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Old 07-10-2017, 12:33 AM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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Back to life Airline 14WG-806A1

Hi folks! Several months ago I found this beauty rather cheap with the cord cut for not more than the tubes would be worth without considering the ever pricey 6U5 "magic eye" which seems to be all the rage in vintage radio these days. I got it home and on the Variac which was quick to reveal that the power transformer was shot. It heated fairly quickly at around 60 VAC with or without the 5Y3 rectifier inserted and finally completely removed from circuit.

The chassis is an 8 tube with dual 6K6s as a push-pull audio output. Up to this point I didn't know that the WG designation when seen on Airline models stood for Wells-Gardner, which translates to higher quality builds and engineering. Just a glance at the radio told me that it wasn't a poor mans radio and when I yanked the chassis it was plain that it was really well made. We cant blame the period manufacturers for "upgrading" to now hardened rubber insulation on often bare conductors. That can be one awful mess and in this case I lucked out and they used a combination of that and the more common cloth covered wire. So jumping forward, I did have to replace several sections of wire. The main problem was the power transformer and a problem it was.

First, a guy contacted me that had a radio with the same tube count based on 6.3VAC tubes with a 5VAC secondary tap for the rectifier. I sent him the physical dimensions and he said they matched. I paid for the unit, and upon receipt it wasn't even close to the size I said I needed specifically. I wound up stuck with it. Luckily, a member here had a transformer that he felt would accommodate my needs. I will let him chime in if he wishes to be named. Just a courtesy thing I do. The problem faced with his transformer was that it had no 5VAC tap for the rectifier. He recommended I consider using a common 6V rectifier such as a 6X5. Now I'm not too bad with electronics repair and such, but I've never been one to customize things much, if at all. In this case I would be completely changing the power supply circuit by adding an indirectly heated tube with a bad reputation where a trusty 5Y3 which is filament or directly heated tube was and obtaining the same result.

I've long thought that I wanted to step up my game into REALLY understanding how and why various tube circuits work as they do and pull further away from often banking on the obvious or most likely causes of circuit failure & replacing parts isolated through the use of test equipment. Before that I often did shotgun restorations meaning just change the capacitors, check resistors (at least the ones that look odd in some way), clean tube sockets and pins, switches and potentiometers and power up fingers crossed-eyes on ammeter. That works for self professes techs all around the world. Again, I wanted dig deeper. And deeper I went!

It was a great learning experience in the end I will say studying schematics of both scenarios and even pulling other chassis of radios in my collection and comparing things. My radio had no filter capacitors for some reason. They were cut out. I did cheat and did a little guessing as opposed to doing the math. So, even with a couple of weak tubes which I don't have in stock, I would up with a really good sounding and very sensitive radio with Broadcast and Shortwave bands working just fine after replacement of the wax paper caps which all tested bad on my Heathkit IT-28 cap checker AND just for fun my Solar CE Analyzer (gotta love the mA/V gauge!).

The radio has probably the neatest looking dial and escutcheon config I've ever owned. However, it is cracked at two corners where tiny screws hold it to the wood. If anyone has a similar parts set or just the dial glass and plastic and would like to sell, I would like to buy. Just PM me or mention in this thread. I hope the pics come out OK in size and all. At around 80Kb after upload, I'm afraid they may be small. I'm lost with properly sizing pics....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Airline 14WG-806A1.jpg (81.5 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Airline14WG-806 Chassis.jpg (73.5 KB, 26 views)
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:14 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Hi folks! Several months ago I found this beauty rather cheap with the cord cut for not more than the tubes would be worth without considering the ever pricey 6U5 "magic eye" which seems to be all the rage in vintage radio these days. I got it home and on the Variac which was quick to reveal that the power transformer was shot. It heated fairly quickly at around 60 VAC with or without the 5Y3 rectifier inserted and finally completely removed from circuit.

The chassis is an 8 tube with dual 6K6s as a push-pull audio output. Up to this point I didn't know that the WG designation when seen on Airline models stood for Wells-Gardner, which translates to higher quality builds and engineering. Just a glance at the radio told me that it wasn't a poor mans radio and when I yanked the chassis it was plain that it was really well made. We cant blame the period manufacturers for "upgrading" to now hardened rubber insulation on often bare conductors. That can be one awful mess and in this case I lucked out and they used a combination of that and the more common cloth covered wire. So jumping forward, I did have to replace several sections of wire. The main problem was the power transformer and a problem it was.

First, a guy contacted me that had a radio with the same tube count based on 6.3VAC tubes with a 5VAC secondary tap for the rectifier. I sent him the physical dimensions and he said they matched. I paid for the unit, and upon receipt it wasn't even close to the size I said I needed specifically. I wound up stuck with it. Luckily, a member here had a transformer that he felt would accommodate my needs. I will let him chime in if he wishes to be named. Just a courtesy thing I do. The problem faced with his transformer was that it had no 5VAC tap for the rectifier. He recommended I consider using a common 6V rectifier such as a 6X5. Now I'm not too bad with electronics repair and such, but I've never been one to customize things much, if at all. In this case I would be completely changing the power supply circuit by adding an indirectly heated tube with a bad reputation where a trusty 5Y3 which is filament or directly heated tube was and obtaining the same result.

