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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:25 pm   #1
Robert Darwent
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Default Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Almost a year ago now, I was fortunate enough to find locally an empty walnut brown Ekco A22 bakelite case. It was in excellent condition, no scratches or cracks, and I immediately bought it. Since then I have been on the look out for an A22 chassis or a set with a damaged case that I could pick up at hopefully a much reduced price and combine. For several months that looked very unlikely to happen and I did serious work instead on using the parts from an Ekco A23 chassis to construct a reproduction A22 chassis to fit my empty case. Then unexpectedly the real thing turned up!

I collected the set in person. The seller told me that when he had purchased the set himself it had been damaged whilst being delivered and he had repaired the resulting broken case with Araldite. Apparently he had also "comprehensively overhauled" the chassis and it was in "superb working order". A quick look at the damage to the case, as I was loading the set into my car, showed it to be not as bad as I had first assumed and I thought I could much improve on the copious amounts of Araldite. But since I had always intended to transfer the chassis to my unblemished case it was not a real issue. The set also had a rough replacement for a back cover, the original having gone missing at some point.

Upon getting the set home I plugged it in to try out. After a bit of a warm-up MW brought in the local station loud and clear even without an aerial connected, but little else. The addition of a few metres of wire as a temporary antenna and MW was much more lively. SW too was very good with stations all over the dial. But LW was just background hiss, even Radio 4 was absent!

At this point I unplugged the set and removed the back cover. What a sight! Virtually the entire chassis had been 'daubed' with black paint. Not even decent black paint at that, more like hardened black treacle! I removed the chassis and was again shocked. The state of the wiring was terrible! Some had obviously been renewed by modern red and orange, but most was original, hard, brittle and flaking, showing exposed wire. If I'd have known this before hand I would never applied power. So much for the comprehensive overhaul! I was really surprised the set worked as well as it did in this condition.

Further investigation showed the 'overhaul' to have included replacement of all but one of the wax capacitors with apparently whatever type and value was to hand at the time! Several resistors had been changed as well, again seemingly with whatever was to hand, with one crudely joined in series to make up the value. But the 'new' wiring really was something! A screening braid had been made from what I assume was the outer layer of a piece of co-axial cable. I'll leave the 'before' and 'after' images to speak for themselves!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:26 pm   #2
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Well there was nothing for it really but a full restoration. I needed to get rid of that horrible black paint and I could only do that properly by completely stripping the chassis. Obviously all the wiring needed replacing too, it was just downright dangerous. Once I had a bare chassis, I removed the black 'treacle' quite easily thankfully with a jelly type paint stripper applied to small areas at a time. The chassis was quite discoloured underneath due to light rusting in places and was the reason for the black paint I assume. I repainted with silver Smoothrite for most of the metalwork, with black on the underside, as per the original finish. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:27 pm   #3
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

As for capacitors, with a set like the A22 I would have liked to have stuffed the original 'waxies' if they were in a good enough condition to do so. But as they were gone and never an option open to me I replaced with 630V rated yellow polypropylene types instead. I decided I may as well change all the resistors whilst I was at it, since several needed changing anyway or had been caught with that horrid 'treacle'. I replaced with 2W types because of their similar dimensions to the originals. At least the set had a consistant type of capacitor and resistor fitted now of the correct values, and IMHO looked much better for it even if some originality had been lost in doing so. The two large and small can electrolytics were both restuffed with modern types and refitted at this time also.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:28 pm   #4
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

I now turned my attention to making a reproduction back cover for the set. Using measurements taken from the case and appropriate images of original A22 backs, I arrived at a full sized paper template for marking out some 3/16" mdf board. This was drilled and smoothed until I was happy with the finish and then given a coat of matt acrylic black paint. I made up some graphics again from images of original A22 backs, carefully cut them out, and glued them on in the correct places. The entire back was then given a couple of coats of clear satin acrylic lacquer. This sealed the graphics and gave the back a similar finish to an original A22 cover.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:30 pm   #5
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

I eventually got to the bottom of the LW problem when I noticed in both LW coil cores, what I had originally took to be just sealing wax, was also Araldite! After careful cleaning out I discovered the two original slugs were missing and bits of ferrite rod stuck in their place! I can only assume the originals were knocked out and lost in the delivery accident that damaged the case. Fortunately I had several of the correct type of slug available, fitted two, realigned the band, and was rewarded with excellent LW reception.

At this point I'd like to acknowledge forum members 'kalee20' for kindly sending me a capacitor clamp for mounting the smaller of the two electrolytics which was originally missing. And 'ekcobeach' for supplying me with an EBL31 for the set. Many thanks!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:40 pm   #6
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

A lovely piece of work. I love those sets.

I am not one for trying to keep the original look as far as the electronics are concerned, your example looks beautiful with those brand new yellow caps.

very well done

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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:45 pm   #7
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

A remarkable restoration in every respect! Well done Robert

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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:46 pm   #8
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

That's a beautiful job! Definitely one to be proud of.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 12:55 pm   #9
dave walsh
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Really excellent Robert-looks straight from the factory! Will you now be putting the "reproduction" chassis into the [more araldite free] damaged case I wonder?
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 1:50 pm   #10
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

That is so tidy. Looks like it's almost brand new out of the box!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 2:27 pm   #11
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Superb job Robert, i feel chuffed to have supplied the much needed EBL31.Pity you didn't ask me about the backboard.I have a spare which i'd have happily sold you. Regards, Colin.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 2:31 pm   #12
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Absolutely lovely job Robert.
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 4:59 pm   #13
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Brilliant job, well done indeed! And congratulations too on a superb write-up. Love the pictures!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 5:19 pm   #14
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Robert, a few details of materials and/or inks used for the large transfer for the back cover would be appreciated.

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Old 8th Sep 2009, 5:36 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Thats a fantastic job! I don't think I'd be brave enough to completely strip down a chassis like that! I like the repro back too, I might have a go at that for a couple of sets I have without backs

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Old 8th Sep 2009, 6:37 pm   #16
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Excellent work! Barring an intermittent EBL31 in later years, it should soldier on for another 50 years!



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Old 8th Sep 2009, 6:55 pm   #17
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Wow! Great restoration! Is this where I admit to connecting resistors in series sometimes?.... Or the fact I only have one colour of internal wire?....

That set looks great, I like the chassis layout too, wouldnt mind restoring one of these but I doubt I'd have a chance to do one!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 7:02 pm   #18
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Absolutely wonderful work there Robert, give yourself several pat's on the back
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 7:24 pm   #19
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

Is that the original output transformer or did you replace it? If the original how did you clean it up? Like wise with the supply transformer?

Thanks,
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 7:58 pm   #20
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Default Re: Ekco A22 in walnut brown/bronze c.1945

I'm glad a set like this has found a worthy custodian! That back board looks fine, where did you get MDF so thin?
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