Tel: (989) 391-9892 Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday By Appointment
A more detailed discussion of the steps involved in the repair of these transformers can be found here - Silver Mica Migration.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOUR RADIO REPAIR BILL
If we receive a radio for repair and we discover that the radio has the above mica (IF Transformer) problems, we will notify you that we have found one or more of these defective IF transformer/capacitors in your radio.
This notification typically occurs after we have started to work on your radio, because the radio must power up and produce sound for us to detect that the problems exists. That means we have already expended some labor and parts (generally) on your radio. We try to diagnose this problem at the earliest possible moment, so as to not incur too many charges prior to notifying you of the existence of this problem.
IF THIS PROBLEM IS FOUND WE MAY OR MAY NOT ELECT TO REPAIR YOUR RADIO.
At this point we may elect to continue with repair of your radio, or not. Whether we proceed is dependent on our ability to find back-up IF transformers which we may need in order to repair this problem. This is obviously model dependent. We will either notify you that we have elected not to proceed or give you a cost as explained below.
COST TO REPAIR
The cost to repair these IF transformers, besides any other problems with your radio, are in the neighborhood of $55.00-$85.00 per IF transformer. If you have two (AM radio) then this will be an additional $110.00-$170.00 on top of any other repairs required to render the radio operable. If it is an AM/FM radio then up to four IF transformers must be repaired for an additional cost of $220.00-$340.00. This may make repair of your radio unreasonable (in your mind).
At this point, you have two choices:
1. Authorize us to go ahead and finish the repair of the radio, which will include the cost of pulling the IF transformers and replacing the mica capacitors; or,
2. Tell us to halt with any further work and send you a final bill. If you select (2.), we will prepare a final bill reflecting the deposit given when you sent us the radio. If additional money is owed because of repairs done to the radio, we will discount that 40% for the final amount. If you want the radio returned, the shipping charges will be added to the bill (but not discounted).
We are seeing more and more radios of this vintage with this problem. They are typically the less expensive table models, but those "cheapie" IF transformers also show up in much more expensive radios.
Many radios have been hacked. What do we mean by that? Many older radios are repair orphans--where a service guy attempted to fix it and abandoned the repair leaving failed components in place, wires disconnected, etc., then closing up the radio and returning it to its owner. Some 70 years later a descendant, not knowing the history, sends it out for repair. In cases like this it can be extremely expensive to recreate what was done to the radio.
We are seeing many examples of this coming in for repair. Or, the radios have been "worked on" to the point that they are no longer in conformance with the original schematic for that model. It can take many hours to decipher how the radio was "tinkered" with in variance to the original manufacturers specification. It can take many hours to decipher the remaining circuit and how that has been modified by someone. This is true of all radio receivers, small table radios, and particularly true of low end Hallicrafter (S-38X), Hammarlund, National, etc. radios.
Since this issue cannot determined from photos, but only after we have put the radio on our service bench, we will notify the owner that the radio has been "hacked" before we go deeply into the repair process. At that point we will
1. Elect to not continue the repair; or,
2. Elect to continue the repair, but with the owner's understanding that there will be an extra hack charge between $25 to $100, beyond the normal service costs. If the owner is being forewarned about the hack charge and elects for us to continue, we will resume work on the radio. If the owner does not elect for us to continue, we will return the radio after receipt of calculated packing and shipping charges.
TIME TO REPAIR....
Since all radios are different (somewhat) and have different parts, the actual calendar time to repair (the time between receiving the radio and shipping the repaired unit back) can vary greatly.
The normal turnaround on a simple home table radio is about one to two weeks. Though the labor hours could be only 1 to 2 hours, there can always be a delay in getting the correct parts into my shop. There are over 10,000 tube types which obviously we cannot stock. We have suppliers across the US that provide us with tubes and other parts if we do not have them. We do stock most other components (resistors, capacitors, etc.) that are necessary to repair a radio.