I've long thought that I wanted to step up my game into REALLY understanding how and why various tube circuits work as they do and pull further away from often banking on the obvious or most likely causes of circuit failure & replacing parts isolated through the use of test equipment. Before that I often did shotgun restorations meaning just change the capacitors, check resistors (at least the ones that look odd in some way), clean tube sockets and pins, switches and potentiometers and power up fingers crossed-eyes on ammeter. That works for self professes techs all around the world. Again, I wanted dig deeper. And deeper I went!

It was a great learning experience in the end I will say studying schematics of both scenarios and even pulling other chassis of radios in my collection and comparing things. My radio had no filter capacitors for some reason. They were cut out. I did cheat and did a little guessing as opposed to doing the math. So, even with a couple of weak tubes which I don't have in stock, I would up with a really good sounding and very sensitive radio with Broadcast and Shortwave bands working just fine after replacement of the wax paper caps which all tested bad on my Heathkit IT-28 cap checker AND just for fun my Solar CE Analyzer (gotta love the mA/V gauge!).

The radio has probably the neatest looking dial and escutcheon config I've ever owned. However, it is cracked at two corners where tiny screws hold it to the wood. If anyone has a similar parts set or just the dial glass and plastic and would like to sell, I would like to buy. Just PM me or mention in this thread. I hope the pics come out OK in size and all. At around 80Kb after upload, I'm afraid they may be small. I'm lost with properly sizing pics....
I glad the thing worked out for you! How did you approach the transformer high temp problem. I had recommended the use of diodes instead of the 6X5 rectifier, to reduce the heater current demands by 600ma.
The transformer was removed from an eight tube Philco 42-390 which used the same tube count and the same current demands as the set in question. That calculation also includes the pilot lamps.
I had two transformers that were more desirable but they were too large.
That set contained an awful small transformer.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:05 PM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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I would say the biggest thing that was going on there was that I had the transformer wired wrong in that I had the entire heater network including rectifier wired on a single tap. I couldn't understand why heater voltage measurements were a bit over 7 volts. That number may be skewed as I was using a slightly reduced voltage.

Later I noticed a pair of wires that had heat shrink on them with no label and for giggles put my VOM on them and found that it was a 6v tap with small conductors. So I decided that they would naturally be for the single heater of the 6X5. As far as the other pair I was using goes, I just moved the large conductor that was marked 6.3 or something like that to the "input" of the heater network and bam, I had 6.3 everywhere that I should.

As far as caps go, there was only one 47mfd as I think a 40 is what the schematic calls for, but the rectifier is of different specs, so all of that is likely different. Seems like my Silvertone with a 6X5 has a 16 and an 8mfd (maybe). EVERY paper cap was a resistor. Not on the verge or any variation of a bad cap. They were petrified. I added a 10mfd cap to the filter network and pulled all but a tiny bit of hum out. So far, so good. It runs cool and strong. Some heat after say 30 min, but that's normal. Thanks so much for the great help. I'm glad you came in to say hi!
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:34 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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I would say the biggest thing that was going on there was that I had the transformer wired wrong in that I had the entire heater network including rectifier wired on a single tap. I couldn't understand why heater voltage measurements were a bit over 7 volts. That number may be skewed as I was using a slightly reduced voltage.

Later I noticed a pair of wires that had heat shrink on them with no label and for giggles put my VOM on them and found that it was a 6v tap with small conductors. So I decided that they would naturally be for the single heater of the 6X5. As far as the other pair I was using goes, I just moved the large conductor that was marked 6.3 or something like that to the "input" of the heater network and bam, I had 6.3 everywhere that I should.

As far as caps go, there was only one 47mfd as I think a 40 is what the schematic calls for, but the rectifier is of different specs, so all of that is likely different. Seems like my Silvertone with a 6X5 has a 16 and an 8mfd (maybe). EVERY paper cap was a resistor. Not on the verge or any variation of a bad cap. They were petrified. I added a 10mfd cap to the filter network and pulled all but a tiny bit of hum out. So far, so good. It runs cool and strong. Some heat after say 30 min, but that's normal. Thanks so much for the great help. I'm glad you came in to say hi!
That transformer configuration wasn't shown on the schematic, but it was listed on the parts list as an alternate. The chassis, I removed it from has the first audio tube, a 7X7 heater was using this center tapped winding, probably to minimize hum. I sealed it off because it seemed to only be good for one 300ma tube.
It's always a little harder to subsitute an important part like a power transformer and it does require a little trial and error.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:03 PM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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So there was a 7V winding, but as you say it was sealed off. But again, with what was marked for heaters I kept getting about 7 volts and hadn't a clue why. Till finally I unwrapped that set of smaller gauge wires. I can't remember now every move I made, but it became pretty obvious that they could be used for a single tube and the 6x5 would be the one.

