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Old 8th Dec 2012, 2:52 pm   #1
mark pirate
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Default Mystery Radiogram

Can anyone identify this prewar radiogram please?
There is no makers name anywhere, the dial is so thickly coated in dirt and nicotine, you can hardly see it!

Mark
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Old 8th Dec 2012, 10:32 pm   #2
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Question Re: Mystery Radiogram

The presence of a big Rola speaker and the hole in the bottom of the cabinet reminded me of Bush - though the cabinet doesn't have a Bush 'look'. In the second photo, the off-centre placement of the record deck strikes me a being rather odd - I'm not sure why.

Also, I've never seem those sort of dial bulb mountings before - most unusual.

So I don't really know. What's the valve line-up? And that valve behind the transformer seems to be standing on some sort of silver base - do you know what's going on there?
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Old 8th Dec 2012, 11:24 pm   #3
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

No, it definitely not a Bush or Ekco and not Ultra, I have come to a dead end on the net.
I will whip the chassis out tomorrow and post the valve lineup, the dial lights look as if they are supposed to light individually for each waveband, but even though I have cleaned the dial glass, there is so much nicotine on the rear of it,
that I can't see it properly!

I had to wash it down with spray bleach and a sponge in the garden, it really was so filthy, I had to change the water in the bucket three times!

However, under all the muck is a pretty good cabinet, no missing veneer or worm, also looks to have been dry stored, so should come up a treat.

The Garrard deck and arm are the same as my 1935 ultra radiogram, so having restored that one, I know what to expect.

It is definitely a standard 4 valve + rectifier superhet, with mullard valves.

I needed another radiogram like a hole in the head, but it appealed to me, so an early Christmas present, and it is quite compact....

Mark
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Old 8th Dec 2012, 11:55 pm   #4
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

As you're taking the chassis out, have a careful look at the tuning scale. Somewhere around its perimeter, at a point where it won't be visible from the front of the cabinet, might be the model number of the set. If present, it'll likely be close to the bottom edge of the scale and in very small print.
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 5:21 pm   #5
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

I now have the chassis out, turns out to have six valves!
The lineup is HL13C, FC13C, VP13C, 2D13C (all Mullard), unmarked 4 pin Marconi rectifier & a Marconi KT3 (missing last numbers) output valve. (7 pin)

There is no info on the dial, apart from marking to show the dial was made by cellgrave.

The mains tx does look familiar, but I can't remember what set has a similar one, Cossor maybe?

It certainly has not seen power for many decades, the only sign of repair seems to be the smoothing caps, otherwise untouched.

Mark
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 6:04 pm   #6
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Hi Mark, that valve line-up was very similar to that used in the ALBA 740 radiogram, although this was an AC/DC set, the valves in yours are 13v heater types usually used in AC/DC sets, there was a n AC only version with a different line-up . The only difference I can see is the o/p valve was a PEN 36C.
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 6:10 pm   #7
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Using 13volt valves with a mains transformer was relatively unusual I think. KB and Decca (also badged as Brunswick) are the only ones that spring to mind. (Somebody will now come up with a list of 30 different makes & models using 13volt valves in an AC only set!)
The "GRAM" at the end of the tuning scale reminds me of the Decca 919; you turn the tuning control to the end of its travel and it operates the radio/gram changeover switch. Doesn't look like yours does that though.

Of course KB would originally have had Brimar valves - but that mains tranny looks very similar to some KB examples.

Ian Blackbourn

Last edited by Ian B; 9th Dec 2012 at 6:13 pm. Reason: Missed a bit
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 6:30 pm   #8
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

I just looked at the trader sheet for the Alba, but the chassis is very different to mine, a quick look on the national valve museum shows the four 13C valves date from 1934/5, so my guess of mid thirties seem to be correct, but the output valve may not be original, even though it looks just as filthy & nicotine stained as the others!

The tuning knobs are original, but the other three look like replacements, I am looking forward to getting it running next week, once I have a clear workbench.

Mark
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 6:54 pm   #9
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Ian, thanks for the suggestions, my wavechange switch has four positions, so should be MW/LW/SW/gram, It has a dial bulb to light GRAM at the end of the dial, as well as three more for the individual wavebands, even with nearly 40 years experience, I am struggling to find any clue to who made it

Mark
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 7:06 pm   #10
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

3 gangs on the tuning-capacitor: Hmmm... it's either got a RF-amplifier [unlikely] or a rather-low IF and so needs a double-tuned bandpass arrangement on the front-end.
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 7:13 pm   #11
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

That valve line-up with a mains transformer is very unusual. The output valve will be a KT30 (13v heater), so that mains transformer may be an autotransformer. Ive had a look at your photos of the under chassis and some of the components are definitely mid 30s, those tar-ended caps are the same type fitted to GEC sets of the same period, but it doesnt look like a GEC to me. The Halcyon 4501 is a gram with a very similar line-up, but the cabinet is different.
Bill
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 10:40 pm   #12
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Bill, I agree that it's not GEC, the suggestion of Halycon may be on the right lines, I think it was made by one of the smaller firms, as it uses various makers parts, it should be easy enough to restore without a manual, just hoping the transformers are ok.

Mark
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 1:07 am   #13
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Hi All,

Well I cannot remember the name of the Company, but I do know that your Chassis originally was a Murphy!

Now at the end of a major production run, they sold off all of the chassis and other associated parts from stock to a London based company who made radio sets in small quantities from redundant stock.

