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  #1  
Old 06-02-2017, 07:17 PM
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TV Test/alignment gear on the cheap (and small)

Since I'm getting ready to start on a TV project I figured I'd ask here... what are my options for cheap and comprehensive gear needed to align sets? I'm already in possession of an oscilloscope, DMM, and analog meter, but I'm referring to the more specialty alignment stuff like sweep generators etc.

I'd like to keep it low priced and not take up a lot of space, as I don't have much room or budget, nor do I envision getting/working on lots of TVs in the near future. Maybe someday, but not now.

I see much about the Sencore VA62(A) which can be had for fairly cheap, but it's not clear to me if it's an all-in-one unit that can be used to also align a set (with 21Mhz IF mod). If so... spiffy. If not... What are my options without breaking the bank or having to get a bunch of separate boxes? Are there good cheap digital sweep/marker generators (or even a DIY kit) out there?

... Under $100?
... Under $50?
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2017, 08:50 PM
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The VA-62 is not a proper sweep/marker generator it's multiburst pattern (which you can get off a test pattern DVD) can be used for a crude "visual alignment", but I would not put much stock in it's usefulness asside from being good at testing/touching up an alignment from proper gear.

A B&K 415 (if I've got the number right) is a good easy to use all in one 45 Mhz rig.

The 21MHz TV IF were on their way out in the mid 50's, so most gear that can do it is big tube stuff or expensive specialty gear.

Personally, I feel unless you plan to do a TON of TV work, are a perfectionist, and or know one of your projects has extreme screwdriver drift in it's alignment, your better off not wasting your time with alignments.

I've owned over 100 TVs by now and serviced a good portion of them. I've yet to do an alignment despite having the gear...I've got a few sets that could use it, but it just ain't that important.
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2017, 09:30 PM
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Fair enough. I agree it's probably not an issue for most, my last set was untouched and didn't need anything, but this one's had some bodgery so who knows what has been done to it and whether screwdriver Pete had a go.

Main reason I was eyeing a VA62 was for its other features - ring tests and drive waveforms, which seem like they'd be useful in troubleshooting. There's a NIB one on ebay currently for $15 (though shipping on those is a bear!)

Since I don't have signs of needing it for any of that yet I don't think I'll drop the $60+ on it, but if I get one locally for a good price I might still grab it for those features.

... also I'm going to start using the phrase "extreme screwdriver drift" now. Epic.
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintagePC View Post

Main reason I was eyeing a VA62 was for its other features - ring tests and drive waveforms, which seem like they'd be useful in troubleshooting. There's a NIB one on ebay currently for $15 (though shipping on those is a bear!)
B&K 1077s and 1076 analysts can often be snagged at swap meets/ham fests for under $30 (some will need recap work). They were designed to service tube sets up into early SS, and were designed to aid in troubleshooting everything from dead IF stages to dead sweep stages (including ring testing), and take up about the space of a 70's bookshelf speaker. IMHO an analyst is one of the more useful pieces of TV test gear.


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Originally Posted by VintagePC View Post
... also I'm going to start using the phrase "extreme screwdriver drift" now. Epic.
Go for it. lol.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2017, 06:24 PM
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Having worked in my dad's TV shop for 30 years, here is the list of stuff I'd get first, arranged in most useful to least:

A Mirror - get one for the back of your bench and a portable one - handy for portables and the test jig. Use it enough, and folks just don't look right unless they are reflected in a mirror.... Ours were broken back of diplay case units from the glass place, and our portable was an unbreakable one about 16x20 or so used in prisons....

DMM
- we were partial to the Fluke 70 series, but the beckman 310 could measure up to 1KV. I have the Fluke 77 and Beckman 4410

Cap ESR meter - if not servicing solid state stuff, move on. I have the Anatek/Bob Parker unit and a Sencore LC102

HV Probe - Get a Pomona (EDIT: model 2900) standalone with the integral analog meter. The optional fluke job is too bulky.

Scope - Anything beyond 20MHz is overkill for most TV repair. I have 3 - the Hitachi V212 daily driver, a Kikusui COS6100M and a Sencore SC61

CRT checker - B&K units made money for us - started out with the 440, and ended after 30 years with (4) 470s - one was a parts unit. We had all but one adapter - but used only 3 for most checks - delta/socket 3, and two different inline ones - one for the Asian stuff and one for the A63-series stuff. I've used the CR70 from Sencore at their sales seminars - it rejuv's just as good as any. Folks like the universal adapter, but B&K made one as well.

