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Vintage Audio (record players, hi-fi etc) Amplifiers, speakers, gramophones and other audio equipment.

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Old 20th Aug 2022, 3:50 pm   #1
FrankSinatra
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Default Heirloom item help please

Hello all,

We have acquired today this radiogram from a grandparent who has passed away recently.

Looking to restore to full working order, plugged in today radio works with a bit of crackle on the controls. The gram turns at different speeds but has a slow start, arm picks up and returns.

There is no stylus at the moment but can hear the tap through the speakers.

Just wondering where to start, apologies if this is a typical amateur type post.

1) I have found a label on the turntable but can't identify the manufacturer of the whole thing, any ideas on how to ID?

2) Assume the gram needs greasing etc as I don't think it has been plugged in for decades.

3) Will need to get a stylus and or cartridges?

3) The mains wiring looks like two wires togethe, should I put a new plug on.

Any help much appreciated thanks
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 4:21 pm   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

It appears to be fairly cheap'n'cheerful stereogram from the end of the valve era. It was probably sold by a catalogue company or a department store.

The good news is that, being quite late and also simple, it's unlikely to suffer many of the problems typically associated with old valve equipment. The first thing to do is go out and buy a can of contact cleaner (Servisol is the best known brand) and squirt this into all switches and potentiometers. Don't overdo it, and exercise the controls vigorously after spraying them. Don't use ordinary WD40 for this. That should get rid of the crackling.

Assuming the gram still doesn't work, perform a 'buzz test' - touch each of the 4 contacts in turn on the back of the cartridge with a bent paperclip. You should hear noise from the speakers when you touch 2 of the contacts. If you do, the cartridge is dead. If you don't, there is an amplifier fault, though this is unlikely if the radio works.

Although it has a balance control and apparently 2 speakers, I can only see one output transformer. Maybe the other is under the chassis. What are the codes on the valves? (They will be something like ECH81, ECL86 etc.) Make sure you replace the valves in the correct sockets.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 4:23 pm   #3
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Deck is a UA25 by BSR of Birmingham.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 4:25 pm   #4
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

And cartridge will be something like an SX5H. Unclip it to reveal the model number embossed into its top in gold.

So long as you hear a rustle when you stroke the v-shaped grey bit in which the stylus would sit, a new stylus is what you need. Try Mantra Audio or Musonic, about a tenner.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 4:27 pm   #5
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Fit a mains plug, connecting wires to N and L, either way round, and fitting a 3A fuse.

But before doing so, is the plastic insulation on the wire in good condition with no cuts or brittleness?
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 4:33 pm   #6
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

As Nick suggests, there's no need to change the mains cable or plug at this stage if it's all in good condition and fitted correctly, but check the plug fuse rating. 3A is ideal, but 5A will be OK too if that's what you have. Don't use it with a 13A fuse for any length of time.

[Later] I've just realised that you said the stylus is missing but you can hear noises when you rub the bottom of the cartridge. That probably means the cartridge is OK, and there's no need to do the buzz test. You can order a new stylus from a range of online suppliers once you have identified the cartridge type.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 6:27 pm   #7
FrankSinatra
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Thanks all for the quick and helpful responses.

Wire is dusty but looks in good condition I have tightened up the plug as it was a little rattly.

Attached is a photo of the valves present, I suppose the next step is get a stylus and move on from there?
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 6:45 pm   #8
FrankSinatra
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

This is the cartridge that is installed which I need to get a stylus for.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 6:58 pm   #9
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Looks like a nice simple gram to work on.

I hope you've made a careful note of exactly where those valves are fitted, as you mustn't jumble them up, or it'll be flash-bang and the end of the radiogram!

There's likely to be a capacitor or two that will need replacing to prevent future expensive electrical damage.

Avoid disturbing that BSR cartridge too much and don't be tempted to pull off the electrical connections, as any flexing of the pins will likely cause it to go open circuit. You now know what stylus is needed with the cartridge type number being clearly in view. Before ordering one, gently stroke the bottom of the cartridge where the stylus fits and make sure the noise you hear with the volume turned up and the balance control set to mid position can be heard from BOTH speakers.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:00 pm   #10
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankSinatra View Post
This is the cartridge that is installed which I need to get a stylus for.
BSR SX5M. Typical basic stereogram cartridge. A stylus should cost 5-10.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:04 pm   #11
FrankSinatra
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Yes noise from both sides when touched, I made a note of the valves before I took them out.

I will order a stylus next then and go from there. Assume I can get a flip type for 78 also?

As the turntable is a slow start and then a move would any lubricant in specific places help that?
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:14 pm   #12
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankSinatra View Post
As the turntable is a slow start and then a move would any lubricant in specific places help that?
There's loads written on this on the forum, too much to re-write. It's a strip down job I'm afraid, cleaning and re-lubricating as you go. There's a general 'how-to' thread at the top of this page, but it can get a bit involved if you're not mechanically minded.

You can still get the flip-under stylus with two tips, one for LP/vinyl and one for 78s. You're lucky that you've got a good cartridge there that's stereo compatible with modern records.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:21 pm   #13
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

There a good writeup on servicing the deck here:
https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...ad.php?t=75401
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:25 pm   #14
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

You can get an LP/78 one if you actually want to play 78s, or a dual LP one if you only want to play 33s and 45s.

When it comes to lubrication, a lot depends on your skill and experience, which I'm guessing is limited. In simple terms, you just need to remove any old lubricant which has gone hard and gummy, and then relubricate with whatever was used before. Bike or automotive grease are OK for greasing, and sewing machine oil or other light machine oils are OK for oiling. You can use WD40 SPARINGLY to free up stuck parts and clean off old crud, but it isn't a good long term lubricant and you will need to relube properly.

Don't lubricate anything that wasn't lubricated in the factory.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:41 pm   #15
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Thanks for the advice all much appreciated I will have a read around here also, if I have any more questions I will ask them here, great forum all, really useful.
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Old 20th Aug 2022, 8:19 pm   #16
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Probably a Falcon brand radiogram, a latish iteration with different control layout and a balance control instead of separate concentric volume pots. Yes other output transformer under chassis, ech81, ebf89, ecc83, 2x el84, ez81.

Last edited by electrogram; 20th Aug 2022 at 8:25 pm.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 4:13 pm   #17
FrankSinatra
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Thanks I have ordered a stylus so will go from there.

Currently have a new record player with some B&O beoplay speakers rigged up with each other and connected via bluetooth.

Happy to ditch all of that if I can get this going, then all I will have is and my hmv portable gramophone, great stuff.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 4:40 pm   #18
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Although certainly not HiFi, it will probably sound very pleasant when all sorted out. It has a mains transformer and isolated chassis, so it will be quite easy to fit an aux input for a CD player, FM tuner or other device. Take care not to exceed your level of competence though, and obtain additional advice if necessary.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 5:38 pm   #19
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Thanks, I know my limits in tinkering too much. Aux input so unds interesting though as could presumably add a Bluetooth receiver via that. Don't think my kids would be impressed but sounds fun.
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Old 21st Aug 2022, 5:43 pm   #20
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Default Re: Heirloom item help please

Yes, a Bluetooth module can be fitted. It's not that difficult a job, but more work than fitting a simple aux input socket (which just needs a switched stereo socket switching the signal wires from the record deck cartridge, though there are more sophisticated ways of doing it).
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