View Full Version : First truly practical color television set?


benman94
11-14-2016, 11:21 AM
If someone forced you to use a fully restored early color roundie as a "daily driver", which set would you choose?

While the 15GP22 based sets are interesting, most all of them are cantankerous at best. I'd probably go with my Hoffman or a CTC-7. Both are very reliable, requiring only the occasional tube and periodic degaussing. My experience with the CT-100 was exhausting; I'd get one issue solved and three others would crop up. It seems for some early color sets, restoration isn't a process but rather a perpetual state of being. Then for others, like the Hoffman in particular, they just run and run and run....

Electronic M
11-14-2016, 11:57 AM
My Zenith 29JC20 has been a pretty decent daily driver.

I may put my CTC-4 into daily service if I ever finish it's resto...I was having IF intermittents and alignment issues on the cusp of a change of address, and never got back around to it after the move...If I do get around to it I may have to teach myself alignment (god help me).

WISCOJIM
11-14-2016, 12:21 PM
I'd have to go for a rectangular screen set, as the roundies lose too much information in the "corners".

But if I had to, as you suggest, pick a roundie set, I'd choose a nice Danish-modern styled CTC16 - CTC20 combo with stereo radio and phono.

.

consoleguy67
11-14-2016, 01:20 PM
A nice Magnavox roundie combo.

jr_tech
11-14-2016, 01:21 PM
Danish-modern styled CTC16 - CTC20



That would be my vote as well with *some* reservations about the 20, as I believe that it was designed primarily for a 19" set (CTC-19) would it be as reliable driving a 21" CRT as the older design CTC-16? :scratch2:

jr

zenithfan1
11-14-2016, 01:41 PM
I'd go with a CTC7 or 9. The 10 and 11 are excellent performers too.

Zenith26kc20
11-14-2016, 02:13 PM
I use a 25MC33 as a weekend driver. As for daily, no tubed color. Just a 25 inch BPC Sharp. I've had too many vertical output transformers go bad in Zenith sets and Flybacks in RCA sets (and I do keep an eye on cathode current). The most reliable tube color I have is probably my Maggie T-933 chassis console. Still has it's original flyback!

Kamakiri
11-14-2016, 02:25 PM
I'm on my second recap of an 11 in as many months. For the ones I've had my hands in, the 11 wins hands down.

jr_tech
11-14-2016, 02:39 PM
I'm on my second recap of an 11 in as many months. For the ones I've had my hands in, the 11 wins hands down.

Scratches head... Is this a second CTC-11 that you are restoring? or are you recaping one that you had done 11 months ago because of failures?

jr

Kamakiri
11-14-2016, 02:41 PM
Heh :D

No, this is the second 11 chassis I've had on the bench. First one went easy.

jr_tech
11-14-2016, 02:53 PM
Whew! I was worried for a minute!

jr

miniman82
11-14-2016, 03:27 PM
CTC-7 or 9, hands down. First sets to get away from the metal shell CRT's, so less worries about leaks. Stable PCB's that didn't disintegrate like the ones in the 4 do, and dead reliable. Pretty much anything that came after those two are just as reliable, but I can't speak for any other brand but RCA.

old_coot88
11-14-2016, 03:38 PM
But if I had to, as you suggest, pick a roundie set, I'd choose a nice Danish-modern styled CTC16 - CTC20 combo with stereo radio and phono.
If you go with a '20, be sure you have a good stock of 6GH8s (or subs like 6U8, 6EA8). Also the first runs had weak vertical sync. The factory published a mod for service dealers which involved changing two resistors in the sync separater section. A sight-unseen '20 might not have the mod.

TUD1
11-14-2016, 04:04 PM
No need to force a roundie on me, I already watch my 1963 Admiral almost everyday. And yes, cantankerous is definitely the word.

Jon A.
11-14-2016, 04:49 PM
If someone forced you to use a fully restored early color roundie as a "daily driver", which set would you choose?

While the 15GP22 based sets are interesting, most all of them are cantankerous at best. I'd probably go with my Hoffman or a CTC-7. Both are very reliable, requiring only the occasional tube and periodic degaussing. My experience with the CT-100 was exhausting; I'd get one issue solved and three others would crop up. It seems for some early color sets, restoration isn't a process but rather a perpetual state of being. Then for others, like the Hoffman in particular, they just run and run and run....
It wouldn't take much forcing as I already use a 40-year-old console TV daily. :thmbsp: The better convergence would be a plus.

