|Latest Site Updates and Mikey's Diary.
Last update: 1st March 2007
What's been happening on the site and other general nonsense.
This section has been reversed - All the latest news etc. is at the bottom for easier reading.
16th April 2000: The Philips G25K500 in my living room is now working (to a fashion). The HT3 dropper resistor had gone open circuit causing the set to be dead. Also the OA81 AGC rectifier diode had gone open circuit causing low contrast on weak stations. I replaced it with an OA85 - I'm not sure what the difference is, but it seems to work (for now anyway...) The 82K resistor in series with the vertical linearity (top) control had been replaced by a 150K causing bad linearity - I couldn't find any reference to an official mod, so I changed it back to 82K and good linearity was returned. Overall the picture seems quite good - the tube is fair, not amazingly good, but the results are quite pleasing. For some reason, the tuning indicator still doesn't work correctly, but that's something for another rainy day I think...
18th April 2000: I was very kindly sent a G6 line output transformer today from Andy Beer (See "Links" page). I am in two minds whether to put it in the Philips single standard G6 or in the Philips K4. The G6 is much simpler and a guaranteed-fix, but the K4 is much nicer, but a lot more difficult to modify and work out what-goes-where and there's always a chance of damaging the trannie too. What a dilemma... :-\
2nd May 2000: Work has started on the Philips K4 (See update on the colour TV gallery page.) The set is now almost 100% complete, but still requires a PF86 audio pre-amp valve - Does anybody have one? It seems to be very unusual and a hard-to-come-by valve. The primary and the EHT overwind of the line transformer are both faulty - The overwind can be easily replaced with a Philips G6 / Pye Dual Standard CTV part, but the primary will be more awkward to replace. After studying the circuit, I am not confident that a Philips G6 primary will work so I must try and locate the correct K4 one. At least this means that I can get the single standard G6 going. Hmmm...
9th May 2000: Domain name www.oldtechnology.net has now been registered as a redirected URL to this page. Unfortunately somebody registered www.oldtechnology.com a few weeks before I got there. Never mind. The real address for this page might change soon when British Telecom get ADSL installed in my local telephone exchange, but www.oldtechnology.net will remain the same and will point to this page where ever it is. :-). I don't think it will work for a few days though...
10th May 2000: I now have a PF86 valve for my Philips K4. I was very kindly sent one in the post by Tony from Birmingham, the chap who gave me the K4. Thanks Tony. The set now fires up with the top-caps removed from the line output and efficiency diode valves. No picture, but the valves all light up and the motorised controls work. Fantastic.
11th May 2000: Work has started on a 22inch colour Pye model CT152. It has had the wiring loom removed and the panels are all loose. Hmm. I wonder if I should be bothering with this set...
12th May 2000: The Pye CT152 is progressing. A wiring loom has been sourced from a scrap Pye CT205 and fitted. After a line output transformer transplant, there is the remnants of a picture. The frame is squashed, unlinear and rolling and there is no colour. A cracking tube though...
13th May 2000: The Pye CT152 is now working somewhat better. The resistor R38 in the sync-separator circuit on the IF panel had changed from 390K to 500K. A replacement seems to have cured the frame roll problem. A new 500R frame linearity control cured the lack of height and the unlinear picture. The lack of colour was quite a baffler, but biasing the colour-killer transistor (VT19) on with a 9v battery and a 33K resistor between base and emitter revealed that the 7.8KHz ident signal was not locked to the regenerated 4.43MHz sub carrier. A simple tweak to the 7.8KHz phase detector bias control brought colour back to the television's cheeks. This control (RV10) is quite critical and must be adjusted very slowly so that the the ident locks in quickly when the signal is removed and then brought back. A quick tweak of the convergence and the tele now has a cracking picture. :-)
15th May 2000: The Pye CT152 still has a chroma and a possible R.F. / I.F. fault. :-( There is an awful lot of 4.43MHz patterning on the luminance. (Even with the colour control turned to minimum.) Also the set seems to lose ident lock on areas of high saturation. Does anyone have any ideas?
17th May 2000: An old picture of the Pye CT152 is now in the TV gallery. It's all a bit blurry though. :-( Maybe I'll take another picture of it when I have a spare minute.
18th May 2000: A much nicer picture of the Pye CT152 now in the TV gallery.
19th May 2000: 2 new sections added to the Old TV section - "Old TV Mods" and "Common TV Faults." There is nothing in either section just yet, but I will try and remember some mods and faults and I'll also see what I can find in my old TV magazines and books etc.
22nd May 2000: The only panel in my Pye CT152 that didn't have a fault has now developed a fault! The picture fades from a red hue on the left to a green hue on the right. I seem to remember that there are some big 5 Watt resistors on the CDA panel that can cause this problem. I can't be bothered to fix it just now though...
24th May 2000: The Pye CT152 is now working again - there was a faulty 12K wirewound resistor on the CDA panel that was causing funny shading on the picture. The Philips G25K500 (Dual standard G6) has started making nasty sizzling noises accompanied by loss of focus. I suspect the line output transformer, but I might be lucky and find that it's a clogged spark-gap or similar... :-\
26th May 2000: Drove up to East Anglia to pick up a Bush CTV25 (a set I have been after for years.) :-) It took 5 and a half hours to get up there, and 10 hours to get back from East Anglia to Bristol (Gordano) services (Nearly 6 Hours on the M25 alone!) By 1:00AM, I was falling asleep so I slept in the car at the service station. Thats the last time I ever drive across country on the eve of a bank holiday weekend.
27th May 2000: Nearly broke my back heaving a Bush CTV25 and 25" Thorn 2000 console out of my car and into my house. Both sets look in reasonable condition. They are both absolutely filthy but should come up nicely with a bit of soap and water and some elbow grease.
28th May 2000: Updated "Mikey's Cheesy Personal Section" (Not for those with weak stomach's) :-) and the Colour TV Gallery (Now has piccies of the Bush CTV25 and Thorn 2000 Tele's.) Also fixed a bug with the "http://www.oldtechnology.net" link.
2nd June 2000: I'd Pinched the colour decoder panel out of my 26 inch Pye CT203 to put in another Pye hybrid set some while back, so today I dug out another decoder panel from the garage to replace it. Unfortunately the set now has no colour. Ah well, maybe I'll try and fix it tomorrow. These Pye decoders seem very unreliable, but are quite easy to fix and give an extremely good picture when they're working and set up correctly.
3rd June 2000: Thought I'd have a quick look at the no-colour fault on the decoder from the Pye CT203. When the colour-killer was over-ridden, there was very faint incorrect and rolling colour. Hmmm. After some head scratching and scope-prodding, I discovered that although the burst gate was operating correctly, there was no 4.43MHz getting back to the phase detector from the crystal oscillator, causing the PLL to over bias the varicap diode and increase the frequency that was fed to the R-Y and B-Y detectors. When checked with a scope, there was a 4.43ish MHz signal coming out of the crystal and through the buffer / amp transistor VT16, but there was no signal on VT17 although all DC conditions were correct. The fault turned out to be C113, a 150pF capacitor coupling the first and second stages of amplification which had gone O/C. With the capacitor replaced, colour returned to the set, but the Red and Green content was intermittently incorrect and led to some peculiar coloured faces. This fault is indicative of a faulty PAL bi-stable switch which inverts the phase of the R-Y signal on alternate lines. The bistable was obviously running, but was not being phase-corrected. The normal cause of this fault is diode D20 going O/C, but this was not the case in this instance. The DC conditions around VT18, the 7.8KHz ident amp transistor were incorrect; in fact there was no voltage on the collector. This led to the replacement of L27 which had gone O/C. Replacement made no difference however, and there was still no voltage on the collector of VT18. Removing the coil again and checking it's DC resistance revealed that both the old and new coils were both O/C. Doh! Reconnecting the coil leads at their bases made things a lot better, and after tuning the coil as per the manual, correct colour was restored to the dear old set. That'll teach me to check replacement components before installing them!
7th June 2000: Had a go at a Nice 1963 Murphy V689 405 line set belonging to Mat North. (See "Links" page.) The set had sound and lots of smoke but no picture. There was no l0KHz line whistle either. There were some nice healthy line pulses on the grid of the 30P19 line output valve, but no AC on the Anode. A new 30P19 valve cured matters and brought up a very unlinear picture. The usual wholesale replacement of wax capacitors in the frame stage straightened up the picture nicely. The tube is a bit soft, but quite watchable.
2nd July 2000: Drove up to Lancashire to collect a couple of old tellies, some old TV panels, a big pile of wooden legs and a pair of 25 inch colour tubes from a very nice bloke called Bernard. The panels will hopefully help to resurrect a few sets that I have and the tubes can go into storage until they are needed. Among the collection of legs are 4 Bush legs for my CTV25. :-) After Lancashire, my next stop was Suffolk on the opposite side of the country to pick up a new wing for the old Austin 3-Litre. I eventually arrived back in Exmouth at 4:00AM after an hours sleep at a service station on the A303.
11th July 2000: Updated the "Old VTR" section. Now has separate menus for the various formats (Although only the Philips "VCR" format section and the new "Reel-Reel" section are working at the moment.) Also added 2 new section icons for "Telephones" and "Test Equipment". I really ought to do something about making these new sections work instead of just putting the little pictures up. :-)
13th July 2000: I have finally got round to registering a new email address. It is a redirected address, so I can take it wherever I go. Fantastic. The pictures on the left hand side have now been changed from JPG's to GIF's. For this type of picture, GIF's seem to be much better suited than JPG's. The pictures only take a 5th of the size, and the compression used is lossless so no nasty artifacts.
14th July 2000: The "Mechanical" section is now up and working. There are only a few odds and ends on this page. Hardly worth bothering with really. :-)
16th July 2000: Matt North brought round a 19" Philips dual standard set for me to have a look at. It came into the workshop with low frame amplitude only, but left with no frame amplitude, no sound, and a burnt out line-output transformer. I got a shock from my tube booster, and I snapped part of the system switch off whilst man-handling a dual standard Bush mono set. Doh! Not really a very good day for me. Maybe I should pack it all in. ;-\
17th July 2000: Slightly rearranged the layout of the "Old TV" section. Also changed some references from my old email address to the new address.
19th July 2000: New "Components" page on the "Old TV" section. Also fixed a dodgy link in the VTR section.
22nd July 2000: Drove to Lewes (Near Brighton) in a hired Transit van to collect a pile of old tellies including an unusual Bang and Olufsen 2600 from a very good bloke called Ian. I was even given a pot of home made Marmalade by his mum which I have already started devouring. Many thanks Ian. (And Ian's mum...)
23rd July 2000: Steve Pendlebury has provided another article for the "TV Articles" section. This one is on the BRC3000 colour series. Thanks Steve. Always much appreciated.
24th July 2000: A new section called "Using 405 line TV's" is now appearing on the "Old TV" section.
28th July 2000: My VHF modulator came back from repair from Dave Grant today along with a second hand monochrome 625 / 405 test card generator which I have bought from Dave. Also "TV Articles" section expanded to include "Using 405 line TV's" and "Old TV components".
29th July 2000: The VHF modulator is now back in it's metal box and is working very well. For some reason, it doesn't seem to work quite so well on my little 9 inch Sony 9-90 TV on VHF and causes the picture to flutter wildly on high brightness scenes. Has anyone else had a problems using a modulator with this type of set? It doesn't appear to be a signal-strength problem, as the problem still occurs with loads of attenuators and lots of noise. Also the "Video 2000" page is now updated in the "Old VTR" section.
30th July 2000: The Test-Card generator that I bought from Dave Grant is now encased in a nice plastic box and is working extremely well. I think that the compatibility problem between the 9" Sony 9-90 and the VHF modulator may have something to do with the fact that the modulator is producing a Double-Side-Band signal, but the Sony may be expecting a Vestidual-Side-Band input. Many older 405 line TV's are designed to use Double-Side-Band on channel 1 as this was the type of signal that Alexandra Palace broadcast all those years ago.
31st July 2000: New links added to some good video sites.
3rd August 2000: I've started packing my house up ready for my big move to Birmingham. I've still got several weeks to go in Exmouth, but I suspect that not much more restoration work will happen now until I'm safely installed in my new house. :-(
5th August 2000: Lots of house-packing going on. All my TV's are being wrapped up in industrial cling-film to protect them from storage or the journey to Birmingham.
9th August 2000: Bought a pair of Bakelite Bush radios from "Adrian Hornsey Antiques" in Exeter for 35 pounds each. One is a DAC90 and the other is a DAC90A. They are both in lovely unrestored condition - unscratched brown bakelite complete with backs, knobs etc. I can't really afford them, but the credit card company doesn't seem to mind.
10th August 2000: Bad news: My Sanyo Digicam has been stolen. I lent it to a friend to take on holiday, but it was pinched from his bag. :-(Hopefully he has insurance, otherwise there'll be no more photos for the web page. (Until I can afford a new one.)
11th August 2000: Reorganised the "Old TV" section (again.) It's now more intuitive and easier to find things than it's previous messy incarnation.
16th August 2000: Added new "Portable TV gallery", Added 2 tellies to the "Mono TV Gallery" section, removed 2 boring sets and rearranged the layout and wording of all the "Gallery" pages slightly.
10th September 2000: A good friend of mine called Bob was having a bit of a clear out of his house and said that there was an old telly in a trunk in the hall which I could have if I fished it out. When the box was opened I could make out a fairly small wooden set wrapped in a blanket under some other old relics including a rather vicious looking sword and some copper plates etc. After these were removed, the TV was gently extricated and on inspection turned out to be a Bush TV24. Fantastic! This set is supposed to be pretty similar to the TV22, but has a larger (12") tube and a larger cabinet which is in wood as opposed to the TV22's moulded bakelite case. I would still love a TV22, but they are too expensive, and the TV24 is the next best thing. :-) Thanks Bob. You've made my day.
12th September 2000: A very brave bloke called Adrian came and took away an old Bush CTV25 that was a borderline case between scrapping and restoration. He also took a scrap Thorn 2000 for bits. Adrian says that he will rebuild the Bush. Blimey - I wish him the best of luck. :-)
17th September 2000: Went to the National Vintage Communication Fare at the NEC in Birmingham and had a chat with Andy Emmerson and Andy Henderson, the past and present editors respectively of "405 Alive." I purposely went in with very little money, but ended up finding a cash machine and spending loads on a Bush TV22 and a Grundig SVR4004 (Both of which I have been after for years.) I am absolutely over the moon with both of them. Neither of them work yet, but the Bush is complete with back cover and knobs and is in unscratched and un-got-at condition. The Grundig is in fair condition, but is dead; hopefully that will soon be rectified and then included in the VCR section. I seem to be having a good week - A Bush TV22, a Bush TV24 and a Grundig SVR4004 all in one week. Blimey. :-)
20th September 2000: Eclipse networking lost my web site last week, so apologies if you tried to visit and it wasn't here. Fortunately, they had a backup so the site was back and working within a week.
25th September: I can hardly believe it - Adrian, the chap who took the Bush CTV25 away has got the bloody thing working. He's had all the rusty metal trim sand blasted and repainted, he's rewound the lopty himself and has replaced loads and loads of corroded components. Apparently, the wooden cabinet is being sorted out now. I'm amazed and pleased that it's well on it's way to being first class again. :-) If the truth be known, I'm slightly jealous too - I definitely wouldn't have had the patience or the foresight to get the set going and I'm certainly not brave enough to try and rewind the lopty from scratch... Good on you Adrian. Send me some pictures and I'll put them on the site.
28th September 2000: I've been neglecting my site recently as I've been spending most of my time either in Birmingham, traveling between Birmingham and Exmouth or looking for a house to live in somewhere near Birmingham. It's all very depressing. :-( Anyway, I hope to update the site soon.
14th October 2000: I'm finding Birmingham extremely stressful, so I'm seriously considering not moving up there at all and finding another job in Exeter. Back in sunny Exmouth at the moment, so I've had a chance to update the web site a little bit. Some nice new "Working" pictures for the monochrome TV gallery page, and some modifications to the VCR and Austin 3-Litre pages. I still haven't had a chance to update the "TV Faults" and "TV Modifications" section - I must try and do that soon.
18th October 2000: Bought a new digital camera with the insurance money after my old camera was stolen. It's much nicer than the old one too. :-)
20th October 2000: Some bad news on the TV front - My next door neighbour's cat knocked a Philips N1700 off the top of a pile of other VTR's in my garage and it's taken a small chunk out the back of my pride and joy - the Philips 21KX102A television which was otherwise in pristine condition. :-( Damn cat!
1st November 2000: Staying in a nice hotel in Leamington at the moment. Very busy at work, so not much time or facility for TV fixing and too busy to be miserable about being away from home. :-)
6th November 2000: Found a nice big dry shed to keep my old tellys, videos and other junk in whilst I'm up in Brum. It's a big brick barn which has been plastered and is completely dry and safe from the weather. I shall have to start carting my junk up there soon.
18th November 2000: Drove up to Huntingdon via Northampton on Friday to visit Andy Emmerson and also to pick up an old 1964 Peto Scott reel-reel VTR. The VTR is really a rebadged Philips EL3400 with a few minor electronic and cosmetic differences and is in very nice condition apart from a cracked lid which isn't too noticeable. I'll put a picture of it on the VTR page soon.
19th November 2000: I'm not a happy person. Tragedy has struck - Whilst moving all the junk from my Garage into the car to go to the new shed, I have uncovered the true extent of the damage that the Philips N1700 caused when it fell on my 1964 Philips 21KX102A colour telly. Not content with taking a small chunk out of the top of the cabinet, it has taken the neck off the tube and smashed the cardboard back and tube base as well. Oh my god. Of all the sets that it could possibly happen to, it had to be my absolute favourite set and the one with the rarest tube too. (AX53-14) I am still seething - I don't know whether to blame the cat for knocking the VTR off, or myself for stacking the blasted things too high. Grrrr. :-( I do have spare tube that was given to me by Tony from Wolverhampton, the chap who also let me have the set in the first place, but I don't know what sort of condition it's in. Sorry Tony.
1st December 2000: My 2 absolute fave tellies (Philips K4 and Dual Standard Philips G6) are now both safely installed at my parents house - free from heavy objects ready to damage them. The Philips G6 has actually been pressed into service and is doing sterling work with a reasonably good picture too. There does seem to be an awful lot of herring-bone patterning though and the frame linearity and pincushion could do with tweaking, but not bad for a 33 year old telly. I think the tuner might need sending off to be fixed. Does anyone know whether CES are still in existence? The K4 is now awaiting it's new tube and lopty - I want to get that sorted out soonest and get a picture on the lovely old beast. I have sent off for a passport so that I can collect the spare tube from the Netherlands courtesy of Michael Van der Smeede. Thanks Michael.
3rd December 2000: Our email system is broken and emails have been disappearing down a black hole, so if you have sent me an email in the last week or so and were wondering why I haven't replied, please send another copy (temporarily) to: firstname.lastname@example.org where I will definately see it. Sorry about that. The double CD that I ordered from Amazon arrived yesterday and I can highly recommend it. It's called "The Great British Experience" and it has 50 tracks of real nostalgia. The best bit about it is that it has lots of old radio and television theme tunes such as "Devil's Galop", "In Party Mood" and "Girls in Grey" which will be instantly recognisable as the theme tunes from "Dick Barton", "Housewives Choice" and "BBC Television Newsreel." If you want the full-length digitally remastered versions, then you'll need to go to www.amazon.co.uk.
5th December 2000: I spent last night kipping in the first aid room at Wesleyan Assurance in Birmingham as the hotel I was supposed to be staying at, hadn't got my reservation and all the local hotels were full. Not very comfortable really. Hmmm.
6th December 2000: Email is all working again. After a week of head scratching and angry users, the problem turned out to be an obscure fault with the Netware NDS structure. A big thanks to the many people who have sprung to my rescue with ideas and advice about how and where to obtain another tube for my Philips K4 colour set. Special thanks to Michael Van Der Smeede in The Netharlands who actually found another tube for me, and to Tony Price who advised me of the condition of the spare tube that I had (The tube that he gave me in the first place in fact...) :-) Click here to view a picture of the Bush CTV25 that Adrian Fulton got working. The set still has a colour fault, but is pretty much fixed 100 percent. If you want to see a picture of the chassis (which was previously all rusty and horrible) then click here. How about an article for the site Adrian? :-)
7th December 2000: Some new reel-reel videos added to the VTR page and the old car section reorganised in readiness for a couple more pages of car stuff. Nothing much else to report. :-)
16th December 2000: Off work until the 27th December now. Woohoo. Spent a couple of hours last night replacing the cathode-ray-tube in the Philips K4. I placed the set on it's front before removing the old tube as it's far easier to man-handle when the tele is in that position. I used some "Windowlene" and newspaper to clean the tube surface and the inside of the separate implosion protection shield before fitting the tube into it's new home. Unfortunately, and unknown to me, a small piece of newspaper lodged itself in between the implosion shield and the tube, so I will have to remove the glass shield to get at the rogue paper. Refitting the scanning coils and convergence assembly was a real task as they were extremely tight at the first attempt. However, on examining the assembly, I realised that there was another section that had to be removed before the coil would slide over the neck easily. Not entirely sure exactly how far back the convergence coils need to be located, but I think they are in roughly the right position. If anyone knows, I would be very glad to hear from them.
17th December 2000: Spent a good couple of hours replacing the Philips K4 line-output transformer with the new one that I acquired from Michael Van Der Smeede. Once all plumbed in, and with all necessary modifications completed, the set was fired up, only to reveal the same fault as before. (Both PY88's lighting up like light bulbs.) Doh! Ah well - off home to pick up my ageing oscilloscope. Once back at my parents house, I connected the scope up, switched everything on and had a bit of a prod about. On examination, it was revealed that there were no line pulses on pin 2 of the PL500's (The set uses 2 PL500's and 2 PY88's in parallel in the line-output stage.) There were some nice meaty pulses coming out of the PCF80 in the line oscillator but for some reason they weren't reaching the PL500's. This was traced to an open-circuit coupling capacitor (Actually, when I say it was open-circuit, what I really mean is that it wasn't connected.) Somebody had obviously disconnected it whilst fault finding previously. Reconnecting the capacitor and switching on the set resulted in the line stage bursting into life but with a shower of sparks from the EHT rectifier valve and a lovely smell of Ozone. Hmmm. A partial success anyway. :-\
18th December 2000: Refitting the EHT lead to the rectifier valve base and filing off all sharp edged solder joints stopped the arcing and provided the 25KV EHT to the tube; still no picture however. Used my trusty AVO to check the voltages on the tube base, which were all within limits. How odd - if all the voltages are right, why wasn't there a picture? Turning off the light revealed all - although there was voltage on pins 1 and 14, the tube heaters were not alight. The reason for this turned out to be a dry-joint between the actual wires coming out of the tube and the tube base. Heating up the pins and feeding some fresh solder in cured the problem completely. The set was turned on again to reveal a very bright and out of focus horizontal line. Refixing a disconnected HT wire to the frame output valve quickly restored vertical scanning and resoldering all the leads on the end of the tube brought back correct focus too. Unfortunately, still no picture, only a blank raster and no sound to show for all the work so far.
