View Full Version : Zenith transistorized royal 1290 TV

03-23-2005, 06:52 PM
I got this set off ebay, after waiting about 3 years to see it pop up again. I originally wanted to buy it after the auction but the seller said no, he will relist it again. That was around december of 02.
This is a very unique piece. Its model "royal 1290" chassis 1M30T20. called the "voyager". This set is from 1966 and was very expensive new. This is zeniths very first all transistor TV introduced to the public. I have a dealer catalog for 66 zenith and this set went for 199.95 new! Built just like the tube type sets, all hand wired, power transformer. Very heavy too. Has a great bright picture, definitly a low hour set hence it still exists. Never seen one of these untill today. A zenith QC man said they where extremely difficult and time consuming to build and hardly any of them sold. Many had problems but were corrected at the factory. He said zenith lost out on this set because of high cost. It was more or less and learning experince in transistor TV. You need to remember, you are spending $200 on a 12" television! For just $100, you can get its tube type counterpart! Which would you choose considering it was 1966?

03-23-2005, 06:55 PM
Side view of inside. Built just as nice as the tube type sets!

03-23-2005, 06:56 PM
another inside view

03-23-2005, 06:57 PM
bottom view

03-23-2005, 07:00 PM
close up of channel selector. The continuous UHF tuner works as you would expect, slide rule dial like that of a radio. VHF still has detents and a cylindrical drum with off set orange dots moves down as you turn the dial. The on off switch lights up red when turned on.

03-23-2005, 07:01 PM
Just to compare, here are the two 1966 zenith 12" tvs, the one on the right is a 13N15 chassis tube type set. Was $100 cheaper when new!

03-23-2005, 07:05 PM
i had one of those in the early 80's
was in for repair.
in all the years i have been servicing this stuff yours is only the second i have seen.
a rare bird indeed.

heathkit tv
03-23-2005, 11:38 PM
We had a family TV that was very similar to the one on the right. The channel knobs and grille style were different, but the contrast etc controls along the bottom were exactly the same. This was circa mid 60's

I recall that we went thru VHF tuners somewhat often on that, probably due to me and my siblings spinning the know like a roulette wheel. Got to the point of maintaining it by blasting tuner cleaner and replacing one of the two tubes (in the tuner itself) on a semi annual basis. It fell upon me to dispose of this when we replaced it with a Trinitron around '71 or '72