Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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  • #4859
    Forum Participant

    Friends …

    I found this baby on Saturday – it was at the end of a driveway with a piece of paper that said “free” on it.

    I’m sure it’s worthless — it’s dirty, a quick test yields no sound …. and there is water damage to the wood, as you can see, causing veneer to lift away.

    I still love it. And I’ve always wanted one of these, worthless or not.

    I can’t seem to find a model number or anything about its age. There is a “model 102” written on the back of the radio guts, but that must refer to the radio component itself, which appears to be made by the Canadian Fairbanks Morse Corp.

    Any thoughts on its age? What kind of wood is it?

    It’s 32 inches high, 32 inches wide and 16 inches deep.

    Anyway, thanks again for providing such a terrific resource. I’ll be scouring your site and others to learn how to best clean the inner workings in hopes of getting some sounds from the radio and pull-out turntable. Maybe I just rip it out and make myself a liquor cabinet.

    Ed Stone
    Forum Participant

    Hi Andrew,

    The Canadian Fairbanks-Morse Company were based in Toronto. I believe that they primarily manufactured chassis for other companies to install in their cabinets and re-brand, eg. Eatons. Unfortunately the Radio College of Canada does not list Fairbanks-Morse chassis. Could you send closer photos of the Model/Serial Number tags and any other means of identification, eg. the dial? – I have contacts that may be able to identify.

    As for why the radio does not work – could be many things, but most likely the capacitors need changing due to age-related failure (this is normal), possibly a tube or two has failed, resistor(s) have drifted out-of-tolerance/failed, or, worst-case, a transformer failure (not that common). Excluding the transformer, the cost of parts is generally quite small – probably around $30, including a couple of common tube types.

    I would strongly recommend not trying the set again without some safety-checks being undertaken by someone that knows what they are doing electrically, and replacing the capacitors. Depending on your level of comfort in tackling such work, it is not that difficult (and can be fun!), Parts are readily obtainable (eg. resistors and capacitors from Justradios), as is information on how to go about repairing tube electronics (Google is your best friend – but there are also some great resources on this website if you become a CVRS member – see under ‘How To Articles’).


    Forum Participant

    Hi Ed ..

    Thanks for your note – I’ll post a few pictures — thanks in advance for offering to have a look.

    I appreciate your advice.


    CVRS Member

    Hi Andrew, I started working on old radio’s 2 years ago as a hobby, get a copy of the all American five radio by Richard McWhorter sold on Amazon it is very use full in understanding how radio’s work and how to repair them. If your lucky you will only have to replace the caps, out of tolerance resistors, and test the tubes. Get the old girl singing again!


    Forum Participant

    fairbanks morse has an interesting hstory. My dad owns a one cylinder stationary “hit and miss” engine made by the company. It was used back in the day to fill steam trains with water. I hope you are addicted now, I am sure if you want to collect console radios we can help lower your ceilings 😉

    Eric Strasen
    Forum Participant

    An interesting radio, well worth a restoration in spite of the veneer problems. Plus, it looks like it has all its original knobs, which is a bigger deal than you might think at this point in your budding electronics hobby.
    This Fairbanks appears to have tuned radio frequency circuitry, which should make it a good performer.
    Console radio-phonographs, once ignored or downright despised by most of the hobby, are slowly gaining in popularity. Nowadays, the biggest controversy regarding these units is whether to restore the original record player or replace it with a more modern, easier on LP’s, changer.
    Please re-read Ed Stone’s post about your radio. DO NOT TURN IT ON AGAIN UNTIL SOMEONE WITH ELECTRONICS EXPERIENCE HAS PULLED THE RECTIFIER, TESTED THE POWER TRANSFORMER’S OUTPUT VOLTAGES AND REPLACED THE CAPS — ESPECIALLY THAT ELECTROLYTIC ON THE LEFT SIDE BY THE REAR APRON. There’s about a 95% chance it’s bad, which can lunch the power transformer if left on more than a couple minutes.
    Good luck with the Fairbanks and welcome to the hobby.
    Eric S.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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