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Tech Chat Retro electro workshop.

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sideband
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We've just had new Anglepoise lamps delivered at work for bench use. They are metal LED types with twin flex.....and they are approved types (they have to be to keep H&S happy).

 
Posted : 02/09/2023 6:40 am
Cathovisor
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A pedant writes:

If it's got a mains transformer, it ain't a VHF55... that's the DC/AC one!

 
Posted : 06/09/2023 8:56 pm
absinthe_dude
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Hello nice people....I found this site after being a member of "the other place" for some time and was looking for somewhere to discuss this new television programme. I've no doubts I'll get stuck in with other threads here as time goes on.

I'm no professional, but I've been tinkering with "retro" electronics since the late 70s when I was only a child. Probably first wielded a soldering iron aged five to hook a cassette recorder up to the speaker terminals inside my parents' TV....but these days I am more into making old stuff work in the modern world. 

 

I've really enjoyed Retro Electro Workshop. I fully understand they have a line to straddle between us folk who are going to be knowledgeable and the general viewer who isn't....and who needs to be pulled in by something with more wide appeal. The fact that they even think this show will have sufficient appeal to make and broadcast it, is quite uplifting. The show itself, has just sufficient detail for someone like myself. And doesn't fall into the traps that other "repair" shows do. If I have one significant criticism it would be the Juke Box episode where the thing wasn't repaired at all....but that is likely down to Shamil not realising how incomplete and broken it was when he bought it. 

 

Otherwise I've really enjoyed it. Rob comes across as quite affable, and a little eccentric. The variety of items repaired has been great, from a humble food mixer to that lovely pinball machine...the everyday to the special. It's actually got me thinking about contacting him regarding a unique camera my late father built in the late 50s, which has electrical functions that haven't worked since the late 60s. 

I like that they give a little background knowledge on each item. Generally Rob knows exactly what's in front of him, and sometimes I do, but it's nice that the narrator explains things for the viewer. I really hope this runs for another series. 

Regarding automatic recapping of everything, i am in the camp that feels this is an unnecessary American import. Often "over there", the first thing people do before testing anything is replace all the caps regardless of how they look. The Sinclair Spectrum does have a couple of caps that can go bad, but it is more common that one or two of the RAM chips has gone.  They're not something that has a specific reputation for blown caps (cough....Revox A77).

 
Posted : 14/09/2023 1:42 pm
Pye Man
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@absinthe_dude

Welcome! You are Edouard Manet and I claim my £5.

The atmosphere here is very relaxed and we do meander OT but consider this all part of the enjoyable intercourse between a bunch of like-minded souls.

Posted by: @absinthe_dude

Rob comes across as quite affable, and a little eccentric.

I think being a little eccentric applies to most of us in these communities – I am sure it applies to me surrounded as I am by mainly vintage radios and junk, er, curios of all sorts including a classic car* or two.

I have a couple of editions of REW to catch up on as I set series record. That way I can FF the ads and the wheeler-dealery bit where I confess I tend to cringe a little.

I like the programme take on the activity that repairing things is possible and good and fun and in some cases not too difficult with a bit of thought and ingenuity. If it encourages interest then it can only be for the good.

Like yourself I am an amateur when it comes to electronics though I have been messing (appropriate word) since the 1960s when I was in short trousers.

I look forward to your contributions.

* We talk freely about cars here too!

 

Nick

 
Posted : 14/09/2023 2:40 pm
slidertogrid
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@absinthe_dude I welcome from me as well! I saw members trying to discuss this programme on the other forum I think there were two or three various threads that were all combined and then closed. 🤐 

   I enjoy the Retro workshop it is so much better than similar programmes, it lacks the sympathy piano plinking away for a start! I enjoyed the last episode but one thing I did notice was that Rob replaced the main smoother in the TV saying it looked grotty but when he removed it there was a brief view of the can which showed it had been sawn in half and restuffed so it was only the can that was grotty... I agree though that Robs replacement was a tidier job as it wasn't packed out with a bit of tin etc... I do like the "warts and all" approach though showing the 'OH dear' bits, it makes it real, because we all have those moments! 

