Monday, December 8, 2008

Chuck the Writer and the RCA Victor Restoration Project

You are looking at what has got to be - and I'm being generous on this comment - a wreck. And I don't blame you for saying that.

This is an RCA Victor 45 RPM record player, specifically a model 45-J-2.It was manufactured in the 1950's at a time when the RCA Victor record company wanted to create a new proprietary phonograph speed, one that would allow RCA Victor to sell records without having to license patents from their rival Columbia. It was a gaudy gamble, but surprisingly it worked. The popularity of these players helped RCA usher in the 45 RPM record, arguably the perfect format for pop songs - more durable than a 78, and easier to store than a rack fo LP's.

This 45-J-2, along with several dozen other models, employed a turntable/motor system known as RP-190. This model actually has a connecting plug that allows the phonograph to connect with a radio, so it didn't need an internal amplifier. The spindle could hold 12-15 records at a time, all ready to drop, one by one, so that the top songs of the day could be heard in rapid succession.

However, as you can see from the picture above left, this phonograph has had better days. The cabinet is cracked, the tonearm practically fell off its post, and the power cord and phono plug look as if they were chewed by badgers. Therefore, this unit is about to be stripped of all workable pieces, gears, grommets, washers, clips, clamps, and internal ephemera. Whatever can be salvaged for parts WILL be salvaged; the Bakelite case will be used to test various cleaning and restoring solutions. And in an effort to practice electronic repair, this unit will be my test subject, where I can practice such things as soldering, component replacement and the like.

As this progresses, I hope to show you the progress of my work. I also recommend that if you are so inclined to work on a project like this, I wholeheartedly recommend eBay seller kieronspal's DVD instruction series on RCA Victor RP-190 repair and restoration.

So for now, it's time to tear this bad boy to bits. And just in case I have to answer to anyone of authority... RCA Victor unit Model 45-J-2, serial number K 394512, as seen here and as above, is now being gutted.

More to follow...

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