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  #1  
Old 07-11-2018, 06:03 AM
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AlanInSitges AlanInSitges is offline
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Setting up a bench - what should I buy?

I'm going to be back in the US in a few weeks and plan to take advantage of the opportunity to pick up some test equipment for use back in Spain. There are a few things that are either expensive or impossible to come by in Europe so I'm going to concentrate on those. I've already got a VTVM, variac and isolation transformer, and most of the smaller stuff like a DVM, decade box, soldering station, cheap-o LCR tester, etc., and have located a Tektronix scope here locally at a good price.

So I want to pick up CRT and tube testers, a HV probe, what else? I'm mostly going to be working on midcentury Zeniths, Admirals, and Philcos, and messing around with building some tube amps and stuff. I have no access to any NTSC RF source whatsoever here so I'm planning to do video injection on all of these, handily eliminating the need to do IF alignments, fix tuners, buy sweep generators, etc.

Given the logistics of getting all of this shipped to my mom's house and into luggage in the span of a week I figure it makes the most sense to Buy it Now the equipment I decide on (there is nothing in VK classifieds at the moment). I have an affinity for Sencore equipment since that's what the shop I worked in as a kid had, and I've found a reasonable deal on a CRT tester, but I'm kind of at a loss for a tube tester - not many Sencores out there, those that exist are super expensive, and the testers of any brand that aren't super expensive or too big to fit in a suitcase seem to be cheap emission testers. I probably need a pattern generator of some kind but they all seem to be the size of a dishwasher, so not sure about that.

Unfortunately there are no listings for "the 50 tubes you're most likely to need when working on midcentury Zeniths, Admirals, and Philcos". I'd like to stock up but I'm not even sure where to begin there - Shango and Admiral Bob always manage to find just what they need from a huge stash but buying and shipping huge lots of random tubes isn't practical for me, even though buying them one at a time as needed is a pain as well from here. Same probably goes for fusible resistors and other parts unique to American-made sets from that era.

So tell me, VK experts, what other equipment do I need to be looking at? Any recommendations for a tube tester? Is it worth even bothering if all I can manage is an emission-type tester? What should I do about a limited stock of tubes and other replacement parts?
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:35 PM
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B&K 1075/1076/1077 family analysts; they can be big (older ones are smaller), but they are one of the most useful pieces of test equipment out there for TV signal injection. And can help in diagnosing everything from tuner issues to confusing sweep problems.

Normal tube tester wise I've been using a B&K 606 dynajet for close to 20 years now they are small, a little better than a run of the mill emissions tester and reliable. Mine has always done a good job of weeding out the dead tubes from the good ones.

A flyback/yoke ring tester like an EICO 944 is a good tool to have. (though if you get an analyst that feature is built in)

A CRT test jig is good to have for consoles. If your doing monochrome only an IIRC 8AXP4 is probably all you need, though a telematic jig with one, a case for it, and interconnect/extension/adaptor cables is nice. If you plan to do color a color jig usually consists of a 19" CRT at smallest so that may be out.

I know you want to do video injection, but %80+ of sets made after 1955 are still in good enough of alignment to work as is. And a decent portion require video amplification and or inversion for injection to work as well as isolation for hot chassis sets. In many cases, it is easier to use RF.
I would try to obtain a Blonder Tongue AM60, AM40, or BAVMz (the BAVM is fixed channel so pick a good channel) family modulator. If you make a dipole the correct length for your channel for the modulator you can turn any of the modulators output up high enough to transmit clear video and sound throughout the lot of a good sized suburban home...Possibly the whole block if your system is optimized...If you do this get a small NTSC portable TV to check your range/signal quality.


That is about all I can think of.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:00 AM
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AlanInSitges AlanInSitges is offline
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Hey thanks for the suggestions. I would really like an analyst, either the B&K or one of the Sencore ones, but they are all enormous and I'm already going to be fully loaded on the way back so I think it will have to wait till next trip.

Meanwhile I picked up a NOS Sencore CR161, a B&K 607, a B&K HV probe, and took your advice and got a B-T agile modulator. Should make for a fun summer.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanInSitges View Post
Hey thanks for the suggestions. I would really like an analyst, either the B&K or one of the Sencore ones, but they are all enormous and I'm already going to be fully loaded on the way back so I think it will have to wait till next trip.

Meanwhile I picked up a NOS Sencore CR161, a B&K 607, a B&K HV probe, and took your advice and got a B-T agile modulator. Should make for a fun summer.
One of those Chinese L-C-R testers is worth while. That, you can order from home. Generally free shipping.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:36 PM
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A B&K 1077 analyst is a vital item. PM me. I have a nice one, for sale
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanInSitges View Post
Hey thanks for the suggestions. I would really like an analyst, either the B&K or one of the Sencore ones, but they are all enormous and I'm already going to be fully loaded on the way back so I think it will have to wait till next trip.

Meanwhile I picked up a NOS Sencore CR161, a B&K 607, a B&K HV probe, and took your advice and got a B-T agile modulator. Should make for a fun summer.
No problem.

