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CTV 1977 Rank Arena AC6333 - T12A Chassis - Prototype Teletext

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crustytv
(@crustytv)
Posts: 11993
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Topic starter
 

Another reveal, a couple of weeks ago Malc responded to my request to get some Teletext TVs, and he was after a 3000/3500. Today we did a swap for one of my 26" Thorn 3500 TVs for a TV with Text that was quite special. This TV I imagine is fairly rare, I'm not sure if one has ever surfaced before, I've certainly never heard or seen one before today and a Google search only turns up a short few lines in a  TV article for 77 (see below). The rear cover has a serial number of 00535 so it reasonable to believe there were at least 534 other out there.

The backstory and correct me where I am Malc starts with RBM sending this prototype teletext set to Rediffusion factory in the N.E. where it was to be evaluated. I've no idea how that evaluation went or indeed if Rediffusion adopted it for their rental market, perhaps Malc can fill in that detail.

The history of this particular TV, eventually after a while it came to Malc, then was subsequently loaned to a friend for about 4-years when it came back. It was then wrapped up and put in his Malcs loft around 1984 where it has remained until today. An absolute time capsule waiting to be seen once again. Smart move, placing it in layers of cling film, as you can see the cabinet is immaculate.

The model is AC6333 and states T12A chassis on the rear label, looking in the Z718 manual all the models listed there are BC6XXX (Bush) or MCXXXX (Murphy). I did find mention of it in the September 1977 Television in the Teletopics section. They only mention evaluation in the London area, so intriguing one made it up to the N.E.

Television September 1977

The Rank Arena Model AC6333 television receiver, which incorporates Teletext decoder,is now available to dealers throughout the UK,following initial market evaluation in the London area. Though Rank do not quote recommended prices, they comment that sets should be available at a price below £800.

The statement that the sets should be available at a price below £800 is odd, this suggests to me, they were hellishly expensive for 1977.

Question; what is the difference between a T12A chassis and a Z718 chassis? To monkey brain crusty, they look outwardly the same. However, looking inside the chassis to the left, there is an absolute huge board and sitting atop that the TIFAX teletext board, some writing on what looks like an EPROM "TX 004 OK", It will be interesting to read the data off that EPROM. Being an RBM teletext prototype TV, I seriously doubt I'm going to have any cct data for this part of the TV.

Sadly no ultrasonic remote, that has not been found yet, so I'm going to have a long think how I go about tackling that. Malc did lend me a Rediffusion ultrasonic remote that has lots of buttons, maybe some might activate something on this set, we shall see. What I really need is the receiver and transmitter data to know the frequencies used for both.

So I'm left wondering what happened to all these, how many were made, was it the ultrasonic remote that was a dead end with others adopting infrared for Teletext, that put an end to it.

For now, here are some pics, by my book an absolute beautiful and stunning TV. Looking forward to getting this one up and running, and it would be the icing on the cake to somehow get the Teletext side going and hook it up to my live TeleText Pi service.

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P.s

Special thanks to Malc and his son for digging away in a dirty loft all afternoon to release this from captivity, and in 90+ degrees in that loft, as it's sweltering outside here today. Above and beyond the call guys. Seeing Malcs son grab a 26" monster TV and lift it as if it were a portable, made me realise, "Oh to be young again" 👍 

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Posted : 22/06/2024 6:02 pm
yampy187, unit no 16, Jayceebee and 4 people reacted
malcscott
(@malcscott)
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Hi Chris, pleased it has gone to a good home after 40 years in the loft. The cabinet still looks very good. It was the Newton Aycliffe w/shop it was sent to, not the St Helens factory. Looking forward updates, Malc.

 
Posted : 22/06/2024 6:55 pm
The_Teleman
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Wow that is a most unusual set indeed 

I’ve seen the cabinet style before but I can honestly say I’ve never seen a teletext version 

I will be interested to see if this can be made to work with the text / remote 

just a thought would it be possible to convert it to infrared? Or is that going too far 

very interesting set though 👍

 
Posted : 22/06/2024 8:08 pm
slidertogrid
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Same here I have seen the cabinet style but never saw a text version. Thinking about it while there were a few makes that used ultrasonic remote control, the only ultrasonic Teletext sets I saw in any number was the Philips G11. I did buy a couple of ex-rental ITT ultrasonic Txt sets but they were very early models and didn't work that well. ISTR I disabled the Text and sold them as remote control only. Other than the G11 did anyone see any other make ultrasonic Teletext sets? 

 
Posted : 22/06/2024 8:58 pm
crustytv
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Up early this morning and something was nagging me to go look in my data shelves, low and behold I unearth something amazing. I already knew I had the RRI Z718 training manual, but I'd forgotten I also had the RRI service engineers guide to teletext, could it be?

