Plans, Sept 2014

 As the years have rolled on by domestic entertainment equipment has become more and more difficult and expensive to repair.

Once upon a time a TV engineer usually removed the back of a TV and swapped a valve.

Then, with the advent of transistors, repairs became more difficult

When integrated circuits arrived things became more difficult again

Now with large scale integration it's unlikely that replacement chips will be available after a few years because of the advances in technology.

As I've passed the state retirement age and am a recipient of a pension I no longer have to fix domestic equipment to bring in cash

On the other hand, I still repair circuit boards for lifts and escalators (and the odd historic radio and modern computers of course). I sometimes fix other things as a favour. A Panasonic DB Radio/CD player from 2009 arrived yesterday (6th Feb 2015). It was dead and after removing no fewer than 40 screws , some hidden, I extracted the chassis (an hour later). Attached to this, mostly with sticky tape was the power supply. Inside its cover would you believe was a plug-in fuse. This was intact. Deeper inside I found a short-circuit diode marked S6-98. I fitted a 1N4005 and put in a new 1000uF capacitor adjacent to it. Clearly repair when the thing was designed must have been thought out of the question as labour costs will swamp its value.

There are still lots of circuit boards around in lift controllers that use transistors and early integrated circuits, and because the cost of replacing a lift controller can be as much as a new motor car there is still money to be made in this repair business.

Having made the decision to get rid of anything involved in the repair of TV sets, VCRs and modern audio equipment I have a lot more space in which to display my radio collection. shown here around two sides of my workshop.

When I started the website the best Internet speed was 56kbps and I was asked by visitors to make sure all the pictures were suitably small to download without an interminable wait, but times have changed and, with speeds in some locations over a thousand times better than this, high definition pictures will replace originals.

As the months pass I'll update the pictures and more will become visible (note.. all four sides of the old workshop are now used for the displays).

Pictures immediately below show the start of the reorganisation and further down some of the re-organised displays.

 The first step in the workshop/museum overhaul was the purchase of more dexion, or to be more accurate its cheaper substitute made in Scotland. The first lot I bought over a year ago now supports the amateur radio transmitters and receivers. The second lot now carries several shelves in front of my double window. This also extended to shelves to replace some unsupported wood and heaps of radios piled on top of each other.

I then arranged equal height equipment on the latter, with a selection of sets including most of my Eddystone receivers, an AR88, an AR77, R206, R109 and ZC1 on the window shelves. The rear shelves now carry four R107 receivers and three AR88 receivers plus an assortment of others.

Here are pictures of work in progress at 8th Feb 2015

No less than four R107s, three AR88s, two HROs and a 52H receiver. Front left a pair of wavemeters for tuning an airborne spark transmitter.

Hotch potch of stuff including an early 1920s Philips mains radio, a pair of HT37s, an R208, BC221, HRO loudspeaker, Sailor HF transmitter etc

Two R1132 receivers plus mostly modern test gear plus a sonobuoy receiver.

 That blue fronted equipment is a 3-phase mains generator which I use for testing industrial stuff. It's a trifle noisy because it needs a quarter horsepower 3-phase motor to be connected in parallel with a non-motor load. You'll note from the flag, it's made in Britain.

 Lots of tidying then more photos to follow... Components will get demoted in favour of more radios on display.

I see it's around 15 months that I planned to reorganise the radio museum. I'll probably put that down to my delaying retirement, but today 18th June 2016, I hauled down countless plastic drawers full of components and erected a new dexion rack to carry radios in their place. The new racking is allocated to RAF equipment. This stuff seems to be in three main heights which makes planning the layout a trifle awkward. Setting aside the R1155/T1154 which are odd heights the WW2 radios are in cases which are generally 19" wide and around 9 inches tall. Other equipment and some cold war stuff is about 7" tall and everything will fit into a 12" deep rack, but with some overhang. American stuff is not very tall. One or two items didn't fit too well at present so I'll leave these till later. Below are photographs starting with the new RAF rack then going clockwise around the room.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spare Parts

 The most difficult thing to organise is where to locate spare parts. These are in two major categories: old stuff dating from WW2 and new stuff, particularly components for repairing modern equipment. There's also a third category which is early radio components dating from the 1920s and 30s but I keep this type of stuff elsewhere.

The problems I have are twofold; first where to physically put the stuff and secondly how to access it, especially modern components. The latter, access, I've dealt with by constructing a number of databases which list components and provide their location. For example my stock of semiconductors includes about 1000 items mostly linked to their specifications, so I can readily see if I have say an IGBT rated at 120W and 1,200V. Then there's a database for my stock of valves which I note now includes something like 4,000 in 1,273 types. A few days ago I catalogued my stock of quartz crystals, a mere 159. Tens of thousands of resistors are sorted into a variety of types, chiefly by their power rating but cataloguing capacitors is long overdue because I have so many so I just have to remember their general type and location. Then there are hundreds of modern relays, surface mounted passive parts, switches, transformers, valve holders, connectors, potentiometers and a host of small items (which I keep in sets of plastic drawers). Small semiconductors are stored in small sealable plastic bags and kept in part-number order in three or four boxes. There are some bits and pieces which are bulky so I've made boxes fitted with wheels which I keep under benches. These are for storing cables, drums of wire, computer parts and other useful things. Also metalwork for contructional projects, mostly salvaged from things like computer power supplies, cases etc etc.

To simplify the system I don't bother monitoring stock levels. To do this would need a duplicate of myself so if I find a plastic bag is empty or has too small a number of parts I'll just order more from a supplier.

in progress...

 

 

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