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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Restoration cost?

Restoration cost for a particular set may vary considerably, depending upon the set's complexity and pre-restoration condition.  A full Evaluation and Estimate workup must be completed individually for each set in order to determine its Restoration Cost accurately.  The Bench Fee for the initial workup is $50 when our site is contacted directly ($75 when a fee-based Referral Service initiates the Service Request) to perform the required diagnostics on a Post-WW2 B/W TV and compile a Condition Report and Estimate.  The Bench Fee applies as a credit toward Restoration charges following Estimate approval.  Estimates can vary for Post-WW2 B/W models from $300 to well over $1,000 depending upon our Technicians' determinations of which Procedures and Materials will be needed for the individual set being evaluated.

After Restorations, should I operate my Vintage TV sets as much or as often as when they were new, or should I operate them as little as possible to minimize tube wear?

Somewhere in between these extremes is best.  While some parts (tubes, for example) are subject to gradual wear in direct proportion to usage, other parts (electrolytic capacitors, especially) can deteriorate from insufficient use.  Just as a restored Vintage Automobile should not be subject to 12,000 annual miles of driving but also should not be stored unused for long periods, the same moderate-usage principle should be practiced with Vintage TV.  A minimum of 30 minutes' operation during any seven-day rolling period is required for continued reliability, but more than 20 hours weekly usage or more than 4 hours in a single day is not recommended.

I own an Antique Shop or other Retail store having a Nostalgia theme.  I would like to display old movies or shows on a Philco Predicta (or other Restored Vintage TV) in my store window or similar on-site exhibit.  Is this recommended?

As stated above, eight or more hours of daily operation is not recommended.  If you have a collection consisting of multiple sets such that all of them can be connected to the same signal source and subsequently plugged in for operation one at a time such that the 48 or more weekly hours of run time can be distributed among perhaps four sets (about 12 weekly hours per set) in rotating shifts, this would be a suitable arrangement.  If your collection of Restored sets or available space for a display of them is limited, then we recommend the new Color Predicta by Telstar Electronics.  There are eight models from which to choose, each of them featuring a modern television chassis and picture tube.  Choices of cabinet styles include five of the classic Predicta cabinet styles and three new designs by Telstar.  Photos, pricing, and other information is available from Telstar Electronics' Official Predicta Web Site.    

What kind of Maintenance is required after Restoration?  Should the set be "retubed" periodically like a Guitar or Hi-Fi amp?

Provided the set is used moderately and kept in a climate-controlled environment so that extremes of temperature and humidity are not encountered, relatively little maintenance will be needed.  Periodic "retubing" is also not required.  All Restored sets should undergo a routine maintenance check-up by a qualified Technician at intervals of two to five years or after 2,000 hours of accumulated post-restoration run time.  The set should also be serviced promptly if any distinct change in its performance is noticed since minor circuit faults can place undue stress on other components of the set, causing premature wear.  Great care is taken by us to minimize the likelihood of costly "chain reaction" breakdowns wherein major components sustain damage resulting from minor faults in their support circuitry, but the possibility still exists that failure of a 25-cent resistor might cause a $5 amplifier tube to also wear out prematurely.  Such things were the REAL reason behind many television faults during the heyday of tube TV.  Back then, a trip to the drugstore to test a few tubes revealed one "Bad" one, and replacing that tube would cure the observed symptoms for a few months until the new tube was likewise worn out by some fault hidden in the support circuitry.  Restoration consists of comprehensive corrective and preventive maintenance wherein the most common causes of such hidden faults are targeted for corrective and/or preventive measures.    

Should I pre-test (plug in) my set?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  Applying power to a television whose internal circuitry has not been inspected by a qualified Technician will often cause additional damage to the set and can be dangerous!

 What is dangerous about pre-testing?

Electric shock hazard is the most obvious danger.  Television sets typically operate from 120-volt AC power, which can deliver a lethal shock under certain conditions.  Tube-based electronic devices also convert AC power to much-higher voltages internally, typically 300 to 600 volts.  Television sets also contain circuits which develop 5,000 to 30,000 volts.