This was a tough call. The more unusual the better, to me anyway, so I did a little digging and chose a 1965 Sylvania D01 metal cabinet set.

Now, if someone can give me highly detailed specs on Zenith's infamous horizontal efficiency coil, perhaps I can practice making duplicates with coils from my junk boards.

benman94
11-15-2016, 10:32 AM
The best roundie I've ever had pass through my collection was the CTC-9 Anniversary from Mark. I really regret selling that set.

Incidentally, my two great-Uncles, who were engineers at RCA from ~1945 into 1956 or 1957, held off on purchasing color sets until the CTC-7 was available. They felt everything earlier was more or less a proof of concept. In all fairness though, RCA's open door policy with prototypes and test sets probably helped them delay purchasing "real" color sets...

Findm-Keepm
11-15-2016, 01:02 PM
CTC-7 or 9, hands down. First sets to get away from the metal shell CRT's, so less worries about leaks. Stable PCB's that didn't disintegrate like the ones in the 4 do, and dead reliable. Pretty much anything that came after those two are just as reliable, but I can't speak for any other brand but RCA.

+1 also the first sets to have some interchangeability in parts (standardization) - earlier RCAs used chassis unique parts for 40-60% of the chassis. The 15/16 marked the first cross-chassis 90% parts compatibility. RCA had that once again with the 1st generation XL100s.

7/9 fer sure....

DavGoodlin
11-15-2016, 01:56 PM
The best roundie I've ever had pass through my collection was the CTC-9 Anniversary from Mark. I really regret selling that set.

Incidentally, my two great-Uncles, who were engineers at RCA from ~1945 into 1956 or 1957, held off on purchasing color sets until the CTC-7 was available. They felt everything earlier was more or less a proof of concept. In all fairness though, RCA's open door policy with prototypes and test sets probably helped them delay purchasing "real" color sets...

Great story - they had the inside scoop!

I have my two CTC11s and Id take either as a daily. Been using one since the election every day at breakfast.:D
Id agree on the CTC7, unlikely found in my area due to lack of collectors in general and in particular, upgrades to XL100, colortrak etc made everybody toss out the roundies by the mid 70's. :sigh:

zenithfan1
11-15-2016, 02:33 PM
The best roundie I've ever had pass through my collection was the CTC-9 Anniversary from Mark. I really regret selling that set.

Incidentally, my two great-Uncles, who were engineers at RCA from ~1945 into 1956 or 1957, held off on purchasing color sets until the CTC-7 was available. They felt everything earlier was more or less a proof of concept. In all fairness though, RCA's open door policy with prototypes and test sets probably helped them delay purchasing "real" color sets...

She sure was a trooper huh? I also regret selling it, at least it's been in good hands with the owners it's had since. She's still going strong. I need to restore my ctc9 Kenbridge remote set that I replaced the Anniversary with. I'll be willing to bet it'll run like a 9 should as well.

benman94
11-15-2016, 03:06 PM
I watched the SNOT out of that set, put at least 1,500 hours on it, and when it left here the 21FBP22 in it STILL tested like it was brand new. That was one of those sets you could turn on, leave the room, come back a few hours (or probably even days) later, and it would still be humming along perfectly, blissfully unaware of how old and obsolete it was...
The DHM contacted me about loaning them an operational roundie for an exhibit on Detroit radio and television. It would have displayed an endless loop of Motown acts in color on Ed Sullivan, etc, while a black and white set (I offered an RCA 9TC275) would have shown old B/W Detroit kinescopes. I seriously thought about loaning the Anniversary. I could have checked on it once every couple of months and been fine...

oldtvman
11-25-2016, 03:21 PM
Based on the improved crt and convergence assembly the Ctc 7 became the first practical set of the era.

Hagstar
11-27-2016, 06:36 PM
I'd say it's, of course, the 1969 RCA G2000 with the first 100% solid state chassis. CRTs were kind of okay but clearly tubes were a kluge of sorts in all the color sets I have seen. They ran hot, gradually destroyed the PC boards with that heat, and often ran at the limits of their ability.

The whole center of their appeal to me is the fragility and bold daring of building color sets anyway though reliability and performance suffered so in the tube era. It appalls me on forums to hear people praise the cranky tube sets as built to last, unlike sets today (which only fail because they are now made so cheaply and few would be willing to pay for reliable components). IF tube sets are so reliable why was there a repair shop on every corner then and none now?

