View Full Version : 1981 Montgomery Wards Portable Color TV


Captainclock
02-08-2016, 03:15 PM
Hello everyone, today I found in the recyling at Goodwill where I work a 1981 Montgomery Wards Portable Color TV which I bought from them usding my 50% employee discount for $6 and I got it home plugged it in and turned it on and the screen didn't come up right away like I was expecting (its solid state) so I fiddled around with the controls a little bit and even monkeyed around with the Auto Color button on the front and sure enough the screen came up and it still has fairly decent color yet. it has a drum style tuner where you turn a single knob and it goes through all of the different channels and you use a switch to go through the different bands VHF Low (2-6) VHF High (7-13) and then UHF (14-83) and I had a converter box hooked up to it because it had external 300 Ohm antenna terminals built in to the unit, and the picture wasn't too bad for what it was (its about a 5" Screen.)
The battery Compartment is as clean as a whistle, looking like it was never used.
I have some pictures of the unit posted below.

jr_tech
02-08-2016, 05:06 PM
Even though the *set* is solid state, the CRT still requires a warm up time before the brightness can come up.

jr

Captainclock
02-08-2016, 05:29 PM
Even though the *set* is solid state, the CRT still requires a warm up time before the brightness can come up.

jr

Yes I realize that, but this set's CRT took a little longer than usual to warm up, is what I meant by that. the color is still good but the brightness and contrast is pretty dim for it being a TV that most likely saw very little use except for in a camper or in a kitchen.

The TV is dirtier than all get out on the front and I noticed that the control knobs up front are a little touchy like they need a good cleaning because they kind of have a hard time locking in the brightness, contrast, color and tint adjustments without having to be twiddled a few times. The Auto Color pushbutton switch is also a little weird, it actually dims the picture by quite a bit.

Is there any way of figuring out who made this TV for Montgomery Wards?

tom.j.fla
02-08-2016, 07:51 PM
Well what is the model number? With Wards sets you most times can tell who made the set by the model number. So if you can find the model number post it, mybe one of we older hands can help you out. All the best, Tom.J

dieseljeep
02-08-2016, 08:10 PM
Well what is the model number? With Wards sets you most times can tell who made the set by the model number. So if you can find the model number post it, mybe one of we older hands can help you out. All the best, Tom.J

Many of the Ward's electronic products at the time were made by Sharp. The first three letters of the model number designated the supplier.
The picture of the back nameplate would be helpful, as well.
It was a good find! Probably, all the control pots need a contact spray clean.

Captainclock
02-08-2016, 09:59 PM
OK So here's the sticker that tells the model number and everything. The thing could be powered off of 10 "D" batteries @ 15 Volts DC (1.5 volts X 10 = 15 Volts), or a 12 Volt car adaptor or 120 Volts AC so it was quite a versatile set back in the day.

What was a real treat was that the Battery compartment was extremely clean almost like it was never used, no corrosion, no rust or anything, its like brand spanking new, and the TV is almost flawless condition wise like it was hardly ever used the only flaw it has is that the built in rod antenna had the top cap broken off and the bottom of the antenna rod is bent slightly other than that it looks almost like it might of been a low hours TV, like it may have only seen use as a camper TV or a kitchen TV and that was it.

I actually tried looking it up by the FCC ID number on the unit but turned up empty handed as the FCC said they didn't have any records of that number in their database...

dieseljeep
02-08-2016, 10:20 PM
OK So here's the sticker that tells the model number and everything. The thing could be powered off of 10 "D" batteries @ 15 Volts DC (1.5 volts X 10 = 15 Volts), or a 12 Volt car adaptor or 120 Volts AC so it was quite a versatile set back in the day.

What was a real treat was that the Battery compartment was extremely clean almost like it was never used, no corrosion, no rust or anything, its like brand spanking new, and the TV is almost flawless condition wise like it was hardly ever used the only flaw it has is that the built in rod antenna had the top cap broken off and the bottom of the antenna rod is bent slightly other than that it looks almost like it might of been a low hours TV, like it may have only seen use as a camper TV or a kitchen TV and that was it.

