Once again, back to my first place of work and I find myself looking inside a KB Royal Star. This was quite a popular portable in the mid-60’s and there were plenty about well into the 70’s. This one had been a bit troublesome and although Harry was very familiar with these sets he said it would be good practice for me to sort it out.
Having got the cabinet off, it seemed to be in a bit of a state. Checking the set showed a frame collapse which was caused by a faulty frame output valve. The linearity was hopeless and I found the cathode capacitor was duff along with several waxy caps in the frame output stage. With these replaced, the picture was reasonable but the height was struggling to fill the screen and this was due to several resistors being high in value. Once these were replaced, things were pretty much back to normal so I refitted the cabinet and left it on soak for a few hours. As everything seemed OK, Harry made out the bill and the customer came to collect.
A week or so later she was back in the shop with the KB saying that ‘it had gone again’ and wanted her money back or a free repair. Well it was only fair to look at it again so I took it straight back up to the workshop and tried it. No line drive this time with a glowing LOP valve. Harry said ‘Well it’s not the same fault but if it’s fairly simple we’ll do it FOC anyway’. Well apart from the duff LOP valve, the coupling capacitor to it’s grid was leaky so that was changed and the set then worked again. A further soak test showed everything was working so once again the customer collected it.
A month went by this time and she rang up saying once again the set had failed and demanded a free repair or she’d go somewhere else. No-one likes bouncers and customers’ thinking you don’t do a good job so you tend to do free repairs to a set even though they should be charged. Anyway this time the LOPT over-wind had failed which was quite unusual. What seemed very odd was that the set looked as if it had been on all day every day and certainly seemed to have had heavy usage. Anyway because of the cost of LOPT’s and the fact we were doing a ‘freebie’, we cheated slightly and just changed the over-wind from another Royal Star we had in the back room that had a duff tube. Once again the set was working and we ran it for a few days with no problems. This time Harry offered to drop it back to the customer on the way home. We were puzzled why the set had been unreliable but maybe it was just ‘one of those sets’.
Harry used to give me a lift home from work and he put the Royal Star in the back of the van as I got in the passenger side. We stopped off at the customers house, took the TV in and set it up for her. She offered us a cup of tea and thanked us for fixing the set again, ‘hoping it would last this time’! While we were finishing our tea in the kitchen she was putting some freshly laundered clothes away and disappeared for a moment. When she returned we were just about ready to be on our way. ‘I’ll just check the TV is OK before we go’ said Harry and popped his head round the kitchen door to look at the KB just in the other room. The expression of surprise on his face made me look as well. There was the KB working away with a good picture…..but draped over the back was some freshly laundered washing. Harry mentioned it to the customer who replied ‘Oh I always hang the washing over the back if it’s slightly damp, it gets nice and warm behind there….’!
No wonder the set looked as if it had had a hard time. Harry pointed out that the slots at the back were for ventilation to let the heat out, not so that she could dry the washing. It explained why the set had been so unreliable and that there would be no more free repairs….I left him to it and sat in the van waiting. He never told me what he said to her but the set never came back after that, at least not while I was still working at the shop.