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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 6th Sep 2019, 3:45 pm   #1
cathoderay57
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Default Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Earlier this year I purchased and restored a Mullard MAS281/15 - see pic below. I was impressed by how sensitive it was and what a decent sound it produced. It was a fair bit of work as the cabinet was in poor condition in places with little bits of veneer missing. I managed to find a fairly close match of veneer, cut pieces and applied them with PVA glue. Once the glue was well set I stripped the cabinet with Nitromors and applied dark wood dye to the dial surround and base rim, and painted the edgings with black enamel. Finally resprayed with Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Lacquer. I know the original had black painted sides but as the side veneers were pretty good I chose to just spray them with clear lacquer. For the internals a new magic eye and the usual replacement of electrolytic and paper caps plus rotted rubber wire were needed. It's a nice looking "Woodie" but what I really wanted was the bakelite cabinet version of the same radio, which is the Philips 170A. I spotted one on eBay with a smashed tuning dial and thought I might get the radio for a reasonable price, and have a go at making a replacement dial. So I bid, won it, and waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually I didn't get anything delivered and the seller provided a refund. However, in the meantime I had bought a piece of glass and ordered water slide transfer paper. I decided to go with the "new 170A" dial design (there are 2 types) not realising that would incur a problem with wavechange indicator - more of which later. I downloaded the dial jpg from Pasttimes Radio. I also spotted a scrap Mullard MAS281/15 chassis at a local Amateur Radio rally which I obtained for 3 and intended to strip for parts. I'll continue the saga in a second post in a bit. Cheers for now, Jerry
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Old 6th Sep 2019, 4:23 pm   #2
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

The repro dial came up quite well. I bought the 2mm glass plate from a local glass merchant cut to size for a couple of quid. I reversed the image and pasted the jpg file into MS Word and resized it to get it exactly right to fit the glass. The water slide transfer paper is quite inexpensive but there are different types for laser printers and inkjet printers, and white or clear papers so you need to get the right one. Clear is needed for this job but any white on the dial will print as clear as my inkjet printer isn't capable of printing white. Clear font station names works fine for this dial because there is a second rear glass plate that acts as a diffuser for the scale lamps. It is painted white and on my scrap set the paint had flaked badly so I scraped off the remainder and resprayed it with matt white primer, 2 coats. There is an image of the finished dial below - not perfect but not too shabby. Before soaking the transfer for application to the glass I sprayed it with a couple of coats of clear lacquer. I then took a long look at the scrap Mullard MAS281/15 chassis and ran a few tests. The mains transformer worked perfectly. All of the valves tested serviceable although the EM34 magic eye was missing. The audio output transformer was a Radiospares replacement - on these sets the transformers often suffer from o/c windings. (I forgot to mention that my wood-cased 281/15 described above had a failed AF o/p transformer that was kindly rewound for me by Ed Dinning). I came to the conclusion that the scrap chassis was too good to dismantle for spares so I began looking for a bakelite cabinet. Again I came up trumps on eBay and managed to buy one plus the right speaker. This time it arrived but unfortunately had been severely damaged by the courier (see pics below). As you can see I did repair it using Superglue, a bead of Araldite on the inside, Milliput filler and red/brown enamel paint and as the damage is at the side I guessed it might be useable. However, meanwhile I had recognised that the chassis fixings for the Mullard are different to those of the Philips. Sideband very kindly came to the rescue with not only the fixings but also a baffle board, back, knobs and a replacement cabinet which arrived safely today. Next post I will show differences in the fixings. Cheers for now, Jerry
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Old 7th Sep 2019, 1:38 pm   #3
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Jerry.
Both of these are great looking radios, as I have both in my collection.
The drive cords in my Mullard radio had broken, so I replaced them with cord used by builders (plumb lines), and this worked very well.
Cheers
Mike
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Old 7th Sep 2019, 7:42 pm   #4
cathoderay57
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Mike, nice to hear you are a fan of these as well. On my scrap chassis, now fully refurbished and working, I had to replace the cursor drive wire and I used Beadalon which works really well. It is designed for folks who make threads of beads as jewellery. Today I have applied the new speaker cloth (kindly supplied by Old John) and redone the cream pinstripe on the cabinet with enamel paint. Over the next day or 2, I will post pics of the chassis and replacement cabinet, show the differences in the chassis mounting brackets, and explain the impact of the different dial styles on the wavechange indicator. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 9th Sep 2019, 2:25 pm   #5
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Here are pics of the re-covered baffle board and speaker, ready to go in, then fitted. The difference between the chassis mounts on the Mullard MAS281/15 and the Philips 170A are that the Mullard has 2 wrap-around brackets at the same height as the chassis and feet that rest on the wooden cabinet baseboard secured by 4 bolts, whereas the Philips chassis is suspended from the inside front panel via 2 triangular mounting brackets. Both types of mounting bracket pick up the same points on the chassis thus making the chassis interchangeable between the 2 models.
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Old 9th Sep 2019, 2:55 pm   #6
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Next a pic of the cleaned, polished and re-pinstriped cabinet. The detail of the new-style wavechange indicator is shown together with my mod to the selector shaft. The legends for LW/MW/SW on the old-style dial are on the right-hand side, same as the new-style, but instead all 3 are horizontal. They are revealed by a quadrant mask that rotates between the front dial glass and the rear white-painted diffuser. The quadrant mask rotates anti-clockwise, pulled by a wire cable attached to a lever fixed at right angles to the wavechange switch shaft. On the original switch, to suit the old-style dial, the wavechange shaft lever rotates from about 3 to 6 o'clock as it is rotated clockwise. In the most clockwise position (LW) the wire cable is at its maximum extension position and the quadrant mask is pulled down such that the upper edge is just below the LW legend allowing light to pass through. As the wavechange switch is rotated anti-clockwise one click to MW the wire pulls back up under the tension of the quadrant mask return spring, such that the mask edge now obscures the LW legend but a slot in its centre is now aligned with, and allows light to pass through, the MW legend. Continuing the same principle, the mask finally returns to its uppermost position obscuring LW and MW but the lower edge of the quadrant is now above the SW legend, which lights up. However, the new-style dial has LW/MW/SW legends that are no longer horizontal but are positioned at angles pointing towards their respective cursor scales, as shown in the pic below. The problem that this creates is that although the slot in the quadrant mask can still be used to illuminate the legends in turn, the rotation of the wavechange switch lever is now in the wrong sense and so LW is illuminated on SW and vice versa. The problem can be overcome either by swapping over 6 wires at the wavechange switch, or turning the shaft lever around so that it points in 180 degrees opposite direction. Even then I could not get the alignment right without fitting an extra pulley as shown in the pic.
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Old 9th Sep 2019, 3:08 pm   #7
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