I actually tried looking it up by the FCC ID number on the unit but turned up empty handed as the FCC said they didn't have any records of that number in their database...
It's probably a Sharp built set. Still a good save!
Can you imagine the cost of running the set on "D" cells? Possibly, four hours max on 10 Alkaline cells. :D
There was possibly a special rechargeable battery pack that fit into the compartment.

jr_tech
02-08-2016, 10:53 PM
It's probably a Sharp built set. Still a good save!

The first part of the FCC id code, the grantee part (A7R) comes back as Orion... would that make sense?

I used:

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/GenericSearch.cfm

put in A7R in the first box and hit search.

jr

jbattles
02-09-2016, 07:57 AM
need to let it play so the crt will wake up. It will get brighter and track better after awhile. its been left dormant probably for a long time.

zeno
02-09-2016, 09:20 AM
Orion would make sense. There style screws.
Orion ( Emerson) & Gold Star were first with a cheap 5" set. Jap
built 5" sets were MUCH more. They sold well under
a lot of names & turned out to be pretty good sets.
A bit of a bitch to work on though......

Not many main chassis problems. Most common on both
were cold joints at the hoz drive transformers. That would
give you an int. pix if it acts up again. On the PS end
regulators & cold PC cons behind AC socket.

73 Zeno:smoke:

dieseljeep
02-09-2016, 10:57 AM
The first part of the FCC id code, the grantee part (A7R) comes back as Orion... would that make sense?

I used:

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/GenericSearch.cfm

put in A7R in the first box and hit search.

jr
After I saw the picture of the nameplate, it seemed that Wards used the GEN prefix on a lot of non-Sharp products, as well as Sharp. The set does say "Made in Japan".
Orion and Funai were originally Japanese firms. :scratch2:

Captainclock
02-09-2016, 03:41 PM
Yeah I used the FCC ID Reverse Lookup page and typed in the FCC ID on the bottom of the unit and it returned nothing. It would make more sense that it was maybe a Sharp built unit rather than a Funai or Orion built because I don't think those companies made TVs that early on, plus the "Made in Japan" sticker on the bottom seems to point to Sharp (not that Funai or Orion weren't Japanese firms as well but like I said I thought that they didn't get into the TV business until the mid 1980s more whereas this TV is from 1981.)

Like I said this TV is I belive a low hours set and has the unusual feature of having the 300 Ohm External Antenna Terminals on it which is nice because one can easily hook up a converter box to this TV without any special cables or adaptors.

jr_tech
02-09-2016, 07:01 PM
The set does say "Made in Japan".
Orion and Funai were originally Japanese firms. :scratch2:

"A7R" indeed seems to be the designator for Orion... I found this on another site:

Full Company Details: ORION ELECTRIC CO., LTD. - A7R
Company Code: A7R
Address:
ORION ELECTRIC CO., LTD.
41-1 Iehisa-cho Echizen-city
Fukui-Pref 915, N/A N/A
Japan


jr

Captainclock
02-10-2016, 11:50 AM
"A7R" indeed seems to be the designator for Orion... I found this on another site:




jr

Which website did you find that info at? Because I went to the FCC's Website and checked that code out and nothing came back results wise. It said that there wasn't a company registered to that number.

Steve D.
02-10-2016, 01:13 PM
No mater who built the set, TV has a "Ward's" name plate on the front. At what point was the "Airline" brand dropped by Montgomery Ward?

-Steve D.

jr_tech
02-10-2016, 01:33 PM
Which website did you find that info at? Because I went to the FCC's Website and checked that code out and nothing came back results wise. It said that there wasn't a company registered to that number.

The relevant part of the code for determining the manufacturer is the first 3 (or sometimes 5) characters. If you go to the FCC search page that I provided a link to in post 8 and enter just the A7R, it will return about 440 Orion products and none from any other manufacturer. It will not show products earlier than about 1982 or so... earlier data apparently is not on line. I have encountered the same limit whie searching the FCC site for information on broadcast stations, as well. There is little doubt that A7R is Orion and exclusively so. Your set is just too old to show up on line.

