Off topic but still electronics...


We all come to the forum for retrieving, posting or viewing information about HP calculators. The visits are for programming, wish lists, restorations and new additions be they peripherals or new calculators and etc.

What usually is not posted (but does show up) are 'off topics'. One of my recent focuses between HP restorations, the HP book, family and travel (work) are vintage radios between the mid 50's to the mid 60's although I do have some outliers.

The following are all between 1953 and 1963 and average 4.5 inches by 2.5 inches except for the toshiba and the zenith which are 5.5 aby 3.5.

All you need to restore them is a signal tracer, electrolytic capacitors, maybe a resistor or transistor, although not much.

Tools are screw drivers, contact cleaner, plastic polish, crayons for the inlay numbers, gold wax for some of the names and of all things, a vial of WD-40. A drop of this on the volume control internal variable resistor will remove all traces of "scratch" when you use the volume control/on-off rotary switch.

Enjoy the pictures and maybe post some OFF topic hobby pictures that you also do. I certainly learned at the HCC2009 that we all have many other hobbies aside from HP and work, lets get to see them!

Cheers, Geoff

Shot of a signal tracer to trace which part of the circuit fails. This combined with an electrolytic capacitor around 20 micro farads on two clipped wires is used to dtermine which capacitors have failed. The capacitors dry up and are the MAJOR reason that these radios fail as indicated by no volume, weak reception or just static. All these radios failed due to capacitors and some due to cold solder and cracked resistors. None of these except the Global were working when the arrived.

A work in progress, the electronics are done but the case has chips and requires some epoxy work to make it look good.

What to look for if collecting transistor radios (IMHO):

A before and after of an Omegas 6 transistor radio. Replaced two capacitors and restored the case on Tuesday.

The Zenith 500 D circa 1960 (or earlier):

Airline brand, colorful reverse painted and plain white with the same PCB inside.

A beautiful Viscount:

The Global 9 for nine transistor with its minty leather case and functional ear bud. The IPOD of its time and the reception is incredible! At night I get stations from Mexico as well as San Diego, not bad considering I am in Vancouver, Canada.

A no name with a Sony PCB:

My favourite as it is the one that hung from the rearview mirror of the 1958 Plymouth Station wagon we had in Germany when I was a child. Yes the car was four but the radio was from 1962. We had the car until 1968 and Dad still has his radio; and now I finally got one!

Hope you enjoyed the diversion from calculators, now back to the show.


Edited: 7 Oct 2009, 3:57 p.m.


Beautiful, Geoff! I love the styling of the radios in this period. Wish I still had my little Channel Master ...


Hi, Geoff;

I have two major activities that I can tell them 'hobbies', although they have a lot more meaning than just fill the time.

One of them is almost like yours: I spend some time restoring cassette recorders to their work condition. I consider cassette recorders the perfect home-address technology that mixes analog and digital electronics with mechanics, a superb 'three technologies rendezvous'. From the very first Philips EL3300 till the uP controlled units, there is always something new to be observed. I'm filling my own photobucket with pictures, for now you can search electron_br and have a look (just a few pics, no specific organization so far).

The other 'hobby' is plastic modeling, but this one I need more time to show something. I like diorama, mostly about unusual technology, and some German stuff goes ahead of their time. If you want to see something very interesting, search for BV141 and tell us about it... Just to give a glimpse.

It flew OK, but never went operational. Ten units built, only.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 7 Oct 2009, 5:46 p.m.


Yes, the aero design of the 40's in Germany were spectacular from the ME267 to others including swept forward wings, double fuselage and etc.

The dioramas would be fun to see!

The tape recorders too!

Cheers, Geoff


Luiz, I'm glad you're back, too. I remember your battery door fabrication for the Pioneer. I would like to see your models and recorders too.

Charlie - Phoenix USA


Hi Luiz. I thought that this airplane looked familiar. It was featured recently in an article on asymmetry at link




Hi, John;

thanks for your additional info.

I hope Dave (and other contributors) do not wish our heads to be cut off of our bodies, but since we are talking about off-topic, instead scientific subjects, let me go a little further.

I followed the proposed link and found this other one, with some other interesting stuff...

Also, the original article mentions that about thirty BV141 were produced. I read that no more than five units were built in a pre-production series and that thirteen were built after that, but only ten flew. Only original Luftwaffe papers would now tell us the actual truth, though...

And in order to avoid my HP soul to be condemned to the 'HP´less Hell of Sinners', what about using any of your HP calculator to compute the air flow and final engine torque in these asymmetrical beasts? Consider that in the BV141, the pilot pod balances the opposed torque at a certain engine RPM range. On the other hand, the pilot would need a 'crash course' on landing to avoid crash landings! (poor joke, I know...)

Cheers and thanks, again!

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 8 Oct 2009, 11:48 a.m.

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