 
Posted : 14/09/2023 3:19 pm
Till Eulenspiegel
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The history of the Ferranti TV set is that over the years it has been through the hands of many collectors including me.  In 2015 I was given the task to remove a crudely fitted turret tuner. This was a particularly horrible conversion, a Cyldon 13 channel tuner had been attached to the top of the cabinet. The official Ferranti converter unit was housed in a separate box because there is insufficient space in the cabinet to fit a tuner unit in the normal manner. The usual method was fit the tuner on the side of the cabinet, that's OK if there is sufficient space. 

 Link to the vintage-radio website: Should that ITV converter be left in place? - UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum (vintage-radio.net)

After the cabinet repairs had been completed the set was given back to it's owner.  Last year the Ferranti TV was given to me and earlier this year the set was passed on to another TV collector.

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
Posted : 15/09/2023 12:14 pm
slidertogrid
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What an interesting story. That set sure has had a life! At one time outside in the rain very close to being destroyed it has now found it's way back to the Ferranti family ! Hopefully safe now...

 
Posted : 15/09/2023 10:47 pm
Pye Man
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I have this morning caught up with the episode featuring the Marconi CR100 - breakfast-time viewing. I didn't know about the museum in Liverpool but spotted a number of HROs and the teleprinters took me back. I had a Creed for a while but sold it about 1980. I was back home with my parents and couldn't find a place in the 'shack' for it so it actually lived in the boot of my Mk1 Ford Escort for several weeks travelling forth and back from my new place of work! It eventually ended up my shed workshop. The place where I was working had a client who was a shed manufacturer and I was able to get one of their ex-display sheds at a discount.

I always fancied a CR100 but never had one. Hope the car park wasn't too far from the museum! I think I would have been inclined to pull up on the pavement whilst a member of staff handed it over but that would have removed the opportunity to get some fun footage!

It seems this episode was the last in the series. I enjoyed it. Entertaining with not too much drama or sentimentality. I hope there are some more.

Nick

 
Posted : 27/09/2023 10:47 am
turretslug
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I regret not realising that that last episode featuring the CR100 was on, I must find time to catch up on it. I've always had a soft spot for the CR100, it was the first valve radio that I overhauled from square one, wire-brushing the bare chassis to gleaming and building it up again from from there in spare time over a few months in my last year of school. If you can find one that isn't too neglected and/or abused, go for it, it shouldn't cost too much but it will need fully re-wiring and all the decoupling C's and many of the R's will need changing. It was always regarded as a poor second to the AR88 by the amateur community, but I was more interested in broadcast SWL and IMHO it would be difficult to better it in the "budget vintage" category for that pupose with its 60-420kHz and 0.5-30MHz coverage. The aerial input is low-impedance balanced on all bands, so easily used with a loop- quite often even comms recivers go to unbalanced and/or high-impedance input on the lower frequency ranges where one would be most likely to want to use a loop. Even the 60-160kHz band wasn't a waste, DLF on 153kHz being a favourite that it brought in well day or night and you could even listen the 60kHz time signal pulses if you got really bored... Apparently, the mains transformers are famous for self-immolation- which mine duly did after a couple of years, fortunately a transformer from a comprehensively-trashed '60s Sansui amp snatched from the local tip (them were the days...) suited admirably electrically and had identical mechanical footprint. After all, it was a receiver hastily churned out and built to a budget at a time of crisis, that mains transformer is to domestic rather than professional/military spec. Otherwise, componentry is straightforward and simply substitutable should the need arise. I still have that afore-mentioned set in "deep storage", it deserves some daylight and airtime.