The other site I used was "fccid.io", again the specific model was not found, but the A7R part by itself returned Orion as the result.

Hope this helps,
jr

Captainclock
02-10-2016, 05:59 PM
The relevant part of the code for determining the manufacturer is the first 3 (or sometimes 5) characters. If you go to the FCC search page that I provided a link to in post 8 and enter just the A7R, it will return about 440 Orion products and none from any other manufacturer. It will not show products earlier than about 1982 or so... earlier data apparently is not on line. I have encountered the same limit whie searching the FCC site for information on broadcast stations, as well. There is little doubt that A7R is Orion and exclusively so. Your set is just too old to show up on line.

The other site I used was "fccid.io", again the specific model was not found, but the A7R part by itself returned Orion as the result.

Hope this helps,
jr

OK, well I realize this set is from 1981 which is probably a little late for Montgomery Wards items as far as collectability goes but do you think that there is any collectors value to this TV? I mean obviously since Montgomery Wards is no longer in business.

Captainclock
02-15-2016, 02:53 PM
The first part of the FCC id code, the grantee part (A7R) comes back as Orion... would that make sense?

I used:

https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/GenericSearch.cfm

put in A7R in the first box and hit search.

jr

I did look up the A7R code and the furthest back the code goes with Orion is 1982, whereas my TV is from 1981 so I'm wondering if maybe the code belonged to someone else prior to 1982, but then Orion got the code in 1982?

Also I have been trying to leave this TV on for about an hour or 2 at a time to try and "wake up" the picture tube but it doesn't seem to be helping it any, it still has to have the brightness control turned all the way up in order to get a viewable picture, otherwise the picture is so dark that you can barely tell that the TV is on, the contrast and the color is good yet, just the Brightness sucks for some reason, and I'm hoping that the Picture tube isn't about shot because that would be a little strange for a low hours TV like this one was, unless the picture tube they used was known to go bad prematurely, then that would be a different story, but still disappointing none the less.

compucat
02-16-2016, 12:41 PM
I did look up the A7R code and the furthest back the code goes with Orion is 1982, whereas my TV is from 1981 so I'm wondering if maybe the code belonged to someone else prior to 1982, but then Orion got the code in 1982?

Also I have been trying to leave this TV on for about an hour or 2 at a time to try and "wake up" the picture tube but it doesn't seem to be helping it any, it still has to have the brightness control turned all the way up in order to get a viewable picture, otherwise the picture is so dark that you can barely tell that the TV is on, the contrast and the color is good yet, just the Brightness sucks for some reason, and I'm hoping that the Picture tube isn't about shot because that would be a little strange for a low hours TV like this one was, unless the picture tube they used was known to go bad prematurely, then that would be a different story, but still disappointing none the less.

Small screen CRTs generally last a long time. You might see if there is a sub brightness or brightness range control on the board somewhere. Even a G2 control (often located on the flyback) may help to increase brightness. Just watch for retrace lines. It may be a low hours set because the brightness range was never set quite right from the factory and it didn't get used much because it was so dim.

Captainclock
02-16-2016, 04:14 PM
Small screen CRTs generally last a long time. You might see if there is a sub brightness or brightness range control on the board somewhere. Even a G2 control (often located on the flyback) may help to increase brightness. Just watch for retrace lines. It may be a low hours set because the brightness range was never set quite right from the factory and it didn't get used much because it was so dim.

That's would make sense. I'll definitely check those things out.

zeno
02-18-2016, 11:10 AM
If the pix is just dark but otherwise good & sharp with good
B&W try moving the G-2 ( a.k.a. screen ) control a little first.

G-2 is on CRT socket. Circuit simple, flyback pulse rectified by
D604 ( apx 300 VDC ) goes to one end of control. Other end
a 1 meg R681 to ground.
CRT pin 8 should be abt 250 VDC.

The 3 cathodes pins 1, 6, & 7 should be abt 75 V. if they
are much higher you have a video problem.