Ringer - I use my VA62 or LC102.

Convergence/Color Bar Generator - we used RCA stuff - WR504/ Wr-508. Skip the tube stuff. Leader also makes a good one - not sure of the model, but smallish and steady unit.

Degaussing coil - make your own with a momentary switch (rated at least 5A "inductive" - most 10A/125VAC switches will switc 5A inductive loads..). We had two - both were GC hard-plastic encased units, and we added 8' more cord, as outlets are sometimes scarce. Hobby Electronics magazines in the late 60s had plans - check with American Radio History.

Dedicated transistor tester - we started out with an octopus/Eico 460 setup, and ended up with a Cricket - handy for checking stuff quickly, albeit 90% of checks were PN junction checks with a Fluke.

All-in-one unit - We used them all - B&K 1076/1077 and both the VA48 and VA62. Handy for supplying missing bias, sweeping yokes and flys, and providing a sweep signal so we could "walk the IFs" with a scope. Most handy in supplying a known-good color signal to trace color problems, albeit about 90% solid state stuff (hint: always the jungle chip, crystal, or resonator...)

Substitution cap - take a big ol' 80uf/450V and put some clip leads on it - handy for finding open caps that cause 60 or 120Hz "crawl"

A good outdoor antenna
- not everyone has cable, so you gotta check more than channel 3 or 4....

Alignments were RARE. I know of 2 we did in 30 years - one on a Sharp solid state set (open IF can, had to realign, used VA48) and a APC/ACC Color alignment on a GE tube set, IIRC. Easy, two coil alignment. A new crystal got us color back, but the phase was out slightly, yielding green hue at center of the tint control.

A good computer loaded with service info - for PDFs (we had 66 Gigs of manuals on PDF, mostly Hitachi, RCA, and LG/Zenith.), Parts Finder, Sony DAS, RCA Chipper Check, Zenith Z-tips (dos only...), and two stand-alone tip products we contributed to - 64,000 TV/VCR/Monitor tips at the beginning, not sure of after many updates...

And then the consumables - cleaners (we used Windex, Fantastic!, and Olde English wood cleaner)
Solvents - 91% IPA for flux and flushing switches, Acetone for degreasing, and Naptha for petroleum-based cleaning. In earlier times 1,1,1 Trichloroethane and a Rawn-chemicals HCFC product like 1,1,1,.
Lots of acid brushes, RTV sealant, Heat Sink compound (Dow-Corning, not the GC or Chemtronics stuff.)
Dad was a WD-40 FANATIC. We had the gallon can and the little spray cans.
Freez-mist from Rawn - a 20 spray Oz can would last a month or so.

I've probably missed alot, and others, feel free to add/admonish.....
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Last edited by Findm-Keepm; 06-03-2017 at 06:32 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2017, 06:43 PM
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Two additions:

VTVM - Only one way to go, the RCA/Viz Senior or Master VoltOhmist.

We also had a nice Zenith Ultrasonic and IR remote tester. It had added features for measuring drive on the System 3 sets, but 90% used for IR remote control testing. I know of only one other way to test ultrasonic remotes sans the TV...the Zenith tester paid for itself over and over. Hard to find, I still have ours. It just uses an ultrasonic mic, and overdrives an op amp to square up things before sending it to both an LED and a scope jack. The iR side sends the IR diode/receiver output along a similar path.

Overkill for a newbie, but it completes my lineup
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2017, 08:53 PM
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Downconvert B&K 415 45MHz to 21MHz

Take a look at this thread:
http://videokarma.org/showthread.php?t=268392

I was able to use a mixer to heterodyne the B&K 415 45Mhz sweep output down to 25.75 Mhz low band IF frequency. Feed the B&K 415 IF output into the mixer, add a sine wave of the needed frequency, and out comes the low band IF frequency sweep. I used an Analog Discovery II to show the flatness of the sweep, but you only need a regular o-scope for the B&K alignment process.