19th December 2000: Spent the day trying to sort out the indicators on the Morris Minor. The previous owner had removed the semaphor indicators and fitted a flasher unit and later-type lamp clusters. These modifications have now been removed and the original type trafficators have been put back. The steering column (which had also been changed to a later type) has also been put back to original.
25th December 2000: Apart from drinking and eating, spent most of Christmas day watching films on the Dual Standard G6. Half way through the afternoon, I got fed up with the awful purity, so I set about fixing it. Unfortunately, I went too near the connectors on the convergence unit and got bitten, but it wasn't serious - just a reminder not to go messing with horribly complicated colour TV's whilst drunk. Hmm. I must say, this set has been giving sterling service since being pressed into use a few weeks ago. No sign of trouble of any kind. :-) (Oh - apart from a sticky on-off switch.)
26th December 2000: Ho Hum. There is no output from the Philips K4 tuner on VHF or UHF for some reason. New valves in the VHF tuner had no effect so it's out with the tuner - oh dear. On inspection, the UHF / VHF selection switch turned out to be misaligned - It might even be faulty as it seems very sensitive. After some adjustment, the tuner is now working (for the moment anyway.) An awful picture now, but at least it's a picture. Also the VHF knob seems to effect the UHF gain for some reason. Hmm. The sound is fantastic though, through the massive Philips speaker. The main problem that I am concerned about now is that the picture is shifted on the raster about 2 inches to the right (False line lock.) The line hold control seems to have some small effect, but it loses lock if adjusted too far. I'm pretty sure the fault is in the flywheel circuit, but I wonder if anyone has any ideas?
9th January 2001: No further work done on the Philips K4 yet. The On/Off switch on the Philips G6 is driving me mad - I have to crawl underneath the telly and switch it off at the socket to get it to go off now. A bit of attention required I think.
15th January 2001: Drove up to Bolton to see Steve Pendlebury and Dilys Taylor. Also picked up a few oddments from a house in Manchester including a big Decca projection telly, and couple of "Wax Cylinder" dictaphone machines. The Telly really needs the top re-veneering, but apart from that it looks complete and in reasonable condition. Steve and I also stopped off at an old Wireless shop in Sale (near Manchester) and had a good long chat with the bloke who runs the place. Steve bought an Elizabethan reel-reel tape recorder off him and I purchased a Bush BM60. (Looks like a TR82, but has valves.) There's a fantastic looking gramophone in the window which I would love but I can't afford. :-(
16th January 2001: My digital camera has gone wrong, so I've had to send it off to be mended under guarantee. Don't really know what's wrong with it, but after changing the batteries in it, the thing was completely dead. :-(
19th January 2001: In a fit of madness, I drove up to Sale and bought the HMV gramophone that I saw in the wireless shop. I really can't afford it, so now I'm completely skint. Hmmm. I'll put a picture of it on the "Mechanical" section when my camera comes back from the menders. I have promised the bloke in the shop a copy of the Hitachi CED disk player service manual, but I'm having trouble finding my copy. Does anyone else have a copy they could lend him?
21st January 2001: The "405chat" mailing list is going to have to be moved to a different server shortly, as the chap who is hosting it at the moment is having a reorganisation and can't put it on his new system. I might be able to wangle one of the unused "real-world" IP-addresses that we have at work and recompile the list-server program to work under Sun Solaris. Maybe.
24th January 2001: Have started work on a (1952) Ekco T267 15 inch console telly for a friend of mine. (Actually, that might be the wrong model number, but it's something like that anyway...) :-) After a few hours spent reforming the smoothing capacitors, the telly was fired up on full mains voltage. The speaker crackled and there was a nice loud 10.125KHz whistle but no picture. On investigation, it was discovered that there was no EHT at the CRT top cap, but a nice juicy spark could be drawn from the anode of the U25 EHT rectifier valve. There was no heater alight in the valve either, so it was replaced with a new one. The heater in the new valve could be seen quite clearly, but there was still no EHT on the top cap, and now there was a much reduced spark on the anode of the new U25. Disconnecting the Metrosil and Visconol brought back a nice healthy 15KV at the tube, but the dull horizontal line that now appeared on the screen revealed that the Mazda CRM152 tube is probably knackered and there is a frame fault. When the Visconol was checked, it had a 1M leakage, so a new one is now required, although I'll simply leave it disconnected whilst I sort out the rest of the problems.
10th February 2001: Not much activity in the TV world at the moment. Haven't done anything about the 15" Ekco console, the Philips K4 or the Philips G6 as it's extremely busy at work and no time for anything at home. :-( Please excuse me if I take a while to answer emails, I will get round to them. No really...
3rd March 2001: Took a train trip from Birmingham New Street to Llandrindod Wells in Wales to pick up an old Austin Champ army jeep. I set off in plenty of time, but unfortunately the train between Shrewsbury and Llandrindod Wells broke down. The brakes suddenly came on full and the whole train came to a shuddering halt. After half an hour, the engines stopped too and they couldn't get them going again. Another 2 hours passed before a train came from Shrewsbury and towed us back up the line where we were ushered onto a waiting bus and delivered to our destinations. After I had arrived at my destination and handed over the cash, I set off down the road in the Champ. Bearing in mind that the vehicle has no roof or doors to speak of, has a top speed of 50MPH and that it was the coldest March day in 30 years, the 6 and a half hours spent driving from Wales to Devon passed off quite quickly, although I did stop off at Michael Wood services for a bite to eat just as it was getting dark. I'll put a picture of the beast in the "Old Car" section soon.
10th March 2001: Took some pictures of the new Gramophone and the new Decca set for the site; I'll put those up soon. Had a good look at the Decca projection set that Steve Pendlebury and I collected from Manchester - Electrically it looks quite restorable, although the cabinet needs quite a bit of work to get it looking OK. Have had quite a bit of interest in my house, so hopefully that will be sold soon. I'm anxious to get the whole moving business over and done with. :-\
15th March 2001: Have had quite a few phone calls regarding my advert in "Television" magazine for Philips hybrid sets; mostly people offering parts and panels, but I spoke to one chap in Weston-Super-Mare who had a couple of single standard G6's and another chap in Cambridge about a Philips K70 hybrid colour TV that he was disposing of.
17th March 2001: Drove to Weston-Super-Mare and collected the two S/S Philips G6's. They are both model G22K510 sets. The cabinets are in fair condition, and one of the has a missing decoder and I.F. panel, although two panels were supplied.
10th April 2001: Excellent news - received an email from Andy Emmerson about some sets located in Stratford-on-Avon. One of them is a 19" Thorn 2000 set which I have been after for many years. I have spoken to the chap and arranged to pay 50 pounds for the set. I'm going to take the day off and pick the set up tomorrow; I am extremely excited about the prospect. (Have also arranged to go and see an excellent chap called Max in Cambridge to collect this K70 CTV.)
11th April 2001: Sod it! This chap in Stratford that I agreed to buy the 19" 2000 set from, has changed his mind and says that he might now stick it on an E-bay auction or find a different home for it in a museum. Unfortunately, I only found out after I had driven down there and turned up at the shop. I'm not very happy about that at all. Not all bad news though - I collected the hybrid Philips K70 set from Max in Cambridge. Unfortunately, Cambridge is an extremely awkward place to get to from Exmouth, so it took several hours to get back...
12th April 2001: Good news - The Philips K70 works extremely well and has a cracking tube. :-) It has a slight fault, which means that it loses line lock after an hour or so of it being on, but that shouldn't be too difficult to sort out. Thanks Max - Very much appreciated. I'll put a picture on the site soon. :-)
19th April 2001: Pictures of the Philips K70 TV and HMV gramophone now on the "Colour TV gallery" and "Mechanical" sections.
29th April 2001: Drove up to the NVCF in Birmingham to see what goodies I could find. There were loads more people there than the last one, because it was held previously in the middle of the fuel crisis. All the usual radio and TV nuts were there including Andy Emmerson, Steve Pendlebury etc. (I promise I’ll send the BVWS form back any day now Steve.J ) The BVWS put on an excellent display of old televisions including a 30-line Baird Televisor and a Dual Standard Bush colour set. I didn’t really buy much except a Bush VHF radio, a 1970’s Laser-Disc of “Airplane” and a 1950’s TV lens to increase the picture size of old sets. I did hand out some notices advertising for old Colour TV’s and had a few responses from people; hopefully something will come of those. J
1st May 2001: Registered www.tvmuseum.co.uk as a domain name. In the future, this site will be purely dedicated to old electronics, particularly TV related stuff and will give users a tour round a virtual museum. I have been playing with some simple Java-script to make the pages a little less boring than the oldtechnology.net pages.
19th May 2001: Had a visit from an excellent chap called James Blackwood, the lucky owner of a 1936 Baird TV.J James took away a Murphy dual-standard monochrome set and an early Decca Bradford, neither of which appeared to work, but did hold some promise of life. I hope you get those two going OK James.
21st May – 25th May 2001: Went on a Cisco Router course in London this week, so decided to use the opportunity to go and visit some old friends and pick up various bits and bobs that I had been promising to collect from people for months (For years in one case. J) On the Monday I went to see Andy Beer and saw some of his collection. I was most impressed with Andy’s restoration, particularly of James Blackwood’s pre-war Baird TV – You would be hard pressed to tell that anything had been done to the set, as all the replacement components have been expertly encased inside the old components. Most impressive. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I visited two very kind people. The first chap was called Len, who let me have a Grundig SVR and a pair of Hi-band Umatic video recorders and then a lady called Fiona who was disposing of an unusual ex-BBC Sony colour monitor based on the KV1330 chassis. Thanks Len and Fiona – It’s always very much appreciated. On Thursday I drove down to East Dulwich to help a couple of old friends (Sue and John) from Exeter move a giant wide screen TV from their old house into a sparkling new house. Apart from putting a dent in the speaker grill, it all went relatively smoothly. Hope your new house is all OK chaps. Friday was quite a busy day – I drove out of London to Abingdon to pick up an ITT CVC8 chassis TV from some excellent people called Peter and Mrs Harper. As I turned up mid-morning, they had left the set (and some other goodies) out under a piece of carpet in the car-port. Many thanks for the set Mr and Mrs H. It will be given a good home in sunny Exmouth. After Abingdon, the next stop was Selsey, near Chichester to drop off a very early example of a Decca Bradford to a good chap called Matt. The set had an absolutely cracking tube and a fantastic picture, but as he was doing a swap for a 19” Baird Colour console set, I thought it was worth letting go. J Unfortunately, the Decca set had suffered from a common problem with this model, which is “Brittle Power Supply Syndrome” where the HT dropper resistor heats up the PCB and makes it very brittle and liable to snap when removed from the cassis of the set. The Baird set needs a new line output transformer, so I will have to look out for one of those. Many thanks for the set though Matt, and I hope you get on OK with the Bradford.
27th May – 29th May 2001: On the Sunday, I drove over to the Netherlands to see Michael and Nathalie Van Der Smeede in Gorinchem. Took the Stena Line “Harwich to Hook Van Holland” high speed service which only took 3.5 hours. The boat was most impressive, with a 100,000 BHP engine, it could travel at over 40 knots. Wow. When we did arrive, It took a little time to get used to driving on the right hand side of the road, and I did manage to drive round a roundabout the wrong way once, but luckily no-one was coming and I wasn’t killed. J On Monday, we went off to Eindhoven and visited the Philips museum. It was absolutely superb, and we both took lots of pictures. They had a working Philips K4 colour set which had a superb picture, so I’m now very keen to get mine going too. J When we got back, we loaded up the car with some old videos etc. that I had bought off Michael earlier in the year, and also some videos that I bought off another Mike while I was over there. On Tuesday, I set off, laden down with old videos and caught the ferry back home to the UK. I did enjoy the trip, but it’s always nice to be back home. Many thanks for the great stay in Holland Michael and Nathalie.
7th June 2001: Picture of the Baird 718 now on the "Colour TV Gallery" section.
8th June - 14th August 2001: Incredibly busy at work and at home, so everything that's happened over the past couple of months is all a bit of a blur really. However, here's an overview of what's been happening over the period: June: Drove to London in a Transit van to see some extremely nice people called John and Mrs Hagger who had been very kindly saving me a really nice looking Invicta Radio / Television / Record Player. Not quite sure what the proper name for such a device is - A Wireless Tele-Gram perhaps? (That name thought up by Hi-Fi News's Tony Bolton. Te He...) Very many thanks for that John - it'll look fantastic in the East Devon Vintage Television Museum. I'll put a picture of the old beast on the TV section soonest... Also in June, spent a whole day heaving and lumping the pianola out of my house at Exmouth, into a Transit Van, driving it up to Solihull and heaving it out of the van again into the Pianola Workshop's storage place. July: Had my offer accepted on a house in Bentley Heath, near Solihull. It has no garage, but does have a store in the back garden which will doubtless be filled up with cack in no time at all. Spent three days humping all my junk out of my house into shipping crates for storage until my new house is ready for occupation. It was back breaking work - especially moving a big metal 19" rack mount cabinet down a steep flight of stairs, which nearly killed three people at once. We only just finished moving everything out before the new people moved in - it's amazing how much rubbish one accumulates without realising. August: Picked up a wonderful little 9" Sobell TV with a lovely curved speaker grill - unfortunately it has a bit of a woodworm problem, but I have doused it with woodworm killer which should stop it getting any worse. Again, I'll put a piccie of it in the TV section when I find a few moments. Had a bit of a TV clear out, and Matt North (See the Links page) came round and relieved me of several sets. Thanks Matt. Quite a few more modern colour sets went to the tip; nothing interesting really - mostly G11 era and newer. No doubt I'll regret it later, but I really need the space.
16th August 2001: Put some stuff up about the Austin Champ on the "Old Car" page.
22nd August 2001: Uploaded a picture of the Philips LDL1000 VTR and my new 1963 Sony PV120EU 2" reel-reel video to the "Old VTR" section. It's a real monster. :-)
11th September 2001: Made a bit of a spectacle of myself by carting a trolley on the train all the way up to Crewe to collect a 19" GEC 2028 Dual Standard colour TV from an excellent chap called Mike. However, the journey up wasn't as bad as the journey back, as I had to change railway stations at Birmingham New Street and drag the big TV across the city centre to Moor Street station where I caught another train back to Solihull. It was the only time that I've managed to walk across Brum without getting stopped and asked for money by beggars; in fact I saw one old lady looking sorry for me and reaching into her purse to find me some money, but I dashed off before she could say anything. Anyway, the set's safely installed in my landlady's garage ready for some restoration work when I move into my new house. Many thanks for the set Mike. It's great. :-) I'll put a picture of it on the "Colour TV gallery" section soon.
14th September 2001: Finally found all the documents for my Renault and managed to get it taxed, so I won't have to keep putting off collecting stuff or embarrassing myself by carting stuff about in trolleys on the train etc. :-)
19th September 2001: Drove to a small town near Stratford-upon-Avon to collect a 25" Baird 701 Dual Standard colour TV from a great chap called Dave who I met at April's NVCF meeting in Birmingham. I wasn't expecting the TV to work at all, but when it was powered up at Dave's house, it gave the most amazing bright clear picture with an absolutely cracking tube. :-) The set doesn't work on 405-lines, but apparently the only thing stopping it working is that someone has removed the fuse that protects the system switch solenoid. Included in the price was a brand-new Mullard A63-120X tube which will now go in the Philips G6 and a Lopty for my Baird 718 set. Fantastic. :-) Many thanks for the telly Dave. That'll take pride of place in the front room of my new house. A picture of this set, and the new GEC 2028 are now in the "Colour TV gallery" section.
21st September 2001: New Baird / GEC / Invicta pictures added in the Colour and Mono "TV Galleries."
23rd September 2001: Drove down to the National Vintage Communications Fair at the NEC in Solihull. As usual there were thousands of people jostling to find a bargain (including me.) Picked up a Colour Akai open-reel video recorder and some Practical Television magazines reasonably cheaply. Handed out lots of notices for Colour TV's - I'm not sure how successful these things are, but it's always worth a try...
25th October 2001: Moved into my new house in Solihull. Brought all the furniture, beds and the best TV's etc. up in a 7.5 ton Ford Cargo van. What a great fun vehicle to drive. Will collect all the other stuff over the next couple of months.
30th October 2001: Drove up to Bradford to collect an HMV Colourmaster TV with the Thorn 2000 chassis inside from an excellent chap called Keith. The set basically works, but the tube is very low emission and it looks like the tripler has exploded on the focus output. Thanks Keith. :-) The round trip from Birmingham took over 7 hours as the M1 and the M62 both had loads of road works. Hmmm.
5th November 2001: Very busy at work and home, so please excuse me if you send me an email and I take a while to reply - I will get around to it - honestly.
20th November 2001: A chap called Bruno from France mailed me some pictures of a Philips VCR that I've never seen before - the N1481. It is a SECAM-only recorder based on the N1500, but it has no tuner or timer so it is smaller. It is also made of plastic instead of wood. I'll put a picture of the machine up on the VCR gallery soon. Thanks Bruno.
22nd November 2001: Drove to Stourbridge to buy a Telefusion TV in a posh cabinet from a marvelous chap called Clive. I have yet to wind the set up yet, but maybe sometime soon I'll give it a go. It has the usual Korting chassis inside, but it is unusual to find one of these sets in a posh walnut cabinet. Many thanks Clive.
23rd November 2001: Put some new pictures up in the Colour TV gallery. The pictures are: Decca Prestomatic, Pye CT70 and HMV Colourmaster. Zzzzzz.
15th July 2002: Wow - what a big gap between diary entries. Many apologies for the lack of updates to any regular visitors to this site. Since moving to Solilhull, I've been unbelievably busy and haven't had much time for updating the site. Work has started, however, on the "New" old technology site and also on it's sister site the South West England Vintage Television Museum site. Hopefully in the future, I'll put a bit more time in to both sites. If anyone would like to help administer or develop this or the SWEVTM site, then please email me as I will be only too glad to hand over the reigns. Today I have added some more colour TV pictures to the CTV gallery and split the section into 2 parts as the page was getting too big. I have also some more black and white sets to add to the site, many of which have been very kindly donated to the museum, so watch this space. Oh yes - look out for the Austin 3-Litre in the August copy of "Classics" magazine. Unfortunately, they got my name wrong and called me "Neil Bennett." There were some nice pictures of the car, and some rubbish pictures of me looking like a fat French criminal... :-)
18th July 2002: Updated the Black and White television gallery section with some more sets and also added another section to the TV Museum site. Today I fired up the Korting CTV that I bought last year. The boost capacitor was short circuit, but I've run out of replacements, so I can't get the set going again until I've bought some more from RS components. Shame.
10th September 2002: Mike Barker and friend came round to pick up the remains of a Murphy RA80 remote control unit. Mike is the chairman of the British Vintage Wireless Society and is a superb restorer of such things. Not that I'm name-dropping or anything, but it's not often that anyone famous comes around my house. :-)
15th September 2002: I've decided that the Renault Saffrane is costing far too much to run and insure, so it's now going in for a major service before I put it up for sale. If anybody wants to buy it, it's an R-reg, it's got 80,000 miles on the clock and has a full service history. It has leather seats, cruise control and all the usual gadgets. A snip at £2,500. Phone me on 07796 930429 if you would like it. :-) Not sure what I can cart TV's around in now though. Maybe a cheap classic estate car would be nice.
18th September 2002: Went down to Wales on the train and bought a cheap new (old) car. So much for buying a nice classic estate car - it's an Austin Allegro 1500 estate. However, it only has 43,000 miles on the clock, it's fairly comfy and will allegedly do 35 miles to the gallon, which is much better than the Renault. It's also got a huge boot with the seats down and ideal for collecting TV's.
15th October 2002: Had a huge clear-out of old teles at the barn in Devon. Lots of people came round and took stuff away, and I also managed to fill 2 skips with the rest of the stuff. I was feeling a bit disheartened with the whole TV hobby, but the clear-out has made a world of difference and I'm now restored to my old enthusiastic self. :-)
18th October 2002: Still exceptionally busy at work and at home, so I haven't had much of a chance to do any telly-fixing or updating of the site. Only one new TV to speak of - and that's another HMV 2700 (Thorn 2000 chassis) from an excellent chap called Alan from Cheltenham. As if it wasn't amazing enough to discover the set was still working, even more amazing is that the set was still in use up till a few weeks previous. Many thanks for the set and the spare panels Alan - they're superb.
2nd November 2002: I've been offered a Bush CVB100 experimental colour set. I've put in a bid, but I'm fairly skint these days and I suspect it's probably less than the sets worth. This set has been appearing all over the place on the internet, so I think I'm going to be seriously out-bid. Ah-well never mind - there's a picture of the set and a short description on the Colour TV gallery page 2.
9th November 2002: Hmm. The exhaust fell off my Allegro this morning, so it's making a whole lot of noise and embarrassing me when people see it driving by. :-) Ho hum - the joys of owning an old car.
16th November 2002: Had a new exhaust section fitted to the Allegro at an exhaust place in Handsworth, Birmingham. All fairly painless although I'm sure the Kwik-Fit bloke and his engineers were sniggering as I handed over the 120 quid; the car is scarcely worth 120 quid on it's own. The old girl is much quieter now, although I can still hear a slight buzzing noise, so I'll leave it a week and take it back if it's still happening. Nothing happening on the TV front. As if it wasn't busy enough at work, the company has taken over another company with lots of small branch offices, so the communications and security have had to be sorted out on those and it's taking all my time at the moment.
23rd November 2002: Went back to Handsworth Kwik-Fit to find out why the car exhaust was still buzzing and they diagnosed a leaking "knuckle joint." Apparently, this is a flexible bit in the exhaust to allow for movement in the engine. Anyway, the bloody thing is going to cost another 80 quid to have fixed, so I have reluctantly booked it in to be sorted out.
