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Tech Chat Retro electro workshop.

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Cathovisor
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Cars? You mentioned CARS? Quick, BURN THE HERETICS!!

Oops - sorry, wrong forum... 🤣 

Yet to watch it - now that the black and white episodes of "The Saint" have come to an end on TPTV, maybe that's one for Sunday.

 
Posted : 26/07/2023 7:17 pm
sideband
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I also enjoyed the second episode on 'Yesterday' especially the Caroline connection. It must be great to get inside that old studio equipment especially knowing the history that goes with it. I must see if the trips out to the ship are still happening....we are allowed to talk about radio ships on here! 😆 

 

The Caroline website mentions it here Radio Caroline - Home I didn't know they still had a valve mixing desk in their vinyl studio

 
Posted : 26/07/2023 7:53 pm
slidertogrid
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Posted by: @cathovisor

Cars? You mentioned CARS? Quick, BURN THE HERETICS!!

Oops - sorry, wrong forum... 🤣 

🤣 🤣  Very "life of Brian" ...You're only making it worse for yourself... 😀 

 
Posted : 26/07/2023 7:59 pm
Pye Man
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Posted by: @sideband
I must see if the trips out to the ship are still happening....we are allowed to talk about radio ships on here! 😆

There are trips to the ship most weekends – weather permitting of course – including the Caroline North weekends when programmes are coming from the ship though these get booked up quickly.

Have been promising myself one a long time.

(The Mi Amigo was my favourite ship as the one I listened to as a boy and then young man but a tour around that is a little difficult these days.)

 

Nick

 
Posted : 26/07/2023 10:01 pm
irob2345
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Yes I've heard UK made BL cars rust out quickly.

When they built them in Oz at Zetland (Sydney suburb) they would dip the entire body in paint (the "Rotodip" process) and as a result the only part of your Morris 1100 or Mini that would ever rust is the door that was replaced a few years back when some dozy driver ran into it!

I have heard that Oz-built Minis are in demand for that reason. Most of them had the wind-up windows and quarter vents from the 1100.

Back in 1975 I bought a white Morris 1100 as a 2nd car - cost me $10! Body was great, one HL bag had a leak and the motor-gearbox was totally trashed - rod through the block. Fortunately my mate across the road used to race Minis (as you did in those days) and had tons of spares. A few weekends work had it back on the road.

A memorable moment occurred when our pet chook (aka chicken) ate one of the syncro locking plungers while I was trying to hold everything in place during the gearbox rebuild.

 
Posted : 27/07/2023 10:45 am
Cathovisor
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Watched the second episode tonight: I have to say those cart machines brought back memories of working in Sound Maintenance in TC in the late 80s and not necessarily good ones; we had Sonifex ones at TC in the late 80s and ISTR the mechanism could give you a fearsome nip if you had your fingers in the wrong place trying to defeat interlocks! Wonder what these were? (Edit: ITC Delta)

I hope Rob gave the 'spares' machine a once-over so they had a spare if/when needed.

 
Posted : 30/07/2023 10:35 pm
Pye Man
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IIRC there seemed quite a pile of spare cartridge machines down in the store room. Such items are far outside my knowledge. The last time I was in a radio studio (BBC LR) - nearly fifty years ago - there weren't any.

The Ross seems to have been/is a well-equipped ship. I kind of imagine that everything in the Mi Amigo was held together with sellotape and chewing gum not to mention the occasional concrete box in the hull. I always thought it odd that the Mi Amigo and not the Frederica was rescured in 1972 as the latter was a much more spacious and robust ship. Probably all that could be afforded plus the Mi Amigo did have a 50kW Tx in addition to the original 10kW.

Seeing the ship close up it is clear why the Caroline organisation are raising money to get the Ross into dry dock.

Good publicity for Caroline and Rob's workshop though. Sadly, anyone tuning into Caroline following the programme will be hearing a poorer signal than usual as the 4kW Tx has problems so they are on the old 1kW Nortel.

Nick

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 8:03 am
Cathovisor
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Did anyone else notice the older radio sets in one location on the ship? I certainly spotted a Pye PE60. 

