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Old 02-25-2011, 10:41 AM
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VintagePC VintagePC is offline
Tube bug got me 05/2010
 
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Starting in TVs?

Hi fellow VK'ers;
Some of you may remember me from my giant radio restoration thread last summer... (http://vintagepc.co.nr/site/index.php/stuff/radio/) That was the first tube gear I've worked on, and it left me with a taste for more...
I don't have space for a huge collection (too many vintage computers... none that use tubes though )
but I would like to do a tube TV for kicks just to have one and say I've restored it.

I've worked in computer monitors/TVs before, so I'm aware of the HV risks involved, but I'm curious as to a few things:

1. How to find one? I occasionally check sites like CL and Kijiji as well as the odd WANTED post on the local Freecycle group, but there's either nothing or it's horribly overpriced. It's not something I want to put a lot of cash into to get the set since I'd do it for the fun/challenge of the restoration, not for collecting rare/valuable sets. (and of course, anything outside of my local area would cost an arm and a leg for shipping, and risk getting broken).

2. What's required for equipment? I've got a DMM, a variac on loan, a good soldering iron, a head on my shoulders, and a good electronics skill set (heck, I manually re-wound an oscillator coil in my radio and it worked. I'd probably try to re-build a fried flyback just for kicks ) . I see people discuss CRT testers, tube testers, HOT cathode current meters, etc. but are they _required_? Again, as a one-off thing, I wouldn't want a large up-front cost for gear I'd only use once.

3. Any other advice you'd like to share?
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:52 AM
ctc17 ctc17 is offline
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You just have to be persistent in looking. CL 5 times a day, be willing to drive and be ready to drop everything and move. The attitude that your going to be first in line helps.

I would start with a tube black and white. They can be easier to find and can be shipped if you get one through ebay. Once you have a fairly good understanding go for color or if a color one comes along put it on the side

What you got is a good start. You can pick more up as you go along, the stuff is fairly abundant and cheap. You can check cathode current with a dmm, good capacitor tester and hv probe for color sets really helps.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:29 AM
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Sandy G Sandy G is offline
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Go see a shrink. You OBVIOUSLY have some serious issues to want to get started in TV collecting/repairing....(grin)
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy G View Post
Go see a shrink. You OBVIOUSLY have some serious issues to want to get started in TV collecting/repairing....(grin)
Good to hear from you again, Captain Obvious; hadn't seen you in a while :P

Besides, the voices tell me that a shrink's not necessary... only more tubes. hehe...
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:41 AM
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Phil Nelson Phil Nelson is offline
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I would look for a 21-inch B/W television from the mid- to late 1950s. Those will usually be simpler to restore than 1940s sets. They have a nice, big screen and will be more enjoyable to watch than something with a dinky 7-inch screen. Electronic designs had become more refined by then, so you will generally get good performance without a lot of knob twiddling.

I would not buy any more test gear if this is planned as your one and only TV project. You could easily spend far more on gear than your TV is worth, even after restoration. If you get stuck, forum members here may be able to coach you out of the ditch.

Around here, 1950s B/W consoles pop up on craigslist pretty regularly. Sometimes they are listed for inflated prices, but the owners often come down to earth after they discover there are no buyers at that price. I'd plan to spend no more than $50 - $100 and look for something that spent its life indoors rather than sitting in a garage for the last 20 or 30 years. If you see something nice but the seller won't come down on price, try contacting them a couple of weeks after their listing ends, to see whether they'll take a more reasonable offer.

Just my $0.02.

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
http://antiqueradio.org/index.html
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Nelson View Post
Around here, 1950s B/W consoles pop up on craigslist pretty regularly. Sometimes they are listed for inflated prices, but the owners often come down to earth after they discover there are no buyers at that price. I'd plan to spend no more than $50 - $100 and look for something that spent its life indoors rather than sitting in a garage for the last 20 or 30 years. If you see something nice but the seller won't come down on price, try contacting them a couple of weeks after their listing ends, to see whether they'll take a more reasonable offer.

Just my $0.02.

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
http://antiqueradio.org/index.html
Sound advice indeed. Any magic search words that tend to help? As you can imagine, "Tube TV" get swamped with crummy mid-00's CRTs and I doubt everyone spends all day lurking and sifting through those...
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:40 PM
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Phil Nelson Phil Nelson is offline
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No magic words, sorry. I usually search for "tv" or "television" in Antiques or Collectibles categories and plow through the chaff. Adding "old" or "vintage" may or may not help. People may not know which category is best, or what title makes sense. An old TV might be listed under Electronics, General, Garage Sale, or whatever. I once saw a nice TV listed as "mahagony cabinet" (their misspelling, not mine).