20240623 053809

Answer yes, contained within is all I need to understand how Rank have implemented Teletext into this AC6333 receiver. It discusses the decoder, the Tifax module interfaces, the Teletext receiver even illustrating the AC6333 control panel, most importantly the remote control systems giving all the frequencies used and provides very comprehensive detail on how the transmitter and receiver function. Also included, the Tifax interface , IF amplifier Teletext receiver and transmitter schematics. Crusty library to the rescue 😎 

Note:

Question 1: for the VRAT boffins, that includes you, Mr @jayceebee .How feasible is it now, armed with all the frequencies, to build my own ultrasonic remote?

Question 2: for Malc, do you have any scrap ultrasonic teletext remotes I could purchase, or would you be happy to relinquish the one you lent me yesterday, so it can be reworked/ modified? If not no problem.

20240623 053837
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p.s.

There's even a section discussing how you had to use the ultrasonic control, (extract below) and herein lies perhaps one of the reasons ultrasonic Teletext control went the way of the dodo. Good thing infrared was just around the corner, I cannot imagine the public being patient when mashing the remote keys!

A short pause MUST be allowed between each button being pressed, if the buttons are operated too quickly, an instruction will likely be ignored

p.p.s

Off on another telly collection caper today, fair bit of travelling on this one, so hopefully another TV reveal later today.

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Posted : 23/06/2024 4:54 am
slidertogrid
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They didn't trust the owner to replace the battery in the handset? 😀 In retrospect, very wise! In those days there were plenty of dealers to return it to of course...

 
Posted : 23/06/2024 8:06 am
malcscott
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Hi Chris, keep the r/c. I wont need it.

 
Posted : 23/06/2024 8:07 am
Jayceebee
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I see it uses the SAA1024 as the ultrasonic transmitter same as the Thorn T708 you obtained just recently. Might be possible with some tact switches to add limited text functionality to the remote you have. 

 

John.

 
Posted : 23/06/2024 9:33 am
malcscott reacted
Michael Dranfield
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@crustytv not sure if I don't have one of those sets in my collection, I must have a look on Monday, all I know it it's teletext and I have the orig remote with it, might not be able to get it out though as I'm struggling to move at the moment but I might be able to see the back! I also have the rand guide to teletext book, shouldn't be a big deal to make a remote as you have the schematic though.

 
Posted : 23/06/2024 10:11 am
Jayceebee
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Posted by: @the_teleman

just a thought would it be possible to convert it to infrared?

The SAA1024/1025 combo were capable of infrared operation as well as ultrasonic. Maybe the IR diodes were not available at a price comparable to 40KHz transducers at the time?

 

John.

 
Posted : 23/06/2024 10:40 am
Michael Dranfield
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Chris, I think this may be the same as your set, I was hoping to get the serial number but can't just get to it.

IMG 20240624 093744
IMG 20240624 093616
IMG 20240624 093548

 

 
Posted : 24/06/2024 8:43 am
crustytv and malcscott reacted
crustytv
(@crustytv)
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Hi Michael,

OMG! Now what a coincidence and who would have thought another would turn up in the North.

You lucky so-N- so, 😉 it even has the remote control, at least I know now what the buttons were. Do you remember the backstory as to how this TV came to you?

Now the most important question; seeing as you're clearly, in the best possible way, a hoarder of all things vintage TV, especially when it comes to service data, did you ever get the RBM AC6333 service manual and do you still have it.

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Posted : 24/06/2024 9:04 am
irob2345
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Fascinating! Looks like a well-thought-out design. What do you think its origins are?

The Rank (Arena) TVs we saw in Oz at that time were NEC designs, built here. They used the same 110 degree in-line Toshiba CRTs. By 76 - 77 they were a single PCB, flat on the bottom of the cabinet.

 
Posted : 24/06/2024 9:50 am
crustytv
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Topic starter
 

Posted by: @irob2345

Fascinating! Looks like a well-thought-out design. What do you think its origins are?

Hi Ian, I explained the origins of the one I have in the opening post. It was sent from RBM London, to Rediffusion in the North for evaluation. I was under the impression it was an experimental set, that's why I'm curious as to how Michael (an independent trader) came into his possession.

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Posted : 24/06/2024 9:55 am
malcscott
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I noticed the set Michael has is badged Bush, not Rank Arena.

 
Posted : 24/06/2024 10:09 am
crustytv reacted
crustytv
(@crustytv)
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Topic starter
 

OH yes, well spotted Malc, so that fits in with your recollection of the one you gave me being a prototype. It would be interesting to see inside Michaels, I wonder if they did away with that massive arcade style board for teletext.

compare

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Posted : 24/06/2024 10:20 am
malcscott reacted
Michael Dranfield
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You better take a seat if you want a story, all of my items have a story attached to them. 