John H.

Electronic M
11-28-2016, 12:17 AM
I'd say it's, of course, the 1969 RCA G2000 with the first 100% solid state chassis. CRTs were kind of okay but clearly tubes were a kluge of sorts in all the color sets I have seen. They ran hot, gradually destroyed the PC boards with that heat, and often ran at the limits of their ability.

The whole center of their appeal to me is the fragility and bold daring of building color sets anyway though reliability and performance suffered so in the tube era. It appalls me on forums to hear people praise the cranky tube sets as built to last, unlike sets today (which only fail because they are now made so cheaply and few would be willing to pay for reliable components). IF tube sets are so reliable why was there a repair shop on every corner then and none now?

John H.
RCA was the champion of the asinine practice of putting tubes on PC boards many other makers avoided that and those makers' sets were MUCH more reliable as a result.

Modern sets don't go to repair shops (they are cheap disposable junk), they go to the dump... It is like comparing a $5 single use film camera to a $1000 high end camera, and saying the single use is better because nobody is dumb enough to repair them when they break...

miniman82
11-28-2016, 10:30 AM
I'd say it's, of course, the 1969 RCA G2000 with the first 100% solid state chassis.


I though this was the early color forum, a G2000 is hardly early color and it has a square tube.

clearly tubes were a kluge of sorts in all the color sets I have seen. They ran hot, gradually destroyed the PC boards with that heat, and often ran at the limits of their ability.

Kludge? They were the prevailing technology of that time period, what else were they supposed to use? Transistors didn't get good enough for service in horizontal output circuits till the late 60's, and even then quite a lot of sets were all transistor EXCEPT the horizontal out and HV areas. Why? A tube was still better and more reliable.

The whole center of their appeal to me is the fragility and bold daring of building color sets anyway though reliability and performance suffered so in the tube era. It appalls me on forums to hear people praise the cranky tube sets as built to last...IF tube sets are so reliable why was there a repair shop on every corner then and none now?

Tubes themselves are actually a lot more stable than their silicon counterparts in a lot of ways, they don't drift with temperature for example. The main reason tube based electronics failed was because of wax or oil capacitor breakdown, or a tube lost emission or failed in some other way. Misadjustment either by the user or a technician is another source of grief, it's easy for the horizontal section to be out of alignment and draw too much current which has a habit of melting the flyback for example...

Now if you want to talk about the quality of the parts that went into them, like the capacitors, that's another thing. But again, what else could they do? There weren't high quality Mylar film caps, and even today B+ rated caps have a definite MTBF that you can see on any published data sheet.


I bring all of this up because none of my sets are unreliable after having proper servicing done to bring the caps and resistors up to modern specs, in fact I left one (a CTC-7) to its own devices running 24/7 in a museum in Chicago and it made it nearly 2 years before anything went wrong with it. When it did need service, guess what had gone wrong? A power supply electrolytic had exploded, after replacing it it again worked flawlessly. Another member later acquired it from me, and is completely satisfied with how it works.

A correctly repaired and set up early color set can be a totally reliable tv, when it will fail you is when you ignore published procedures for setting them up. Line voltage too high, horizontal current out of spec, ect. Outside of that, I see no basis in calling them unreliable.

Tom9589
11-28-2016, 11:28 AM
I started working on TVs when paper and wax capacitors were being phased out - Black Beauties were the rage to be soon followed by Arco-Elmenco brown mylar coated capacitors. I was using Sprague Orange Drops exclusively when I actively stopped repairing. You used whatever electrolytics were available. Before we praise the newer electrolytics too much, I want to remind you of the Nichicon electrolytic fiasco in the 90s. Dell and HP spent hundreds of millions of dollars on replacing those bad boys under warranty. I've replace quite a few myself.

Nick is right about the fact that older TVs aren't inherently more unreliable. It's just the fact that manufacturers tried to balance cost with longevity. They could (and did early on) use two HOTs, but that would have only extended the life of the individual HOTs. The flyback would have been no better off and might have failed even sooner with this arrangement.

Hagstar
11-28-2016, 11:08 PM
Well the question was about the first "truly practical" set. I can't see anyone wanting to pay for the repair visits that were common and needed in the all or mostly tube TV era. As a child I knew our repair guy by name, from TV Clinic long closed. From the consumer's point of view solid state is overwhelmingly practical in largely avoiding service for the life of the product. Not yet discussed is the power savings involved too. All I know is when my family's TVs went solid state it ceased to be like owning an MG to much more like a Honda.

