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B&W TV 1983 Ferguson 3850 - Thorn 1615 "Restoration"

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19Seventie
(@19seventie)
Estimable Member
Topic starter
 

Hi all

I just remembered I forgot to do a write up on the set I was recently given, so here I am! Better late than never!

I was kindly given the set by a forum member over on UKVRRR who also did me a huge favour and dropped it off to me on Wednesday afternoon. I scurried it inside through the front door and straight into my bedroom as not to be seen, as I'm under strict orders "not to get any more old stuff" because "I have too much as it is!" 

As if!

Anyways, I plonked the set on my bed and took the back off to see what lies within. Turned out to be a very clean, very low-hour-looking 1615 getting ready to show us it's special party tricks with dry joints all over the linearity coil and nearby joints. These were made note of mentally before putting the back on, and putting the set into disguised storage, so when I took it out to work on it looked like I'd already had it for some time and then went out to see family (Plan worked!)

I ended up getting home at around 9PM but couldn't bear the thought of having to wait until after work the following day to get stuck in, so out came the set and onto the kitchen worktop. First port of call was to reflow all of those dodgy looking joints and then to double up on the tracks around the width coil.

With this done I thought it was time to see what it was capable of, so I turned it round, plugged it in and turned it on. EHT rustled up instantly with the sound, and so I waited

and waited

and waited

Finally a very dim, cramped and out of focus raster appeared! I switched off, grabbed an aerial and plugged it in. Switching the set on again and I was rewarded with some testcard music - I didn't even have to tune it in, only fine tune, Test Card F appeared much quicker this time, still very dim, blurry and cramped, so I set about adjusting them all out which went very well without a hitch, except for the linearity, I couldn't find the right coil instantly and didn't want to touch things that didn't need to be touched.

I got it looking pretty good for the time being and decided to let it soak test, which went almost without a hitch, to put it in simple terms - I forgot to snip out/replace the mains cap and it let me know! I replaced it with an ordinary 1000V film cap for now until I can find a better suited replacement. 

I returned to it and adjusted the linearity and then the height, repositioned the picture and thought it looked pretty good. I now realise the height is ever so slightly too tall and the focus needs to be adjusted properly but it's been working really well these past few days

Needless to say I really love this set, I think it's great! I love how it looks too, very dated for 1983 but for me that's a major part of the appeal of this set! 

I'll post photos of final results tomorrow but for now here it is in all of it's glory

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Posted : 31/07/2022 11:57 pm
Lloyd, PYE625, Lloyd and 3 people reacted
crustytv
(@crustytv)
Illustrious Member Admin
 

The Ferguson 3850/3852 (1600 series) and Ultra 6823/6844 (though 1500 series) models, by the 80s, were among the very last of the big B&W sets.

I had the bigger 24" version of yours, the 3852, however B&W not really being my cup of tea, I passed it on to Mikey66. It then moved to Hamid, down your way, so there's at least a couple still out there running. They do give a very good picture, more Thorn goodness. 👍 

https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/1982-ferguson-3852/

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 6:39 am
Cathovisor
(@cathovisor)
Illustrious Member
 

One of my great-Aunts had one of these sets - apart from the dreaded burn-up around the line scan components (repaired with Araldite) the biggest problem was the channel selector switches, which seemed resistant to cleaning. 

Oh, and the tube being utterly flat. 

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 9:15 am
19Seventie
(@19seventie)
Estimable Member
Topic starter
 

@crustytv 

I have to admit I'm not really into 80s sets as much as I am 60s and 70s, but I couldn't say no to it for the fact it's one of the last B/W sets, and it's a Thorn! That 3852 is a very good looking set too, I would love to grab a 24" monochrome set but I have absolutely no idea where it'd go - I don't even really know where this one is going to go, maybe I do have too much.. 

That's a shame about your aunts set, I knew tubes could be a weak (literally) spot in these sets but didn't know about the channel selectors, it seems I got lucky on that respect then!

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 1:20 pm
Cathovisor
(@cathovisor)
Illustrious Member
 
Posted by: @19seventie

That's a shame about your aunts set, I knew tubes could be a weak (literally) spot in these sets but didn't know about the channel selectors, it seems I got lucky on that respect then!

Bless her, great-Aunt Rose wanted me to get her another black and white set when it eventually became too far gone to sort out but I had to explain that the set she had then was one of the very last ones: I remember buying it from Cotton's in Peterborough and transporting it in the back of my Renault 16 to her house. By then we didn't even have the luxury of rejected 20" mono CRTs at work to transplant into it.

In the end, the channel selectors got so bad I replaced the switching part with a four-position rotary switch!

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 1:38 pm
malcscott
(@malcscott)
Noble Member
 

Does it have a Unitra crt fitted?

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 4:43 pm
19Seventie
(@19seventie)
Estimable Member
Topic starter
 

I think so, it has no sticker on the CRT other than one that says C.S.S.R

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 6:06 pm
Jayceebee
(@jayceebee)
Noble Member
 

Unitra is Polish. C.S.S.R. is the former Czechoslovakia, those and ones from C.C.C.P. when sat next to a UK produced CRT looked decidedly sepia in comparison.

