set, but the other set were o/c too. I thought at first that the three fixings that I could see on the face of the switch were screws, but on closer inspection they were just rivets that had what looked like screwdriver slots in them. I decided that I'd drill a small pilot hole with a 1.5mm drill in the centre of the switch face. This didn't seem to be going anywhere and it was just an area of thick plastic. I then drilled another small hole in the lower front side (lower so as not to be facing upwards for the future ingress of dust and dirt) of the switch casing, closer to the part where it contacts the volume pot metal casing than the face of the switch casing, so as to hopefully to be away from any internal switching mechanism. Having drilled a 1.5mm hole in such a way that drillings would not fall inside the switch, I then enlarged the hole with a 2mm drill, finally enlarging with a 2.5mm drill. I was then able to insert the straw of the Servisol 10 switch cleaner and give it a good squirt, I also gave the pot track a squirt through its slider connection, working the switch and the pot on and off a few times. The switch is now perfect and after re-soldering the two electrical connections that I'd previously removed from it, I refitted the chassis to the case, after first giving it a bit of a brush out with a soft paint brush.

The set now works at first operation of the switch and even the intermittent volume control track seems to have been sorted with the application of the switch cleaner. This is the second item that I've been inspired to pull apart and fix just recently when someone else had posted about a similar or same one - it was the old battery charger last week that was family owned from new and now this radio...what will be next, I wonder?
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Nov 2022, 8:31 pm   #20
Techman
Dekatron
 
Techman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lincolnshire, UK.
Posts: 4,459
Default Re: Newly found VEF Spidola

Some pictures for comparison and info.

Had to be careful not to let the drill go any deeper into the switch when breaking through the case - third picture.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1150906.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	118.0 KB
ID:	268784   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1150908.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	54.0 KB
ID:	268785   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1150909.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	72.5 KB
ID:	268786   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1150910.jpg
Views:	61
Size:	87.1 KB
ID:	268787  
Techman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT. The time now is 8:14 pm.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


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