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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 5:31 pm   #1
Lloyd 1985
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Default Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Can it be done? I picked up a very sad 5 quid Murphy at the NVCF a couple of years back (2018 in fact), as found it had no knobs, a massive crack running back to front, and no back. As usual, I took pity on it, I always do when I see something like this, I just can't resist the temptation to make it look nice again!

Before long I'd raided most of the boxes of knobs on various stalls, whilst looking at photo's of the set online (these iPhone things are good for something!), and come up with a set of knobs for it, they are not quite right, but are at least the right shape, just missing the correct legends. On getting it home and trying to see if it'd work I discovered the TH233 valve heater to be open circuit, so that would need to be replaced, along with all the rubber wiring and a good few wax caps, none of the major components were duff, so that at least was a good start. I got some power into it with the TH233 heater linked out, and had the audio stages working.

Fast forward into a new decade, and I was messing about with other damaged Bakelite projects, so pulled this one from the depths and decided to have a go at fixing the cracked cabinet. To begin with, the crack was cleaned out with IPA and a brush, as it's an old crack it has accumulated dust and dirt from storage, if this is going to be successfully repaired we don't want any foreign bits getting in the way. Then many attempts at closing the crack were trialled, and it was found that it wouldn't close up nicely on the front of the cabinet, so to get this to close up nicely I cut away at the Bakelite from inside the cabinet, just behind the crack, so that whatever was stopping it closing up was removed, but not so much that it'd leave a hole in the cabinet front. Once this was done the crack could then be closed and you could feel the surface was flat. I found a suitable clamp to keep the crack closed during gluing, tested it to make sure it would do the job, then opened the crack and used cyanoacrylate based 'mitre bond' (branded Mitre Fast), which is basically fairly thick superglue, with a spray activator to harden it quickly. Once I was happy with the glue, I then clamped up the cabinet, made sure the crack had closed correctly, then gave it a quick blast of the activator and left it to do it's thing overnight, it actually sets in about 10 seconds, but I always give it plenty of time anyway.

Once happy that it had set, I then carefully sanded the excess away on the outside of the cabinet with P600 wet & dry, taking care not to fling the dust everywhere, and also using an extractor, a dust-mask and cleaning the dust away regularly with a damp cloth. I did the front of the cabinet first, and probably went a bit too far in one point as there ended up being a bit of a dip in the Bakelite! I finished by polishing it with Greygate paste polishing no.5 until the shine came back, It looked quite good, the crack is still visible up close, but otherwise it's a nice surface finish.

For the crack running down the side of the cabinet, I added some extra support in the form of fibreglass matting, soaked in some leftover black fire-retardant potting compound that I'd mixed up for making new knobs for the Ekco A22 (which went very well!), I didn't quite have enough mixed, so I only got some of the matting soaked well in it, but enough to give it strength.

With the crack all stuck down and strengthened, the rest of the cabinet needed a damn good polish, it was treated to a good going over with no.5, but the bits on the top and front of the cabinet were a right pain to get into! So out came the Dremel (well, black and decker's version of one), and I chopped a cotton bud in half and stuck it in the chuck with some polish on it! Got into the corners really well, and wasn't destroying the ends of my fingers anymore. After the No.5 had done it's work I also gave the cabinet a rub with some Briwax to really make it shine.

The result of all this messing about is that I now have a good solid cabinet once again, and it looks good too, whilst the crack is still visible when viewed at close quarters, the set still displays well, which is the aim of this repair after all.

All that is left to do now is to restore the chassis to working order, and either make or find an original back panel. Also the tuning scale has lost it's legends, I guess damp storage has finished those off (anyone got a good scan of one?), it looks like it was printed onto the surface of the glass, I'm not sure why Murphy made it like this? and another weird thing they did was hide the scale lamp behind a bracket with a hole in it, which must have cast some strange shadows on the scale!

The design of the cabinet is certainly striking, and for some reason makes me think of the gates of Mordor from The Lord Of The Rings films.

Regards,
Lloyd.

First 5 photo's; the set as found, cleaning the crack and removing some Bakelite.
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 5:37 pm   #2
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

More photo's!