30th November 2002: Came flying off a ladder whilst trying to paint coving in my house. I wasn't hurt badly, but unfortunately, the pot of paint I was holding went all over the floor, some bed-clothes that were in the room and also the clothes that I was wearing. After a lot of frantic scurrying around to clear up the mess and sticking all the clothes etc. in the bath to soak, I managed to finish the painting in my underwear as my other trousers were still wet in the laundry. Hmmm. Had another look at the circuit for the Philips K4 and decided in my mind what was the problem. When I opened the set up, I checked the component that I suspected (A coupling capacitor between the line output transformer and the phase discriminator in the line oscillator [also used as a feed to the EHT regulator]), but it was fine. However, I discovered that the connection between the transformer and this capacitor was shorted to the chassis. After following the wire from the transformer, I noticed 2 solder tags that were remarkably close together. Once separated, the short was gone, so hopefully this was the problem that caused the original fault (Picture shifted to the right on the raster, boost voltage and EHT way too high, eventually causing a shorted turn in the line output transformer.) We shall see. :-)
1st December 2002: Woohoo; the Prototype Bush CVB100 colour set is alive... After spending some time reforming capacitors etc., the set was finally switched on with full power. After a few minutes warming-up time, a raster appeared followed by much excited whooping noises from myself. Unfortunately, the tuner is very low-gain, although a new pair of tuner-valves will probably go some way to curing this problem. There is no B-Y signal from the output, although the R-Y and G-Y are OK, which would indicate a fault somewhere fairly late in the decoder, as the G-Y is derived from the Y, R-Y and B-Y signals. The colour is difficult to lock too, so there may be a bit of a problem there. The tube is fair, although not fantastic, but I'm not too worried about that. The Line Output shows no signs of any distress either, which I am extremely pleased about, as the set uses one of those horrible rank pitch-covered line-output (flyback) transformers. Phoned up Mike Barker (who is also the proud owner of one of these sets when it can be extricated from the BBC television centre) to tell him of the success with the telly. Mike said that he was going down to the BBC to try and remove the set at the weekend, and I embarrassed myself by asking to come along too. Unfortunately the security is tight at the BBC, and the visitors passes had already been arranged so there wasn't much chance of that happening. Never mind, maybe another day... :-(
5th December 2002: Came back from our Glasgow office after doing some work on the firewall to discover that my airport long-stay car parking ticket wouldn't work. I suspect the fact that it was screwed up to buggery (having been lying in the bottom of my laptop bag for the duration) didn't help matters. Got into an argument with the attendent who implied that I had done it on purpose. Eventually, I straightened it out enough to get it to go in the machine properly and managed to give the nice machine some money. After waiting half an hour for the every-10-minute courtesy bus service, I arrived at the car park to discover that the fluid had all leaked out from the Allegro suspension, and the car was rather more lop sided than I remember it when I left. I managed to drive it home at a fairly slow pace as the CV joint on the left hand drive-shaft was complaining about the peculiar angle. I don't think all the suspension fluid has gone, but I suspect that the valve on one of the hydragas pipes is leaking.
6th December 2002: Went to drive the Austin 3-Litre from my house in Solihull to an excellent car mechanic in Exmouth (Devon) to get the brakes fixed, but as I was driving the car out of the garage, I noticed it making a lot of noise from the rear of the exhaust which I put down to a dodgy joint between the front and back sections. After the 3-and-a-half hour drive down to Devon and an overnight stop at my parents' house, I took it in to an exhaust place in Exeter to have it assessed. The bloke had a bit of a prod around underneath with a screwdriver and made a small hole in the front box into a huge hole in the front box. After the bloke had lowered the ramp, he said the he could make up a whole new front and rear exhaust section for the car, but it would cost 250 quid including vat. Since, after matey's antics with a screwdriver, the car now sounded like a world war one tank, and given the fact that off-the-shelf exhausts are not available any more for the car, I reluctantly decided to have it fixed, and left the car with him. The car isn't due into the Exmouth garage until next week anyway, but by that time I suspect I won't be able to afford the bill for the brakes, so it'll have to wait for another month.
7th December 2002: It's been a bad week for me and old cars. After having taken the 3-Litre in to have the exhaust fixed, I borrowed my mum's Wolseley Hornet to visit some friends in Mid-Devon. The journey was going very smoothly, (The noise being made by the 850cc engine at 60mph was pretty deafening, but then that's pretty normal for these cars,) until I turned off the M5 at J31 on to the A30. As I was coming round the first sweeping right-hand-corner, the lights went very dim and I noticed a funny smell; a few minutes later and there was smoke. I quickly pulled off onto the side of the road and turned everything off; however, when I turned off the ignition the red light stayed on. From reading a car maintenance book when I was much younger, I remembered something to the effect that, if the ignition light stays on with the ignition turned off, disconnect the battery immediately, as the battery is discharging heavily through the dynamo. After panicking and fumbling clumsily with the keys to get to the battery in the boot, I managed to disconnect it and turned my attentions to the engine compartment. When I opened up the bonnet, a load of foul smelling smoke came out, and I could feel the heat coming from the (Cheap Chinese replacement) dynamo regulator box. Having taken the cover off, I discovered that one of the coils inside was completely blackened. I don't really know how these mechanical regulator boxes work, but I decided that I couldn't drive home with it connected, so I disconnected the dynamo cables and tentatively put the battery terminal back on. No big sparks - well that was a good sign; I started the engine and, seeing no smoke or anything else nasty, sped back home at top speed (about 60mph.) I think I will recommend my parents fitting an alternator instead of these nasty dynamo's and regulator boxes.
1st January 2003: Happy new year everyone. No fixing today; too much drinking and eating to be done. Mmmmm. Beer.
13th January 2003: Took the old Allegro into the Garage to get an MOT and have the suspension fixed. Have ordered a second-hand Hydragas displacer, so hopefully that should be here soon. In the mean time I am carless, so have temporarily borrowed A Volkswagen Sharran from work. It's fantastic - what an ideal car for carting TV's about in.
15th January 2003: Went on a MailSweeper course in Theale, near Reading. Afterwards, I took a trip round the M25 to pick up a brace of old tellies from Mr and Mrs S. from Rochester in Kent. There were 2 Ferguson 2000's and a Philips G6. The tellies model numbers were a 25" Ferguson 3700, a 19" Ferguson 3701 and a Philips G25K500. The Philips set was the late version of the dual-standard chassis which had the colour-off and tone controls removed and also didn't have a tuning indicator. I'll put some pictures of the sets up in the gallery soon. Thanks Mr and Mrs S. - they're great.
16th January 2003: Sorted out a video problem on the Philips LDL1200 - it's extremely well made but a bit of a sod to work on as all the panels are layered on top of each other. Eventually got to the bottom of the problem. There were two open circuit pots - one in the FM demodulator and one in one of the limiters. Both of them fell to pieces as I went to measure them. The reason for trying to fix the video is that I have a bunch of tapes which have old 405 line material recorded on them and the Peto-Scott that they were recorded on needs a new belt.
20th January 2003: Gasp - I got the bill for the Allegro MOT and body repairs - £666.76 including the displacer unit. Oh my god - I think I should perhaps have got a quote before hand. Utterly skint for the rest of the month now, so no more TV-buying for a while. :-(
22nd January 2003: New pictures of the Rochester tellies now up on the Colour TV gallery page 2.
23rd January 2003: Forgot to mention earlier that the Austin 3-Litre now has a shining new Stainless Steel exhaust. The garage made a very good job of it, however it does sound a little tinnier than it used to. Never mind. Having hassle trying to locate brake discs for the car now.
25th January 2003: Trying to fix a problem with a Philips N1700 at the moment. When the unit is turned on, the clock dims and a relay clatters underneath. Hmm. Obviously something is loading the power supply down. Have discovered that if the "Start" button is depressed while the set is switched on, the machine laces up normally until the button is released and then the clattering begins again. Hopefully this discovery should aid the fault-finding somewhat.
26th January 2003: The N1700 is now working - after adjusting one of the microswitches on the top deck and replacing the lacing motor transistor to fix another problem, the short circuit that was loading the power supply was traced to the signals panel. A resistor had obviously been disturbed sometime and one leg was touching the chassis. Once the resistor was straightened up, the machine sprang into life; the drum belt was then replaced and the servo's were adjusted up to reveal a very good picture. Marvellous.
2nd February 2003: Went round to friend of mine in Exmouth who I hadn't seen for ages. He has a Dynatron CTV5 console set with a duff tube - a freebie A63-120X from CPC. Many years ago CPC were trying to get rid of these tubes and were sending them out for the cost of postage only; unfortunately most of the tubes were dodgy. Took a photo of the set - I'll put it up on the gallery soon.
6th February 2003: Put the picture of the Dynatron up on the Colour TV Gallery.
8th February 2003: Decided to have a go at the Cossor 934 in my living room. Changed a handful of nasty wax capacitors with Vishay Roederstein MKT1813's from RS. Unfortunately, the tube seems to be on it's last legs and I don't have one. Does anyone have a 17" Cossor pentode tube to fit a Cossor 934?
9th February 2003: Picked up a nice little Sony 405-line monitor from e-bay. It's pretty battered; the top handle has snapped off and there are no knobs or mains lead, but other than that, it looks quite restorable. The model number is CVM-306BP. I'll put a picture of it up on the portable TV gallery soon. Having fun-and-games with the Marconiphone 4701 TV. It's Thorn 2000 chassis keeps blowing line output transistors for no apparent reason especially when changing from 625 to 405 and back, it has line jitter, and the frame has suddenly reduced.
11th February 2003: Drove down to High Wycombe with Tony Price (The excellent chap who let me have the Philips K4 some years ago,) to pick up several boxes of VCR-LP (N1700 etc.) tapes from an excellent chap called Graham. Graham also had an N1700 machines with Duff heads which he extremely kindly let us have. Many thanks Graham.
13th February 2003: Went down to Wales with Tony P. to see another friend, Rory Clark. Rory is a writer for the BBC but also collects and restores old TV company captions, startups, clocks etc. He has produced some very impressive results cleaning up ancient tape recordings etc. We went down to deliver the tapes that we picked up from High Wycombe. Rory has already ploughed through a previous batch of VCR (N1500 etc.) tapes and has recovered some interesting stuff.
14th February 2003: Had a look at the Marconiphone 4701 to try and sort out it's various problems (See 10th February 2003.) Having studied the circuit diagram, I've come to the conclusion that the 2N3055 transistors that I always recommended for the Line-Output in Thorn 2000's are absolutely no good for the job whatsoever. The voltage across each one is getting on for 300 volts and the maximum voltage rating for a '3055 is 100V. Doh! Anyway, replaced them with completely standard BU208A's from RS and that has cured the problem completely. The reduced frame problem turned out to be the 55V line which was low (even on the highest setting of the regulator pot.) The reason for the low voltage turned out to be a leaky regulator transistor; this was replaced by a 2N3055 (Which I checked was suitable this time - Te He) and, once replaced, the frame came back up again. I still have the line-jittering problem, which is almost certainly noise on the 53V(ish) supply to the line output circuit. I also have a mechanical tuner fault to contend with now, so I'll sort that out before investigating the line problem.
16th February 2003: The Mechanical tuner problem on the Marconiphone 4701 turned out to be nastier than first suspected. All but two of the little plastic wave-change lugs had snapped off and were jamming the tuner when the buttons are pressed in. I found another tuner in the loft, but this had a lot of patterning on the picture and also another nasty electrical problem, so I decided to swap over the mechanicals. On closer inspection, the tuners were different mechanically, although the individual spindles were OK on the new tuner, so, while watching The Simpsons on BBC2 and eating a bowl of soup, I stripped both tuners down and swapped the spindles over. Once the tuner was put back, the set was switched on to reveal a superb picture both on 625 and 405 lines. However, that's not the end of the story because, apart from the line jittering fault that I have still to fix, as I was tuning in my VHF modulator, the set kept switching back to 625-lines, and I think that the 405-line-activating-spring is screwing itself into the spindle hole as I am tuning it, so the tuner will have to come out again to fix that. Ho hum.
7th June 2003: Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I've been extremely busy with work so I'm not getting any time to update the site or do much in the way of telly repairing. I've also been very lax in answering emails - I do get quite a lot of emails and they seem to dash off the screen and get forgotten about very quickly; I do like to reply to them all, so if you send me one and don't get a reply - it's nothing personal, just send it again and I'll soon get the message. :-) Nothing much has turned up recently in the way of old tellies, so no news to report on that front. As for the site, Eclipse Networking have lost my web counter, so it's now reset to zero. Hmmm. I've updated a few of the photos on the Colour TV Gallery #1 and plan to stick a few more up there too when I get a moment. The Allegro estate is still doing sterling work, although the Austin 3-Litre is looking very sorry for itself stuck in a garage in Devon. It's waiting for a brake-overhaul. It needs 2 new brake disks which are no longer available, a brake servo overhaul which is very expensive and a set of new brake pipes. The bottoms of the doors need sorting out too as they are getting rusty. :-(
15th June 2003: Blimey - a pre-war HMV904 television has turned up in a pile of rubbish in Exeter. Unfortunately it wasn't me that found it and the bloke who did find it wouldn't accept my offer of 1200 quid. Apparently he's putting it in an Auction at Christies and expects to get up to 3000 quid. It's a shame really, as it'll probably end up leaving the country and going to a foreign collection. Oh well...
28th June 2003: Went up to see a good mate called Steve James in Nottingham. He's also a collector of old tellies and other electrical oddments. I delivered an old Parnall washing machine up there which had been sitting in my shed doing nothing for ages. Steve very kindly let me have some old tellies, one of which was a very nice little Sanyo portable CTV with a very thirsty valve chassis. Another set was a 19" GEC dual-standard CTV; it works very well on both standards although the system switch is very stiff so I will need to sort that out. The cabinet is a little bit battered, but I think that it adds to the charm of the set really so I probably won't do anything about that. Many thanks for the tellies Steve, they're fantastic. I'll put some pictures of the sets up on the gallery when I get a few minutes.
29th June 2003: Found some more info about a set that I've never come across before, the Philips G22K503. Apparently, it's a 22" version of the dual-standard G6 chassis. I've never seen one, although I photographed a picture off a Philips brochure belonging to Steve J. in Nottingham. The set is all but identical to the larger G25K500, but with a smaller tube and cabinet. Does anyone have one or know of the whereabouts of one?
4th July 2003: Fantastic - I may have the chance of buying a Philips G25K502 set off an excellent chap called Brian. It is very similar to the G25K500 set, using the same G6 chassis, except that the speaker and convergence panel are underneath the tube instead of to the right as in the 'K500. The 'K502 sets aren't quite as common as the 'K500's and I don't currently have one so it'll be an excellent set for the museum. Many thanks Brian - it'll be well looked after.
20th March 2004: Once again, many apologies for the long gap between entries; the usual excuses I'm afraid (work, no PC at home etc. etc.) Several things have happened since the last update. No real finds in the CTV department except for a Ferguson-badged Thorn 4000 which I think is quite rare. I have started building a big insulated barn at my parents' house to house all the museum's sets in; it's an awful lot of hard work digging out foundations etc. and it's taking up most of my weekends at the moment. Some more photo's of the museum's collection have been taken, so they should appear on the site in the next few weeks. I've started taking some tablets for my continually fuzzy head and absurd disorganization. I'll report on their effectiveness next time. The web site has appeared in a few magazines etc. recently - The Financial Times Sunday Supplement, (Practical) Television magazine, and another electronics trade magazine. After a catastrophic mobile-phone failure I seem to have lost various people's telephone numbers - Could anyone who knows me perhaps email me their telephone number please? :-) Hopefully the next update won't be so long in appearing, but I'm sure I said that last time...
27th March 2004: New photo of the Baird 8724 and Bush CVB100 added. (Click on the smaller photos for a bigger view.) Me and my mate Rob Ingleby had a go at an ex-BBC Sony 1330 Monitor. Not that it had much wrong with it - just a few adjustments here and there and it came up fine. The tube in it is superb, which is surprising for one of these sets. The cabinet is a bit ropey, but not beyond hope and there is a lot of glue along the bottom panel. I'll put a picture of it up on the site sometime soon. Had a wax-capacitor-blitz on a 1959 Ekco record player which would fade out after a few minutes of playing. The cabinet looked very dirty and the Collaro record deck looked very rusty. The cabinet seemed to respond well to fairy liquid and the yellow painted Collaro record deck came up like new with some MDB patent polishing paste for painted surfaces. Apparently you can use Swarfega on rexine - perhaps I'll try that next time. I'll see if I can find somewhere on the site to put a picture of the thing. Does anyone have the correct Collaro cartridge they would like to sell me? (The one with the yellow LP / 78 swivel on the end.) If you have one, please do email me on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3rd April 2004: Drove up to a place near Manchester to pick up a Baird 712 and a Ferguson 7C06 (Thorn 4000 chassis) from an excellent chap called Walther. I set off from Solihull at about 8 O'clock in the morning, zoomed up the superb M6 Toll road, and arrived at about 9:45, 3-quarters of an hour earlier than we had agreed. Had a long chat with Walther before loading up the car and setting off to my next destination in North Leeds. After spending an hour-and-a-half driving aimlessly round and round Leeds city centre, I arrived at my destination. I picked up a set I'd been promising to collect for over a year from another excellent chap called Roger. We managed to squeeze the set, a 26" Tandberg, into the back of the Allegro Estate along with the Baird Console set and the Ferguson. After setting off again, I managed to find the M1 relatively easily and got back at about 5:30PM. Thanks Walther and Roger - the sets are great. Not sure these fuzzy-head tablets are working all that well. Might see if I can change them for something else.
5th April 2004: Pictures of the Ferguson 7C06 now on the Colour TV gallery (Page 2). I'll put the pictures of the other sets up later.
7th April 2004: A few more pictures added to the black-and-white TV gallery; I've decided to get rid of the portable TV gallery and lump the portable TV's in with the other TV sections. The sections are getting a bit out of hand, so I'll have to think of something to stop them getting too huge and cumbersome. Nasty picture of myself added to the main page due to massive public demand - or not.
11th April 2004: Updated a few sections here and there; nothing major, just a bit of tidying up and a bit of a colour change - I'm not sure if it's better or worse than the previous scheme. Spent most of the bank-holiday weekend photographing TV's etc. and fixing the lights on my neighbour's Rover. I've started on a new colour TV gallery as the current one is a getting a bit clumsy and taking ages to load for anyone with a modem (including myself). Click here to have a sneaky-peak of the new page (None of the links work just yet.) I'm thinking of getting a DSL link into my house so I can host the web site locally and do some fancy stuff with active server pages etc. (If I can be arsed.) On the TV front, I'm having a go at a Pye LV20 at the moment - it's missing 2 valves (both EB41's) so I can't try it just yet - I'm just going through and replacing all the nasty wax capacitors first. My good friend Tony from Wombourne (Near Dudley) very kindly gave me a manual he had bought from a Radiophile sale in Shiffnel; it's for a Bush CTV174D which is the same as a Murphy CV2210D. Many thanks Tony - All I need now is the set itself. (Does anyone have one they would like to sell? It's the only dual-standard colour chassis missing from the museum's collection. My mate Dave Hazell from Swindon has one, but he won't sell it - shame.) :-)
12th April 2004: Have been fiddling with the car pages - I've added a section on the mighty Allegro (Click here to see it) and got rid of all the rubbish about the Austin Champ and Renault Safrane, which I sold years ago. Also got rid of a few icons which I'm never really going to do much with (Test equipment and Telephones - For that sort of thing, see Andy Beer's excellent web site - see the links page.) I've kept the reel-reel page which may end up being altered simply to "Audio" so that I can put some other bits and bobs up (Record players and the like.) Also removed is the "Mechanical" section which was a bit rubbish really.
12th April 2004 (Later on): "Audio" section is now up with one exhibit - an Ekco record player. Fantastic. Click on the "Audio" icon on the left to go to it.
17th April 2004: Drove to Milton Keynes to collect 2 TV's from an excellent chap called Geoff. One was an ITT CVC9 which was in very good condition other than the front panel which had fallen to bits behind and was being held in with bits of wood. The other set was an Ultra (950 chassis?) monochrome set. The veneer was a bit dodgy on the Ultra, but otherwise it seems very nice. Many thanks Geoff.
26th April 2004: Have put a picture of the new White Ibbotson on the Mono TV gallery.
28th April 2004: The old Pace satellite receiver went tits-up yesterday and it looked a bit complicated inside, so I pressed a Panasonic unit that I'd found in a scrap metal box in Exmouth recycling centre into action. After I'd got it registered it seemed to have some difficulty receiving BBC channels so I phoned my mate Alec (G8GON) from Exmouth up and he advised that I needed a kit to make the box work with my particular LNB. Have now ordered one, so it'll probably be sat for months at home before I can be arsed to fit it. Thanks Al.
30th April 2004: Bought an old Pye Wireless Intercom from e-bay the other day which arrived this morning. It's missing one of it's knobs and, as there's only one unit, I can't really test it. Does anyone have another one I could buy? Please email me at: email@example.com. Many thanks.
1st May 2004: Managed to get a cover for the cartridge on my old Collaro record deck from a mate of mine called Steve from Sutton Coldfield. Cheers Steve - it's just what the doctor ordered. Also bought a Bush BAC31 radio and a Sony 1320 off Steve too.
2nd May 2004: Went to the NVCF (National Vintage Communications Fair) at the NEC today. Didn't buy anything much interesting - a TV circuit diagram CDROM, an old Trio audio amp to match one I already had and something else which I struggle to remember. In the evening I built a little AM radio transmitter into a box and attached a nice long wire as an aerial. It's absolutely rubbish - It will just about transmit downstairs, but the signal is so poor that it's totally unusable at night. It might be faulty or, more likely, I haven't attached a long enough wire to it and the SWR is astronomical. Does anyone have any experience of this kind of transmitter? It's a little tiny circuit board which I bought from the NEC last year - a mate of mine also has one and says his is fantastic so I'm sure it must be something I'm doing wrong. I would measure the power output, but that seems a bit technical so I probably won't.
5th May 2004: My old mate Tony Price let me have an EHT unit from a Decca set to put in the White Ibbotson. Soldered it in and powered the set up through a 40 watt bulb for an hour or so, then a 100 watt bulb and then a toaster. :-) Got the voltage up to 185 volts before the room filled up with smoke from the IF panel and I shut it all down again. There seemed to be some kind of life in the set however, and the EHT generator was whistling away nicely; no voltage out of the metal unit though. I might start replacing the old wax capacitors in the next day or so and check for anything obvious before I power it up again.
10th May 2004: Work continues on the new White Ibbotson set and I'm taking plenty of advice from my mate Tony Price who is an expert on projection tellies (and all other tellies for that matter.) There was hardly a single component that didn't need replacing in the EHT section; some components had previously been replaced with the wrong values, so obviously the correct values have been put back in. The usual Vishay-Roderstein and RS-branded capacitors replaced the original wax varieties, and several large resistors were also replaced with 1 and 2 watt CPC standard issue types. After replacing a .1uF HT filter capacitor on the IF board which was causing the previous smoke, the set was again fired up (in series with an old toaster.) Quite a bit of healthy sounding 2KHz EHT oscillator noise from the EHT generator was heard, but no EHT out of the can. Funny voltage readings around the 2 EHT generator valves made me think that one or both valves may be faulty - A quick scout around the valve box revealed 2 brand new PL81's which went in to replace 2 very dodgy looking mismatched valves (A PL820 and a PL81.) The EHT oscillator valve (ECL80) valve was also replaced with a brand new one for good measure. When powered up again I still had the same problem although the oscillator noise was louder this time and voltage readings were slightly nearer where they should've been in the first place. Just in case the EHT transformer was faulty, I replaced it with another one which I borrowed out of my other, smaller, White Ibbotson. This time the set almost burst into flames when powered up - the huge shower of sparks from the end of the EHT lead revealed that the set was working a bit better than it had been previously. Once the lead was plugged into the tube and the set was powered up (again via the toaster), a fairly dull, out of focus spot appeared on the screen and the set was powered off quickly lest the phosphor on the tube expired. A partial success I think. No Line, Frame, Sound, Focus control or tube spot suppression, but lots of EHT so it's a fairly good start I suppose. I now need another Mullard EHT can to put back in the other White Ibbotson. Does anyone have one? Please do email me if you have a spare you could sell me. (firstname.lastname@example.org). Many thanks. On the car front, I think the front nearside wheel bearing on the Allegro has gone as it makes a nasty rumbling noise. I think I should get it fixed soon as I've heard tales of wheels falling off of Allegro's although I think they may be apocryphal.
