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Ive done it before and many have. If there isn’t room underneath or if you have interference from the location you might put them in the original cans. the problem may resurface more quickly than you think.
after doing a few like that I am of the opinion that I just don’t trust most of the modern chinese made electrolytics to last for very long and maybe they are easier to check for being puffed up or leaky if they are underneath.

with the paper caps. If you want you can put them in a double boiler with some wax and let them re-melt then push the guts out with a pencil, put your new style caps inside the paper tubes. If you want you can solder new leads on as the old ones are thicker. hide the soldered connections inside. after the paper tube is re-stuffed you can seal the ends with a bit of paper towel and then hot melt glue to close them and dunk them back through the bowl of molten wax.. then you won’t loose the labels, everythign will look like it did and because it’s under the chassis no one will even see your work. If you do a really good job someone may come along and recap it thinking it hasn’t been touched. I have even tried drilling out the black beauties on my lathe and restuffed the plastic tubes. It’s a matter of choice how far you’d like to take it.

I think it depends on the radio. If it is something rare, or if you just like doing it that way you can. its good to take a picture and try to keep the wiring layout as sometimes if you move them about you might get some interference from other components.

if you re-stuff the cans be aware that sometimes they are insulated from the chassis and sometimes not. look for things like washers that may insulate the can from the chassis and keep it whichever way it was. make sure you have the electrolytics wired the right way around or they will blow up. Be extra cautious of hot chassis radios. often if they are say +/_ 20 % or so that’s fine. If they have been replaced you;ll probably see evidece at the sldered joints. I’d go to the schematic if they have been changed and I’d question the schematic if they appear original. your new caps should meet or exceed the voltage rating on the new cap. with the paper caps you’ll often see values lke .5 mfd and then use .047 or something as close as you can get. more experienced restorers will sometimes know where the cap size would have an effect and if not they might not worry if it is somewhat different and use what’s at hand. some will change the cord to a polarized one and put an inline fuse under the chassis. some want the cord and plug to be old. Ive been known to buy old irons or cords from fry pans and things from thrift stores as often I get those for a couple bucks and many times if they have been stored nicely the rubber cords are still pretty safe, these appliances often also have thick wire and good insulation. you might encounter some radios with resistance line cords or “curtain burner” cords and those need special consideration.

if you want to use cloth covered wire you can stock all the different colors and you can get reproduction old looking lamp cord. often with the rubber wired ones you will find sets where it’s all turned to peanut brittle or goo and some sets need to have all the wires replaced As you are working also notice the condition of the insulation. sometimes you can pull heat shrink over or you can get authentic “spagetti” which is the semi rigid hard tubing that slips over but doesn’t shrink. cetrtain radios like the westinghouse refrigerator one may be so crammed that you need to put them in the original space. some of the older radios have tin blocks that are filled with tar and these may actually not be electrolytics but paper caps. with the pre 1929 radios space under the chassis usually isn’t prohibitive.

another option I have tried is to make my own cans from sheet aluminum or steal from another set if they are missing. one way to get them apart is to cut them with a dremil and a disc around near the base. if you have cans that have tar try heating the outside with a torch and see if you can get the tar that is against the tin case melted then it may drop out easily without melting all the tar. It’s probably a good idea to wear gloves and discard of the old electrolytics in a safe way. they might have hazardous products in them.


  • This reply was modified 1 year ago by phil.