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B&W TV Did Philips steal this tuner design?

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In the mid '60s, AWA in Australia developed this neat little turret tuner for a new range of portables:


Tuner close up

Here is a circuit of it:

Tuner circuit

It's a simple design that works very well and makes clever use of feed-thru capacitors in various capacitance ratings.

Some years later, this tuner appeared from Philips:

Philips Tuner

Look carefully. It's the same design, just redrawn! Only very minor changes.

It is, in fact, physically almost identical and completely interchangeable with the AWA one!

What do you think happened here? Did Philips do a deal? Holland had nothing suitable at the time.

AWA and Philips were the two major electronics companies in Australia, with their own components manufacturing divisions, and competed strongly in most fields.

The Philips version of this tuner continued in production into the mid 70s and was used by Philips, Kriesler, HMV and Pye. It was also used in first-release colour TVs by all 4 manufacturers, in the days when varicap tuners couldn't handle our congested VHF bands with TV channels in Band 2.

Posted : 07/04/2024 3:54 am
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@irob2345 Wouldn’t surprise me if there was a lot of interchange between the groups. Both groups had there own markets so not much competition between them, may as well exchange ideas, skills and ideas probably were e changed.


Posted : 07/04/2024 9:18 am
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Yes that happened all the time. There was an industry patent and design exchange system (ARTS&P) that arbitrated the process and ensured it was done on an equitable basis. This system, which was funded by a small levy and a distinctive compliance label on all products made, must have saved a fortune in legal costs. What is unusual about this case is it's the only one I know of where the whole design was moved across with so few changes. It would have saved Philips a fortune!

But then, Philips and AWV second-sourced many of each others valves. Transistors too.

Posted : 07/04/2024 10:00 am
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Pieter H
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I don't think there is any case of copying, let alone stealing by Philips of the Australian tuner design.

The main reason is that there was no need for such an action, Philips being the leader in tuner development in Europe, using the state-of-the-art components (in this case transistors) from Philips Elcoma components division. It took a while before sufficiently capable RF germanium transistors came available, but in 1964 Philips released its only VHF transistor turret tuner, the AT7650T, quickly followed by the AT7652T. They used the standard Philips rotary tuner housing with the tapered bottom side, different from the AWA tuner above. All details can be found here

Secondly, I think the AWA tuner is from a few years later, using the BF200 first generation silicon bipolar RF transistors. This transistor was launched in 1967, so I would expect the tuner to be then from 1968 earliest. Four years later.

The confusion, the apparent one-to-one copying by Philips of the AWA tuner, is caused by the suggestion that the second diagram in the first post is a Philips tuner. Which does not seem to be the case. It is definitely not a Philips style drawing. It might have been a so-called second-sourcing AWA tuner used in Australian Philips TV sets, but to my knowledge Philips never produced these tuners. And given the way the company was working, it is even highly unlikely they sourced a critical TV key component from their main competitor. Not during the 1960s. However, in the service documentation they might have been labelled using Philips coding. Without further details (type numbers of tuners and TVs, copies of service docs) I cannot eliminate that option.

Posted : 25/05/2024 8:42 pm
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Hi Pieter

Philips definitely produced this tuner in Hendon in SA. AWA made theirs at Rydalmere, NSW. The P4 was the launch design for this tuner.

AWA used the BF200 in the RF stage and their own AWV transistors elsewhere. I believe the very first versions used an RCA transistor.

The AWA and the Philips versions are actually physically interchangeable but differ in the indexing mechanism and the colour of the plating. The AWA had a cam wheel on the back of the tuner with a torsion bar index spring. The Philips version used a cavity cam wheel inside the tuner case with a leaf spring and ball type index. Not sure if the biscuits were the same but they looked like they could be.

I used to do warranty service on most brands in the 60s and 70s. I can assure you the AWA version pre-dated the Philips one by at least 3 years. Prior to this, Philips and Kriesler were using the large Philips SS turret with the PCB biscuits. Pye were using an Astor tuner. There was pressure for a smaller turret tuner for portables, the tuner on the Kriesler PT1 could only be mounted on the top of the set, it was much too big to go elsewhere. Varicaps (where all the Philips development was going) could not yet cope with the congested VHF only TV bands here, as mentioned earlier. So Eindhoven had no suitable design.

Re "not a Philips drawing", this comes from the Philips C1 B&W TV circuit. Definitely local Philips, although the design of the C1 is reputed to be the never-released (by Pye) T28 and it represented a huge design shift for Philips locally. The T28 was a development of the very-successful and advanced for its time T26.

The style of Philips schematics in Australia had been changing for a number of years, probably as Philips took majority interests in a number of setmakers. Engineering staff merged?

I think this warrants more research! Do you want more pics?

Posted : 25/05/2024 11:36 pm
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Oh, to give you an idea of the animosity towards Philips at Pye Marrickville, there is this:

A suggestion box was put up at the Pye plant, with a sign "Your suggestion wins a prize"

Some wag wrote underneath it:

"First prize, 1 week in Eindhoven.

Second prize, 2 weeks in Eindhoven"

Now I don't know if Bob Hawke's famous Ghandi joke (about 1st and 2nd prize) can still be found on the net....

Yes it can! http://www.amazingaustralia.com.au/aussie_humor_and_jokes.htm

Posted : 26/05/2024 12:02 am