Electronic M
11-28-2016, 11:36 PM
Well the question was about the first "truly practical" set. I can't see anyone wanting to pay for the repair visits that were common and needed in the all or mostly tube TV era. As a child I knew our repair guy by name, from TV Clinic long closed. From the consumer's point of view solid state is overwhelmingly practical in largely avoiding service for the life of the product. Not yet discussed is the power savings involved too. All I know is when my family's TVs went solid state it ceased to be like owning an MG to much more like a Honda.

Just because you would never want a model A as a daily driver today, don't mean it was not 'Practical' as one to consumers when it was new...

Jon A.
11-29-2016, 12:50 AM
Yup, and the repair careers were wiped away as well. These days if something breaks it usually has to be trashed, or at least a major part of it does, if any replacement parts are even available beyond the warranty period.

The console TV I use daily now pulls more than twice the current of the set it replaced which was 30 years newer, and gets used more, yet the difference in our total electricity usage is only marginal. Factor in that the lights are on longer this time of year as well.

Hondas, ugh. Those things ought to have booster seats as standard equipment that can be deleted for savings.

etype2
11-29-2016, 02:24 AM
I wanted to chime in earlier, but knew what I have to say will be controversial to the majority of early color television devotees.

How can one have a definitive answer to the question of this thread? It depends on one's perspective.

miniman82 makes a good point: The tubes and circuits of the 50's era televisions was what the engineers/manufactures had to work with at the time.

Electronic M makes an excellent point in the Model A analogy. Time passes and technology progresses.

In the 1950's, there was a standing joke, when you bought a color set, you had to hire an on-duty engineer to keep it running. Heat build up inside color televisions to my way of thinking is the number one destroyer of other components inside the set. I know it goes beyond that though.

Think about it from a consumer point a view. The average public did not possess the technical knowledge to repair and keep up their color sets in the 1950's era (and that includes me) unlike the majority of members here who have and had careers repairing televisions.

From my personal point of view and the controversial part, I would say the first practical color televisions were the Sony's starting in 1968. I remember the naysayers very well saying the Trinitron could not be made for larger CRT sizes. When Sony introduced their first 17 inch color set, they were on their way. With Sony, you now had personal portable solid state color sets as well as the monster 43 inchers with very reliable performance, simpler circuits, reduction in convergence requirements, etc.

I know many here take issue with the Sony's. The American color television industry disappeared as well as the jobs to sustain the old technology (tube sets) to Japan. The question of what was the first truly practical color set depends on the time and the perspective.

Electronic M
11-29-2016, 07:57 AM
You raise a good point that it is perspective. If you want to define it as the first set that could be ran somewhat regularly and need comparable maintenance to a monochrome set of the time (~annual service) sets were getting there in the late 50's (first is a matter of opinion).

If you want to say first that could go ~5 years without service and last 2-4 times that with maintenance I'd say ~2-4 chassis in to the game Zenith had a decent portion of their roundys hitting that mark.

If you want to define it as a reliable SS I'd have to pick horizontal flat-chassis Zenith CCII sets (Moto WID would be a candidate too)....Those things are darn near immortal (I have seen and owned several that to this day have never had the back off and still work), and the CRTs never die....You could do 2-3 CRT swaps in a Sony over 13" and the Zenith will still be putting out a respectable picture and not yet need a rejuve.

benman94
11-29-2016, 08:50 AM
While I certainly understand everyone's point of view on this, I did ask for everyone's opinion on the first practical color roundie. By the time the rectangular screen sets made it to market, the typical color set required about as much maintance as the typical monochrome set of that era. In other words, they were reliable, and therefore, practical.

etype2
11-29-2016, 09:07 AM
While I certainly understand everyone's point of view on this, I did ask for everyone's opinion on the first practical color roundie. By the time the rectangular screen sets made it to market, the typical color set required about as much maintance as the typical monochrome set of that era. In other words, they were reliable, and therefore, practical.

Yes you did say "roundie" and I overlooked that. I read the bold title print, so excuse me.

broadcaster
12-01-2016, 10:09 AM
My vote is for the Zenith 29JC20. One fine set!

ppppenguin
12-01-2016, 03:40 PM
I'd say it's, of course, the 1969 RCA G2000 with the first 100% solid state chassis.