Finally, would you like us to hurry through your radio in order to get to the next one? We do not think so. It is not unusual to run into a radio that is very difficult to turn around quickly. Such simple things as knobs fitting correctly after replacement of volume controls can take hours if not days to resolve. Similarly, dial restringing can be very time consuming.
DIAL STRINGING RADIOS
One of the most difficult parts of radio repair is re-stringing the dial cord used to tune the radio. We have actually run into older, un-documented radios (1932 or older) where we could not successfully restring the radio. Without dial stringing documentation, some radios are simply impossible to restring.
A dial string diagram looks like this:
These IF transformers can be seen in the following photograph:
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High End Costs reflect possible un-anticipated problems that cannot be determined until the radio is on the bench. All ranges could increase due to a "Hack Charge".
MINIMUM - MAXIMUM RESTORATION COSTS
Plus down payment for starting your project.
We regret having to charge a down payment but due to several individuals changing their minds after work has begun and backing out we must.
Only established customers will be exempt.
There is a minimum fee for diagnostics once started and you decide not to restore your radio. This is at the rate of $10 an hour not to exceed $75.00
The cost of restoration these days is very difficult to predict. If it is in original condition electrically is will be straight forward. If someone has had their fingers in it and tried to repair and could not. This is where it can get a bit sticky. See section above on Hacked Radios. (For lack of a better word)
There are two questions I can not answer so don't ask. That is how long will it take? It will be finished when it is finished and calling me all the time will not get it repaired any quicker. Parts are in many case almost impossible to fine however, there is a large underground of suppliers we deal with plus several companies that make reproduction parts. The second question that is hare to answer is; how much will it cost? Again difficult to answer. We can give you a ballpark figure but the final cost is not always predictable.
| 5 tube table radio (1945 - 1960)||$185.00 to $425.00|| $85.00|
|Trans Oceanic Radios||$185 to $300||$115.00|
|5-6 tube console radio (1934 - 1947)||$375.00 to $550.00||$175.00|
|7-8 tube console radio (1934 - 1947)||$375.00 to $700.00||$250.00|
|9+ tube console radio (1934 - 1947) ||$475.00 to $900.00||$300.00|
|8+ tube amateur receiver||$425.00 to $675.00||$400.00|
|6-8 tube German Radios|| || |
|1940 or earlier table radio||$305.00 to $700.00||$195.00|
And, here is a photo of the defective mica sheet capacitor that is found in that IF transformer
In order to fix this, the IF transformer must be removed from all its connections within the chassis, and the mica capacitors removed from the IF transformer and substitute capacitors mounted underneath the IF transformer once the IF Transformer is placed back into the chassis. Just the removal of the can and disassembly of the IF transformer is a time consuming and tricky process.
Here is a photo of an IF transformer placed back into a chassis with the now outboard capacitors installed and circled:
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Please Make Deposit Checks payable to Robert Richard
We also except all major credit cards. Give us a call to make your repair deposit or we can send you a PayPal Invoice.
Thank You for understanding.
If you have any questions please give us a call. Now is the time to ask them.
Our shop is located at:
2432 Kopka Court.
Bay City, Michigan 48708
Robert Richard IEEE, PhD
We specialize in Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radios and all Zenith Brands. In addition we also specialize in the repair or Philco, Silvertone, Airline, Motorola, RCA, Crosley, Emerson, and many more. We only do tube or valve type equipment. Solid State is not spoken here. We can however recommend people who do that type of work.
If you have a vacuum tube radio that you need help repairing or restoring, we offer repair work at a reasonable fee to put your old set back into its original operating condition. The Base fee for an All American 5 Radio is $145 plus cost of parts. Typical parts cost are: capacitors, $2 each; electrolytic capacitors, $3-$5 each; resistors, $1to $3 each. Tubes range from $4 to $75 (for those expensive ones like the 1L6). Tubes for German Radios are from $9.00 to $50 dollars. Some tubes like ECLL800 are expensive.
We are now using our solid state 1L6 at $50 each.