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 8:19 am
Pye Man
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Posted by: @irob2345

Yes I've heard UK made BL cars rust out quickly.

When they built them in Oz at Zetland (Sydney suburb) they would dip the entire body in paint (the "Rotodip" process) and as a result the only part of your Morris 1100 or Mini that would ever rust is the door that was replaced a few years back when some dozy driver ran into it!

Everything in the 1960s/70s rotted quickly. The problem with the BL FWD cars was fixing the rot. Difficult areas such as around the subframes took a lot of work whereas with Ford Escort slapping on a couple of sills was straightforward. (I found out this the hard way!) With all the trouble in the UK motor industry in the 1970s turning to foreign produced cars became the thing but they were just as bad and in some cases worse. Datsuns (Nissan) were terrible.

I know a number people who worked at Longbridge. In slow times cars could end up stored in the grounds for quite a while and the story goes that apprentices were sent out to knock out the floor bungs to let out the rain water!

It's been years since I saw an 1100/1300 on the road. It's good to know that suspension systems are available. As ever, the inventive classic car industry finds a way.

The one in the programme looks a very nice example. The Farina styling was very modern when launched. I learned to drive in a 1300 four door and the interior was spacious especially given how small cars were compared to today.

 

Nick

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 8:40 am
Pye Man
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Posted by: @cathovisor

Did anyone else notice the older radio sets in one location on the ship? I certainly spotted a Pye PE60. 

I think that will have to be one for looking at the recording.

The collection in programme 1 was astonishing. I have a pal who has loads of racks like that but all crammed with vintage ham gear.

 

Nick

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 8:46 am
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @pye-man

Everything in the 1960s/70s rotted quickly. The problem with the BL FWD cars was fixing the rot. Difficult areas such as around the subframes took a lot of work whereas with Ford Escort slapping on a couple of sills was straightforward. (I found out this the hard way!) With all the trouble in the UK motor industry in the 1970s turning to foreign produced cars became the thing but they were just as bad and in some cases worse. Datsuns (Nissan) were terrible.

I had a 1981 Datsun Sunny which did indeed rust: but unlike the contemporary British cars, it worked. In the mid-late 70s several family members got so fed up with the sheer rubbish that Vauxhall in particular were turning out (new short motor at 40,000 miles for my brother's Viva? 50,000 miles for my father's Zodiac?) that they all turned to Datsuns. They had things as standard that British manufacturers wanted to charge as optional extras, but most of all they reliably started and ran, every time.

 

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 11:56 am
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @pye-man

I think that will have to be one for looking at the recording.

The collection in programme 1 was astonishing. I have a pal who has loads of racks like that but all crammed with vintage ham gear.

 

I can remember visiting someone with a friend in which most of his ground floor rooms were filled with variations of Racal RA17s on racks.

 

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 11:58 am
sideband
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Posted by: @pye-man

I kind of imagine that everything in the Mi Amigo was held together with sellotape and chewing gum not to mention the occasional concrete box in the hull.

 

They used to patch the transmitter up as well. I remember one morning in the mid-60's the signal from Caroline was very poor and they apologised for the temporary low power and actually said on-air that if anyone was interested they are currently running on reduced power as the engineer has had to cobble up a temporary rectifier until the replacement arrives later, using 150 diodes to replace one that blew when they fired up the transmitter.....! I can imagine what the engineer was faced with trying to get things going with whatever was available. I wonder if all the diodes were the same.....?

 

 

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 12:27 pm
Pye Man
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Posted by: @cathovisor

I had a 1981 Datsun Sunny which did indeed rust: but unlike the contemporary British cars, it worked. In the mid-late 70s several family members got so fed up with the sheer rubbish that Vauxhall in particular were turning out (new short motor at 40,000 miles for my brother's Viva? 50,000 miles for my father's Zodiac?) that they all turned to Datsuns. They had things as standard that British manufacturers wanted to charge as optional extras, but most of all they reliably started and ran, every time.