22nd May 2004: Drove up to Liverpool to collect a Ferranti projection television from an excellent chap called Phil. When I arrived there were 2 more people, Edna and Georgia who had come up to see the same chap to buy papery things (Ephemera etc.) Anyway, we all bundled in to Edna's Citroen and had a guided tour around Liverpool. What a fantastic place - it's very impressive. Eventually, we turned up at Phil's storage facility - a very spooky 7 storey warehouse filled to the brim with antiques, junk, and masses of other stuff besides. We went up to the 5th floor where all the old radios and tellies were and found the Ferranti. Unfortunately it had an awful lot of woodworm and was quite damp so I decided not to buy it. I did buy another set though, a Bush TV62 with a duff (smashed) tube, a rusty chassis and no back panel. It did, however, have a very good bakelite cabinet, so it was worth the money. Cheers Phil - it's superb and looks nice next to the TV22. After Liverpool, I drove over to see my mate Walther from a place near Manchester. Walther kindly let me have some new colour CRT's and loads of manuals and panels etc. including a spare chassis for my Thorn 4000. Many thanks Walther - they're very much appreciated.
6th July 2004: The Behemoth lives. After much hard work and head scratching, the huge White Ibbotson projection set finally has a recognisable picture. Quite a large number of components have been replaced in the RF / IF / Frame / Line and Audio section (mostly nasty wax capacitors and quite a few wire wound resistors) and almost every single component in the EHT generator section (to finally cure a long standing problem with the EHT regulation.) Many thanks to Tony Price for his expertise in various sections including setting up the mechanical focus which looked a bit scary to start with, but which turned out to be quite easy. The picture is fairly dull and is best viewed in a darkened room; this is partly due to the fact that it is only a tiny 2.5 inch tube producing a picture on a 28 inch screen, but also because I am feeding the composite TV signal directly in to the video output valve and the level isn't quite right yet. (I'm building a little buffer to get the levels correct, which should sort the problem out.) The cabinet is the next thing that needs sorting out; does anyone know of a decent furniture restorer in Solihull or anywhere that I can get some of that brass-coloured metal speaker grille? Please do email me if you know of anyone. Thank you. Click here for a picture of the set working or here to see the (inverted) picture on the tiny MW6/2 CRT.
23rd July 2004: More fun and games (or not) with the White Ibbotson; this time with the front controls and grille. I removed the tuner with a view to converting the set back to single channel operation, but this left a big hole in the front of the metal grille, so I decided to remove it and get another section. This is where the trouble started. To remove the grille, first of all you have to remove the knobs; these had virtually welded themselves to the shafts. After a couple of hours tugging and heaving (and knuckle crunching on the sharp metal grille), we had managed to remove 2 knobs without damage. Eventually a 3rd knob came off with merely a splinter snapped off from the side (which can be repaired). The fourth knob wasn't so fortunate and the inside section snapped off completely, taking the centre right out of the front of the knob. This may be salvageable, but I suspect it will be noticeable. The last knob to come off has a little screw in it but, of course, it's also welded into the hole and no amount of soaking with penetrating oil seems to be shifting it and I think the screw will have to be drilled out. :-( Only after all this can I then remove the grille and get a new section. I have a perfect set of knobs on the other White Ibbotson which I may swap over (if I can get those off) until I can find some replacements. New tablets for the fuzzy brain seem to be working a bit and I feel much better for it, but still not 100%. Have had a referral from the doctor to see a neuro bloke in Birmingham, but have heard nothing yet. Had the wheel bearing fixed on the Allegro which has made it a lot quieter. I think the back one may be going now though...
25th August 2004: Crikey - more than a month since my last update. Anyway... In an attempt to save money, I have started moving various bits of the web site to an Apache web server running on a Sun Solaris box located here at my work in Birmingham (Hence the cheesy "Powered By Sun" logo above.) No doubt my mate Giles (who kindly supplies the 405-chat service) will be turning in his grave, er, if he was dead that is, which he isn't. Oh yes, getting back to the point, Giles is a big fan of Linux, which Solaris is a rival to. (More like friendly rivalry really.) My utter indolence has meant that the White Ibbotson is still in exactly the same state it was a month ago, although I have spoken to someone who can supply a front grille for the set so that should make it look respectable again. The RF stage still has some components missing including some pins that have been removed from the RF amp valve holder. Once again my mate Tony Price has managed to find me an identical valve base, so, once I can be arsed, I will take the pins out of that to save me from drilling the chassis to remove the old holder. Cheers Tone. A few new sets have arrived this month from another mate of mine, Rob Ingleby, including a Murphy V310, a funny looking KB, which I can't remember the model number of and a Murphy V939 which has an odd sound AGC fault. Thanks Rob mate. I also got back an old Murphy A823 that I'd given away some months ago which has a few simple frame faults. My laziness also means that I STILL haven't fitted the modification to the Panasonic Sky box and I keep having to pull out the LNB lead to get certain stations. The Allegro wheel bearing hasn't got any worse, so I think I'll leave that for now.
10th October 2004: I've decided to stop looking at e-Bay for TV stuff. Or anywhere else. The collection is getting completely out of hand and is going to have to be trimmed down substantially. I still have some outstanding collections of a few sets to make from some very kind people, but I think that will be the finish unless something really special comes along. The museum is still on track, and any sets that have been donated for the purposes of being displayed will NOT be disposed of and will still be displayed. This is purely a practical clear out rather than a depression-induced panic like the last time. I would like to try and keep about 40-or-so of the 300-odd televisions I have currently. Oh yes - I finally got around to installing the modification to my Panasonic digital sky box and the channels change like a dream now. Thanks Alec for that top tip. :-)
21st October 2004: Went in the Allegro to pick up an RCA 21" round colour tube from an excellent chap called Adrian in South London this week. The tube will be put in the Bush CVB100 when I can get around to it. While I was in London, I went to see Gerry Wells' museum in Dulwich with Adrian and my mate Tone. I've been before, but it was well worth another visit - it's absolutely superb. Gerry was just finishing re-roofing his sheds, having been helped along by a large donation from the members of the BVWS. I particularly enjoyed seeing the pre-war TV's that Gerry had in the front room. All working too - blimey - very impressive. The Allegro was driving me mad with it's dodgey juddering clutch on the journey. In fact I'm surprised that we actually made it there at all, as, on the short journey between the M25 and the south circular, I managed to dramatically swerve in front of, or otherwise "cut up", at least half a dozen cars. Trying to squeeze the whole juggling act of navigating the complicated streets of London, fighting the Allegro clutch, looking at the map, listening to Garrison Keillor on the radio and trying to hear what Tony, my co-pilot was saying above the noise of traffic into a brain which was already jam-packed to bursting point with fuzz, was pretty much beyond me, and the fact that nobody was killed could possibly be counted as a miracle. But ho hum, no damage was done, except, perhaps, to my brain. On that subject, I finally had my appointment to see the neuro consultant psychiatrist man about my fuzzy head. After much consultation, questionnaires, letters to my parents and GP, scrutiny of school reports etc., he diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome which, once he'd explained what it was, was a bit of a shock. I'm not quite sure what to make of it really, although on the positive side, I am extremely pleased that I now have answers to a lot of previously unanswered questions.
25th October 2004: Took the Allegro to pick up a lovely Pye VT17 from an excellent couple from Rhyll. This was kindly donated to the museum in loving memory of a late relative. After that, I drove the 25 miles-or-so and picked up a late 1950's 21" KB with some very nice legs from another excellent chap from Chester. Next the Allegro and I went to see Steve Pendlebury in Hospital in Manchester. (Actually the Allegro stayed in the car park and I went in to the hospital alone, but the car sent it's regards.) Steve has just had a Kidney transplant with a spare one kindly donated by his dad. Apparently they don't remove the old kidneys, so Steve now has 3. Blimey. Steve's wife Dilys and the rest of the family were all there too so it got quite crowded. Get well soon Steve and Steve's dad. After that, my car and I set off back down to Solihull and I unloaded all the junk out of the back and into the house. All very exciting. Or not.
3rd November 2004: Good news everyone. The Austin 3-Litre is back from it's stint in a Devon Garage; the old thing is now feeling a lot better in my drive in Solihull with a fresh MOT (The car that is, not the drive.) The bodywork is looking tattier than ever, but at least it's rusty in all the right places and shouldn't be too bad to put back together again. It still needs a few mechanical bits-and-bobs sorting out too. The prop-shaft UJ's need replacing as they rattle above 50MPH, the brake disks need skimming or replacing because they don't really stop the car, and the dim/dip switch has melted where the previous owner (an excellent chap called Neil Kidby) had installed some larger halogen lamps. The extra current was a bit too much for the poor old switch to take and it expired one dark night last December. This came as a bit of surprise when everything went pitch black as I was driving through the Warwickshire countryside at 60MPH. Luckily for me I had a birthday-cake candle in the glove compartment otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see to drive home. Anyway, I now have a set of finest Halfords' relays to power the lights after I replace the switch.
10th May 2005: Good grief. What a long time between entries again. As usual, work and general can't-be-arsed'ness has meant that I haven't updated the site as much as I would have liked. Or at all in fact. Anyway, lots of things have happened since November 2004. I had an email in March from an excellent chap from Cheshire who said he had a spare Philips N1520 VCR and would I like it. Obviously I jumped at the chance and set off up the M6 with my mate Tone reading the map in the passenger seat. Actually, I remember now, it wasn't the M6, but some cross-country route which only took twice as long as the M6 and didn't use much more than 60 percent more fuel. But at least it was more direct. And that's the main thing. The chap also let me have a Decca 1000 projection set; it wasn't in the best of condition so I blackmailed Tone into having it for leading me on such a long route. I have some new tablets for the dodgey brain which kind-of work, but I'm still deciding whether I like them or not as they make me feel "Buzzy". (Methylphenidate Hydrochloride for those who are interested.) On the old-TV front, I also had a wonderful Bush from a young lady with nice mahogany legs from Staffordshire last week. Thanks Maude - it made my day - I'll put the pictures up soon. Went to the National Vintage Communications Fair at the NEC a couple of weeks ago and had a chat to some old mates. And some younger ones too. I actually went up to "help" a good chap called Steve Farley look after his stall, so I dumped a barrow load of my own junk on his table before leaving him to it and wandering off round the place for an hour-and-a-half. I ended up having to give one of my larger items, a big 405-Line Bush console set, away free of charge, lest I had to bring it back home with me, store it for 2 years and then take it to the dump. The bloke who took it away had the cheek to moan that it didn't have a lead with it and could we help him carry it to his Nissan Micra. As I didn't think it would even fit into a Nissan Micra, I suddenly remembered that Steve hadn't gone around the hall yet and that I had to stay and watch the stand. It wasn't true, but I didn't fancy wheeling it to his car and then finding out that it didn't fit and having to wheel it all the way back again. It's probably still in the car park if anyone wants it. I still haven't done much with the big old White Ibbotson other than removing an open-circuit I.F. coil and putting it in a drawer. The Austin 3-Litre is back down in Devon - Doh - but this time for a refit and a general overhaul. It's having 2 new wings, 4 new doors and some welding done to a hole in the floor. I almost passed out on the drive from Solihull to Devon, as the blowing exhaust combined with the hole in the floor meant that the whole car filled with noxious gasses. I thought at first that it was misty outside, but when I opened the window I realised, in my delirious state, that it was nice and clear and that the mist was on the inside of the car. I stopped the car on the side of the North Devon Link Road to let the smoke out of the sunroof - and my lungs - and a breakdown truck stopped behind me to see whether he could be of assistance putting the fire out. Mercifully, the rest of the journey was trouble free, although I turned up at my parents' house with a nervous twitch, incontinent and paralysed down one side. They pretended not to be in, so I recovered on their lawn in the pouring rain for an hour before using the spare key and going straight to bed. Ho Hum. I have a few dual-standard colour TV's for sale if anyone is interested (A kind-of-working 25" Thorn 2000, a pair of slightly-dodgey Pye sets and a single-standard G6) and a few other misc 405-line sets. The dual-standard colours will set you back 150 quid for the 2000, and 150 quid for the pair of Pye's. (Actually, one is an Ekco and one a Ferranti.) That's all I can remember for now. I'll try and put some more rubbish up here soon. Oh yes, my sister, Annmarie is having a baby, a brother to my young nephew Owen, and a sister to Owen's brother Susan. Best of luck Siss - I hope everything goes extremely well. And just remember, take as many drugs as they offer; they're great, and you have the rest of your life to try and remember the birth. Bye everyone. Mike.
2nd June 2005: Normally, I shamble through life unconvincingly contriving an air of mediocrity, but every now and then my crass incompetence is obvious for all to see. Last week, for instance, Steve Farley, a wealthy friend who owns a chain of TV shops across Birmingham and 2 posh cars, asked me to look at Toshiba TV with a convergence problem as his engineers couldn’t get it going. I'm not sure why he thought that I could fix it when his engineers had given up. “A nice simple job” Steve said; he thought it was probably the picture valve. I wasn’t convinced but humoured him anyway, “Yes, Yes, that’s probably it.” I said. “The picture valve.” Anyway, being the cowardly type and never liking to say no to anyone, I reluctantly (and foolishly as it turns out) agreed to have a look at it. On arrival at Steve’s shop in Kingstanding and, after a fair amount of procrastination, drinking coffee, admiring the stock, and drooling over a picture of a woman with huge breasts and not a hair out of place expertly soldering (or possibly desoldering) a surface mount IC with the latest Antex desoldering station, I was dragged into the workshop to see the poorly TV. After tripping over the door threshold into the workshop and splashing cheap coffee on a brand new Loewe Opta wide screen TV, I beheld the Toshiba right there in front of me. It was huge - a behemoth among TV’s. A 60-inch projection TV of the 3-tube variety. I noticed that the set had already been partially dismantled, a bad start in my book, but at least I didn’t have to get involved with the logistics of stripping it down I told myself. The service manual was two sides of A4 paper, but they included all the bits I wanted to see and were a handy size so things were looking brighter already. On connecting the aging Decca cross-hatch generator and powering the set up, it was obvious that something was amiss - there was a huge “S” shape in the red horizontals whilst the blue and green looked relatively normal. In the middle of the PCB was a very large surface mount IC, which dealt with all that kind of stuff. Not having any data on the chip, I started ham-fistedly prodding about with the scope probe a bit further down the line. The chip uses some kind of pulse-width-modulation to drive the convergence and looking at the waveform coming straight from the chip proved useless. The PWM demodulation circuit involved a pair of op-amps built into one package DC coupled to the big nasty-looking chip, and some sundry components. The op-amps were obviously designed for audio, as they were labelled “L/R input” and “L/R output”. The waveform for the red horizontal convergence on the output of the op-amp looked terrible compared with the blue and green and, as everything else round the op-amps seemed OK, I swapped the chip with the equivalent one for the Blue convergence. Actually, Steve swapped it over, as I am extremely clumsy with anything smaller than valve sockets. I switched the TV on expecting great things – The same problem. Hmmm. After much faffing about cutting tracks, swapping convergence connections about and changing components, I came to the conclusion that the PWM output from the big nasty-looking IC must be faulty. By this time, I was getting pretty cheesed off and my brain was getting pretty fuzzy so, after half-heartedly checking a few inputs to the huge chip, I took my heart in my hands (yuck) and condemned the IC. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but I was all out of ideas and it seemed the next logical step. I told Steve to make sure he was convinced that it was the chip that was at fault before ordering a new one, as I didn’t want to be responsible for having to change an expensive IC which didn’t need replacing. Some days later, Steve phoned me up and told me that, on my recommendation alone - gulp - that he’d spent the 100 quid and replaced the chip. Oh my god – it hadn’t worked. Providentially, and before I’d had a chance to grovel and apologise, the battery ran out on my mobile. At least I won’t be asked to change any picture valves again. At least, not by Steve. Fancy thinking that I could fix anything complicated - my illusions of intelligence have once again returned to illusions of mediocrity as they have a habit of doing. Back to nice easy Bush TV56s I think…
13th June 2005: Hi everyone. So far it's been pretty quiet for interesting TV-type-stuff but very busy for boring work-type-stuff and there's not really much to report. Oh yes, I sorted out my old Pye CT70 Dual-Standard Colour TV last weekend. It was all pretty straightforward stuff really - the only problem with these sets is the tremendous lack of accessibility - I had to lie underneath the TV to get to the decoder. On my back in fact, with a directional spotlamp on an earthed metal pole nestled snugly between my legs, the circuit diagram on my stomach, the 'scope precariously propped up on an upturned cardboard box next to my head, the component location chart next to my right arm, the large Farnell power supply (to bias off the colour killer) on the other side of my head and the Philips PM5509 pattern generator perched on the dining room table with a stretched RF lead to the UHF input on the TV. Surprisingly, this all worked remarkably well and, (apart from a few nasty burns to my, er, inner thighs, when the scorching hot spotlamp suddenly and unexpectedly slid down the shiny metal pole and landed safely on my trousers and a few nasty burns to my carpet when the bit fell out of the soldering iron, and an electric shock after touching the system switch in the line stage, and a nasty bruise caused by bashing my head on the underside of the cabinet in the shock at hearing the pattern generator come crashing down from the dining room table because I'd accidentally got my leg caught in the RF cable between it and the TV caused by trying to dash out from under the TV to avoid the oscilloscope after the box crumpled beneath it) everything went without a hitch. As for the TV itself, other than an open-circuit on/off switch, the main problems were a blank raster (sound OK) and no colour. After a lot of hair-pulling, coffee drinking, manual reading and cursing, I managed to trace the problem to a leaky video amplifier transistor. Of course, on these sets the AGC is taken from the Sync Pulse Tip which, if the video waveform is wrong, will not be correctly formed, and so will bias the AGC incorrectly which, in turn, will upset the video and cause the sync pulse tip to be wrong etc. etc. This all ends up as some kind of recursive loop which can be a swine to find, especially when you can't get to the components to take voltage / 'scope readings etc. The colour problem turned out not to be too nasty - a complete realignment as per the manual and everything was hunky-dory. The decoders in these sets are always wonderful to work on - very unreliable, but easy to fix and I love them. A brace of line output and EHT valves (PD500, GY501, PL509, PY500A) and the picture was fantastic. I also replaced the bowden cable between the IF panel system solenoid and the line output stage. The set doesn't work on 405 lines yet, but that's something for next time I think. Bye everyone. Mike. Oh yes, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org etc. These all end up at the same place, although I never remember to answer them, so it doesn't really matter anyway. If you do send me an email and I don't reply, please give me a prod by sending it again; its really nothing personal, I just forget. :-)
16th June 2005: Hmm. Things have suddenly got slow at work as 2 projects are coming to an end. I hate not having lots to do – I’m no good with any kind of unstructured or unfilled time and get stressed when there's nothing doing. I seem to be making a lot of tea for people, which is better than doing nothing I suppose. On another note, just as I was arriving home yesterday, I had a phone call from a chap called Marcus – at least I think that’s what he said he was called. He seemed to know me pretty well even though I’d never heard of him. “Hi Mike, it’s Marcus.” he said. When I told him I didn’t know any Marcus’s, he laughed; I assume he thought I was joking - I wasn’t. Anyway, he hoped that I was well and explained that the reason for his call was that he knew I enjoyed fixing TVs for people and that he had a treat for me. I wasn’t really paying much attention to what this chap was saying as I was still trying to work out who he was, and I guess he didn’t hear me when I explained that I didn’t really like to do any private jobs, but I could recommend a TV engineer in Kingstanding near Birmingham. Marcus then proceeded to explain all about the broken TV that I would soon be enjoying. Apparently it was in a back room of a hotel in a village called Packwood (about 5 miles from my house) where the local Masons and, rather bizzarely, the Knowle and Dorridge Communist Society meet. Not at the same time I suspect. Perhaps this was a joke; if it was I couldn’t really tell. Apparently the picture went into a line, the set started fizzling and then went off. Hmm. I have the phone number of the house where the TV is located, but I haven’t plucked up the courage to phone it yet. I’ll put up some more details after I’ve been. On yet another note, my sister’s baby is now due on the 25th June so good luck with that Annmarie. J I hope all goes well.
17th June 2005: Cripes. I phoned up the number for this place in Packwood, and it turned out to be Packwood House, an enormous prehistoric National Trust house in fantastic grounds and a road running through the middle. This is all rather bizarre and I think it may be a dream. I can only assume that this weird “Marcus” lives near by – perhaps he is a Mason or a Communist? Anyway, why do the Knowle and Dorridge Communist Society meet in such a lavish place - I thought that Communists were against all that kind of thing. Hmm, I bet they all drive BMWs too. As for the TV, the old lady that answered the phone said that she didn’t know what kind it was, but that it went off when a group were watching a video. I have arranged to go round on Monday night.