These IF "cans" shown in the photo consist of a coil (inductor) and cheaply made mica sheet capacitors. Here is a photo of one taken apart:
They will make a big difference. A complete solid state tube set is available for $185 installed. They are specifically designed for the Trans-Oceanic and other similar radios using the same tube set.. I do NOT recommend these unless you have a fully refurbished radio electronically.
Unless otherwise agreed, work is limited to complete electronic and minor mechanical repair, including thorough cleanup, alignment and test, but not full restoration--electrically or cosmetically..
For Zenith tube type Trans-Oceanic radios, retainer fee is $125.00 plus the cost of parts as stated above. If you wish us to work on the cases, including but not limited to black stag and cowhide, we will do minor repairs of the black stag and the cowhide only. Complete cleaning the exterior surfaces and refinishing repairing any damage. We will attempt to repair any cracks in the dial cover or other plastic surfaces with high tech polymer plastics, and replace the dial cover lenses if replaceable (8G005, G500). The additional cost is typically $95. If we think it is going to be more we will give you and estimate in writing listing the scope of the work and the associated costs involved. This will require approval in writing prior to the start of work.
We now have the capability to completely recover your black stag Trans-Oceanic radio. Please call or write us for a quote. This is done with the same material. The only difference is that the grain pattern will be more pronounced as the material is new.
For portable radios other than Trans-Oceanic's, we usually ask you to remove the chassis from the case and send only the chassis. This technique will keep those old Bakelite and plastic cases from being damaged
Radios we no longer work on, We No longer Work on German Radio's of any kind. Too many issues In addition we no longer work on the 8G005 series of Trans Oceanic. They have become to difficult to work on due to the asbestos impregnated wiring. The wiring simply crumbles by simply touching it. Causing an almost total re-wiring of the radio, we end up eating way too much labor on them. I am getting too old for all this aggravation. So don't call and tell me how good a customer you are and you just purchased this really nice 8G005 and would you please, please work on it? The answer is still NO.
For full restoration of any radio, we must evaluate it in advance and prepare a written statement of work. The statement with pricing will be sent prior to any work and remain in affect for 90 days.
If you radio is a large console, once we have agreed on a price and our willing to work on your console. We recommend you send only the chassis and speaker. On average, repair jobs cost anywhere from $150 to $500. We will take on any set that has not been crushed or submerged and has all it original parts. We do not repair vintage automobile radios nor do we do transistor radios.
Complete radio restoration is available but on a case by case basis and will be negotiated prior to agreement of the scope of work. Please contact me prior to shipping anything.
We are not responsible for what happens to your radio in transit to us. I would suggest you ensure it for replacement cost. We will ship it back to you insured for the amount of the service unless you specify otherwise.
Pictures and some Copy Courtesy of:
John O'Brien The Radio Repair Guy. Thanks John for the Pictures.
Many of the radios that are sent to us that were manufactured between 1948 and 1964 have a problem with their intermediate frequency transformers (IF Transformers) that make them VERY expensive to repair.
The symptoms of these bad IF cans is a radio that has continuous snaps, crackle, pops and volume that varies without touching the radio. Industry wide, these cans were used by almost all the radio manufacturers in the 1948 - 1964 period because they were compact and cheap. Typically, the standard AM radio has two of these IF cans and an AM/FM radio may have up to four.
DIAL CORD RESTRINGING
Any radio or repair that requires restringing the tuning dial cord, costs $45.00 to restring and in some cases $95.00. If you have never tried to do this then you cannot appreciate how frustrating and time consuming it is. If you think the price is too high--be my guest and do it yourself. Restringing can involve multiple hours and delays due to research. [Many radio documentation sets do not have adequate dial string diagrams]. A radio that has a particularly difficult dial cord setup can in the worst case consume 20-30 hours of actual clock time. We do not bill for this time.
DIAL STRING REPAIR GERMAN RADIOS -CAUTION!