Well done for saving it.

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 6:48 pm
19Seventie
(@19seventie)
Estimable Member
Topic starter
 

Ah my mistake, I just thought 'Unitra' sounded Eastern European and assumed it'd have been Czech! I'd like to see it next to a British one now, as I thought it looked quite 'grey' anyway, with a very slight tint of blue, but maybe that grey is what makes it look sepia in comparison?

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 7:44 pm
malcscott
(@malcscott)
Noble Member
 

Unitra mono tubes gave a green tint. The phosphor coating was quite rough.

 
Posted : 01/08/2022 8:31 pm
hamid_1
(@hamid_1)
Reputable Member
 

It's nice to see another one of these sets being revived and enjoyed. The later models of large-screen monochrome TVs seem to be particularly unloved by most people. I thought I was the only one who collected and restored them.

This particular model has a special place in my heart. Rather like Cathovisor's great aunt, my grandfather refused to have a colour TV and rented a Ferguson 3850 until he passed away in 1989. Seeing the set reminds me of my Grandad. He used to watch snooker on it, and he could work out the colour of the balls by their shade of grey. Amazing!

Your Eastern European tube looks quite good. The last of the Mullard monochrome CRTs fitted to this model tended to go out of focus, especially at the edges. You've addressed the other issues of the Rifa smoke-bomb mains filter capacitor and dry joints on the line linearity coil (solder some extra pieces of wire across the PCB tracks). One more thing to be aware of: The line output transformer is prone to arcing. Its plastic case can becomes brittle and develop cracks allowing the EHT to escape. You may hear hissing or crackling noises from inside the TV or even see sparks or flashes of light inside the back. Swirch off immediately if this happens. I had one do this. Luckily I was able to stop it arcing by applying silicone glue to where the sparks were coming from. However, I wouldn't leave these sets running unattended.

I do have a couple of working 24" monochrome TVs - a 1970s Thorn 1500 valve+transistor 'hybrid' and an early 1980s Pye with Philips E2 solid-state chassis. I think Crusty's old Ferguson 3852 got passed on to Marion of this forum.

I have some even newer black and white TVs, a 20" Pye (Philips L7 chassis) from 1984 made in Portugal and some small-screen sets from the 2000s made in China. One Chinese manufacturer was still producing black and white TVs up to 17 inch size, possibly as late as 2010 according to their last login date:

https://jinliputv.en.ec21.com/

When restoring late model black and white TVs, one challenge is the lack of spare parts. By the late 1980s, large-screen monochrome TVs were considered to be worthless junk. Dealers didn't bother to keep spares in stock, so if for example your LOPT has failed you are unlikely to obtain another one except by breaking another set. Even finding another set can be difficult. The last models were made in relatively small quantities, and most were dumped 30+ years ago. Look after the one you've got!

 
Posted : 05/08/2022 2:58 pm
RichardFromMarple
(@richardfrommarple)
Reputable Member
 

I read (I think on Facebook) that a family in Luton known to the person posting still had a B&W set as their main TV until the mid 1990s as the woman of the house refused to get a colour one.  This was even though she made Christmas crackers from kits while watching TV all day.  It must have been a reliable set to last that long.

Apparently when she died almost the first thing the family did was buy a colour set.

 
Posted : 05/08/2022 9:44 pm
slidertogrid
(@slidertogrid)
Reputable Member
 

There were still a few customers we had with rental sets that refused to have a colour set, by the early 90's we were struggling to find sets. One customer wanted a remote set so we converted a Panasonic 22" colour set by removing the Crystal, linking the print just to be sure and removing the colour badge! This set the precedent and we ended up with half a dozen or so such converted sets. They were fairly old sets so they didn't 'owe' us anything, luckily the convergence was good so no colour outlines were visible.

I remember a trade place having dozens of these solid state Thorn sets after the fire problem had been discovered, the rental firm had disposed of the lot but they weren't allowed to sell them complete they had to remove and scrap the chassis and just sold the tube in the cabinet. ISTR almost if not all were 24".

 

 

 
Posted : 05/08/2022 11:06 pm
RichardFromMarple
(@richardfrommarple)
Reputable Member
 

@slidertogrid 

I've heard some rental companies de-colourising sets by similar methods when new monochrome sets started to become rare.  There were some late interest in black & white viewing because of a mistaken belief that colour television wasn't good for people with cataracts.  Also a spike in the colour licence fees one year in the 1980s had some rental customers to change to b&w and the companies didn't want to lose their patronage, so they reconditioned some sets to meet the short lived demand.

Supposedly Radio Rentals scrapped a lot of 1600 chassis sets after some fires in customer's homes & replaced them with reconditioned 1500 sets.

 
Posted : 06/08/2022 9:18 pm
Cathovisor
(@cathovisor)
Illustrious Member
 

Thing is, by the time these sets came out surely they'd have needed to meet BEAB specs for fire resistance? 

 
Posted : 06/08/2022 10:39 pm