1: the crack after gluing

2: cabinet front after initial sand and polish

3: Fibreglass matting being added for strength

4: cabinet side after sanding and polishing

5: Attack of the Dremel!
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 5:41 pm   #3
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

And more photo's..

1: Cabinet polished and ready

2: decomposing tuning scale

3: the chassis from the front

4: all back in the cabinet and the scale lamp lit

5: The set on display in the house

That's the last of them for now
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 6:26 pm   #4
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Good job, looked a lot off work to get it there.
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 6:46 pm   #5
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Cheers

It's not been too bad, most of the work was done in one weekend, the hardest part being the polishing, trying to get between those 'fins' was making my fingers sore, which is when I came up with using the Dremel with a cotton bud in it, ended up with polish flying everywhere though! Since the battery became useless in it I've run some wires inside the Dremel to power it directly from the bench PSU, so I can lower the voltage to it and make it run slower.

Regards,
Lloyd
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 7:20 pm   #6
stevehertz
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Lovely job so far. What are your plans for the dial?
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 8:21 pm   #7
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Thanks!

I'm hoping that I can re-create one from a picture I harvested from one that was for sale on eBay recently, then print it onto nice paper to stick on the original glass, unless I can get an original to scan and copy!

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 9:14 pm   #8
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Hi Lloyd, very nice work on tbe cabinet. This link might help https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=115329 Not sure if DangerMan from Post #2 of that thread is still on the Forum or if he still has the dial scan but worth dropping him a PM. Last year I created a replica dial for A Philips 170A by reversing the image and printing onto a waterslide transfer. These are cheap and the process wasn't hard to do. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 12:02 am   #9
Robert Darwent
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Lloyd,

In Blue Peter fashion, "here's one I made earlier" - hope it's what you're looking for.

Regards
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 9:45 am   #10
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Robert, you are a star!! Thankyou very much for that, it's exactly what I need! I'll have a go at printing it out later today, hopefully the printer will behave itself!

Many thanks,

Lloyd.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 8:33 pm   #11
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Thanks to Robert, the set now has a nice new tuning scale!

As expected, the printer decided it wasnít going to play ball, the first printout came out with thick bands over it, I guess itís used up all the ink for cleaning itself, or the head is on its last legs, so I took the original file and used Photoshop to change it to greyscale, then adjust the contrast to lighten the background. Then I raided my Mumís crafting stuff, and found some ivory paper, which also has a slight sheen to it, and printed the scale onto it. There was just enough of the original print left on the old scale to check the new one was the correct size. I cut a new piece of glass to stick the scale to, just in case I needed the original for anything in the future, Iím not any good at cutting glass! Made a right mess of it on my first go, but got an acceptable piece second time round. I glued the scale to the glass, and left it on a flat surface with some weight on it. Then someone spilled water near it and all the ink ran so I had to print another!

This time I used some double sided adhesive sheet that comes in A4 size, itís fairly clear too so light can pass through it, this worked out much better than the first attempt, and didnít need time for any glue to set. I fitted it to the chassis and put it in the cabinet, it looks great! This little Murphy is beginning to look much happier

Whilst I had it in bits I also made a start on replacing the crumbling wiring too, so far Iíve done the long wires to the speaker and output transformer, and one of the valve top cap wires. Plenty more to do, and I think itís time to get a list of capacitors together and see what needs ordering.

I changed the scale lamp too, since someone had fitted a tubular bulb rather than a round one, and it didnít fit in place properly. With the round bulb fitted the lamp carrier fits onto its threaded studs properly. Iím still not sure on the scale illumination though, it looks a bit odd to me!

Regards
Lloyd
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 8:38 pm   #12
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Last few pictures.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 9:56 pm   #13
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Very impressive work there, Lloyd! A nice 'honest' cabinet repair and a cracking job with the tuning dial.

It does have rather a sinister look about it- I can see where you get the gates of Mordor from!

I must confess, I have never felt comfortable with Murphy styling- but, much like Philips, they engineered things their own way and I have great respect for them as manufacturers of quality products.

Entertaining write up too!

All the best with the chassis restoration,
Cheers
Nick
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 11:32 pm   #14
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

what a great shine on that cabinet, glad you managed to sort the dial too. For me a faded or worn-away dial is a deal-breaker!