The electronics was relatively straightforward, just a matter of replacing the usual paper and electrolytic capacitors and rotted rubber wire, and fitting a new magic eye and associated anode load resistors that had gone very high. The volume control shaft also rotated through 360 degrees but I had a scrap one and manage to dismantle it and replace the shaft, as on the original the metal bracket that moves the pot wiper had sheared off the inner end of the shaft. Next I'll be installing the chassis so just hoping everything lines up.
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Old 9th Sep 2019, 9:42 pm   #8
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

That cabinet looks superb. Glad you managed to clean it up so well. It was mainly just muck and dirt. The pinstripes look great. The only problems you may have is getting the tuning scale square in the cabinet. All those supports that hold the pulleys may have to be subtly adjusted. You may need several attempts......
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Old 11th Sep 2019, 10:15 am   #9
cathoderay57
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Sideband, thanks for the tip. After a bit of fiddling I managed to get the 4 tuning scale screws aligned and fixed to the cabinet. I've posted a couple of pics and I'm pleased with it. The only job left now is to make up a couple of metal clips to retain the back panel. I still have the repaired 170A cabinet. If anybody is interested in it and is willing to collect from Bristol then send me a PM. It will be FOC. If I don't receive any messages, I will post some pics in the "Offered" section in November offering it again for collection either from here (free) or at RWB on 8 December (where it will cost a bacon sandwich). Thanks again to all who helped with parts and advice. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 11th Sep 2019, 3:20 pm   #10
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Jerry.
Great to hear from you. Great to read more about your project.
The Mullard radio came without a back panel and fitting clips. Eventually I obtained one by meeting someone at the radio sale in Sale (Cheshire) many years ago. I intend to wire a new 3-core mains lead direct to the switch (and earth chassis).
I enjoy every brand of radio and my intention is to make sure they all function again (an important part of my childhood watching my late father restoring such items).
Cheers
Mike
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Old 11th Sep 2019, 8:02 pm   #11
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Jerry, I'm impressed! That cabinet has come up really well and the pinstripes look really great. You have also worked wonders with the speaker baffle....the original cloth was beyond redemption.....Good to see it with a decent tuning indicator as well. Did you manage to find a new EM34 or a similar Russian type?

Did the two replacement knobs match reasonably well?
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Old 11th Sep 2019, 10:27 pm   #12
cathoderay57
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Folks, thanks for the compliments. In reply to Sideband, I took a chance on eBay with a pair of ex-equipment EM34 and got lucky at an affordable price for Mullard originals. Yes, thanks, the knobs match well - yours were a bit shinier than my two but at least all 4 are the same style. If I was being super critical of myself I'd say the repro dial is a bit too transparent on the dark part - when illuminated it appears backlit chocolate brown rather than black as intended - but hey, it does the job and the station names are all legible. I would do it again if I ever have to replace a cracked or missing dial so it was a worthwhile exercise. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 10:00 am   #13
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Are the cabinet mottlings an effect of the camera (reflections) or are they actually in the cabinet? I thought it was just plain dark brown.

Looks very smart. Mine is just plain dark brown.
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 11:00 am   #14
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Hi Jerry, Thanks for the pictures, You have made a brilliant job of it. Those pinstripes, been there done it. I would not want to do another one, its so easy to make a mess of it. Back in the day there would have been a girl with a thin paint brush and would complete the stripes in a matter of seconds, they make it look so easy.


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Old 12th Sep 2019, 2:15 pm   #15
cathoderay57
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Default Re: Philips 170A vs Mullard MAS281/15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideband View Post
Are the cabinet mottlings an effect of the camera (reflections) or are they actually in the cabinet? I thought it was just plain dark brown.
Hello all, the Bakelite on Sideband's replacement cabinet is the mottled finish, pseudo-burred walnut? while my repaired cabinet (still available if anyone wants it FOC) is plain brown. Cheers, Jerry
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