Submitted By Member: Terrykc
Forty years or so ago, Plessey built Ford car radios were frequent visitors to our workshop about ten miles away from Ford’s Dagenham plant. The PCB was soldered onto the rear of the casing in several places. Not only was it a pig to remove, but it couldn’t be operated after you’d done so! (I suppose if I’d known how many of them I would see, I would probably have considered making some sort of a jig to resolve the problem!)
However, the problem was invariably one of the IF transistors, which could be diagnosed in situ. After the first couple, I became more confident that they would work after they were reassembled! I wonder if Plessey got hold of a bad batch because I never repaired the same radio twice, so it doesn’t point to a design problem …Perhaps it was an early outbreak of the dreaded tin whisker problem – but nobody had heard of that in those days …
I was discussing these radios one day with a friend who told me why I saw so many of them. Security at Ford’s spares division at Aveley (only a few miles away) was very strict, he said, and it was virtually impossible to get anything out of there. But, he said, the faulty sets that were returned for replacement under guarantee were just slung in a heap away from the main secure area and it was relatively easy to pick one up … Of course, this could just have been urban myth, except … One of our customers was the Chief Inspector at the local nick. He was usually in civvies when he popped in but, on one occasion, we got the full treatment – silver buttons and sparkling braid, the works – not for our benefit, he pointed out, but he was on his way over to Chelmsford to see the Chief Constable.
While he was chatting away, I became aware of the workshop door opening behind him and a chap came in with a Ford car radio in his hand. He instantly clocked the uniform, then silently span 180° on the balls of his feet before creeping out again. It was so comical to watch, I don’t know how I kept a straight face!
The strange thing is, I don’t think I ever saw another faulty Ford car radio after that!