21st June 2005: Went round to Packwood House last night clutching my toolbox. As it was such a posh place, I decided not to put on my jeans but to keep on my somewhat scruffy work suit with the nice threadbare tie. My trusty Allegro estate drove me swiftly to the car park where I came skidding to a halt on the gravel drive as I pulled in off the road, narrowly avoiding a very posh Volvo limousine with a personalised number-plate on it’s way out. I got a bit of a glare from the driver before he screeched off himself, covering me with dust and dirt through my open window. After I had parked my car between a knackered looking T-reg Ford Fiesta and a modern BMW 320i convertible, I got out, dusted myself down and bashed on the door knocker. Nobody answered. I banged again – still no answer. After a few moments, I went round to the correct door and rang the bell. A man answered and invited me in. Spotting my scruffy suit which was still covered in dirt, my banged-up plastic tool case, and the cloud of dust still swirling round my parked Allegro, he seemed to know, perhaps using some sixth sense, that I must be the TV-repair man and led me the quarter mile through the house to a very grand looking back room where I could hear that there was some kind of a meeting going on. The man banged on the door and the voices went quiet. I stumbled through the door in my normal awkward manner and explained in a tiny high-pitched voice to the assembled throng, about 20 dignitaries in posh suits seated round a big table, that I had come to fix the TV. They said nothing and, after a few seconds, went back to mumbling among themselves. The set, a 26” Bush T26, re-badged as Rank Arena, was awkwardly located on the floor and, as there wasn’t a socket to be had anywhere nearby, I loaded it onto the nearest antique tea trolley I could find and rumbled and crashed it across the uneven wooden floor boards to the socket on the other side of the 50 foot room, followed by 20 disapproving eyes. I couldn’t find an antenna socket, but I plugged the power in and turned on. The set came on with no problem at all – a nice bright tube too. No sound though, and even having turned the volume up full I couldn’t muster a whisper out of the speaker. Ah, the set has automatic muting; that would explain it, I thought. Eventually the meeting resumed and the 20 important-looking men left me to my own devices. The meeting had resumed for a good few seconds, if not longer, before the TV almost found a signal and white noise came blasting out through the speaker at full volume and interrupted the meeting once again. Before I could reach for the volume control, the set momentarily went into line-collapse and then went off, leaving me standing there in silence with the table full of dignitaries now glaring in my direction with angry looks on their faces. I squeaked my apologies and then dived down behind the set and into my toolbox. I removed a number 2 Philips screwdriver as quietly as I could and took the back off the set. I saw the problem straight away – the scan coil plug had obviously been arcing and was burnt to a crisp. As there was not much chance of getting another one, I cut the wires off the plug and soldered them directly to the posts. The back was then replaced, the volume control turned down to minimum and the set switched on to reveal a good raster and snow. After a few minutes spent conscientiously slapping the sides and top loudly like a simpleton, checking for dry joints, and to much tssking and tutting from the table, I decided that it was all OK but that I probably shouldn’t ask for an antenna signal, lest I disturb the meeting again. I then rumbled the TV back to the other side of the room and heaved it onto the floor before rumbling and crashing the tea trolley to where it came from. I think the assembled meeting must have then realised that I was in fact the cabaret, as, when I looked round, I noticed that they had all leant back in their chairs with their arms folded, their eyes following me across the room. I waved pathetically before grabbing my toolbox and shambling embarrassedly, awkwardly, back out the door, running the huge distance across the house to the front door, jumping into my Allegro and screeching out of the car park towards home as quickly as I could. I don’t think I’ll bother sending them a bill; the experience was payment enough…
5th August 2005: Evening everyone. I'm writing this on my laptop sitting in a pub in South Staffordshire with a very annoying jukebox playing "99 Red Balloons" in the background. Loudly. And badly. In fact, it's more "In the foreground" than "In the background." Ever since I can remember, the jukebox in this pub has had an extremely annoying habit of randomly skipping and sticking on the CDs that it plays. It wouldn't be quite so bad if it was a regular thing, but it waits until you've momentarily forgotten about it, even lulling you into a false sense of security, before it repeats it's little charade. Hmm. Now it's repeating the same song. Grr. Anyway, it's been a fairly quiet month as far as TV and video related stuff is concerned. I've been selling some stuff off on eBay in an effort to make a bit more room in my house. Lots of manuals and other ephemera have gone off to good homes as well as a few bulky VTRs, Radios and Televisions. The 2-inch Sony PV120 UE was a bit of a reluctant sale, but it was too large and heavy so it had to go. It's now gone to the good home of a collector in the Midlands. The Invicta (Pye CT70-type) that I repaired last month blew up again whilst I was watching it. The picture suddenly went off and there was a horrible wailing noise from the line transformer. After taking off the back, I noticed that the PL509 would glow red when the set was switched on. After a bit of clueless prodding about with a wooden spoon, I serendipitously stumbled across a short-circuit 0.1uF capacitor in the line stage (C229 on the schematic - see picture below) - It smoothes the A1 supply from the line transformer before it's fed to the A1 controls on the front panel. Replacing this restored the set's fantastic picture and stopped it's moaning; the fairly new PL509 seemed to have coped with it's brush with pain so I didn't bother replacing it. My sister had her baby "Jacob" a few weeks ago in Exeter Hospital's baby section. I've no idea how much it weighed - probably a few kilograms. Or something like that. Well done Annmarie and Scott. That's all for this month's thrilling instalment. Don't forget to tune in next month for exactly the same exciting adventures, just re-worded to sound different.
7th August 2005: The smell of cows in a field is not one easily recalled at the drop of a pat, er, I mean hat. A chance smell on a bicycle ride along the canal however, is instantly recognisable. Because of the cows. There. In the field. Swishing their tails. Not really very exciting on the face of it, but it suddenly makes me think of field trips at my old primary school, St John's School in Sidmouth, Devon. Not that there were too many pleasant memories to be had there, but the walks into the country were fantastic and I loved every minute of them. I never learned much from them, but it was a chance to escape from the horrible place if only for an hour-or-so and look at cows and sheep and make mud-balls from the dirt at the side of the road. St Johns wasn't all bad, but for the most part it was a pretty scary place, especially for an odd-ball like me. The Headmaster, Mr Druce, was a nasty slimy piece of work who devised all sorts of horrible punishments for crimes such as talking after lights-out or daydreaming, including making you run round the school field at night in your underpants or making you stand outside his office facing the wall for hours at a time. I used to have to do this a lot, but I whiled away the time by counting the red diamond patterns on the wallpaper. The most dreaded punishment however, was the slipper in his desk drawer, which he used to whack you with if you'd been really naughty, as I was on several occasions. I liked most of the other teachers though; they were nice to me. There were lots of hidey-holes in St. John's that nobody knew about, and I used to hide in them sometimes during the evenings. One of them was on the landing of the stairs that led to upper-forth, Mrs Tasker's class. It was just behind a large old-fashioned 1930's slide projector - There was a cupboard there that was big enough to climb into and nobody ever went there after the classes had finished. There was a hidey-hole at the far end of one of the dormitories too, but I can't remember whether it was a cupboard or part of the fire escape. It wasn't as good as the other one anyway. There was also a hollow-tree known, unsurprisingly, as "The Hollow" in the wooded play area. I used to be able to clamber in the little hole at the bottom and slither a little way up the inside. It was fun for a while, but it started to get scary when I got older and couldn't fit through the hole so easily. I remember the matron, Miss Simons, who used to let me sit in the laundry room sometimes, which I liked. It was warm and safe and Miss Simons was nice. Nicer than the other matron, Mrs Vegor, who seemed quite stern; I don't think she liked me. I don't think she liked anybody, although she may just have been cursed with an angry-looking face. Hmm. Strange what memories a chance encounter with a field of cows can bring back.
3rd September 2005: Hello everyone. I'm writing this slumped comfortably and very happily in my ancient leather chair in the smallest room in the house which I call my workshop. It's warm, quiet and safe and the only noise is the occasional reassuring sound of a goods train rumbling by and the rain brushing against the outside of the window. It's also only half-past-three in the afternoon and I'm already pretty drunk thanks to the bottle of wine that the managing director of Wesleyan gave me for fixing the broadband connection at his house just up the road. Even less than usual has been happening on the TV front this month. I went to see an old lady to fit a power supply repair kit to her Matsui 1420 - The kind of set where you have to replace half the circuit board if the power supply blows up - An STR50103 (or something like that), an avalanche diode and a load of other bits and bobs were needed to restore proper operation. This paticular stock fault was drummed into me thanks to a frightening 18 months spent working as an apprentice engineer at Mastercare (Dixons Service Group) in Exeter -- A salutory lesson in human relationships if ever there was one. My interest in amateur radio was briefly rekindled last week after watching the TV program Big Brother, where one of the inmates, Eugene, was a radio ham. My kindling interest was soon extinguished however, after returning from a dull evening spent at the Solihull Amateur Radio Society club house in Shirley. I'm sure I found amateur radio interesting once, but those days seem to have past long-since. I don't mean to suggest that the meeting itself was dull - heaven knows I can be extremely dull, boring people to death is one of my most finely tuned skills - no, it's just that the evening's subject of QSL cards seemed pretty dry in these day's of ultra-fast, all-encompassing global communications. On the car front, the Allegro is getting a bit decrepit. The exhaust has started blowing near the front pipe, the suspension squeaks in hot weather, the brakes have started to squeal loudly at the front and the hub caps constantly sound like they're about to fall off. Having said that, it's still amazingly reliable, so I think I might spend a couple of hundred quid and get the bits sorted out rather than look for a new car. I went to an Aspie meetup in Birmingham last week and it was very heartening to meet and talk to other A.S. people. We all trundled down to the Birmingham Science Museum at Millenium point. It cost £6.50 to get in, but it was well worth it. There are lots of buttons and knobs to press and turn and twiddle and a huge steam train which were all right up my street. I'm very much looking forward to the next meetup, which I think will be somewhere in the South West. My parents, Pat and David have registered a new domain name of www.millcottagebeaford.co.uk for their cottage in Devon that they rent out to people in the summer. If you fancy a nice holiday in the wonderful Devon countryside, see the details on their site. (Actually, don't look too quickly, as there is no site there at the moment, just a HUGE picture of the house that doesn't fit on the screen properly.) I've enrolled on a dreamweaver (web design software) course at the local college, so their page may or may not look pretty snazzy sometime soon. That's it for September's exhilarating instalment. Bye everyone. Mike.
13th September 2005: Wow, I'd forgotten what a useful utility "debug.exe" is. It's a prehistoric program which dates back into the dim mists of antiquity, well, the dim mists of MS-DOS anyway. It can be used as a simple assembler, disassembler, hex editor and all sorts of other useful things. In the true traditions of this kind of program, it's extremely user unfriendly, but if you do know how to use it you can gain a reasonable amount of kudos and respect from large breasted women Unix programmers at cocktail parties. Unfortunately, I don't know any large breasted women Unix programmers. Or any with small breasts either. Or medium sized ones. And I've never been to any cocktail parties. Although had I ever been to a cocktail party, I'm sure it would have been swarming with large breasted women Unix programmers all gagging to lavish kudos and respect upon me. Hmm. Maybe not. Anyway, this week has seen some light relief from the exciting world of firewalls and DNS servers; I've been doing a spot of VB Script and assembly language programming, which I'd completely forgotten how much I enjoyed doing. I wrote a fairly simple VB script which changed some registry settings depending on how our users were connected to the network and what IP addresses responded to PINGs. I also had to use debug.exe to create a very small .com file (like a .exe file, but simpler and smaller) which would send a simple PCL string to a network printer. I hadn't written any assembler code or indeed used the debug utility for many years so it was an interesting diversion for a couple of days. No new TV happenings really, other than an offer of a 1949 Baird set which sounds quite nice, but which I can't really afford. The workshop has had a good sort out and I managed to transfer all my manuals and other bits and bobs from 2 large cabinets into some stackable plastic storage containers which were on special offer at B&Q. The room looks much spacier now and there's even room to get an extra chair in if necessary. My sister's babies Jacob and Owen are doing very well and their mum and dad Annmarie and Scot seem very happy which is excellent. :-) That's it. Bye everyone. Mike.
20th November 2005: Hello everyone. It's freezing cold today - there's a big puddle of frozen washing powder suds outside from the neighbours blocked drain, and the grass is still white with frost even though it's three o'clock in the afternoon. The radio said that it was minus-six last night which I can believe; I hope I've got some anti-freeze in the Allegro. The central heating has been going full blast all day so it's nice and warm here in my workshop. It's nice and quiet too. Not too much to report on the TV front this month other than a few minor odds and ends. I resoldered all the connections on a coil that I'd removed from my big White Ibbotson projection TV some time ago. It was a job I'd not been looking forward to but, as usual, after I'd actually started it, it wasn't half as bad as I had expected. The coil was open circuit and this was due to one of the connecting wires becoming detached from the coil itself. I replaced all the wires and reinstalled the coil in the set. There is still an I.F. problem, but I'm in a much better position to fix it now. I had a go at one of the Thorn 2000's in my kitchen this week too. Initially there was a very dull green, very badly misconvergerd picture which was about 2 inches tall. The height problem was traced simply to a faulty pot on the power supply board and a quick squirt of WD40 rectified the problem. The dull green picture which couldn't be adjusted with the A1 controls was traced to an open-circuit resistor on the convergence panel. In fact the resistor wasn't so much open-circuit as actually missing - I suppose someone must have borrowed it for something else. When I went to replace the resistor, I realised what a poor state the convergence panel was in - it looked like an incontinent cat had been sleeping atop the set, so I rescued a spare one from the loft which was in much better condition (A panel that is, not a cat.) The misconvergence was due to me having replaced the tube previously without setting it up (And of course the new convergence panel having now been fitted.) A swift dash around the static and dynamic convergence controls, and the convergence was all sorted out too. I'm just left now with a dark picture with poor grey scale and a nasty suspicion that the tube that I spent so long installing is duff. Oddly, the tube booster says the tube is OK, so I've not ruled out another problem yet. On a different subject, a mate of mine from Sheffield is cursing me as I let him have a little 19-inch Thorn 3000 which had seen better days, but, as the set was being extricated from the back of the car after it had been carted all the way from Solihull to Sheffield, the cabinet suddenly collapsed, the tube fell onto the road and imploded, and the set lay in a thousand pieces in the middle of the street. Hmm. Sorry about that Steve... On the subject of breaking things, my good mate Tony broke his arm in two places (the kitchen and the lounge) after plunging down some stairs at his house in Staffordshire a few weeks ago. The doctors think it's OK, but they say it may need a new floorboard. Hope it's better soon Tone, then you can come and replace the line output transformer in the Philips K4. Er, I think thatís it for now I think. As always, if I don't reply to your email, just send it again -- it's nothing personal, I just forget... Bye everyone. Mike.
4th December 2005 (Part 1): Hello everyone. Iím sitting writing this on my laptop computer in my freezing cold dining room listening to ďA Prairie Home CompanionĒ on the radio. There is a radiator in here, but itís cold because I forgot to turn the heating on. The only other sources of heat are a 19 inch Ferguson 3703 with a Thorn 3000 chassis that I have had on a soak test since this morning, and an electric fan heater which is hidden behind a big stack of floor-standing TVs. The heater in question is turned on but doesnít seem to be able to extrude much heat past the legs of the large TVs in front of it. And although I am frozen stiff, I am consoled by the knowledge that at least the Pye CT70 and Ferguson 2700 that are directly in front of the fire are nice and warm. In fact, I think Iím going to go and get my coat. Hold on a minute. Okay, Iím back now. With my freezing cold wax jacket which is still wet from being out in the rain yesterday. It wasnít out on its own Ė I was inside it when I wandered down to the local shops in a rain storm of tropical proportions to buy some Soya milk and bread. Iím sure the jacket will dry out while Iím wearing it though - The dampness will quickly permeate into my clothes. Hmm. AnywayÖ Iíve had a rare bit of success with a couple of old TVs that Iíve been working on. After a fair amount of work, the Ferguson 3703 that I previously mentioned now has a cracking picture. I had to replace quite a lot of the standard stuff to cure various faults in the line, frame, video and IF sections. My mate Steve Eaton from Sheffield very kindly sent me a replacement tripler as the original one was missing, and although the final anode socket on the tube is perfectly clean and dry, the EHT cap is fizzing a bit and filling the room with the sweet (and deadly poisonous) smell of ozone. I must order a new one from CPC. The chroma amp transistor on the IF panel had gone open circuit too, causing a lack of colour Ė The original was a BF271, but I replaced it with a BF199 of which I had plenty. A couple of other transistors in the luminance panel had also gone leaky or open circuit causing no picture and poor sync. I replaced 5 in all just to be on the safe side. (VT201, VT202, VT203, VT204 and VT205.) The replacement of a handful of capacitors on the luminance panel also cured a flickering brightness problem. The tube emission seems amazingly good Ė Itís probably the best and sharpest picture Iíve ever seen from a 3000 chassis set. This is made all the more remarkable, as it appears that the tube is the original of 36 years ago. There are still a few minor things I need to do such as setting up the convergence and the beam limiter, but Iíll sort those out next week. Maybe.
4th December 2005 (Part 2): I thought Iíd better split this entry into two parts, as it was looking a bit long and cumbersome in one huge paragraph. I put some ďTrader SheetsĒ up on eBay last week - They sold for a fairly modest amount, but at least Iíve got rid of them. Iíd been storing them behind the sofa in my lounge for years and they were getting in the way a bit. So, theyíve finally gone. Hmm. Iíve just had to get up and retune the Ferguson a little bit Ė I hope thatís a one-off and not indicative of a fault. Anyway, back to the Trader SheetsÖ A chap from Kingswinford near Stourbridge drove down the M5 and along the M42 to collect a bunch of them, leaving me with the rest of them to be shipped off to various geographical locations using the Royal Mail. On another TV subject, I drove up to Stoke on Trent last week to collect a Decca ďSovereignĒ from an old lady called Edna with a wonderful walnut cabinet and set of intricately carved legs. Actually the TV was number 66 of a specially produced batch of 1000 to commemorate the queenís silver jubilee. It has a 110-degree A66-500X in-line tube and uses the Decca ď100Ē chassis (I think). Itís supposed to have an ultrasonic remote control, but that was missing. The Marconiphone 4701 in my dining room is still working fantastically Ė I had to replace the frame linearity pot the other day, but the picture is still quite amazing. I read an article in a 1970 copy of ďWhichĒ magazine the other day that suggested that people shouldnít buy a 1st generation colour TV (1967 Ė 1968ish), as the picture quality was so poor compared with later models. I would say that this is utter rubbish; the sets may have been less reliable and prone to going out of adjustment, but the picture quality is every bit as good as any of the later sets. Given a competition between a well setup Philips G25K500 (Dual standard G6 chassis) or a perfect Philips G26K520 (Single standard G8 chassis), the former set would be absolutely as good as the latter in every respect, but I think Iím rambling a little bit now so Iím going to finish. And anyway, there seems to be a funny smell coming from the direction of my fan heater; I think the big Pye directly in front of it may be about to catch fire. Goodbye everyone. Mike. Oh yes, P.S. Thank you Annmarie and Scott for the picture of my new Nephew, Jacob. Itís very nice and Jacob looks very happy - Were you tickling his feet? Oh god, there are flames coming from the Ferguson - whereís that fire extinguisher?
13th July 2006: Crikey. The first update of the year, and it's July! Needless to say, loads has been going on, and also needless to say, I probably can't remember most of it. There are several people that I need to thank for TVs, Videos etc. but I can't remember who they are either. Oh, actually, there was a very nice Methodist minister called Sheila from Cannock who let me have a Ferguson 3629 (Ferguson "Personal"), which I have started tinkering with but haven't carried out any real work on yet. Thank you Sheila - It's excellent. I'll put a picture of it up in the TV gallery soon. Also I really need to thank the person from Cheshire who recently emigrated to France and who let me have a Philips N1520 video. I already mentioned him in a previous entry, but I have a service manual for him and I have lost his email address. Please say hello via an email, man from France / Cheshire, and I'll get your service manual sent to you. :-) I haven't done much to the site recently, although I have updated quite a lot of the pictures in the TV and VTR sections, and tidied up the fonts and colours in the VTR sections too. I have put a picture up in the VCR Gallery of a video that I know absolutely nothing about. It's the ?????? 505-????? (Saturn 505-Video) and I would love it if someone could give me any information regarding this Russian(?) machine at all. Unsurprisingly, I've lost the email address of the person who sent me the picture, so if it's you, please get in touch again. :-) I've been working on my parents' web site http://www.millcottagebeaford.co.uk and that is coming on okay too. As always, I've been extremely busy at work, and this, as much as my bone-idleness, has led to this site being somewhat neglected. I have added another link to my "Links" page, it points to a site called "Marcel's TV Museum", which is very good - I can highly recommend it. I've been on several meet-ups with my Aspie friends Andrew, Dave, Dean, Genevieve, Kam and Tom. We've been to 2 Zoos (Chester and another one which I forget the name of), Boating in Windermere, Canal walking in Warwickshire etc. etc. I have enjoyed all the meetups very much. Maybe I should put some photos up of the visits. For no particular reason, I have started learning Russian, and, much to my surprise, I'm really enjoying it. It all started when I purchased a Russian keyboard on ebay for my mate Dave and wondered what Windows would look like in Russian. Doubtless my enthusiasm will go the same way as most of my fad-interests sooner or later. :-) The Allegro finally died and went to that big scrapyard in the sky (actually a small scrapyard in Worcestershire), and so I now have a Diesel Renault 21 Savanna the same as my dad's. It's much more comfortable, quieter and quicker than the Allegro, but not half as characterful, and I bet it's not as reliable either. (Although it's not let me down yet.) Apologies for such a rag-bag of stuff in this diary entry, hopefully the next entry will be a little bit more succinct. Do email me if you like at: email@example.com. Bye everyone. Mike.
22nd July 2006: Hi everyone again. Something of a minor disaster has struck. Over the last couple of years I have been storing some of my VCRs and TVs in a barn in Devon, the space for which was generously loaned to me by my good mate Giles. Unfortunately, in my haste to find a new home for the TVs and videos, I must have found the only place in the barn that leaked badly, and many of the machines got totally flooded out and are now beyond repair. There were some fairly ropey machines amongst them anyway, but I have lost my entire stock of Philips N1501s to the water, my only really good N1500 and a couple of Baird CTVs (among other stuff). I may be able to salvage bits and bobs from some machines, but probably not much. One of the main reasons that the sets suffered so badly is because of the "protection" I afforded them by wrapping them all up in loads of industrial cellophane. The water that they were lying in was sucked up by the cellophane, and then essentially "locked in" to do it's damage. The sets were sitting on a plastic tarpaulin, so unfortunately the water just lay there and didn't leak away. There must also have been a lot of water, as the machines were still sitting in puddles even during this very hot weather we've had. Oh well. If anyone has an N1501, an N1500 or N1500C, or a Video 2x4 (The cheap model 1600, not the one with the clear plastic door on the front) that they would like to sell me, I would be ever so pleased. Thanks everyone. See you all next time. Mike.
1st August 2006: Hi everyone. A few updates to the site since the last time. And a few more "Thank you"s to people for various stuff too. There are several more pictures of V2000 machines and VCR / VCR-LP machines on the relevant galleries in the "Old VTR" section now. Some of the rubbish old pictures have also been replaced. I must firstly say thank you to a great chap called Chas for a white Philips G17T320. It's quite an odd looking transistorised set with a strange "Clicky" rotary tuner. Also I must send my thanks to a very generous chap called Jim for a Pye 20VR20 VCR. Jim even boxed it up carefully for me and sent it on it's way when the Parcel-Force man came to collect it. It's the same VCR as a Philips VR2020 but with a much darker grey case. After a bit of a clean-up, it looks great and I've taken a photo of it and put it in the V2000 gallery page. Thirdly I must thank a chap in London called Mike from whom I bought an almost-new Philips VLP700 (VP700). I bought it from ebay for a very cheap price, so it was almost a gift. :-) Lastly I need to thank a chap called Christian from Germany for sending over a rare VCR machine too. Thanks everybody for your donations (and sales of course) :-) - they are always very much appreciated. If I've left anybody out, just email me; as always, it's nothing personal, I just have a memory quite like a collander. Bye everyone. Until the next time. Mike.
1st August 2006 (Later): Oh, just one more thing - Thank you very much to the excellent chap from Ottery St Mary in Devon called John for the Ekco hybrid set. It's installed in my dining room at the moment, but I haven't started any work on it yet. I'll stick a picture of it up on the TV gallery soon. Thanks John - it's fantastic.