Virtually all electrical appliances can cause a fire if plugged in when some kind of fault condition exists internally.  A small internal fire within the set can quickly become uncontrollable.  Even if extinguished promptly, serious property damage from smoke or noxious odors can result.   

 Certain parts inside a television set can also rupture violently under certain conditions, propelling fragments of glass, metal, or other materials with great force.  Noxious fumes or hazardous chemicals may also spill from inside certain components.   

What if I test the set outdoors, use a GFCI outlet, and/or have a fire extinguisher handy? 

Even when multiple precautions are observed to protect personal safety and avoid property damage, severe internal damage to the set is still likely.  At the very least, attempting to test the set could severely damage components which were in good working order before the testing attempt, causing a substantial increase in the cost of restoring the set.

What about "Dim-Bulb" or "Variac" testing procedures?

For those who have the necessary equipment and experience, these testing methods may be an option.  Greater care must be taken in applying such testing methods to television than would be needed for testing of antique radio sets.  Power supply voltages are critical for Horizontal Sweep and High Voltage Power Suppy circuits in most televisions.  Sweep and HV circuits can suffer severe damage when operated at the reduced voltages employed during Dim-Bulb or Variac tests.  Therefore, some means of safely disabling Horizontal Sweep and/or High Voltage circuits must be employed.  Experienced radio restoration hobbyists should consult a resource such as the FAQ for rec.antiques.radio+phono or sci.electronics.repair for more information before applying standard vintage radio testing procedures to television circuitry.  Proper calculation of lamp wattage for the Dim-Bulb test and/or fuse rating and ammeter scale selection for the Variac test is essential.  The proper Service Manual or Schematic for the set under test must also be readily available before attempting advanced testing techniques.  Even when working with a model of which each member of our Technical Staff has previously restored many examples, we always "Pull the Sams" from our library for reference during servicing.

Why do you add Fuses during ALL Restorations?

Most television sets manufactured prior to 1972 were provided with only the bare minimum overload protection required to meet Underwriters' Laboratories criteria for minimizing fire hazards.  Whether or not a set's circuitry was likely to suffer severe damage long before protective measures intended for reducing fire hazard did their job was of little concern.  Our addition of fuse protection more thorough than that originally provided by the manufacturer helps to supplement that original reduction of hazards with improved protection of expensive and/or hard-to-find parts so that minor faults are less likely to escalate to severe damage to the set.   

Are the additional fuses user-replaceable?

In the interest of preserving authenticity, we add "pigtail" fuses which are soldered into the under-chassis circuitry and concealed from view when the set is fully assembled.  Thus, the additional fuses are not user-replaceable.  In most cases, the addition of user-replaceable fuses requires modification of the set's chassis, such as drilling holes not originally drilled at the factory. 

What if I want user-accessible fuses?

If reduction of authenticity is not a concern, we can add one user-replaceable fuse.  Typically, the fuse made user-accessible would be the main AC Line fuse.  Since tampering can occur with user-accessible fuses, we typically add a hidden "back-up" fuse sized to blow if the external fuse holder is fitted with a fuse of the incorrect rating.  Many manufacturers (RCA was one) provided such tamper-resistant arrangements beginning in approximately the 1960s. 

WARNING:  Fuse tampering is DANGEROUS!!!  Fuse tampering also voids any warranty which may accompany a completed Restoration.  

What is this "Hot Chassis" problem you keep mentioning?

This is where the manufacturer connected one side of the AC line cord directly to the chassis.  This can be a very dangerous thing.  This is particularly dangerous in sets with metal cabinets.  The radio/TV manufacturers decided in many cases not to use a power transformer.  These sets will mostly have series tube filament strings, although some used a filament transformer.  There are three different versions.  One is the switched neutral (switch to chassis).  This is dangerous because the chassis can be hot whether the set is on or off.  We correct this my moving the switch to the power supply and filament string, and bonding the neutral directly to the chassis.  We will then install a polarized line cord.  Another is the switch to power supply/filament string.  All we need to do is install a polarized line cord. 

WARNING:  For the "hot chassis" fix to work, your wall outlets MUST be wired properly.  You can get outlet testers at any home improvement store.

 
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Last modified: 07/06/17