What I wish I could understand is how using that tap for the 6x5 brought the rest of the tube heaters down to around 6V. All I did was remove the large wire from the 6x5 and place it to feed the heaters. The other wire of that pair was already to chassis ground. I'm glad it worked anyway. I just hate not knowing why. Ya know? When you train in electronics, it's all about proving (normally mathematically and electrically) what you do.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:33 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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So there was a 7V winding, but as you say it was sealed off. But again, with what was marked for heaters I kept getting about 7 volts and hadn't a clue why. Till finally I unwrapped that set of smaller gauge wires. I can't remember now every move I made, but it became pretty obvious that they could be used for a single tube and the 6x5 would be the one.

What I wish I could understand is how using that tap for the 6x5 brought the rest of the tube heaters down to around 6V. All I did was remove the large wire from the 6x5 and place it to feed the heaters. The other wire of that pair was already to chassis ground. I'm glad it worked anyway. I just hate not knowing why. Ya know? When you train in electronics, it's all about proving (normally mathematically and electrically) what you do.
I wasn't sure if that winding would handle 600ma, but you did the right thing. It's best to have the rectifier on it's own winding, even an indirectly heated one. Evidently, that winding had a bit of reserve!
I'm glad it worked out well for you!
BTW, what kind of TV is that behind the radio, that's partially covered? Looks like a mid 50's 21" set.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:09 PM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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That's my 56 Philco that I paid ten bucks for at a Goodwill when I was 13 and Goodwills were often full of stuff like that. It worked well and I wanted a first set for my room at home. That was over 30 years ago! Still works like a new one. I don't want to get on a 56 Philco rant as I've posted the long version of this nearly lifelong love. I will say that the set is completely amazing. We had to send it to the TV shop before I learned about TVs after a few years of heavy use. The sound got distorted. They told us it was a tube and a resistor. Since then I replaced the CRT which got weak and ONE, yes ONE paper capacitor that was causing vertical shrinkage and foldover on the bottom of the screen.

I only have 6 vintage sets that I bother keeping and wouldn't mind shrinking that number, but the Philco may well go to the grave. It's pretty basic as far as old TVs go and the simplicity of the chassis is mind blowing. SO easy to work on (as if it ever needs it). I yank it here and there just to blow the dust off and shine the tubes. LOL
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:41 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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That's my 56 Philco that I paid ten bucks for at a Goodwill when I was 13 and Goodwills were often full of stuff like that. It worked well and I wanted a first set for my room at home. That was over 30 years ago! Still works like a new one. I don't want to get on a 56 Philco rant as I've posted the long version of this nearly lifelong love. I will say that the set is completely amazing. We had to send it to the TV shop before I learned about TVs after a few years of heavy use. The sound got distorted. They told us it was a tube and a resistor. Since then I replaced the CRT which got weak and ONE, yes ONE paper capacitor that was causing vertical shrinkage and foldover on the bottom of the screen.

I only have 6 vintage sets that I bother keeping and wouldn't mind shrinking that number, but the Philco may well go to the grave. It's pretty basic as far as old TVs go and the simplicity of the chassis is mind blowing. SO easy to work on (as if it ever needs it). I yank it here and there just to blow the dust off and shine the tubes. LOL
If it's the 1956 Philco, I'm thinking of, it would be one of my favorites, as well.
Is it the one piece chassis with the power transformer and 5U4? If that's the model, Philco outdid themselves on it. That was the model, that always needed a .01 mfd, 600volt cap in the vertical circuit. That model used a 12BH7 in the vertical circuit.
I never was too crazy about the split-chassis sets.
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Old 07-21-2017, 04:55 PM
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Tubejunke Tubejunke is offline
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Yes, that's the one. Oddly, I've never seen the first post on these wonderful sets. Heck, I thought almost all sets of that period with a parallel heater arrangement used a 5U4 and a power transformer. But it sounds like you know a bit about them. Very interesting!

When I needed the new 21zp4B, a member brought me the tube, another whole set with the 21YP4, and I think 2 chassis. I can't warehouse TVs anymore, so I broke the complete (metal cabinet) set down to parts and saved the chassis'. So, I doubt I will ever run out of parts. I am so intrigued by the set every time it comes to life just as the day I bought it 30+ years ago; or really the day it rolled out of the Philco plant. To many a set working with almost no repair for so many decades is electrically impossible.

Frankly, I surprises me that some other care hasn't been required. The key is this: I believe that this, and other items I have without any restoration work, was used on a fairly regular basis, but not heavy use such as playing around the clock. In other words, it's not worn out, but used just enough to keep the capacitors in order. I rotate everything I have through use all year around just based on this theory. Heck, I plugged that metal chassis set in and got absolutely nothing but a loud 60Hz hum. And it obviously had been sitting for a long time.
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