If your German radio does not tune or the tuning indicator does not move, then you will need a dial string repair. This can be very expensive because the knobs must be removed followed by the face plate. The knobs after 50 years have usually become almost welded to their shafts. It is extremely time consuming and labor intensive to remove these knobs. Thus, when a German [Blaupunkt, Telefunken, Saba ,Grundig, etc.] radio needs dial string repair--we will request that the owner remove the knobs before sending the unit to us. This is precautionary and a cost saving measure--because if you expend funds to send the radio to us, and we cannot remove the knobs, the cost of shipping both ways will have been wasted.
GERMAN OR EUROPEAN RADIOS
7/7/2014 Due to a mounting list of problems with German Radios we are no longer excepting them for repair. We apologize for the inconvenience.
It is sometimes difficult, or impossible, to acquire schematics and documentation on these radios. And, if available, the documentation generally costs $15.00 to $25.00. [American radio documentation is basically free on the web except for unusual cases].
They are simply a "bear" to handle in my shop. The radios, set up for repair, have to be outside the cabinet, but in close proximity to the cabinet, to repair. No console radios are ever accepted for repair with our prior approval in writing from us via email or written statement. No exceptions.
3. SHIPPING WEIGHTS
The cabinets require (most of the time) a maximum size UPS box for shipping. This leads to very high shipping and packing charges because of dimensional weight and insurance concerns. Most of these radios cost between $135.00 to $170.00 to pack and ship UPS ground. UPS will not ship them in smaller boxes and stand behind the insurance. [See my notes on shipping].
4. REPAIR - RESTORATION
Due to the inherent complexity of design and topology, in combination with language difficulties, we do not perform restorations on this class of radio. We do offer repair and necessary "heavy up" to make the radio failure proof for a very long time. This includes Electrolytes [known failure item], replacement of selenium rectifier [known failure item]and all high voltage capacitors [known failure item].
As a result, when we accept one of these radios for repair, because of the issues above, we request an initial payment of $250.00 against possible repairs and return shipping.
We have gotten burned too many times by under-estimating the shipping charges and being ignored when we submit a bill for the underpayment on shipping. When the final bill is tallied, the pack/ship will be estimated at $100.00. If the actual is under that amount we will refund the difference.
5. DIAL STRING REPAIR--CAUTION!
If your radio does not tune or the tuning indicator does not move, then you will need a dial string repair. This can be very expensive because the knobs must be removed followed by the face plate. The knobs after 50 years have usually become almost welded to their shafts. It is extremely time consuming and labor intensive to remove these knobs. Thus, when a German [Blaupunkt, Telefunken, Saba, etc.] radio needs dial string repair--we will request that the owner remove the knobs before sending the unit to us. This is precautionary and a cost saving measure--because if you expend funds to send the radio to us, and we cannot remove the knobs, the cost of shipping both ways will have been wasted.
6. OTHER REPAIR PROBLEMS
Occasionally the face plate becomes cracked when removing the chassis, regardless of how carefully the chassis is removed. Also, we are seeing a number of units with defective variable capacitors which are impossible to repair or replace.
COST RANGES FOR MOST RADIOS
No work will be done or any radio excepted with out making your minimum deposit first, If you are already a customer you are exempt from this requirement, if you are in good standing with us. Thank You for understanding..
MINIMUM - MAXIMUM REPAIR COSTS
Following are some ranges of anticipated repair costs based on different classes of Radios. The Average cost is most likely to be the price however, until we look at what we have to work with the price could very higher or lower.
|1936-1944 console radio|
--good speaker, good power transformer
|$250 - $550 |
|1936-1944 console radio|
--bad speaker, bad power transformer
|$675 - $875 or more depending on the cost of the speaker. |
|1932-1943 tombstone or cathedral radio ||$285 - $525 |
|1940 - 1964 table radio ||$65 - $375 |
|1948 - 1955 AM/FM console ||$235 - $775 |
|6-8 tube [German] Radio ||$285.00 to $525.00 |