1st October 2006: Hi everyone. Iím writing this in my almost-local pub called ďThe RailwayĒ in Dorridge with a pint of Brew XI to my right and Leonard Cohen playing on my old MP3 player. The album is called ďDear HeatherĒ and although it had mixed reviews when it first came out, I think itís ace. Iím on the same table as an arguing couple - I think they think I canít hear them because of my MP3 player, but I can hear every word. Apparently she wants him to go to see her relatives, but he has decided he doesnít want to go because he has invited some friends of his to go out somewhere else over the same weekend. She is calling him selfish now, but he is being very quiet so I donít think she is getting anywhere in her efforts to get him to change his mind. I have joined the chat-section on Paul Stenningís excellent old-radio web site (See the links page). Paul is an excellent chap and the people on the site are all very friendly and helpful Ė Iíve had offers of VCRs and stuff from various people all free of charge (after my mishap which damaged some of my VCRs down in Devon) which is extremely kind of everyone. Even more exciting is that a chap known as ďSwampyĒ on the site has let the museum have a pre-production Baird M700, which I am very excited about. Swampy also has a pre-production Thorn 2000 which he is going to donate to Gerry Wellsí museum down in London. (Shame). ;-) Thank you Swampy for the Baird though Ė Iím very excited about it and much looking forward to collecting it. The old Renault Savanna has cost me a small fortune just recently. It has had to have a new radiator, head-gasket, turbo-charger, rear shock-absorbers, timing belt kit and all the sundry bits-and-bobs that go with it. Never mind Ė itís mostly a brand new car now so Iím hoping it should last a reasonable length of time. On the TV and VCR fixing front, I was very kindly sent a service manual for my Grundig SVR4004 by a chap called Marcus, but unfortunately itís a slightly different model to the one I have and the power supply is different (which is where the problem lies in mine). Itís getting quite hot in here now, and the couple on my left have given up arguing and are now exchanging small talk about their friends, whose neighboursí trees are overhanging their fence. My fuzzy-head tablets (ďAtomoxitineĒ and some other ones which I canít remember the name of Ė oh actually I do remember, theyíre called ďLamotrigineĒ) are working very well, although they make me very tired sometimes. Iíve had some amazingly early nights since Iíve been taking them - 17:30 in the evening was the earliest, and I didnít wake up until 06:30 the next morning - Wow. Anyway, if anyone wants to send me an email, I would be very pleased to hear from them. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My beer is running out now so I am going to get it topped up. Actually, there is a big queue, so I think Iíll wait for a while. Bye everyone. Speak to you all soonest. From Mike.
20th October 2006: Hi everyone again. Iím writing this on my laptop in the twilight, sat at the far end of platform 2 on Dorridge railway station. Iím sat (relatively) comfortably on a copy of The Solihull Times in my warm but slightly nerdy-looking green anorak with its fluffy hood. Iím not a train-spotter as such, but I do find that sitting in the dark and quiet, watching the big rumbly goods trains come whooshing past at high speed very soothing and therapeutic, especially at such close range. Well, not really too much to report in the mending-stuff department this month although I did ďmendĒ my old Nokia 6310i mobile phone the other day Ė The buttons were getting very unresponsive and sometimes they didnít register when I pressed them, so I ordered a new keypad. When it arrived, I realised that it wasnít the bit that I wanted Ė it turned out to be just the plastic buttons themselves and not the keyboard membrane that I was expecting. Anyway, as I had the phone in pieces I thought I would give the copper pads underneath the membrane a good clean out (as well as the membrane itself). The cleaning complete, I triumphantly reassembled the phone expecting great things. The buttons did indeed work very well, but that was about all that did work. It was only later when I saw the phone flashing on and off that I realised a call was coming in, because although I keep the phone on silent, it is supposed to vibrate, which it wasnít doing. Anyway, I answered the phone and there was nobody there so I hung up. Presently I opened up the phone again to investigate the non-vibrating problem, and I then realised I had fitted the vibrating motor upside down, so I turned it the right way up and put it all back together again. There was another phone call after a little while, which I answered, only to be greeted by silence again. I thought this a little odd, so I tried phoning someone, and got no sound then either. The phone was then opened for the 3rd time, only to reveal that there was no speaker! Anyway, I looked all over the place and couldnít find it Ė until, that is, I stepped on it and squashed it. Hmm. After a lot of unbending of springs etc, I eventually managed to force it back into its slot, and the phone has worked okay since then; however Iím not expecting it to last very long. A couple of weeks ago I moved the big Bush CVB100 colour set back to my house in Solihull, as it was in the damp barn in Devon where some of my other stuff got badly damaged a couple of months back. I thought that I ought to move it back into the warm, lest the cold and damp conditions damage it, especially over the winter. As for the site, Iíve put several new VCR pictures up in the V2000, VCR and VHS sections as well as tidying up some of the rather clumsy writing and dodgy facts and figures that I had written some 8 years ago. Also I have updated a couple of pictures in the colour TV gallery too. The big Bush CVB100 has a test-card picture on it now, although there is no B-Y coming out of the decoder which, as well as meaning there is no B-Y in the picture, also reduces the saturation of the G-Y too, so it all looks a bit red and green in the picture. I sent an email to Mike Barker the other day to see how he was getting on with his identical set, but I havenít had a reply yet. I think Mike is very busy with BVWS stuff. Wow Ė two fast Virgin Voyager trains have just gone zooming past at an amazing speed. Thatís fantastic. What a noise too. Iím going to a Diwali celebration tomorrow evening with my aspie pal Kam from Leicester Ė Iíve never been to one of those and I am really looking forward to it. Hmm - My arse is going to sleep sat on the hard concrete so I think I will have to move in a minute. Shame - Iíve only seen one big noisy rumbly class-66 goods train go past, and it didnít even have any carriages attached to it. Actually, itís pitch-black now and the keyboard is only being lit-up by the light of the LCD screen. And, although my legs are warm from my computer, itís getting a bit cold generally, so Iíll say goodbye to everyone for now. Bye everyone. See you all next time. From Mike.
10th November 2006: Evening everyone. I hope you are well. Iím writing this on a Friday evening, just about to set out to my almost-local pub, The Railway in Dorridge. A few bits-and-bobs to report in the fixing-things department. First of all is the Grundig SVR4004-EL VCR that I bought from ebay. I have fixed 3 faults so far, and I still have another one to sort out. First off, the machine was dead: no clock, no lights, nothing. Diving into the power supply revealed that there was no 15 volt line. This seemed to come from a circuit which had some kind of electronic fuse involving a regulator IC, a very low value resistor and a thyristor which tripped when the voltage across the resistor became higher than a set amount, indicating overload. After a little bit of prodding, I found a short-circuit 4-legged Grundig smoothing capacitor in the power supply, which I replaced with a nice new 2-legged Philips one. Plugging in the set again brought up the clock. Hooray. Unfortunately, when any tape-transport button was pressed, the electronic fuse would operate again and the set would shut down. After a fruitless hour trying to locate the fault, I decided on a drastic measure: I would remove the connection to the gate of the thyristor in the electronic fuse circuit, and see what happened. On turning the unit on and pressing the rewind button, a waft of smoke came from the video board. I turned the machine off and quickly removed the board, giving it a good sniff to see if I could locate the offending component. My nose quickly traced the problem to a short-circuit tantalum capacitor which is used to remove any ripple or signal induced in the switched 15 volt line from other areas on the board. Replacing the tantalum with another Philips electrolytic capacitor and resoldering the thyristor gate cleared things up nicely. After that, everything seemed to work fine. I found a tape and tried to play it, and it worked! Fantastic. It worked, that is, until it got half-way through the tape, and then it would switch into rewind-mode for a few seconds, then fast-forward mode for a few seconds, fast-forward, rewind, fast-forward, repeating this sequence seemingly indefinitely. Once I managed to get the tape out, I tried rewinding it on an N1500 machine and then putting it back in the SVR. Again, it got half way through the tape before playing its silly game again. This was a bit of a puzzler and took a couple of hours to get to the bottom of. To cut a long story short, the problem turned out to be the tape-end sensor which, although looking perfectly clean and free from detritus, measured 10 ohms with my meter. On removing the offending item, cleaning it up and reinstalling it, the machine worked perfectly and would play to the end of the tape. The reason for the fast-forwarding and rewinding of tapes which were more than half way through was due to the action of the VCR when it detects that it is at the end of the tape. In Philipsí wisdom, when they invented the original ďVCRĒ (N1500 etc.) format, they used a little tiny piece of metallic foil placed on the tape as an end-sensor. This worked fine except that you could easily fast-forward or rewind past the foil and damage the tape. The Grundig SVR4004 unit protects the tapes from this problem by rewinding the tape for a few seconds after the far-end foil, and fast-forwarding the tape for a few seconds after the beginning foil. The machine detects which end the tape is at by comparing the speeds of the feed and take-up spools and deciding which end the tape is at. The low-resistance tape-end sensor was obviously upsetting this mechanism so that when the feed spool started rotating faster than the take-up spool, it decided the tape was at the end and would rewind the tape a little bit. The low-value (but not short-circuit) sensor would then upset the end-detection circuit even more (whatever that meansÖ), which would put the unit back into rewind for a few seconds, and the whole sequence would start all over again. Anyway, fixing the sensor made everything work nicely again. The last fault that I have yet to repair is a picture-blanking problem. The picture remains on the screen even during rewind, fast forward and during lacing-in or lacing-out. I'll let you know how I get on with that next time. Nothing much more in the fixing department really, except for my ITT CVC9-chassis set which had an open-circuit red output transistor and a soft PCL805 frame valve which sets the picture rolling for 5 minutes after the set is switched on, although it's fine after it has warmed up for a bit. I replaced the transistor with a second-hand one I found, but couldn't find a spare frame valve so I've left that one for another day (like so many other of my half-finished jobs). As for other stuff that's been happening, I went to see "Borat" at the cinema with my mates Kam and Tom; it was fantastically funny and I can highly recommend it. I'm also listening to "2001: A space odyssey" on my MP3 player for the 5th time in 3 weeks. It's really good and I love imagining I'm Dave Bowman in his space-ship "Discovery". I think I ought to be setting off to the pub now lest the staff get worried at my absence. That's it for another while I think. As always, please excuse me if I don't reply to your email straight away; I get loads and loads of emails and some of them scroll off the screen never to be seen again. Just send the mail again and I won't be offended. :-) Bye everyone. From Mike.
1st March 2007: Morning everyone and happy St. David's Day. I hope you are fine and well. I have the day off work today to help my next door neighbour Gangster-Neil with the wiring in his new utility room. (His name isn't really Gangster-Neil, it's just Neil, but I think he might be a gangster in his spare time.) Unfortunately he has gone out and left the power turned on so I can't do an awful lot. This afternoon my mate Tone is coming round to help me get my Philips 21KX103A (K4 Chassis) going. It needs a new line output transformer which I don't have. My brain seems to struggle greatly with anything involving many steps, so whilst on the face of it replacing a lopty doesn't sound very difficult, I do find it extremely daunting, and Tone said he would help me with it which is very kind of Tone. We have various options to make the set work including removing the faulty overwind and fitting a tripler, modifying a G6 lopty, or butchering the G6 lopty and using the overwind on the original K4 transformer etc. etc. I favour the tripler method, but my mate Tone isn't keen on that. Tone wants to hack a hole in the chassis to fit a different kind of overwind but I am certainly not keen on that idea and he isn't going to come anywhere near the K4 with an angle grinder. A couple of weeks ago I went down and collected a Baird 8724 (3000 Chassis) from a very good chap called James in East Grinstead - It's not that I really have any room for the set, but I couldn't bear to see it dumped. I will try and find a good home for it soon. I have bought a few old VCRs off ebay recently too. The first one was a Philips N1501 which I wanted because all the N1501s that I owned had got damp and damaged in storage so I was pleased to find another one. The second (and 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. etc.) was a small batch of Philips VCR and V2000 machines from an excellent chap called Seth down in the Portsmouth(ish) area. Thanks Seth. Another set was an old Mechanical Sharp VC6300G - I really love these old mechanical VHS videos but there are still a few that I would love to find including some early JVC, Akai, Hitachi and Mitsubishi models. Last saturday I went up to see the transmitter mast at Winter Hill in Lancashire with my mates Dean and Genevieve - It is 296 metres high and 718 metres above sea level, making it the highest TV transmission aerial in the UK. Surprisingly the phone that I repaired a few months ago still seems to be working - My ancient Nokia 6310i seems to be virtually indestructable - I am always dropping it onto the road etc. and it never seems to go wrong at all. I went to the tip today to dump 3 TVs which were beyond any kind of repair and had bits missing etc. I dropped off 3 TVs and came back with 2 more. Luckily the new sets were much smaller than the ones I took up with me - They were a Sony KV-1320UB with a wonderful tube but a disgustingly dirty cabinet, and a little Rigonda Russian set. I'm off to Peterborough this weekend with my aspie pals Tom and Kam - I'm going to see an excellent chap called Steve to collect a pair of Philips G8s. I'm not sure of the actual model numbers, but they are certainly G8 sets. I have absolutely no idea where I am going to store these sets - The TV situation in my house seems to be getting out of hand once again. There are TVs and VTRs littering the floor of every room in the house. The fuzzy brain seems to be under control these days with some super-duper tablets called Atomoxetine and Lamictal. They are doing a wonderful job mostly although the head still gets very wooly sometimes and hardly works at all other days. As I always say in my posts, I do get dozens of emails from very kind people and it does take some time to get through them all, and some do get overlooked. If you send me an email and I don't reply, it really is nothing personal, just send it again and I'll try and get to it - I really hate not replying to emails, it is very impolite and rude, but sometimes I just can't cope with the huge amounts that I get sent. Oh, just one last thing - Does anyone know of the whereabouts of a Pye CT71, a Bush CTV174D or a Murphy CV2210D? I would kill for one of these sets as they are the last sets that I need to complete my collection of Dual-Standard colour TVs. If you have one of these and would like to sell it to me for lots of money or swap it for a different TV then I would be ever-so pleased. Anyway... If anyone is passing Solihull (near Birmingham) and they would like to see any of these old sets, just send me an email and I'll put the kettle on in case you would like a cup of Tea. Thanks everyone for reading this and I'll see you next time. Bye everyone. From Mike.
24th May 2007: Evening everybody again. I'm writing this on the ancient Hewlett Packard 6100 laptop that I bought from the German version of ebay a couple of years ago. Although it's a pretty poor spec by today's standards, it was the same kind that I had used and loved at work before it died and got replaced by another Hewlett Packard model. Some TV fixing has been going on since my last ramblings, and lots of people I have to thank for TVs that I have bought or that people have so very generously donated to the little museum down here in Devon (Where I am at the moment). First of all, my mate Darren from work who (for whatever insane reasons) wanted a mention on these pages, so: Hi Darren, I hope you are well. :-) On the TV fixing front, I've been working on an old 22" ITT/KB CVC5 set. It has had a few faults so far which have included a duff BF337 Red-Output transistor causing a bright-red raster, a missing earth on the green (which was giving very weird waveforms all over the place and a very very dark magenta picture after I'd replaced the BF337), a very poorly B-Y coupling capacitor which was causing no B-Y except on immediate blue transitions, and a duff I.F. daughterboard which I couldn't fault-find on due to it's very awkward location on the motherboard so I ended up changing the whole daughterboard. I still have a horrible AGC and Sync fault which is driving me mad at the moment. The AGC is a bit iffy, and when you unplug the aerial, there is only a very weak raster and not much white noise from the speaker. Also the sync is very touchy even when the set is tuned in to a good signal. There is a section which the manual refers to as the "Distribution" section (or something along those lines - I can't actually remember what it was called and I don't have the manual with me down here to check) and I am pretty sure that the fault lies there. A nice old Dynatron colour set turned up on my doorstep the other day - It's a CTV6 and looks pretty much the same as the CTV5 on the CTV gallery except it has a 26" tube. It came from an old lady who lives not 5 doors away and she wanted it dumped but I couldn't see that happen to the poor old thing. My neighbours alerted me to it and then very kindly lifted it down the street and into my lounge for me. Thanks Gangster-Neil and Mike (My 2 neighbours) and thank you to the old lady who donated it too. The museum had its first two visitors last month (although it's not really in much of a state to visit at the moment). David Boynes from Newcastle and Peter Television (I don't actually think that's what Peter's surname is, but that's what's written in my mobile phone) from Devon came down and had a long chat, a cup of tea and sandwiches, and a fiddle with a few old TVs. Thanks David and Peter - It was excellent to see you and thank you for being the first visitors to my little museum. Crikey - this paragraph is getting quite long now - I'll try and hurry it up a bit. I also have to say thank you to a very nice old chap called Sid for letting me have a pile of old tellies he had in his back room. There were about 25 TVs, but a lot of them have been duplicates of sets I already have and I've been letting these ones go to good homes. There were a couple of sets of note, one of which was a lovely 25" Baird 703 which Sid initially said that he was going to hollow out and make into a cabinet - Gasp - Sacrilege! After much pleading he said that he wouldn't and I could have the set if I wanted it. My mate Taz from London came up to Solihull and took away some fairly decrepit TVs and then proceeded to make them look like they were brand new in a matter of days - That's fantastic that you've got those going Taz - Well done indeed. :-) A couple of weeks ago I drove down to see an excellent chap called Simon from Chipping Norton with my aspie-pal Andrew and collected some TVs including a nice little Kuba Porta-Color (which is now on the newly-installed Page-3 of the Colour TV gallery). Thanks Simon for the sets and the nice chat and cup of tea. Right that's it I think - I'm sure there is other stuff I was going to say and other people who I have missed out and haven't said "Thank You" to, but I'll add those things and people next time. As I mention in virtually every entry I put up here - Please resend any emails which I don't reply to - I HATE not answering people's emails especially as people are so kind as to send me them in the first place. I do get an awful lot of emails and some do get overlooked or they just zoom off the screen and get forgotten about before I get a chance to read them. Finally I would just like to say hello to another aspie-pal of mine, Genevieve from Lancashire who hasn't been feeling too well of late. I hope you get better very soon Gen. :-) That's definitely all for now. Thank you everyone for reading, and I'll see you all next time. Bye everyone. From Mike.
25th July 2007: Hi everyone. I hope you are well. Once again there has been lots going on, much of which I have probably forgotten about. Lots of people to say thank you to as well, and I really hope I haven't forgotten those kind people, but I may have missed somebody out. If it's you that I've forgotten, then please let me know and I will add you in. :-) First of all, thank you to a great chap in Somerset called Simon who (some months ago) let me have a Rediffusion dual-standard Colour TV which used the Rank hybrid chassis. Thank you Simon, and sorry for forgetting about it in my last jottings. Thank you also to a very kind chap called Martin from Surrey who donated the little museum a little 20" KB CK500 (CVC5 Chassis). I have not done anything with it just yet due to other TVs queueing up to be fixed, but it does get seen (and tripped over) almost every day as it's on my upstairs landing waiting for someone to accidentally push it down the stairs and smash the other CVC5 that's sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Thanks Martin - It's a great old set. Yet another thank you to Greg from Hay-on-Wye who let me have a Philips G22K550 G8 set and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. After a little bit of a scrub down and a bit of tweaking here and there, the G8 looks smart and the picture is lovely. As I already have 2 other G22K550s, this one may end up at another deserving home, but it will certainly get looked after. Thanks Greg. I had a great day out in Hay-on-Wye with my pal Kam - There are loads of book shops there. I bought books for various people, and then left half of them there - In another book shop I guess. :-( I have had visits from several good people and pals to collect stuff that I have advertised on Paul Stenning's old radio bullettin board (see the Links page) and it was very nice to see everyone. Thanks everyone for taking the stuff away - I hope it's all useful. Anyway, I think that's it for this time. As always, if I have not replied to your email, just send it again as a reminder. I always feel very guilty when I clear down my email inbox and find so many emails that I haven't even had the courtesy to reply to. :-( Bye everybody. From Mike.
13th August 2007: Hi everyone again. I'm writing this on my old desktop computer sitting at my nice new workshop bench - reclaimed from The Wesleyan building in Birmingham where they are overhauling the office and its furniture. It's a big hefty wooden desk and it replaced the clapped-out metal thing that I had from The Medical Sickness in Exeter many years ago. Anyway... First of all, an enormous thank you to Steve Pendlebury from Bolton (see Steve's website in the Links page) who let me have a fantastic working Bush CTV162 - I am absolutely over the moon with it Steve and it was very kind of you. It was one of the very few sets that the little museum in Devon needed to complete its collection of dual standard colour TVs. The other sets are the Rank 22" hybrid set (Bush CTV174D, Murphy CV2210D), and the 19" Pye dual standard set (Pye CT71, Ekco CT104). Thank you Steve. I'll put a picture of it up in the CTV gallery once I have a good enough photo. On the technical side of things, I've been doing lots of fixing of Rank A823-chassis sets recently. I modified the blanking circuit on a big white Murphy CV2215 using the circuit provided by an excellent chap called Colin Doman. The modification involves changing a few components on the tube base, and adding a couple of high-speed high-voltage BA148 diodes to the tube base panel. If anyone would like Colin's circuit (that appeared in "Television" magazine many years ago), I can give them a copy. (I hope you don't mind Colin) :-) The Murphy also had the standard fault where the resistor on the common rail at the bottom end of the A1 controls goes open circuit, and produces a bright white raster. That was easily found and replaced to reveal a pretty-good picture with poor EHT regulation and bad PAL Hanover Blinds. The poor EHT regulation was cured by replacing the 82K resistor between the line output transformer and the tripler. The resistor had gone completely open circuit. This resistor is one of the most awkward components to change as it's mounted on the back of the line output transformer which is virtually impossible to get to without removing the lopty or unbolting lots of mechanical stuff, stripping chunks of metal off the chassis itself, and then moving other chassis-bits to one side, and holding them there with anything which comes to hand. Even then it's not easy to get to the component without burning yourself or other nearby wires. Anyway, the resistor cured the EHT regulation, and a slight tweak to the decoder panel helped the Hanover Blinds a lot, although they are still not cured so I will give the decoder a realignment one of these days. (Although that can be a pain-in-the-neck as well because you can't get to any of the tweakers with the panel in the set without a set of extension leads.) I got a little Bush CTV1120 going simply by replacing the HT adjustment pot on the power supply panel and giving the frame panel controls a slight tweak. I still have to fix a dodgy convergence pot which makes the red convergence on the right hand side keep flickering. Another A823, a Bush CTV1122, had a peculiar problem in that the picture was just too dark. After a lot of head scratching and circuit-studying, I noticed that the value of the resistors on the decoder panel which received a large pulse from the line stage to correctly clamp the picture, were not the same values as in the circuit diagram. On the diagram they were shown as 6.8K, but on the board they were 4.7K. Finding no reference to any modifications etc., I changed the resistors back to the higher value and the set worked like a dream. I still have to fix an I.F. problem now though (to cure a peculiar noise pattern on the chroma) before the set is 100% cured. Anyway, sorry for waffling on. And on. Thank you everyone for reading my rubbish. I'll see you next time. From Mike.
18th September 2007: Evening everyone. I'm writing this sat at the end of platform 2 at Dorridge station, sat on my black coat which was given to me by my boss's wife who used to work at the NEC. It's a bit a little bit drizzly and my old HP laptop is getting a bit wet. I think I should move in a minute if it gets any heavier. A couple of Class 66 trains have just come whooshing by and they always make a wonderful growly noise. I like pretending that I am sitting in the back of one of the empty containers zooming across America. Perhaps Montanna or some other state which has lots of nice scenery. Er, hmm. Perhaps I am digressing a bit. A few odds and ends have been going on recently - I nearly managed to purchase a Russian "Spectrum 203-Video" (Philips "VCR" format video machine) from an auction site in Russia, but the bloke wouldn't deal with me because I was in England so I have now put a message in Russian at the bottom of my VCR Gallery page to see if anyone may have one of these machines. Thank you very much to an excellent chap called Roman who corrected my very poor Russian and gave me some much better translations. :-) The old Marconiphone 4701 (Thorn 2000 chassis) was filmed in an episode of "The Antiques Roadshow" from DeMontfort Hall in Leicester 2 weeks ago. It was only being used as a prop for Keith Hamer and Garry Smith (2 test-card fanatics) for displaying some examples of test-cards. Keith and Garry were both very nice people, and their collection of test-cards and associated paraphernalia was most impressive. I got Michael Aspel's autograph (he signed my test-card CD) and one of the crew people let me have an old BBC flesh-tones chart with a picture of a lady printed on the front. It was a very interesting day. I think the programme will be transmitted in January sometime. I went on a meetup in Earlswood Lakes (near Solihull) with some other people from a web site that I am a moderator on. It was most enjoyable, but I got sunburned a little bit. I was contacted the other week by Colin D., the excellent chap who came up with the improved blanking circuit for the Rank A823 chassis sets, and we have been nattering and reminicing about A823s and other ancient Rank sets which has been most enjoyable. :-) Well, that's about it for another unspecified period I think. I am the most disorganised and forgetful person I know, so please give me a nudge if I forget to reply to your email (as I so often do) and I promise I will reply to you. Thanks everyone again for reading. See you again soon. From Mike.