If you look at the Murphy A24, A26 and A30 Chassis metalwork, wander sockets, control knob positions you will see what I mean.
Also the tag strip on the mains transformer is ex-Murphy stock.
The transformer definately is not!
The IF cans are exact pattern match to Defiant.

I have a couple of Murphy "clones" and they have ex-Murphy chassis, but very different layouts etc.

I also have a Clarkes-Atlas console, that has a perfect copy chassis to the Murphy A24 and it looks Murphy-esk in cabinet design and fittings as well as having the big heavy metal casting "Celestion" speaker as seen in the A24, A26 and A30 consoles and radiograms.
Yes it is true that Celestion made the pre-war speakers for Murphy, eventhough they were marked "Murphy" in the castings...

Now I know that Gerry Wells knows the name of the Company who bought up the redundant production stock from many different radio manufacturers and came up with their own line of sets to be sold widely via furniture shops and department stores.

I suspect this is one such set.
I am glad to see it has survived in such good condition and will restore very nicely.

If you have one of the Mullard Valve replacement manuals from the late 1930's you may well find the name of the manufactuer from that with a little detective work.
These books (in yearly series) have a great number of names that we never hear of.

Mike...
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 10:31 am   #14
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Thanks Mike, your theory about its Murphy origins makes sense. The wanderplugs are the same as fitted to Murphy sets of the period. You are also right, about the IF cans, they are the same type used by Defiant (Plessey).

I have an A26 and can see the resemblance, I wonder if Gerry would recognise it?

The transformer is similar to the Murphy A46RG that I had, see here:
https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...ad.php?t=39368

Quote:
I am glad to see, it has survived in such, good condition and will restore very nicely.
You would not say that if you saw it a few days ago, the photos make it look too good. It was really in a disgusting state, you really had to see the colour of the water (and the smell) when I washed it down!

The finish now looks quite a few shades lighter. I have used T-cut on the lid and it has come up nicely, but really hard work. It will be interesting to learn more when I get the chassis on the bench.

Mark

P.S. A photo of the front of the chassis...
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 7:16 pm   #15
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

A bit more progress was made today. The remains of the old mains lead was removed, noting that only one pole on the mains switch was being used.

I fitted a new lead, this time using both poles and a new wire to the transformer.
I removed the rectifier and powered up, via my variac, at full mains, there was very little current being drawn. Three of the four dial lamps and all valves lit, so back in with the rectifier, and slowly wound up the volts. At full mains, it was showing no signs of distress, nothing but a crackle, from the wavechange switch.

However, I was getting a healthy hum from the gram input so I reconnected the pickup and fired up the turntable. This rumbled and squeaked in to life, out with some old 78's and was greeted with music!

There is plenty of volume, so both the amp and pickup are fine, as is the speaker, the smoothers have reformed fine so hopefully I will be able to sort the radio section tomorrow.

A closer look under the chassis revealed two Ferranti caps, these look original so maybe another clue to its origins.

Mark

P.S. I wonder how long ago this last played a record?
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 8:29 pm   #16
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Nice work, Mark!

Escutcheon is similar to that of the Clarke "Atlas" from 1934, but that's where the similarity ends.

Nick.
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 3:41 pm   #17
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

I am having problems getting any life from the radio; I have managed to get weak reception on both long and medium wave. I have replaced five caps, but with no improvement, resting a finger lightly on the top cap of the VP13C increases the volume.

All valve pins and holders have been cleaned, as have the wavechange wafers. I am beginning to think this may be a valve problem and am beginning to wish I had some service info.

Along with Ferranti and Hunts caps, there are a couple of Sator caps (made in Austria). I really do think this set was made from leftovers!

Mark
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 9:37 pm   #18
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark pirate View Post
...beginning to wish I had some service info...
Hi Mark

At the weekend, I was googling the valve line-up for your radiogram and I discovered this page on Allan Isaac's site. It showed that the Philips 585U and 587U have a similar line-up, and a quick look at the service sheets on Paul's DVD shows that they employ a 3-gang tuning capacitor (band-pass tuning?) and an IF of 115kHz, which fits in with G6Tanuki's comments above. They might a least give an indication of some voltages you could check. Don't forget Bill (maninashed)'s pointer to the Alba 740, also - this might cast some light on the front end of your mystery radiogram.

These are all universal sets, though, so I suspect your power supply arrangements may be different. What have you discovered about that, by the way? Is that huge lump an autotransformer as Bill suggested? Heaters in series or parallel?

Keep up the good work!

Last edited by Wellington; 12th Dec 2012 at 9:50 pm. Reason: factual error
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 12:54 am   #19
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Hi Wellington, it is a normal, mains, transformer, so just a, average, run of the mill superhet, I am still trying, to work out, the problems, with the chassis, so far I have swapped, a couple of valves, between working sets, with no joy, the valves work fine, so, I have narrowed down the suspects, to either the 2D13C or FC13C.

I will check out the circuits you mention, a rough idea, of the voltages, would be a good start, I have tacked in, a few, more caps, but still no change

This set, is really putting up a fight, but I am determined to be using it, on Christmas day!,
,
Mark
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 11:11 am   #20
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Default Re: Mystery Radiogram

Mark, I would think that the ht in your set would likely be higher than that in a ac/dc set, so bear that in mind when comparing voltages. What is the ht at the smoothing cap? Check that you have a healthy ht voltage to all the valves esp to the front end. The ht chain resistors have a habit of going high after such a long time. Replace them if they are more than 20% out of value.
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