View Full Version : restoration of a beatup Zenith 15Y6C15 - Zenith's first gen 13" color portable

Electronic M
04-04-2016, 12:30 AM
Back on October 3rd I went to the fall ETF swap meet and bought a poor abused Zenith 15Y6C15...The deluxe trim version. I bought it from VK member RCA2000 (IIRC for $75). It had spent a long time in his shed and had developed a significant amount of rust; the worst parts being the bottom and back cover. 3 user knobs on the front were missing/incorrect, 2 pencil box knobs are missing. It was full of grass clippings, and cobwebs, and during the test power up after getting it a garden spider whose legs could span a golf ball came stumbling out of it...It did manage a snowy tinted monochrome picture (the TV not the spider :D). ( ( ( ( ( ( ( (

I pulled the chassis and gave it a thorough cleaning topside. I also got rid of as many cobwebs with lawn clippings stuck to them as I could without hosing it down (there is still more than I'd like). ( /1562/26128145782_b10f62db23_n.jpg ( ( (
All but 3 of the tubes were original Zenith brand tubes Which makes me think this was a low hour set, but strangely the CRT is a Sylvania replacement (must not have been a long lived CRT).

After cleaning the cabinet I got to work on the rust issues. I sanded as much of the rust off the back, bottom and HV cage as I could and sprayed them ( plus the inside of the cabinet, the pencil box door, a bad spot on the chassis side and the CRT shield) with DupliColor Rust Fix. The bottom, HV cage, and CRT shield then got a coat of DupliColor's Lincoln black (I had this stuff left over from a body work project on my Lincoln Mark V that winter prevented starting). The back got a coat of a dark gray....After going to a few places a Duplicolor paint for Toyota was the closest match to the original.

The chassis got some new tubular caps as preventative maintenance, the small lytic can with all the 4uF sections changed (as needed maintenance), the color osc adjusted, the tuners cleaned, the open hum adjust pot changed (it was killing the sound), and the speaker repaired.
The convergence diode pack is cracked, and may benefit from replacement, but is good enough presently that I won't bother.

I'm going to call it done for now. (

Electronic M
04-04-2016, 12:55 AM
Continued due to picture/post limit. ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( (

I managed to transplant an antenna rod into one of the swivels, but it is too long to retract into the cabinet completely (wish I'd realized before I made the laborious transplant). :( If anyone has spare antennas for this TV I could use a set.

This is the second Zenith I've found sloppy factory workmanship in...The label for the convergence controls was put on an inch horizontaly off it's proper position (causing the end left hanging to break off), but the glue was almost completely failed so I was able to get it off intact and re-glue it in it's proper position.

Electronic M
04-04-2016, 01:04 AM
Picture is surprisingly good for a small screen set. :thmbsp: If I put my heels up on the service bench next to it the effect is the same as watching a 23" CCI console at comfortable distance. ( ( ( ( (
I've found three decent knobs for the front controls. Does any one know if the two that don't have the black center are correct for this set or not? If anyone has the knobs it needs that would help....I kinda wish I had a spare main control pannel face too....That face cones off to allow the speaker, tuners and controls to be removed from the front. I kinda wish I'd snapped a shot of it when I had that off. ( ( by Tom Carlson (, on Flickr

04-04-2016, 12:33 PM
IIRC the knobs were knurled small, flat & chrome. I think
also used on the other tin cans of that era. Been a
LONG time !
Pic looks as good as any I have seen. The 14 & 16 sets with
low focus never quite had the snap til they started using
chromacolor jugs. IIRC the original CRT was an RCA.
Very nice work.

73 Zeno:smoke:

04-04-2016, 01:17 PM
I might have knobs, saved some from a zenith or two I parted out many years ago. Chromed plastic, knurled edge, end of knob has concentric grooves.

Kevin Kuehn
04-04-2016, 01:23 PM
Nice job bringing that one back from the dead. The storage shed really took it's toll on that poor thing.

04-04-2016, 06:56 PM
Those must be tough little sets. I saved one that was even more rusty (it must have been outside for a time). It had no major electronic problems other than dirty connections and controls. It still had the original RCA CRT which was my first cataract removal. The picture is good for a low focus voltage CRT. It's the only low focus voltage set I've seen with an actual focus control (other than some Sonys).

04-04-2016, 07:45 PM
Wow, Tom, good work! You are fortunate to have that heavy little set, even in the condition it started in! I haven't touched one in a good 35 years, even then I saw no more than three. I have seen several more small RCA tube sets, than the little Zenith. I will check to see if I have any of the knobs.

04-04-2016, 08:30 PM
Very, very nice job. The picture speaks for itself.