Phil Nelson
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:44 PM
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I expected as much, there are far too many categories where these things can appear. (And it better not be "fishtank"! )
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:15 PM
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Kevin Kuehn Kevin Kuehn is offline
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If you were nearby(WI), I'd donate this classy blond Admiral to your cause.



Kevin
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:28 PM
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bandersen bandersen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintagePC View Post
Sound advice indeed. Any magic search words that tend to help? As you can imagine, "Tube TV" get swamped with crummy mid-00's CRTs and I doubt everyone spends all day lurking and sifting through those...
I search craigslist regularly with the terms 'antique tv' and 'vintage tv'. it's also worthwhile searching 'antique television' and 'vintage television'. You will get different results - it's a pretty dumb search engine.

I also sometimes search by specific brands like 'philco', 'hallicrafters', 'sentinel', etc.

Finds seem to have peaked in 2009 in my area, but I still see a few interesting sets every month.

Good luck!
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:56 PM
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VintagePC VintagePC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Kuehn View Post
If you were nearby(WI), I'd donate this classy blond Admiral to your cause.



Kevin
Much appreciated... Alas, I'm in canuckville... Sadly there isn't much in the way of tube gear here in Nova Scotia; I've seen less than a handful of tube radios on Kijiji, no TVs yet... and CL is usually empty of either.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:45 PM
ctc17 ctc17 is offline
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You could try a wanted listing.....wanted vintage antique tube television tv set....
color or black and white any condition, nothing newer than 1973 please. I restore vintage electronics and would like to add a few tvs to my collection. Sets will not be used for flower pot or humidor.

The good home thing goes along way in persuading mature Americans to dig something out of the basement.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:11 PM
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VintagePC VintagePC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctc17 View Post
You could try a wanted listing.....wanted vintage antique tube television tv set....
color or black and white any condition, nothing newer than 1973 please. I restore vintage electronics and would like to add a few tvs to my collection. Sets will not be used for flower pot or humidor.

The good home thing goes along way in persuading mature Americans to dig something out of the basement.
Good idea; I've done that before on the Freecycle group, and explicitly stated that I wanted to _restore_ the set and document it on my site.

I'll give it a try once the summer rolls around and my exams are over.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:20 PM
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electroking electroking is offline
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Hello again VintagePC! Good to see you kicking around! I trust you'll be able to
find a good TV project. As someone else mentioned, a mid-fifties to early sixties
21-incher should be something nice and fairly easy to work on. There were some
fairly well built Canadian sets. For instance the one in my avatar is a 1960
Electrohome with a 110-degree (or 114, I would have to check) picture tube
(actually purchased by my parents in 1961, and in the family ever since). I
also have a similar set (built by the same company but branded Viking and sold
by Eaton's) from 1956, with a 90-degree tube.

Both are projects awaiting restoration, although the Electrohome still works,
but with vertical sweep issues. I am also fortunate to have a spare rebuilt
CRT for this set, while the other one has a like-new factory picture tube.
I was told by the previous owner that it was last turned on in 1963 for
the Kennedy funeral, and was then replaced with a smaller portable set, just
sitting in a corner of the living room for over four decades. Maybe you'll be
lucky to find something similar not too far from home.

As for your earlier radio project, I do have some documentation and I
would be happy to discuss with you if it can help. Best regards.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:58 PM
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VintagePC VintagePC is offline
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Good to hear from you too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by electroking View Post
I was told by the previous owner that it was last turned on in 1963 for
the Kennedy funeral...
Huh... interesting (and semi-related) story: Upstairs I have my dad's first solid-state radio (an old Concert Boy). He told me earlier that it had broken a long time ago, and he had fixed it. First thing he heard when he turned it back on was the news of JFK's assasination.

Though that is a pretty significant event, so most people probably remember what they were doing at the time; your comment just brought that to mind.

Quote:
As for your earlier radio project, I do have some documentation and I
would be happy to discuss with you if it can help. Best regards.
By all means... I'm always interested in an enlightening discussion! That set's been running beautifully since I fixed it up; Sounds great too.
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