That may have been the first fully solid state colour chassis in the USA but over here in the UK we had the Thorn 2000 chassis (sold under various brand names) available in 1967 for the start of our colour service. Used rather less power (about 250W) than the 400W or so for a hybrid chassis. In the UK we had the problem of dual standard 625/405 sets until 1969. The system switching was often complex and unreliable and gave many early colour sets a bad name.

http://www.oldtechnology.net/colour.html#hmv2000

Electronic M
12-01-2016, 05:52 PM
That may have been the first fully solid state colour chassis in the USA but over here in the UK we had the Thorn 2000 chassis (sold under various brand names) available in 1967 for the start of our colour service. Used rather less power (about 250W) than the 400W or so for a hybrid chassis. In the UK we had the problem of dual standard 625/405 sets until 1969. The system switching was often complex and unreliable and gave many early colour sets a bad name.

http://www.oldtechnology.net/colour.html#hmv2000

IIRC one of my ~50% tube Zenith hybrids is 315W, and some of the all tube sets were ~350W...The early tube color sets tended to be more power hungry.

miniman82
12-02-2016, 05:27 PM
My 21-CT-55 draws 525w from the wall, the cord gets warm if you run it for very long. :)

KentTeffeteller
12-11-2016, 12:08 PM
In early color TV, a 1962-1964 Zenith roundie in high end chassis would be my nod for practical daily driver. No PC boards, far more reliable than RCA and engineered for reliability.

Jon A.
12-11-2016, 09:38 PM
My 21-CT-55 draws 525w from the wall, the cord gets warm if you run it for very long. :)
The shock wore off after a few seconds. I remembered the CTC2 is peppered with tubes, and I reckon the 2B isn't much different.

David Roper
12-11-2016, 11:27 PM
475 watts is a Merrill's draw. RCA had gotten kinda chintzy by this time, apparently. My 9TW333 has a beefy 16 gauge cord like one of those clocks you could plug a percolator into, yet it draws about 350 watts max.

Tom S
12-12-2016, 08:11 AM
I run my CTC10 and CTC11 as daily runners. My 11 has a Cataract and not so great emission but my 10 is great. I must admit I use the 10 more.

benman94
12-12-2016, 03:21 PM
475 watts is a Merrill's draw. RCA had gotten kinda chintzy by this time, apparently. My 9TW333 has a beefy 16 gauge cord like one of those clocks you could plug a percolator into, yet it draws about 350 watts max.

The 475 watt figure for the CTC-2, and the 525 watt figure for the CTC-2B are both apparent power; you're being billed for less. IIRC, the power factor for a CT-100 is about 0.85 or so.

hi_volt
12-22-2016, 10:03 PM
I'd use my blonde CTC-16X.

Tubejunke
01-16-2017, 04:10 AM
Now, if someone can give me highly detailed specs on Zenith's infamous horizontal efficiency coil, perhaps I can practice making duplicates with coils from my junk boards.

I would have and many vintage Zenith owners WILL wish that someone gets those specs and starts making them because they are nearly unobtainium and the spools are brittle and broken on many sets. If the slug freezes in a brittle spool it is DONE!

I have a 1964 Zenith metal cabinet job that a while back was familiar to this forum due to both that and a popped resistor under an arching (to the point of ruin) HV rectifier socket.

I finally found a coil and a socket, but it wasn't easy. And understandably there weren't a lot of enthusiasts with spare chassis wanting to sell off vital parts. Someone finally came to the rescue with the rectifier socket and for the record, the resistor isn't even necessary. Can't remember why to explain, but a very reliable source told me to run a jumper where the resistor was and all would be well. And it was. :thmbsp:

I still have the set, but the project got put to the side by the acquisition of a new woman and all of her (MANY) belongings. No room to pull a TV chassis, so I shifted my interests to restoring old test equipment like Heathkit C3s, Sprague TelOhmikes, and Solar stuff. The type that test for leakage at full rated voltage. Great, if not essential for people doing what we do here at VK and NO a modern DVOM with capacitance WILL NOT tell you the condition of any capacitor; only the uuf or uf value with it's 9V battery.

Don't want to go off topic so yes the set sits waiting for it's day in the sun of the right buyer. It works pretty good. Needs a little convergence work and I run it on my Variac with a milli ammeter hooked up to the cathode of the horizontal output tube to keep an eye on the current. I don't want to lose a flyback! The current gets a little higher than I feel good about at full wall potential, so I need to replace a few caps in that circuit and all will be fine.