5th January 2008: Good morning everyone. It's Mike here again. I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year. As usual more things have happened than I can probably remember, but I'll add in later anything that I have forgotten now. Firstly many thanks to an excellent chap called Colin who let me have a trio of Rank A823 TVs, one of which is on here at the moment showing an old British Transport Film called "The Driving Force" from 1966. This evocative film is about the transition from steam to diesel and electricity on British railways in the 1960s. Exciting stuff indeed. I also bought some old Video 2000 machines and a Telefunken VR40 from ebay which looked enticing at the time. Thank you to the chap (I'm afraid I don't actually know your name other than your ebay ID) for the Video 2000 machines, and thank you also to another great chap called Anthony for the VR40. I've put pictures of all the new video machines up in the Video 2000 and VCR galleries. Christmas was spent lolling around down at my parents' house in Devon (Hello M and D) where (among other things) I had a stab at repairing a pair of old CTVs in my nice cosy room above the garage. The first set was the Murphy CV1912 shown on Page 2 of the Colour TV Gallery. The set had no colour, and a very non-linear frame with no frame synchronisation either. Not much was done on this set until my good pal Peter, who also lives in deepest Devon, very kindly let me have an old oscilloscope which was surplus to requirements. A quick trip to Maplin in Barnstaple for some bits-and-bobs and with 'scope probe in hand, some progress was made. A couple of leaky capacitors and an open circuit resistor were replaced which went a long way to curing the non-linear frame, and a replacement OA91 brought back the frame sync too. Because these sets use a combined frame oscillator and amplifier, a loss of sync can be caused by a problem with the "Amp" bit. I.e. a problem with linearity etc. can also cause a loss of sync, although in this case the 2 problems were entirely separate. I still have to try and get to the bottom of the colour problem and sort out another slight frame problem, but I will do that the next time I'm down there. The other set was a GEC 2113 which uses GEC's first generation solid-state chassis. Unfortunately, after sorting out a power supply fault, and after an hour of faultless working, the tripler started arcing so I am now need to replace that when I go back down to Devon too. As for New Year's Eve evening, my mates Tom and Kam came round and we watched junk on You Tube in the lounge whilst eating Tesco cheese and getting drunker and drunker on beer, wine, antifreeze, meths etc. until about 11:30 when everyone bundled off to their respective rooms after realising the last of the surgical spirit was now gone, You Tube had just about exhausted its possibilities for mindless drunken entertainment, and that New Year probably wasn't really all that much to write home about anyway. I was woken up from my drunken haze shortly afterwards by fireworks going off, so I guess I kind-of saw the new year in, although it didn't really seem terribly significant at the time. New year's day was all a bit of a fuzz, and boring old work has been taking up most of my time since then, so no more proper fixing has happened since, but I still have a house full of junk that wants looking at this year so no chance of me ever getting bored. Fed up to the back teeth of all the bloody TVs and VCRs strewn everywhere maybe, but never bored. Anyway, that's it for another exciting installment. See you soon. Bye everyone. From Mike.
12th May 2008: Evening everyone. Itís Mike here. Iím writing this sitting on the slope at the end of platform 2 at Bath Spa railway station where Iím on an IT course for a week. The course isnít actually on the slope at the end of platform 2, rather itís on the 2nd floor of a large old building in the city centre. A 30-ish year old class 43 HST in its purple ďFirstĒ livery is growling away next to me at the moment, presumably heading for stations towards Bristol. Itís 17:54, the sun is shining, the birds are tweeting, the concrete platform is nice and warm, there are soothing trains going by, Iím happy, and I might go and buy a can of freezing-cold cola in a minute. This morning I got a bit lost on my way between The Menzies Waterside Hotel where Iím staying and Bath city centre; my little GPS gadget doesnít seem to know which direction Iím heading if Iím walking, and keeps telling me to go places where roads donít actually exist. Into the river for instance. It took me about three-quarters of an hour to travel the half mile to my course. Not really much to report on site-updates although there are a few more pictures of VCRs in the VCR / VCR-LP / SVR gallery page. Click here if you want to see those. Several weeks ago my mate Tas and I went off to meet up with some other TV-collecting pals in Newcastle. We all met up at David Boynesí TV shop, where he has a most impressive collection of old TVs. Much more impressive, interesting and valuable than anything in my collection, but Dave collects rather more exotic sets than me, including more than several pre-war TVs and a 405-line NTSC colour set. We all spent an excellent day milling around and scaring off Daveís customers. Hmm. Iíve just been shooed off the end of the platform by the snotty stationmaster - The vicious swine - Iíve half a mind to take my cola-buying business elsewhere. If you visit Bath Spa railway station and you see an officious-looking master-of-ceremonies in a white uniform striding along the platform carrying a train-paddle, please give them a nasty glare and a few choice words from me. Later: Well, itís an hour later and Iím back in the bar of the Menzies Waterside Hotel now after getting in a huff with the stationmaster at the railway station and storming off in a sulk. There is a musical-saw version of something-or-other playing loudly on the speakers; I think it might be ďSmack My Bitch UpĒ by The Prodigy, although I could be wrong. People are moaning about it and having to shout to hear each other, although I think itís quite good actually. Last week my neighbour Gangster-Neil (Not his real name, although itís something similar) brought his dodgy Irish double-glazing-fitter gangster colleague Patrick Oídoors round to my house with a posh-looking fold-out under-cupboard kitchen DVD / TV to fix. Apparently the set was brand new and on special-offer from a bloke down at the Drum-and-Monkey on Four Ashes Road in Dorridge who deals in such things. Oddly, for a brand new TV, the mounting lugs looked like they have been ripped off; perhaps the owner was keen to remove it from his kitchen quickly after it stopped working. Strange, too, that the remote control is missing; presumably lost with the guarantee card and receipt. Anyway, the DVD bit looks like it might be working but the LCD TV is showing no signs of life at all. Iím not really all that inclined to look at it but Gangster Neilís mate Paddy looks like a gangster of an altogether higher order, and I donít want to come home and find a horseís head in my bed, so I think Iíll make it my next job. The Ekco 22Ē hybrid set (canít remember the model number) that I got from an excellent chap called John in Ottery-St-Mary has moved on a little bit after a good few years sitting idly in my dining room. My mate Tas from London spurred me into doing something with it, so, after replacing the tripler, a large Callins coupling capacitor on the frame board, a 1.5M resistor at the bottom end of the green A1 control, and the 3 PCL84 valves on the CDA panel, a pretty good picture was displayed. I still need to replace the blue-lateral control, which has fallen to pieces, and there are a couple of other minor faults to fix, but itís looking a lot healthier. Iíll put another picture of the set up on the site soon. These sets really can produce a wonderful picture when theyíre set up properly and I love them. My much-loved Bush CVB100 is coming on quite well and, after replacing half-a-dozen components here and there (including 2 AF115 transistors in the R-Y and B-Y demodulators), I have a pretty good picture. There is still a bit to be done to get it in tip-top condition but I'm quite pleased with the results so far. Well, Iíve waffled on enough I think, so Iíll sign off now. Bye everyone and thanks for reading. From Mike. Good grief, that Prodigy tune has started up again.
30th October 2008: Hi everyone. Iím sorry itís been so long since my last update. As always, so much has happened that I can hardly remember any of it. Iíve had so many emails from kind people and, as is par for the course, managed to reply to less than half of them. I do appreciate everyone sending me emails but I do get so many that a lot never get replied to. Iím sure Iíve done quite a lot of TV fixing etc. but I canít remember much of it at all. I canít remember whether I mentioned it before but I was given a little 19Ē Pye CT71, one of my ďMost WantedĒ TVs by a very kind chap called Malcolm from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The cabinet finish was a bit ropey, having been in a garage for a good few years, but another friend of mine, a great chap called David Boynes, performed some quick magic on it with sandpaper and special polish and it looks much nicer now. I found a company in Birmingham to replicate a metal styling strip which had snapped off along the bottom front edge of the set, and I managed to get hold of the correct badges too. (Thanks Steve F. for the donor-radio.) My big old Invicta CT70 is playing up again, giving a very bluey-green picture for the first 5 minutes before the red slowly yawns into life. I must get round to fixing that set soon. Iíll report on what the problem was next time. I recently bought a big old prototype colour set an Ekco CT100M (or perhaps itís a CT101M, Iím not sure) from an excellent chap called Danny in Norfolk - I have another page for the colour TV gallery nearly ready to put on the site, so Iíll show some shots of the insides etc. when I get the page loaded. Iím off on a 6-day Checkpoint Firewall-1 course in San Francisco tomorrow and I really should be packing. Iím mostly looking forward to it, but itís going to be 6 long days of trying to squeeze in as much information as possible after 2 days of getting over the Jet-Lag. Iíve just finished listening to the audio book version of Eckhart Tolleís ďA new EarthĒ - It was fantastic Ė One of the best books Iíve ever read and I can highly recommend it if youíre into that sort of stuff. Anyway, the next entries will be in the form of a blog of my travels. Thanks everyone for reading all my dull nonsense. Bye everyone. From Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 31st October 2008
09:58. Hi everyone. I'm sitting in a bar at Heathrow Terminal 5, 4.5 hours before my flight to California and 1.5 hours before I can check in my luggage. I packed everything I thought I might need last night and this morning my neighbour Gangster-Neil gave me a lift down to Dorridge railway station where I caught the 07:09 Chiltern-Railways service to London Marylebone. The Chiltern service is always excellent and, true to form, left Dorridge bang on time. It was the fast service so the trip took only 1.5 hours. Once in London, I dashed from the train and onto the tube, a 1972 Metro-Cammel, and travelled the 2 stops on the Bakerloo line to London Paddington. From Paddington I caught the Heathrow Express service to Heathrow Terminal 5. And here I am, sat on a comfy settee in "The 5 Tuns Pub and Kitchen". Wow, a waitress has just brought my breakfast, Eggs Florentine. Yummy. :-) Well, itís 5 minutes later and my Eggs Florentine hardly touched the sides. My mate Tas phoned mid-mouthful but I told him to clear off and phone back in 5 minutes. Well, thatís all for now. Bye everyone. From Mike. Later: Good grief. 20 minutes later and Tas still hasnít phoned back. Tsk.
11:55. Itís now 11:55 and Iím sat in the departure lounge of Terminal 5. Iím really not sure what Iím supposed to do now. My flight BA287 is shown on the board but it has no number against it. I guess I have to worry about getting to the departure-bit when theyíve decided where the plane is going to take off from. Iím sat on the first floor near the Starbucks and for some reason the floor keeps shaking. I have a very good view of the aeroplanes landing and taking off. My Ďplane is a Boeing 747-400 (itís not actually MY plane of course, but the plane Iím going to fly on). I am travelling British Airways cattle-class in seat 36E. I think they will come round with some food during the 11 hour flight but I donít know what kind of food it will be. Possibly hay.
13:08. Itís 13:08 and my aeroplane departure-place number has been shown on the board. It is gate B42 which was miles away from the other bit of the terminal. The horizontal-lift that took us to the terminal was great fun Ė it accelerated to a high speed in next to no time and sent the people that werenít sitting down reeling to the back of the cabin. I can see the Boeing 747-400 that Iím going to fly on (I think). Itís HUUGE. I have obviously never seen one up close as itís much bigger than I thought. I have a middle seat (36E) unfortunately, so Iím not going to be able to see much out of the windows, and likely Iíll be sat next door to a fat smelly weirdo who wonít stop talking (as will the person who sits next door to me). :-) Oh well, apparently I just have to wait for the announcement now. Back to watching the planes I think. P.S. Wow - They're just calling the announcement for flights to Lesbos.
03:20. Well itís 03:20 in the morning UK Time and 20:20 in the evening San Francisco time. After a roller-coaster taxi ride in a Chrysler Voyager driven by a chap who didnít seem to speak much English, I finally made it to the Holiday Inn in Fishermanís Wharf. Iím absolutely tired-out so Iím off to bed with no supper. Goodnight everyone. From Mike. Zzzzz.
Mike's Travel Blog - 1st November 2008
06:40 (San Francisco time). Morning everyone. Itís (unsurprisingly) Mike here again. Well, I was up very early this morning and Iím just about to tuck into my breakfast. Itís a thing that they call a ďSkilletĒ which I guess really refers to the pan itís cooked in, but it contains Chopped-up Grilled Sausage, Chopped Fried Onions, Diced Fried Potatoes and Green Peppers, all topped off with several Fried Eggs. It is huge and Iím going to struggle to finish it I think. 5 minutes later: That was delicious. I am very full though. Hmm. Itís tipping it down outside, I was going to go off to find some double-decker trains today but it looks a bit gloomy. Oh well, I think Iíll go anyway.
10:10. Iíve just come back from an excellent ride on a double-decker train. I only went a few stops up the road from Caltrainís San Francisco depot to the San Francisco South station, and then straight back to San Francisco again. I also went into a local Safeway and bought some jars of Smuckerís Goober Peanut-Butter and Jelly (Jam). Hmm. Iíve just realised that perhaps I should have bought them later on in the day as they are heavy and now I have to cart the bloody things around all day. Ho hum. Right, Iím off to try and find out where I need to go to get to Alcatraz. Bye for now everyone.
12:15. Well, Iím just off the boat from my trip to Alcatraz island. Apparently ďAlcatrazĒ means ďPelicanĒ, and the island was named after the birds that live there. It was all very interesting, if a bit wet. Iím glad Iíve been there, even if itís just to tick another box on my list of things to do before I die. It was so rainy and windy on the island that every time I went outside it blew my guided-tour-headphones off. My Smuckerís Goober came a cropper too when I put the paper grocery bag down in some water and the bottom fell out when I went to lift it back up again. The jars went everywhere but none got broken. The whole place was very very busy and it was a bit bamboozling during the visit, but I managed to escape in the end and got back onto the boat with my sanity intact.
14:13. Hi everyone. Iíve just arrived back at my hotel at 1300 Columbus Avenue after a very long walk, and Iím absolutely soaked through to the skin. After Alcatraz I decided to wander back to the hotel but after a few blocks down The Embarcadero (the street along the sea front) I suddenly realised I had no idea how to get back. I wandered around for quite some time, periodically asking passers-by, who were very enthusiastic to help a drenched and slightly scared foreigner in a nerdy-looking anorak, if not terribly helpful. I got sent in all different directions, I even phoned my always-knowledgeable mate Terry in the UK for directions before serendipitously stumbling upon my final resting place in a gesture contrived far more of luck than of any real judgement. 15 minutes later: Right, Iíve had a nice bath and Iím all dry and happy again - Marvellous. Iíve just had a quick look at the photos I took today and they all appear rather dull and gloomy, but thatís okay, they reflect the day perfectly and Iím sure the weather will cheer up soon. Iím thinking of going to the cinema to watch James Bond this afternoon, although Iím a bit reticent now after my adventure this afternoon. Perhaps if it stops raining laterÖ
Mike's Travel Blog - 2nd November 2008
18:10. Iím afraid that after a day spent whizzing around San Francisco seeing all the stuff that I thought I needed to see (but probably didnít), my brain has now gone on strike and Iím feeling uncommonly gloomy and pessimistic. Itís not been a good day for getting lost, banging into things, tripping over, losing tickets, money, receipts, tour-busses etc. Iím missing England, my house, and all my good pals very much too. Iíll write it all up tomorrow. I know itís very early but Iím off to bed now, and I'll be much cheerier tomorrow. Goodnight everyone. From your mate Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 3rd November 2008
18:44. Evening everyone. Well, after a good day spent in the classroom I am feeling a fair bit better than yesterday. I think that now I have something interesting and meaningful to do I will feel better for the rest of the week. Yesterday was just a bit of a blur Ė I did loads of things but they really just went in one eye and straight out the other. I saw a very peaceful place called Muir Woods - at least I guess it would have been fairly peaceful but for all the screaming kids. Anyway, the trees there were very impressive, the oldest being over 1800 years old. Apparently there are some a bit further north which are getting on for 3000 years old Ė Wow Ė Thatís really old. I also took an absurdly expensive sight-seeing bus trip and saw all the bits of San Francisco that, according to the sign in the booking-office, any self-respecting tourist couldnít possibly leave without seeing. Hmmm. I saw loads of very steep hills, underground-cable driven trams, absurdly windy roads, colourful legs sticking out of house windows etc. etc. I walked briefly on the Golden Gate Bridge and took some photos of the bits which werenít in mist, I paid 5 dollars to spend 20 minutes in a Japanese tea-garden (about 1 dollar for every 100 people crammed into this 0.25 acre area), I saw some slightly weird people taking a tabby cat for a walk, I even saw a policeman going into a doughnut shop - I think that bit was worth the 50 dollars tour-fee alone. Later on, in a vain effort to cheer myself up, I bought some Cadburyís chocolate, but, upon tasting it, realised that it wasnít really Cadburyís chocolate at all Ė it was made in the US by a company called ďHersheeĒ and it doesnít taste as nice as the real thing. Anyway, the hotel that I have moved into is called ďThe Pickwick HotelĒ on 5th Street. Itís quite a big hotel, joined onto a big department store called ďBloomingdalesĒ. The bed is very comfortable, but the room is very dull and gloomy, and has been designed in a very old fashioned style. However, it is home for the next 5 nights and itíll do just fine. The course is, without doubt, the best bit of the whole trip although itís all been pretty easy-going so far. I have decided that it will be much safer for everyone if I confine myself to the hotel or the classroom until the 6 days are up. Then it will be time to come home and Iíll be able get back to a normal routine and also see all my pals and work mates that I am missing so much. Thanks everyone for reading, and thank you to the kind people who have sent me text messages etc. It is very much appreciated.
Mike's Travel Blog - 4th November 2008
06:47. Morning everyone. Itís Mike here again. Well, Iím up and bathed and ready to go off downstairs to my course. Since every meal I have had so far has been very fatty and extremely huge, Iíve decided to miss breakfast for the rest of the week. Yesterday the class of 4 (including me) went off to lunch with the instructor at 11:30, right across the street to a burger bar called The Brickhouse Cafe. The burger was delicious and, even though I ordered the smallest one there, the one that turned up was similar to the large one in the video below. There were biscuits and drinks on tap the whole day and by the time dinner came around at about 18:30-ish I was so full that I couldnít even finish the Hummus and Pitta-Bread starter that Iíd ordered as a main course. Luckily the instructor, an excellent chap called Barry Stiefel, was there to polish the rest of it off for me. Anyway, Iím off to the course now. Bye everyone. From your mate Mike.
21:38. Evening everyone. It's pretty late for me for typing up this blog but I've just come back from some very posh and strange restaurant where I had oysters (actually only one oyster because I didn't really like the first one I had very much) and some peculiar chicken-sausage with sauerkraut and grainy-mustard. During the meal we all watched Barack Obama get elected president of the USA. John McCain made a very good speech to concede defeat first and then Barack Obama made his excellent speech afterwards. Because of the result there is an awful lot of hooting, beeping, and rejoicing going on outside my window on the 4th floor of the hotel, and it's a bit too noisy to sleep for the moment. I guess it will calm down soon. I took my Checkpoint CCSA exam today and passed with 81%. It was a lot more difficult than I thought so I'm not really looking forward to the CCSE exam which I am going to take on Friday or Saturday. Well, that's it so I'm off to bed now. Thanks for reading and goodnight everyone. Zzzzz.