Let's start with me first, I opened my first shop with my buisness partners back in 1985,at first we opened selling reconditioned TV s and doing repairs but come the late 80s I saw an opportunity to make more money selling brand new stuff, it was possible to make a clear protit of £75 on a Akai vide recorder for example so we shifted away from reconditioned TVs into new ones, soon demand for new stuff was big and some of the wholesalers I dealt with had a shortage of sets so I took a very unusually step of phoning another dealer 20 miles away who I had head of but didn't know and asked them if they would possibly sell me some stock at a slightly lower price than retail to enable me to make a bit of money, the response was amazing considering I didn't even know them, yes, you can have whatever you want at trade price, probley because the more stuff they bought the cheaper it would be for everyone.

  • Now this was the start of a fantastic relationship that made me an incredible amount of money in later years, by 1996 ish by other buisness partners decided to retire from the buisness and so I was back on my own, so I moved to a different location on the main highsreet but by this time other shops were selling sets cheaper than I could buy them so it was back to selling reconditioned sets, initially I use to buy these from the tip, then one day out of the blue the shop that once sold me some TVs at trade price rang up, they had something like 100 faulty sets they had taken in part exchange they wanted to ger rid of, and did I want them for nothing, so I hired a big box van and driver for the day to collect these sets, most were Sharp CS chassis setswhich no one new how to repair, we were carrying so much weight comming up the bypass a guy on a push bike overtook us!!  I fixed and sold nearley all of the TVs, made so much money for virtually nothing but now the shop was ringing me on a regular basis to come and take away the old TV, again all for nothing, now the shop once a big concern with massive turnover and employing 17 people was starting to fall into decline no doubt due to pressure from the Internet, and one day the boss called me into the office and say they had taken the decision to close down, this was an independent shop set up after the war I seem to think and handed down the family, the boss to me to a room right at the top of the building and they had a kind of museum of old TVs, radios, videos, all stuff most of which hadn't seen the light of day for donkeys years. Sadly they didn't give me everything, just the stuff that was to big to send out as I think the smaller stuff was sold on e Bay, and this is where the set I have came from.
  • I can get you the history because the guy phoned me last week, he wants a battery pack making and I have a spot welder, what I can tell you is back in the 70s this shop was a very big RMB dealer, I remember seeing photos on the walls in the office of the founder standing next to bush TV s in what looked to be advertising material for bush, so this set will have some history behind it and I will of course ask when he comes in the next few days for the battery pack, give me a few days and I will report back and check if I have the service manual. 
 
Posted : 24/06/2024 11:25 am
slidertogrid, unit no 16, crustytv and 1 people reacted
rbmt20a
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The dealership where I worked was I believe one of the first in the country to receive these sets.I recall being asked to go to the showroom to set up the television and demonstrate to the staff.I think it was priced at around £900! The cabinet design was the same as the BC6318, which was fitted with the A823AV chassis, but this set was fitted with  the Z718 chassis. I think the model number was BC6333, I do not recall the set being labelled as Rank Arena. When Rank Arena sets were taken into stock they were fitted with VHF tuners as well as UHF. I was told this was because of a cancelled export order, possibly Denmark, and Rank sold them into UK dealerships at discounted prices. I digress. During my time with the dealer the first sets fitted with the Z718 chassis were 18 inch models with push button channel change and sometime later the larger screen sizes became available  with different cabinet designs from the A823 , again  with 4 button mechanical tuners. I think this set was developed at the time of the changeover from A823 to Z718 hence the old style cabinet. I think the new style cabinets and customer controls were not suitable hence the older cabinet. As regards the year of manufacture, I think there was a date stamp on the piece of cardboard that dressed the RGB leads from decoder to CRT base. Performance was not great, the off air signal had to be good.  This was a long time ago so please do not take any of the  above as definitive. 

Hope this is of help.

     Oliver.

 
Posted : 24/06/2024 12:18 pm
slidertogrid, unit no 16, crustytv and 2 people reacted
crustytv
(@crustytv)
Posts: 11993
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Topic starter
 

Mrs Crusty was passing MSS (Malcs' Speedy Spares) and called in to collect something quite special, that was forgotten on Saturday. A rather appropriate stand for the AC6333. Special thanks to @malcscott for supplying it for this very special prototype. Looks absolutely fabulous, Cheers Malc  👍.

It's had a treat of some beeswax and the rosewood finish has come up a treat, a good quality veneered, wooden cabinet.

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Posted : 25/06/2024 6:29 am
Lloyd, slidertogrid, malcscott and 1 people reacted
malcscott
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Looking very nice Chris. Just as well i wrapped it up in clingfilm 40 years ago. Have you switched it on yet? As far as i can remember it was working when put into hibernation all those years ago.

 
Posted : 25/06/2024 10:05 am
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