I only had one FWD BMC/BL. I was green as grass and at nine years old why this Mini wasn’t in the scrap yard was a mystery. (It was the cheapest car in the small ads.) I bought some spanners and a manual and enlisted the help of two experienced friends. I learned all the drawbacks of what I thought was an economical car. Ultimately, at MOT time I/we were defeated.

I was then offered a ten year old Ford Escort Mk 1 at a price I could just afford by someone where I was working in my first job. A bit rough and repainted with a brush, this was far easier to work on (both with the spanners or by the guy with the welding torch) to get it through the MOT Test. I learned my mechanical skills and it got me everywhere I wanted to go and, ultimately, I did 30,000 miles in it. I was now handy enough to spot a good banger and enjoy motoring on the cheap.

I had a few BLs but stuck to RWD – mainly A-Series Marinas and Itals. These were as easy to work on and maintain as the Escort but not as robust in the running gear department. I mainly stuck to Kent-engined Fords as the lump and box seemed bomb proof. OHC Fords were notorious for cam lubrication problems; BL boxes always lost their mesh. (One of the earliest things I learned to do was double de-clutch.)

I had one short experience with a Vauxhall, a Chevette. Front suspension was superior to the Macpherson strut Escort but when the engine failed I was appalled at the build quality compared to the Kent.

The secret, I found, to reliable transport was regular maintenance which in my case was a rolling programme. The things that made a car conk out were usually very basic and I learned to spot the warning signs such as points starting to close or changes in engine noise, etc.

I went on holiday to France with some friends. We were to go in their car – the husband’s “indestructible” Datsun Cherry – so “you won’t need to worry about your old banger in foreign parts”. I parked my aged Marina at their place looking foward to a relaxing time. One hundred miles or so into France white smoke started billowing from the exhaust. I diagnosed a blown head gasket. My non-mechanical friends had been so confident they hadn’t taken out breakdown cover. Datsun/Nissan dealers were unknown in France at this time so I spent the holiday nursing this car. My relief on boarding the return ferry was enormous!

 

Nick

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 5:34 pm
Pye Man
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Posted by: @sideband

Posted by: @pye-man

I kind of imagine that everything in the Mi Amigo was held together with sellotape and chewing gum not to mention the occasional concrete box in the hull.

They used to patch the transmitter up as well. I remember one morning in the mid-60's the signal from Caroline was very poor and they apologised for the temporary low power and actually said on-air that if anyone was interested they are currently running on reduced power as the engineer has had to cobble up a temporary rectifier until the replacement arrives later, using 150 diodes to replace one that blew when they fired up the transmitter.....! I can imagine what the engineer was faced with trying to get things going with whatever was available. I wonder if all the diodes were the same.....?

At least in the 1960s there was a regular (and above board) tender trip. I think it must have taken some skill and no little ingenuity to keep the station on the air after 1974 – and often there were two transmitters operating from the ship – when clandestine runs had to be made from various coastlines. Two lattice masts were built in succession at sea on the Mi Amigo (albeit before the Dutch Act was passed) and how they managed to sneak the sections for two masts to support a Tee antenna after the tall one on the Ross collapsed following the Michael Fish hurricane is a good story.

 

Nick

 
Posted : 31/07/2023 5:45 pm
Anonymous
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I saw this programme advertised and thought it would be right up my street!

I watched the first couple of episodes, and it was okay to good, but then. Oh, dear me

I saw the episode with the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 and I wanted to kick the TV screen in, haha!! It was so, so annoying and frustrating for one thing, at one point they called them 'consoles' which immediately gets my blood pressure up, it's not a 'one-trick pony' console, it's a computer, how many consoles have a keyboard, oh dear me!

And then the so-called "expert" just plugged them in, you don't do that to 40 yr old computers, you open them up, check the voltages and make sure the caps haven't leaked.   Then he goes on to pull a lower ram chip out of the Spectrum and rips 3–4 traces off the board in the process. (this guy is supposed to be an expert??)