Dave
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:39 PM
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B&k 177

is a nice clone of the Senior Voltohmist VTVM.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kf4rca View Post
is a nice clone of the Senior Voltohmist VTVM.
And nicer in some regards - we had one on the audio bench for a while. Great unit.
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2017, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Findm-Keepm View Post
Two additions:

VTVM - Only one way to go, the RCA/Viz Senior or Master VoltOhmist.

We also had a nice Zenith Ultrasonic and IR remote tester. It had added features for measuring drive on the System 3 sets, but 90% used for IR remote control testing. I know of only one other way to test ultrasonic remotes sans the TV...the Zenith tester paid for itself over and over. Hard to find, I still have ours. It just uses an ultrasonic mic, and overdrives an op amp to square up things before sending it to both an LED and a scope jack. The iR side sends the IR diode/receiver output along a similar path.

Overkill for a newbie, but it completes my lineup
I know my Zenith 852-240 ultrasonic remote tester can be modded to test IR remotes, but is there another model that's a factory job? Mine has an "output to frequency counter" jack; I'm guessing a scope can be used with mine as well. That would be good because I don't have a frequency counter.
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
I know my Zenith 852-240 ultrasonic remote tester can be modded to test IR remotes, but is there another model that's a factory job? Mine has an "output to frequency counter" jack; I'm guessing a scope can be used with mine as well. That would be good because I don't have a frequency counter.
Yes, we modded ours - originally it was ultrasonic only, but a Zenith service seminar in 79 or 80 gave up the kit number for the IR mod, which also included the instructions to mod it to verify drive signals on the early System IIIs. They demo'ed it at the service seminar connected to an oscope, for purely visual means. We used it autonomously and rarely connected it to anything. Don't leave it on - the battery dies quickly.

The IR mod kit had the IR diode, wires, instructions and a template for the drilling of the metal case. We got our kit from Bluefield distributing, and they were surprised to see us order it, apparently unaware of it's purpose. They sure knew lots of other time-savers.
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Findm-Keepm View Post
Yes, we modded ours - originally it was ultrasonic only, but a Zenith service seminar in 79 or 80 gave up the kit number for the IR mod, which also included the instructions to mod it to verify drive signals on the early System IIIs. They demo'ed it at the service seminar connected to an oscope, for purely visual means. We used it autonomously and rarely connected it to anything. Don't leave it on - the battery dies quickly.
I reckon the scope connection would be good for remote tuning or determining frequencies. Could come in handy for getting one of my 6-rocker XL-100 remotes working properly with my Heathkit GR-2000. At least one frequency already matches what the Heathkit expects for the same function.
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
I reckon the scope connection would be good for remote tuning or determining frequencies. Could come in handy for getting one of my 6-rocker XL-100 remotes working properly with my Heathkit GR-2000. At least one frequency already matches what the Heathkit expects for the same function.
Or for finding bad cork/rubber damper pads in the rod-type remotes. Glue or pad dries out, the pad falls off, and gets in the way, detuning the remote. Saves having to open the remote if nothing is wrong with it.

Somewhere in my older Zenith service lit is another circuit for a remote tester and an ultrasonic signal generator, 1969 or 1970..

The Brits published a magazine called "Television" that had service info - they also published a project for a tester, both IR and ultrasonic. This was in late 1987 or so. I bought the issue in London when I was visiting. It used the mic and diode as inputs to a Schmitt trigger, squaring up things. A frequency discriminator was used in the ultrasonic side, and a dual LED in the IR side. Same issue had info about checking the IR remote oscillators with an AM radio (most resonator/oscillators operated at either 455Khz or 500KHz...). ..
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintagePC View Post

I see much about the Sencore VA62(A) which can be had for fairly cheap, but it's not clear to me if it's an all-in-one unit that can be used to also align a set (with 21Mhz IF mod). If so... spiffy. If not... What are my options without breaking the bank or having to get a bunch of separate boxes? Are there good cheap digital sweep/marker generators (or even a DIY kit) out there?

... Under $100?
... Under $50?
Under 100, go for a Sencore SM158 "speed aligner" with all the accessories - bias box, pads and cables. I've got one - and so does someone else here on the forum, as I posted a copy of the instructions IIRC.

Edit - there is an INCOMPLETE one on eBay, useless without all the cables and pads.......not a good beginner project to have to make all those items...
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:26 AM
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Neat, but not particularly useful for my current 21mhz IF set.
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