Mike's Travel Blog - 5th November 2008
20:13. Evening everyone. Sorry I donít have much interesting news today, in fact it has been most uneventful really. We discussed the merits (or not) of Diffie-Hellman, RSA, SHA-1, AES-256 and other components necessary for successful encryption and VPN tunnels, a subject about as dry and uninteresting to most people as it could possibly be, but one that I find intensely fascinating. And speaking of dry, Iím afraid I broke my breakfast-fast and succumbed to the supposed delights of Biscuits and Gravy in The Brickhouse Cafe on Brannan Street this morning. Biscuits and Gravy, I was assured by mate Terry, was as close to being food of the gods as was humanly possible. The ďBiscuitĒ bit wasnít like a Custard-Cream or Hob-Nob or anything like that, think more of a stale plain English scone with all the remaining moisture and flavour sucked out and then left in the sun for a bit. The ďGravyĒ bit was like a very thick mid-grey lard sauce with extra pork scratchings added for flavour. The whole ensemble was finally augmented with half a dozen fried eggs liberally scattered on top. Mmmm. Apparently this gourmet dish is very popular in the southern states. Having said that, other than it being a bit dry, it didnít taste too bad, although Iím not sure Iíd choose it again. At lunch time the class went to a French restaurant in an area of San Francisco called ďSouth ParkĒ. It was very nice, and my choice of food (half a cabbage with a sausage poking out the top and some French mustard) was actually nicer than it sounds. I donít think Iíll bother having any tea tonight lest I explode. Goodnight everyone. From your mate Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 7th November 2008
04:40. Good morning everyone. Yesterday my mate Carl said that I have talked too much about food in my random jottings here, although in my defence this place does seem to revolve around food; every other shop seems to be a food shop, and every portion is a jumbo sized one. However, in the interests of not boring everyone I shall not mention food any more in this entry. I really canít remember what we did on the course yesterday, presumably something useful, but I have no idea what it was. We did set up some VPN tunnels between all our boxes but Iím sure there must have been more to it than that. In the evening, 2 of my course-mates took me along with them on a bicycle ride over the Golden Gate Bridge; the sun was going down and it was very picturesque. It was much a longer ride than I thought it would be and my legs feel very stiff from the ride this morning. We cycled all the way across to Vista Point and I took a few photos before turning back for the return journey. Right now Iím just swotting-up on Voice-over-IP (VoIP), which was largely glossed over by the teacher Ė I have to say that it is not the most interesting part of the course. Thanks for reading everyone. From Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 8th November 2008
19:33. Evening everyone. Well itís been a pretty good day today. I got up very early to swot up on Voice over IP (VoIP), Quality of Service (QoS) and anything else that they were likely to ask on the CCSE exam. In the morning we had a lecture regarding QoS and then some revision up until lunch time. The food we had for lunch at 11:20 was excellent (if a little too early after breakfast) Ė it was Japanese Sushi and it was most enjoyable. I took the exam this afternoon and passed with a score of 80% although I was convinced all the way through that I was going to fail. Some of the questions were relatively easy but some were so esoteric that I thought I had no chance of answering them correctly. I had fish and chips and Scotch whiskey in a pub this evening, but Iím hoping that today is the last day of unhealthy stodge for a good long time. Iím not sure if Iíve had 5 portions of vegetables since I got here, and I feel very bloated and unhealthy. Iím not really sure what I will do tomorrow (Saturday); I think I have seen everything I wanted to see and I have spent way too much money on junk already so maybe I will have a lie-in and have a walk around the city when I do eventually get up. I have the TV on next door to my desk here, a Zenith H2014Y, and it is showing a repeat of a very old episode of "Friends". Everyone's faces look a bit red and the 525 line structure is quite noticeable, although generally speaking the picture quality is pretty reasonable - Not bad for a colour system that is 55 years old. Thanks everyone for reading. Goodnight everyone. From your mate Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 9th November 2008
17:39. Evening everyone. Itís been a day of travelling today. I set out from my hotel at about 09:30-ish this morning and wandered up to the San Francisco BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) underground train station on Powell Street. The trains look very peculiar from the outside Ė a bit like a one-eyed version of the ďEagleĒ from the TV series ďSpace 1999Ē. Inside, the trains are big and comfortable and amazingly clean, and much nicer that our London Transport ones. Anyway, I took a BART train to the random location of my choice, a place called Fremont, about 30 miles away. At Fremont I decided to go to San Jose for no other reason than it sounded moderately interesting, and I decided to take a bus to the road where the Amtrak railway station was located. I kind-of assumed that, as the bus that I took went to Fremont Boulevard and that the Amtrak station was also on Fremont Boulevard, I could just jump off the bus and the station would be right there. How wrong I was. I started to get a little bit worried when I spotted house numbers over 40,000, and, as I had no idea what number the railway station was, after about an hour of walking, I eventually decided to take the first bus I saw. A bus duly turned up (the 210) and the nice lady driver told me when the station was coming up. After thanking the driver and waving goodbye to the other passengers I bought a ticket from the automated Amtrak ticket dispenser. For some reason the machine refused both my debit and credit cards but luckily I had cash and the machine was fine with that. After about 15 minutes the biggest train I have ever seen pulled into the station Ė the platforms were at ground-level and the train was a HUGE double-decker monster in the grand style. The train was called an Amtrak Super-Liner and had all the facilities including a proper restaurant car. The coaches werenít like the comfortable-but-spartan Caltrain ones that Iíd been on earlier in the week, but very wide luxury affairs with enormous seats that reclined and had loads of leg-room. The coach that I picked was completely empty and I had an extremely pleasant trip down to San Jose. Again, I was quite taken by how clean everything was Ė there wasnít a speck of dirt to be seen anywhere. At San Jose railway station I bought another railway ticket and, without stepping out of the railway station, swapped platforms for the journey back to San Francisco. This time it was my old friend the Caltrain commuter train; again, a comfortable and very clean double-decker, but not as posh as the Amtrak train. When I arrived back at the San Francisco Caltrain depot, I took the ďMuniĒ tram along the Embarcadero until I arrived at Pier 39 and then I walked across to the junction of Mason Street and Columbus Avenue where I jumped on a cable-car. It was most exciting because it was very full and I had to stand on the running-board right at the front all the way to the terminus at Powell Street, the very place where I had started out from this morning. After a 5 minute walk back to my hotel on Fifth Street, here I am. Anyway, thatís it for now - It is my last full day today and I am very much looking forward to seeing England, my house, my family, and all my pals again. My flight isnít until 16:30 tomorrow evening, and I will arrive back in England at 10:25 on Monday morning. Bye everyone. From your mate in the US, Mike.
Mike's Travel Blog - 10th November 2008
10:45 (San Francisco time). Hi everyone. Iíve had quite a good morning so far today, but now itís gotten a bit boring. Iím sitting on a big squashy orange chair just outside a hamburger bar called ďBurger JointĒ in San Francisco International Airport. I arrived about an hour ago, nearly 7 hours before my flight so that I wouldnít be late; in hindsight I think I could have set off a little bit later and still been okay. This morning I set off from my hotel on Fifth Street quite early and wandered through the financial district with its very impressive tall buildings all the way down to the Embarcadero. From there I ambled to Pier 39 and spent 10 minutes watching the sea lions hooting and fighting and sleeping on their special platforms. After that I walked to Columbus Street and caught the cable car back to my hotel, where I settled my bill and checked out. From my hotel I wandered up to the nearest BART station and caught the underground train to San Francisco International Airport. And here I am. I have one more case with me than I set out with last week because I bought so many jars of Smuckerís Goober that they wouldnít go in my big suitcase. I have a feeling that I may be over my weight limit too, and then I will have to pay a surcharge; this could work out to be the most expensive peanut-butter and jam in the world. If the surcharge is too much Iíll probably throw all the Goobers away, but thatís okay, I will have had the pleasure of lumbering the bloody stuff all over the place the whole week for no purpose whatsoever, and thatís the main thing. Okay, Iím not sure if Iíll be able to upload this until I get back tomorrow morning, but Iíll give it a try. Thanks everyone for reading. From your pal Mike. PS. On searching around the VHF band with my little radio I managed to pick up a station broadcasting "A Prarie Home Companion" which was very exciting. I love listening to that show in England, but to hear it from the US was even better.
12:27 (United Kingdom time) (04:27 San Francisco Time). Hi everyone again. Well, Iím back in the UK and heading for Dorridge on the 12:20 Chiltern service out of London Marylebone. Iíve just re-read the blog that I posted this morning; I can hardly believe that itís the same day and that I havenít been to sleep since that time all those hours ago. Itís half past 12 here and Iím not feeling particularly tired; it does actually feel like the correct time to me. I donít think I ever really adjusted properly to San Francisco time so perhaps it wonít be too difficult to change back to UK time again. The train is just passing Sudbury Hill Harrow railway station, and I think I have about another 1.5 hours before I arrive back at Dorridge station. The rain is tipping down outside the train, which, of course, is the best place for the rain to be. I have to go to work tomorrow but Iíll probably end up snoozing under my desk or in the computer room or somewhere like that. I certainly have enjoyed my trip to California but Iím so glad to be back home to normality and healthy-ish food again. Thanks for reading everyone. From your mate Mike.
18:02. It's now a good 29 hours that I have been awake without a wink of sleep. I think I have gotten past the tired stage now so I will try and go to bed at the normal time and see how it all works out tomorrow. My house was absolutely freezing when I got in so I have started a fire going in the lounge and that is where I am writing this. (In the lounge, that is, not in the fire.) Well, I guess that's it for this travel blog. Thanks for reading everyone. From your good pal Mike.
11th November 2008: At last, a proper upgrade to the site. Well, a fairly minor one anyway - I've added a Page 4 to the Colour TV Gallery with a few more interesting (or not) old TVs. The big difference is that the page is now dynamic and some of the pictures can change depending on where you click. The text of the page isn't quite finished yet, but I'll get that updated over the next few days.
20th November 2008: I've added some more text on page 4 of the Colour TV gallery, fixed a few dodgy links around the place, and added another link to the bottom of the "Links" page for an excellent company called "M.A. Lloyd" in Birmingham.
6th September 2009: Hi everyone. It's Mike here again. I'm sorry it's been a long time since the last update. Firstly, as usual, apologies to all those people that have emailed me and I've not replied to. I get an awful lot of emails and I find it very difficult to get round to answering everyone, but do just keep pestering me and I'll eventually get round to replying. :-) So much has happened since the last update (although not much to the web site) that I really couldn't fit it all in to this short jotting, so I won't even try. I've been parting company with a lot of my TVs recently in an effort to save my sanity - they were beginning to take over my brain as well as my house, and some of them had to go. Almost universally they have found good homes, but I still have more to part with and hopefully I'll be able to start to see a bit more of my house and I will be much less TV'd-out than I am now. I very briefly joined Facebook and then got scared and decided against it and "suspended" my account. It's a little bit unsettling that you can never actually "cancel" your Facebook account. I'm no longer taking any medicine for my fuzzy-head, so I'm back to my bumbling self again but I have no unpleasant side-effects which is probably for the best. As for the site, I've updated a bit of the text on page 4 of the colour TV gallery, but that's about it. I'm not really sure about the future of this web site (and my TV collection) at the moment, but I guess I'll feel better when I've reduced everything down to a more manageable level. Thanks everyone. From your mate Mike.
14th November 2010: Evening everyone. Itís Mike here again. Well, itís been over a year since I last updated the web site (apart from a few new pictures in the TV sections) and as people have been nagging me to do something about the site I thought Iíd better get on with it. Iím writing this sitting on a cushion on top of my Bush CTV25 in my fixing-room in the new museum building down in Devon. My dad is fiddling with the heating and itís swelteringly hot. On the table in front of me (behind the screen of my old laptop) is the dual standard 24Ē Bush TV193D that Iíve been fiddling with this afternoon; itís displaying a lovely bright Test Card F in 625 lines and there is some groovy trombone music blasting from the little 3 ohm speaker underneath the controls. The set was given to me a few years ago by an excellent university professor from Bristol called Melvyn. Iíve not really done anything with it up to now but I thought Iíd better get on and do something with it lest it sit forever broken on the floor or, worse, Melvyn phones me up and asks how itís getting on. SoÖ [Cue swirly harp-music, wavy lines and image fading to earlier this afternoon.] On first powering the set up, I was greeted with a frightful crackling noise and an almost instant smell of lovely poisonous ozone. My initial fears that it would be a faulty Rank pitch-covered line output transformer were slightly soothed when I removed the metal screening can and saw a nice new line output transformer containing no pitch whatsoever. After giving everything a good drying out with paper-towels and a damn good clean with water-repellent spray and Pledge polish (no, really) the set was once again powered up and there was no crackling or fizzing to be heard. The picture was a bit dim and gloomy, tending to turn silver whenever the brightness was turned up, the frame scan was very much reduced, and the line hold was jammed at one end. Oh dear - time to get cracking then. The frame fault turned out, of course, to be the two resistors at the top and bottom ends of the frame amplitude (height) control. The 1M resistor at the bottom end of the control read 1.8M and the 680K at the top end was over 2.5M. Replacing these brought back a nice tall picture and the height control then had lots of range too. Next to the line hold problem. Again, a very simple fault, this time it was the 180K resistor in the top end of the line hold control, which had zoomed up to 400K-ish. Replacing this brought back proper adjustment to the two line hold controls. The tube problem was next and, again, a very simple cure Ė my cheap and nasty Heathkit tube-bopper was pulled out from its hiding place and pressed into service. The Mullard A61-120W didnít need an awful lot of zapping before the emission came flooding back Ė the tube isnít absolutely 100% but to give it another go on the tube bopper risks killing it, but it still produces a nice bright picture now and leaving the set on for a while might bring it up even more. The focus setting was moved up one notch and the set was put back together and switched on. A nice bright linear picture with bags of contrast was displayed with lovely booming sound and no sign of any caption buzz (unlike certain other sets of a similar age I could mention). These sets produce a fantastically good picture and always work equally well on 625 lines or 405 lines. Thanks Melvyn, itís a cracking set.
Everyone duly turned up clutching bags and boxes full of biscuits, cakes, sausage rolls, pasties and TV-related junk to swap for other junk. The whole day was extremely enjoyable and was spent either making tea, drinking tea, watching other people fix my broken TVs (you know who you are, and to those people, thank you very much) or chilling-out in the lounge watching Test Card J dubbed over with Mahler.
The earliest person turned up at about 08:30 and the last person didnít leave until late (I guess about 21:30-ish). The whole thing turned out to be a fantastically enjoyable day and a huge thank you to everyone that turned up and made it so successful. The end result of the day was that I ended up getting two TVs fixed expertly (my KB CVC1-chassis model CK400 which had frame-collapse and a Bush CTV162 with poor focus).
I probably gained half a stone, what with all the biscuits and other comestibles chock-full of saturated-goodness that were consumed over the course of the day.
Of course, loads more has happened over the last year but itís mostly been lost to that part of my memory which can never be accessed (like most things in fact). I did buy something very special and very exciting from an excellent chap from a place in Kent a couple of months ago, but thatís for another entry soon I think. As always, please accept my apologies for not replying to emails, I do get a huge amount and sometimes itís not possible to get round to answering all of them. I do appreciate them all though. Thanks everyone from your old mate Mike.
Everyone duly turned up clutching bags and boxes full of biscuits, cakes, sausage rolls, pasties and TV-related junk to swap for other junk. The whole day was extremely enjoyable and was spent either making tea, drinking tea, watching other people fix my broken TVs (you know who you are, and to those people, thank you very much) or chilling-out in the lounge watching Test Card J dubbed over with Mahler.
The earliest person turned up at about 08:30 and the last person didnít leave until late (I guess about 21:30-ish). The whole thing turned out to be a fantastically enjoyable day and a huge thank you to everyone that turned up and made it so successful. The end result of the day was that I ended up getting two TVs fixed expertly (my KB CVC1-chassis model CK400 which had frame-collapse and a Bush CTV162 with poor focus).
I probably gained half a stone, what with all the biscuits and other comestibles chock-full of saturated-goodness that were consumed over the course of the day.
Of course, loads more has happened over the last year but itís mostly been lost to that part of my memory which can never be accessed (like most things in fact). I did buy something very special and very exciting from an excellent chap from a place in Kent a couple of months ago, but thatís for another entry soon I think. As always, please accept my apologies for not replying to emails, I do get a huge amount and sometimes itís not possible to get round to answering all of them. I do appreciate them all though. Thanks everyone from your old mate Mike.
25th December 2010: Morning everyone. It's Mike here again. I'm writing this sat in the workshop of my cold and quiet house. I can smell a hundred roast-dinners cooking from up and down the street and they are making me feel hungry. Luckily, one of those roast dinners will soon be inside my tum as I am joining my neighbours Gangster-Neil and Gangster-Nicola for a big Christmas nosh-up a little bit later on. Nothing much to report on the fixing front apart from a nice old Dynatron CTV5 (with the Pye 691 chassis) which was given to be an excellent old mate of mine called Steve from Exmouth. The set had a brand new Mullard A63-120X 25" tube fitted but apparently the set was never really used after that. In fact I suspect that the set was NEVER used after that (more on that later). Now a few of the faults have been ironed out the set has a very nice picture. Among the usual faults: the 10M resistor in the line-output stage had gone all-but open circuit causing very low width and low EHT, the 3 8.2Meg resistors in the CDA panel had all gone very high value causing odd grey-scale, strange colour-difference and low-ish saturation, the 10K resistor shunting the 4.43MHz trap on the CDA panel had gone high causing a very smeary and ringy picture, and a problem with terrible convergence turned out to be the convergence yoke having been fitted 120 degrees out - That's the main reason why I think the set had probably never been used after the new tube was fitted. There is still a minor convergence fault, a frame blanking fault and, just as I was about to turn the set off, the colour fizzled out too. Those bloody Pye decoders - What a fantastic design and wonderful picture, but what terrible reliability. Never mind, I'm sure the decoder fault will just be one of those terribly unreliable BC147s or BF194s and I can't imagine the blanking and convergence faults can be anything too nasty. The Dynatron will certainly be another example of just how good the picture on these sets can be.
A sneak-preview of the new mystery item.
23rd April 2011: Evening everyone. Itís Mike here again. Iím writing this on the 19:40 train from Eggesford to Exeter St Davids, a First Great Western class 150 ďSprinterĒ. I was expecting one of the bumpy old BREL / BL / Volvo Class 142 / 143 "Pacer" trains but the 150 is much nicer and far less bouncy. As usual nothing too much exciting to report, although a few things of minor interest have happened. The TV museum in Beaford has come a big step closer to being finished Ė There is now a nice thick carpet on the floor downstairs and spur-shelving on the walls Ė where youíd expect to find carpet and shelving really. Iíve moved lots of bits-and-bobs in to the downstairs section but some of it is just tat which I had lying around upstairs so some nicer stuff will come down from my house in Solihull next time Iím down here. Iím now saving up to have carpets fitted upstairs too but theyíre pretty expensive and Iím not a rich person. On the fixing front, my mate Tas and I got a Dynatron CTV5 (Pye 691 chassis) going Ė It had a colour fault (or rather colour faults), a convergence problem and a blanking issue. For the colour problems, various BC147 and BF194 ďLockfitĒ transistors had started failing one after another, 4 in the decoder and 2 on the CDA panel. (Delay line driver, 7.8KHz ident amplifier, Chroma amp and Burst gate transistors in the decoder and G-Y matrix preamp and blanking amplifier on the CDA panel.) This is a very common problem known as DOTS or Dodgy Old Transistor Syndrome and for some reason it seems to affect Pye hybrid sets more than any other. Once all these transistors were replaced we moved on to the minor convergence problem; the symptom of which was that the blue horizontals departed from the horizontal at the extreme left and right of the screen. After much prodding and measuring of waveforms and cold resistance checks, we decided that the problem could only be caused by the line-derived blue convergence coil on the tube yoke. This was proven by temporarily swapping the yoke from another Dynatron set. The blanking issue was a bit of a puzzler to start with but was traced to an earth wire which had become detached from the sync plug on the I.F. panel. The set had recently had a brand new tube fitted and so the resulting picture, always good from these Pye-chassis sets was spectacularly good. Even the EHT regulation, normally poor on this kind of set, wasnít too bad. The sound requires a minor tweak as the best picture doesnít always match up with the best sound, but the HUGE speaker means the set has the potential to deliver very good sound too.
30th June 2011: Hey everyone - Itís Mike here again. Iím typing this sat in the lounge of The Green Man, a first class pub in Swindon (near Dudley). Iím typing on my decrepit Lenovo R60 Thinkpad, a beast of a laptop and quite bullet proof although the battery isnít really what it was. To my left is a pint of Ginger Beard, a medium-strength real-ale made with Ginger. The table has been cleared by Lynette the very nice landlady. Iím off on holiday to Devon for a few days tomorrow but en-route Iím visiting Mike Barker, an excellent chap, whoís going to respray my Murphy Acoustic Deluxe which was damaged by a courier company as it was being returned to Devon following its loan to North One television. (North One make The Gadget Show and always look after my odds-and-ends whenever they borrow them, but this time the couriers managed to take a couple of big chunks of white ďveneerĒ from the front of the set.) My mate Tone has just turned up so Iíd better close for now. Back shortly...
17th July 2011: Crikey, well that was a long ďshortlyĒ. Anyway, a couple of weeks have passed since the last entry and I dropped off my Murphy Acoustic Deluxe to Mike Barker in Devizes and had a look around Mike and Jimís planned Murphy museum Ė Itís going to be huge and much bigger than my little museum down here. I think it will have some much more interesting relics than my museum too. Well done Mike and Jim Ė I hope I get invited to the opening ceremony. Anyway, Iím now back down in Devon again, having been down here and back in Solihull again once already since my last entry. On this trip Iíve been erecting tables for all the VTRs and VCRs, laying everything out and printing labels and putting them into some little plastic label-holders kindly donated from my mate Steve Farleyís old shop ďJollysĒ in Kingstanding. The carpets are now down in the TV-section downstairs and the VTR section upstairs, courtesy of ďS and G CarpetsĒ in Torrington, and everywhere has now got the look of a proper museum, if still pretty small. There is still one last bit that I need carpeting and organising but Iíll get that sorted out when I can afford it. All the aerial connections, mains sockets and CAT5e Ethernet sockets are now plumbed in and working, there is now wired and wireless Internet connectivity and 405 and 625 line video permanently available throughout both floors and the heating and shower / toilet facilities are also now live and working, so everything is well on its way for the grand opening sometime soon. Unfortunately the place isnít half big enough to display most of the interesting colour sets so there will have to be some kind of rotation system, but this will mean carting stuff up and down between Devon and Solihull and thatís not going to be very good for the TVs. I might have to think of something else. (Does anyone have any dry storage in West / North Devon? A nice cheap barn I could buy perhaps?) In other news, a good pal of mine Rory Clark, with the help of another mate Dave Jeffries, have kindly made a second test card disc for the museum, chock full of interesting test cards, animations, idents and music - itís really excellent. Thank you a huge amount Rory and Dave. I have also put together another test card disc without any of the fancy stuff in Roryís disc, but itís small enough to download and has all the useful test cards and several test patterns too. Itís freely downloadable from here:
26th November 2012: Evening all. I hope everyone is fine and well. As ever, itís been a huge long time between entries and so much has happened that I wonít even attempt to chronicle the majority of it Ė perhaps just a few interesting (or not) points. First of all, 5 months after my last entry (in November 2011) I contracted prostatitis Ė thatís an inflammation of the prostate. I wonít say too much more about it but it does make sitting down quite painful and causes some other unpleasant things too. This means that I canít always make the long journeys in the car to visit my pals or collect TVs that I used to. Unfortunately the problem can take years to go away and thereís not much they can do about it. I have another hospital appointment in a few weeks to see Mr Syed, a urologist at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, so I hope he can help the problem out a bit. In TV news, my mate Tone came round at the weekend and helped me out fixing an old 1949 Bush TV12A TV for the museum in Beaford, Devon. To be honest it didnít really need an awful lot doing to it other than the usual blanket-change of the nasty wax capacitors and the replacement of one of the smoothing cans Ė the most difficult one to get to in fact. Unfortunately a lot of the rubber wiring has perished and if any of it is disturbed the rubber sheathing flakes off in a pile of hard rubber ďbitsĒ to reveal the bare wire beneath. As for other TV stuff, I've just finished off fixing up a Decca CTV25 for a very nice lady called Lucy from Ealing in London. Lucy is very big in the world of test-cards and test-card music and is always much in demand for talks, after-dinner speeches, international peace-treaty summits etc. She also hosts an excellent monthly radio show with lots of test-card music and other related stuff. Anyway, this Decca has been a year in the fixing and has had a huge number of faults rectified as well as a whole lot of work to make the set more reliable so it can be used as an everyday set - on both 405 lines and 625 lines. I really didn't like the set to start with - it always looked a bit "home made" and scrappy to my eyes but it has grown on me over the period and now I like it a lot. I have to deliver the TV down to Lucy in a few weeks but I think she is quite demanding and I'm quite worried that it's not going to be up to her expectations. :-( I'll put a picture of the set up on the Colour section sometime in the next few weeks. In other news, Iíve just finished a book (an audio book anyway) called ďCold VengeanceĒ Ė the latest in a series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child featuring an FBI agent called ďAloysius PendergastĒ Ė It was fantastic and I can highly recommend the whole series, which starts off with a book called ďRelicĒ and gets better and better as the series progresses. Iíve had a bit of a tidy up of the web site front page Ė itís still terrible, old-fashioned and badly coded but Iím really too lazy to do anything else with it to be honest. I will upload a few new pictures of TVs etc. over the next few weeks and put the details on the front page. The diary and California travel-blog are still available in the ďdiaryĒ section (see link at the bottom of the page). As always, please accept my sincere apologies if I donít manage to answer your kind emails Ė I always feel very guilty. They are always much appreciated but I do get an awful lot of them and they do get overlooked sometimes. Anyway, I think thatís it for this time and I'm hungry (although actually I'm always hungry). Thanks everyone. From your old mate in Solihull (and Devon sometimes), Mike.
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