Philips 341A Receiver

 This, ordinary-looking post war bakelite receiver covers Long, Medium and Short Waves and was first sold in 1954 for around £15 plus purchase tax.

The set was an updated version of the BG310A from 1951.

Slightly puzzling is it's Philips code number. The label says "341A" but strictly speaking the 341A is an early pre-war radio from 1934.

The proper number for this model is the BG341A. There's even a BF341A, from 1954 which is completely different.

I understand the second letter defines the country of manufacture: D=West Germany, E=Spain, F = France and G = Great Britain.

Later, Philips changed this coding method and added a two digit code at the end of equipments eg Great Britain = 05.

The set covers Long, Medium and Short waves.



 Above the valve complement and a modification.

A base change B8A to B9A but the Tungsram equivalent, a 6JA8 is actually fitted.

Left, the manufacturers plate plus the license label.

Top view of the chassis showing the usual style of Philips cable driven tuning arrangement.

I suppose this saves on pulleys and simplifies mechanical tolerancing.

 You can always recognise a Philips chassis by the particular parts used.

The black and pink condensers and lots of the resistors are common to most post-war Philips radios and TV sets.

Stella models (Stella=a Philips brand name) use identical parts. The Stella ST106A is the same as this Philips model.

Some say those black condensers are not too good so I'll remove some and find out what's wrong with them.

See the service data sheets specifically for the 341A

Plus the main service manual for the 310A on which the 341A is based

 I started refurbishment of the 341A by removing the chassis from the case. All went well until I came to the last knob. Some of the knobs have a plain bakelite ring behind the push-on knob. The knobs came of easily but the last bakelite ring was stuck fast by rust. Penetrating oil failed to dislodge it. It seemed almost stuck with superglue.

Fortunately the shaft to the tuning mechanism on which the ring was stuck was grippable with long losed pliers and by a combination of twisting (the ring has a circular hole in the centre rather than a D-shaped hole) and tapping through the panel aperture from the rear began to free it. Eventually it came off without any damage.

The chassis almost came out, but first I had to lift up the dial glass (perspex) and waggle the pointer, before it could be extracted.

The chassis was smothered in dust which I removed with an old toothbrush, revealing a nice shiny surface. The first thing of note was the twin-gang tuning condenser which was very loose on its mountings. In fact I immediately noticed the reason for the demise of the set. One of the wires connected to the tuning condenser had broken off due to the excessive free movement of the tuning gang. The thing seems to be floating on rubber bushes which have perished and other than detaching the tuning condenser and finding replacement bushes it may be possible to make a securing bracket which can be screwed to the top of the condenser and the chassis. There's a suitable anchor point on the condenser and drilling the chassis for a second anchoring screw for the bracket looks straightforward. I'll take a view on whatever's feasible....

As everything else seemed to be OK, I found a scrap IEC chassis mounting connector and soldered this to the remains of the original mains lead, cut off by the auction house. This enabled me to quickly test the set.

I resoldered the broken wire to the tuning condenser and applied mains power. Switching on illuminated the single dial lamp, followed by the valve heaters.

There was a lot of crackling which quietened after jiggling the controls and after plugging in a long wire I was able to tune across some of the medium waveband. Stations were at decent strength and I guess little is wrong with the radio. I removed the EL41 and measured the voltage at the valveholder pins. 300 odd at the anode pin and 280 odd at the screen grid but only about 100mVolts DC on the control grid so the audio coupling condenser seems to be OK. I plugged the EL41 back in and checked the other two wavebands. Both seem lively but I suspect the shortwave band needs realignment.

The next task is to fix the tuning condenser mounting and free up the tuning mechanism which seems too stiff, then apply switch cleaner to the various switches and controls. Once this is done I'll realign the IF transformers and the three wavebands.

Just being prudent I fitted a new audio coupling condenser as the old one had a crack running through it.

 I made an aluminium bracket to re-fix the tuning condenser. This done I thought I'd check alignment. Using a (very) long wire aerial stations were plentiful across Long and Medium wavebands but alignment is needed to run from a short aerial.

The first thing I discovered was that two of the dust cores had broken away from their brass screws. This is not uncommon, and a real pain as sensitivity will be pretty poor when the RF coils are detuned. The second problem was severe intermittency on short waves. At the top end the 20Mc/s signal came and went and at the low end I coulldn't tune down below 6.5Mc/s to the 50m (6Mc/s) setting. From the awful crackling when the chassis is tapped, something is not right.

Whether I can remove the broken dust cores remains to be seen....


Coil assembly removed from can


Mounting position of coil

 As you can see above the coil diameter is extremely small. The core itself must measure only 2mm in diameter and the risk of drilling it out and replacing it is too fraught with difficulty. As one of the solder pins had broken off the plastic, I glued this in postion (which should stop crackling) and replaced it.

 The tuning condenser mounting bushes, made from rubber had completely perished, so I made a bracket from thin aluminium which holds the tuner in the correct position and allows it to flex slightly like the original mountings. I resoldered a broken wire which no doubt had been responsible for the set being ditched.

RF alignment was straightforward enough except that Philips had decided to save a few pennies by not fitting long wave adjusters. Alignment is limited for that band resulting in Radio 4 being out of position. This was due primarily to the broken cores requiring medium wave alignment to be inconsistent with long wave dial markings. The IF was 470KHz and needed only a small adjustment to restore it.

Overall performance is OK with an external aerial but not too good with the internal aerial designed for only local reception.


IEC mains connector salvaged from a computer power supply


and metalwork from the same source screwed in position

 Using an IEC connector solves several problems, not least is finding a suitable mains cord to replace that cut off by the seller. The new mounting plate was cut to fit the cabinet shaping and fits in well.


A minor problem was bowing of the paxolin below the pointer allowing this to rub against the dial surface


I glued a piece of leather under the pointer to lift it away from the dial

 I cleaned the dial and refiited this later. The cabinet design is poorly thought out requiring puzzling reassembly of parts into the case. The dial is the last part to be fitted and slides into place secured by clips mounted behind the front panel.


The finished set. Looking identical to it was at the start of refurbishment because I'm not usually asked to refurbish cabinets. This bakelite example could be repainted by stripping off its gold lacquer and resprayed after masking. However, not everyone likes to see over half a century or so of patina removed.


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