I could go on and on about how it bodged both machines.  Just fixed the most obvious issue, didn't clean them, didn't recap them, which is pretty much a must-do for a Spectrum and C64. etc etc and to top it off they set a price of £200 on the Speccy!!  It's a normal 48k one, not a toast rack.  You can get one off eBay for £30-40. 

I just found it really annoying and frustrating to watch and quite frankly I won't be watching again.

 
Posted : 15/08/2023 11:13 am
Pye Man
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Welcome Steve

That one is on my recorder so I will have to reserve judgement until I have seen it.

Regarding replacing the capacitors it has to be borne in mind the audience these programmes are aimed at; i.e. people who want a bit of entertainment and nothing technically heavy. The wheeler dealer aspect just adds a bit of drama. It amuses me how they come up with a price by seemingly plucking something out of the air. If Joe Public – who tends to assume anything vintage or old “must be worth some money” – knew how little some our vintage electronic pieces were worth he would question our sanity spending hours restoring the stuff.

Nick

 
Posted : 15/08/2023 7:05 pm
Cathovisor
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I was a bit dismayed to see Rob lift those tracks, but I find those vacuum de-soldering machines are very critical of tip diameter - so I use appropriately-sized braid and "wiggle" the pins free before I lift any device. But was that on the donor machine? Cleaning them would ruin the "patina" (a phrase I hear too often, and the mispronunciation grates on me - to me, one person's "patina" is my "neglect".)

However, this business of bulk re-capping seems to be a US import, seen as a universal panacea in the aftermath of the "bad caps" phenomenon; I question just how necessary it actually is. I have a friend who's very proficient in resurrecting old machines like this, I'll ask her what she does.

Yes, I too was annoyed with the reference to "consoles" - but that is a word that will resonate more with the intended audience: see also references to "wireless" which has a completely different meaning to most people under forty.

On another point though: has anyone else noticed the Armstrong logo on the shop/cafe?

Picking up on the point made by @pye-man , most old radios are now worth buttons and I am increasingly reaching the conclusion that I would do better separating the chassis from the cabinets and weighing them in at the local scrapyard. The fact that this does not get me branded as a heretic shows that it's a truism that dare not -yet - be spoken of. Certainly I have sets that I have spent months restoring that would never return the investment in time or even parts. For me, that was the pleasure - but I do sometimes weep when I think how much money I have spent over the last forty-two years that I'll never see again...

 
Posted : 15/08/2023 7:32 pm
Cathovisor
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Watched last night's episode - I must admit I was expecting those TCC electrolytics in the WCR to let go when Rob first ran it up (I have form with those damned things in a Cossor 77B!) but nonetheless, a good job done on the set.

I was amazed at the Sharp VZ-2000 realising £425 though - maybe I ought to restore/sell the VZ-3000 I have in the store but I'd need to find some speakers for it first. The speakers were detachable on the VZ-3000, you see.

Most enjoyable.

 
Posted : 16/08/2023 10:14 pm
slidertogrid
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I repaired a Sharp with a vertical record player which I think was the same model as the one featured all of the slider knobs were missing but the owner had obtained some replacements which were 3D printed. It was a right 84stard and took me ages to solve all of the problems, of which there were many!  I think the knobs had been broken by someone trying to get it apart without removing the knobs first as there were lots of broken bits inside. After I had fixed it he told me how much it was worth and that two people had refused to even look at it. Yes- well, I don't think I'll do another! 

I have enjoyed the last two programmes, I think the lifted print was on the donor PCB but I do wonder what was wrong with the donor? If the chipset was OK and the keyboard was OK it sounds as if the donor was a better bet than the one repaired?

I wonder why he didn't recap the computers? If he had googled the faults surely he had seen comments and advice that it is best to replace them all? Dunno... I am certainly no expert on vintage computers! Or modern ones for that matter!  We do have to remember this is a TV programme made to entertain a broad non technical audience.

It is certainly better than some of the other restoration programmes I have seen! I like Rob he does a good job and knows what he is talking about.  (He did identify a DAC90A chassis wrongly as a DAC90 though!)  😉   

 
Posted : 17/08/2023 11:28 am
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