The unavoidable elephant in the room is the general demise of AM broadcasting, of course!

https://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/node/3578

 
Posted : 29/09/2023 8:54 pm
Cathovisor reacted
Cathovisor
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@turretslug I have a copy of Zepler's book The Technique of Radio Design, which is altogether more digestible than Langford-Smith by a country mile. I had no idea about Zepler's design work though - fascinating. I do wonder if he was responsible for the Whistling Johanna set though...

I noted this week that LW-only programmes on R4 are now getting tailed with a pre-recorded announcement that they will no longer be available on LW after 1/4/24.

 
Posted : 29/09/2023 9:36 pm
absinthe_dude
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Overall  I have really enjoyed this series. And I hope it brings Rob some more business, as it's hardly difficult to track him down. Indeed I have a pet project someone like him could probably help with when funds allow. 

 

Yes, it's edited. Yes, there are simplifications to help the layman. But there's some detail there and genuine enthusiasm, especially from Rob, about the old gear being repaired. I do hope sufficient people watched for there to be a second series. 

 
Posted : 03/10/2023 11:11 am
Doghouse
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As a show it was pretty much as I expected, elements included to attract a wider audience. i.e. Shamil who was a clown, overpaying for everything he bought.

A trawl through eBay's completed lists, would have found several items in good condition that didn't need any work, had sold for much less than he paid. The last being the turntable his mum priced a couple of hundred pounds  more than it was worth, that hadn't sold after three months.

As a jukebox enthusiast, I thought the one he chose was a bin. They don't like being stored in damp and cold warehouses for years on end. Rob would have had to spend weeks on it to get it going, even if he could find  the parts.

Sad to see how it ended up and surprised they got anything  for it. 

The Repair Shop has done a few, but they seem to concentrate on things like,  "polishing the chrome" rather than cleaning wobble plates and leaf switches. No real work done on amplifiers or speakers, as they all looked good, but sounded rubbish on completion.

At least, in Retro Electro there wasn't a lot of "dramatic tear-jerking reveals" as there are in the Repair Shop. I do record and watch parts of that programme, but avoid the "teddies" and the reveals.

As for Retro Electro, the series has finished and I can't see it coming back.

 
Posted : 03/10/2023 3:43 pm
absinthe_dude
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I understand why Shamil is there, and I'd far rather have him than the "sympathy piano" and makeovers that The Repair Shop do. But I won't be rushing to his shop. Prices seem too high, and he doesn't seem to research the potential value of the items before he buys them. Additionally his technical knowledge is insufficient to understand which items might be viable repairs, and which are best left to rust in peace. The juke box is a case in point, Shamil thought it looked OK. And to the untrained eye, I am sure it did. But as soon as Rob took a look, he knew it was never going to perform it's original function again. The Sinclair Spectrum was never going to fetch what he hoped. 

 

But overall the show was fun, and I am sure the average viewer learned a lot in a relatively easy way. Shamil is there to provide a sense of wheeler-dealer, "there's money in this" which is one of the hooks for the casual viewer...just how much can they make? I just wish he'd make a lengthy video call with Rob before buying some of this stuff, because I'd have loved to see Rob actually restore a jukebox to working order. 

The "dramatic reveals" were handled much better than The Repair Shop, firstly because the items were actually repaired to full working order and secondly they didn't go for the tear jerking. Nice older people get back item they enjoy after getting it expertly repaired. No major tears, no drama. Just a nice story that did not detract from the actual repair story. 

 

Maybe they'll make a few changes if there's a second series. Which I really hope there is. 

Sure, they could make a three hour documentary on the repair of any one of those items and we'd lap it up....and the total viewership would be.....us. I couldn't interest my wife in it as it was, and I own a few similar items! Though she did appreciate that I could be more obsessive than I am....indicating that at least I'm not Rob.....who actually comes across as really hard working, affable and someone I'd love a pint or a cup of tea with.

 
Posted : 05/10/2023 10:15 am
slidertogrid reacted
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