73 Zeno:smoke:

dieseljeep
02-18-2016, 11:30 AM
If the pix is just dark but otherwise good & sharp with good
B&W try moving the G-2 ( a.k.a. screen ) control a little first.

G-2 is on CRT socket. Circuit simple, flyback pulse rectified by
D604 ( apx 300 VDC ) goes to one end of control. Other end
a 1 meg R681 to ground.
CRT pin 8 should be abt 250 VDC.

The 3 cathodes pins 1, 6, & 7 should be abt 75 V. if they
are much higher you have a video problem.

73 Zeno:smoke:

I just wonder if the board has the low value 'lytic in the screen circuit, 10mfd @ 315vdc, that might be bad. I don't know if the cap is on the CRT board or on the main board. :scratch2:

Captainclock
02-18-2016, 12:04 PM
If the pix is just dark but otherwise good & sharp with good
B&W try moving the G-2 ( a.k.a. screen ) control a little first.

G-2 is on CRT socket. Circuit simple, flyback pulse rectified by
D604 ( apx 300 VDC ) goes to one end of control. Other end
a 1 meg R681 to ground.
CRT pin 8 should be abt 250 VDC.

The 3 cathodes pins 1, 6, & 7 should be abt 75 V. if they
are much higher you have a video problem.

73 Zeno:smoke:

I took a look inside the TV and there didn't seem to be a screen adjustment control anywhere to be found in the TV, I know usually with the Bigger (13" and up) TVs the Screen ("G-2") adjustment is part of the flyback but the only adjustment I see on the flyback that is also adjustable from outside the case is the focus adjustment control. I know the Horizontal Size control was replaced with a resistor instead of a variable rheostat like normal, and yes other than the picture being too dark the color and the sharpness is really good yet on the picture and the black and white is still good, its just that the brightness control has to be turned up all the way in order to see the picture fully otherwise if you turn the brightness control all the way down you have no picture whatsoever, and at halfway the picture is barely visible, it has very good contrast yet, but the brightness is the only thing that's not working right.
So since the Screen adjustment doesn't seem to be associated with the flyback on this unit where else would I look for the screen adjustment?

And when I had the TV apart I did see that the pix tube did say Orion on it, so you were right it was made by Orion, although what confused me was that on the bottom right hand corner of the pix tube paper label was printed the Matsushita emblem, which to me would indicate that the pix tube was apparently made by Matsushita for Orion (kind of like how GE and RCA made pix tubes for other companies here in America for years.) Does that make any sense?

Captainclock
02-18-2016, 12:06 PM
I just wonder if the board has the low value 'lytic in the screen circuit, 10mfd @ 315vdc, that might be bad. I don't know if the cap is on the CRT board or on the main board. :scratch2:

I don't know either, what would the capacitor do exactly and what circuit would it be associated with? I'm asking because I could see if I could locate it by looking around on the different circuit boards for it.

zeno
02-18-2016, 07:51 PM
The G-2 is on the CRT socket.

73 Zeno:smoke:

Captainclock
02-18-2016, 09:04 PM
The G-2 is on the CRT socket.

73 Zeno:smoke:

I see, well I looked there as well and I didn't see anything there I saw controls Marked RED, GREEN, and BLUE and there were 2 of them, When you say G-2 control are you referring to the second Green adjustment? Or is there another control on the CRT Socket Board that is actually marked G-2?

EDIT: Found the control you were talking about, it was marked "Screen" and it was on the bottom left hand corner of the CRT Board sitting at an angle. It definitely wasn't set right from the factory because I was able to set the control to the middle and I still had plenty of room to adjust yet before finally getting any retrace lines of any sort.I currently have it set in the middle and it gives a nice bright picture and plenty of adjustment room for the brightness control in the front. and it has probably the best picture I've seen on a portable color TV that size! Definitely a Low Hours TV Set! Sadly enough I couldn't get my camera to get a nice screen shot of the picture on the TV, it was nothing but bright light to the camera for some reason, it wasn't able to make out a discernable image on the screen.