I'm sure Eden Minns would be impressed
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Old 4th Feb 2020, 5:11 am   #15
FStephenMasek
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Excellent work!
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Old 4th Feb 2020, 11:32 am   #16
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

That looks amazing, what a fantastic job. So good to see a Murphy rescued in such a fashion, keep up the good work!
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Old 4th Feb 2020, 7:37 pm   #17
Lloyd 1985
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Cheers for all the comments

I find these types of restoration the most satisfying, there isn't much that can make it look worse, other than dropping the set and breaking it more than it already was! To get the nice shine I only use minimal amounts of wax on a bit of kitchen paper, a tiny bit goes a long way, you don't want so much that you'll be forever getting it on your hands when handling the set. I find that when you have polished the cabinet with Greygate's paste polishing no.5 it still looks a little dull, unless the Bakelite was in really good condition to start with.

Murphy did have some interesting styling, I have a few Murphy bits here, there is a big A98, which I really like, an A100 (well, 2 of them actually!) which are a rather cute little set, looks like it should be a battery portable but isn't, and a V180C 405 line TV, which is also unusually designed, it's not the one with the round chassis, it's just an upright console set, but the sides are in almost black, with odd bits sticking out at the front, it looks like it should have had doors on it, but it never did! The implosion screen is printed on both sides too, the inner surface around the screen is in a light green, while the outer surface has dark green pin stripes with the Murphy logo on it. Quite a rare set, I've only seen 3 including mine!

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 6th Mar 2020, 11:16 pm   #18
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Time for a bit of an update, Iíve got myself a replacement TH233 valve, the original valve had an O/C heater, a long wait paid off, there were replacements on eBay, but they were £30! Far too much, eventually someone listed a box of 5 valves for 99p, and I was the only bidder!

So with the heater chain complete, I decided to give it some beans and see what happened. Not much was the answer to that! It all lit up, heaters glowed, and a slight hum from the speaker, but nowt else. A check with the meter revealed positive volts on the grid of the PEN383, C30 was high on the suspect list, with that snipped out the +10V was still present, I thought oh no, not another duff valve? Out it came and a quick test with the Megger showed leakage between the screen and grid, and also between the cathode and grid, then there was a click and the Megger went nuts showing ĎE09í on the display and making weird noises, which it normally does when you draw an arc between the probes! I must have blasted whatever it was away, because on refitting the valve the positive volts were gone! And the quiet hum had been replaced with a healthy amplifier buzz and interference!

I replaced C30 with a new cap, just tacked in for trial purposes, and had a tune about with the workshop aerial connected, discovered the set was switched to LW, and there isnít much on there, switching to MW gave nothing, wiggling the wave change switch produced lots of crackling and occasionally some noise, so I gave that a squirt of switch cleaner and exercised it and eventually it started working, I tuned in Absolute radio very loud and clearly! Listened to It for a while then turned off, despite all the wax caps still present it sounded alright, they will be replaced with new ones soon, and Iím sure the radio will sound even better for it.

One other thing I discovered and need to put right is the dial string, the pointer moves the wrong way when the knob is turned! Just need to reverse it where the string wraps round the tuning knob shaft. Oh, and the dial bulb is the wrong type, should be a 3.5v 0.1a, and Iíve got a 6V 0.3a one, and itís like a candle thatís just been blown out...

Regards
Lloyd
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Old 7th Mar 2020, 9:27 am   #19
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd 1985 View Post
Cheers

... the hardest part being the polishing, trying to get between those 'fins' was making my fingers sore, which is when I came up with using the Dremel with a cotton bud in it...

Regards,
Lloyd
Excellent work, a proper "UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration", you must be all out of elbow grease. I've thought about using a Dremel but using a cotton bud is a top tip. Maybe its possible to use a car polishing attachment for a drill on the larger areas?

Good luck with the chassis, I see a lot of people just doing a mass cap change running a cloth over it and flogging on eBay for an inflated price, not something I could do but each to their own.

Anyway it's nice to read a proper radio restoration and inspires me to get back to the bench!

John
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Old 22nd Mar 2020, 9:10 am   #20
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Default Re: Making a Murphy SAD94L happy again!

What a wonderful restoration Lloyd . well done .Mick.
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