Another thing that can be useful is an old eye type capacitor tester that can check leakage at full rated voltage such as a Heathkit C3 or solar CB-60.

The Blonder Tongues sometimes need a few parts changed and usually require a bit of set up this page has basically everything you need to know then some: https://antiqueradio.org/HomeTVTransmitter.htm
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:08 AM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I already have one of the Chinese LCR testers, and though I would really like a 1077 or similar, there is no physical way I'm getting it on a plane, so no go for the time being.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:36 AM
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I have a Simpson 00432 40kV HV probe that works very well, and they're usually cheap when they show up in places like ebay. It works with any 10 M ohm input meter with a mV range.
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2018, 07:34 PM
Phil Phil is offline
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Too late, maybe for a future trip?

I can't believe no one suggested a Sencore
VA48 or VA62. Either is inexpensive today
and really all you need, other that DMM, to
service basically any television. If you become interested in the earlier sets there
is an eprom for the VA62 described on VK to
do those as well. As for variacs, capacitor checkers, etc. my question is why bother. I always replace all electrolytics, paper caps,
check every resistor before ever applying power the first time. More often than not I get good picture and sound on first power up and all that is needed further is alignment.
I also always install a complete set of the best grade NOS tubes in any set I restore.
Some may think this extreme, but the advantage is this: instead of spending a huge amount of time trying to sort out every issue one at a time I take care of them all at once. Also, I can fully expect the set will function well in daily use for years to come.
Just a thought,
Cheers
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post
As for variacs, capacitor checkers, etc. my question is why bother. I always replace all electrolytics, paper caps,
check every resistor before ever applying power the first time. More often than not I get good picture and sound on first power up and all that is needed further is alignment.
I also always install a complete set of the best grade NOS tubes in any set I restore.
Some may think this extreme, but the advantage is this: instead of spending a huge amount of time trying to sort out every issue one at a time I take care of them all at once. Also, I can fully expect the set will function well in daily use for years to come.
Just a thought,
Cheers
Not extreme, just meticulous. I got a Powerite about 3.5 years ago but that's mostly for isolation. If a few aged capacitors need replacing I'll swap out all of them with the highest-quality 105-degree electrolytics I can find. I don't check all resistors though, that would be a PITA in a SS set and likely unnecessary. If I had a tube set to restore I would likely follow your lead, considering that I like to be very thorough.

As for items that aren't just for electronic repair a good vise will come in handy. I recently picked up an old Record No. 5 locally for my own bench. I suppose one could get away with one of those "helping hands" units with the alligator clips but I wanted something more versatile.

Last edited by Jon A.; 11-11-2018 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:52 AM
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No tube set with regular use is going to work properly indefinitely. It is better to build some troubleshooting skills so you don't have to replace every part twice when it next needs work.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:34 PM
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AlanInSitges AlanInSitges is offline
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How timely that someone bumped this thread today. Further back, several people strongly suggested I get an Analyst/Analyzer like the VA62 or 1077. I definitely understand why but due to the massive size I figured I'd never make it happen.

You'll never guess what popped up in the "you might also like..." part of a local secondhand site today. Yup, a B&K 1077-PAL (I had no idea these things existed), in Ibiza, just a 14-hour ferry ride away. Guy says he got it from a closed down TV shop, the tubes light up inside but he doesn't know anything more about it. Given the two-digit price tag including shipping, I'm going to risk it.

A couple of questions for 1077 owners:

- what should I tell him about packing? any special precautions?
- what should I expect to have to fix/align/calibrate when this thing shows up to make it useful?
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
No tube set with regular use is going to work properly indefinitely. It is better to build some troubleshooting skills so you don't have to replace every part twice when it next needs work.
We were talking about restorations, not routine repairs. Sure there will be the occasional breakdown, but correcting those problems is better than having to crack a set open every time an aged common-failure part craps out.

The electrolytics in my "worthless" early SS daily watcher started going South a couple of months after I put it into service. I swapped all of them out with the best I could find, so now I won't have to concern myself with that for quite some time.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:15 PM
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I'm curious how a PAL 1077 would generate it's color bars.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
We were talking about restorations, not routine repairs. Sure there will be the occasional breakdown, but correcting those problems is better than having to crack a set open every time an aged common-failure part craps out.

The electrolytics in my "worthless" early SS daily watcher started going South a couple of months after I put it into service. I swapped all of them out with the best I could find, so now I won't have to concern myself with that for quite some time.
I knew that when I posted. My point is that if you do your restos in such a way as to avoid troubleshooting then when a problem comes along on a restored set you'll find it a harder task because you are out of practice/have less experience troubleshooting.
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
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I'm curious how a PAL 1077 would generate it's color bars.
http://www.eeeguide.com/color-bar-generator/

This site seems to indicate that it works just like an NTSC gated rainbow, but doesn't explain how that can be if the receiver switches R-Y phase line by line.
Perhaps PAL receivers don't switch phase if the burst phase doesn't flip? But wouldn't the receiver then interpret the burst phase as 45 degrees from minus B-Y? Very strange.
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