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1950 Radio's

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  • 1950 Radio's

    Hello, Currently, I have (10) 1950 Philco radio's setting on my bench. I am looking for a book that could teach me on repairing my radio's. Currently, I have check all of the tubes. All tubes tested good. All Vibrators check good as well. I just need a book to teach me on the art of repairing these stude Philco stratoline radio's. Please advise

  • #2
    I know nothing about radios, but have done some research on an old household radio I have at home that needs repair. I found a site that talked about radio repair and one guy said that most old radios die because of bad capacitors. Tubes and vibrators are rarely the problem. This website said that if you're handy with a soldering iron, 80% of radio problems can be repaired by replacing the capacitors with modern units. I don't think there's much else in there to go wrong. Capacitors dry out over time, resistors do not.

    Mark Anderson
    1965 Cruiser


    • #3
      Hello Roy,
      This is my first post to the Studebaker forum, I'm an aircooled Volkswagen guy myself but am interested in finding a Studebaker in the future. I just like the unique style. As I explore more about them I'll be asking more questions.

      About your radios...
      I repair classic VW radios along with some early tube and vibrator radios. Mark is correct in that it's not normally the tubes that go out in these radios it's the electrolytic capacitors. Like with the tube household radios, a good cleaning and "recapping" is sometimes all that's required to bring them back to life. My experience with the vibrators has been a bit different though. I have found many of them non-functional and always replace them with modern solid-state replacements available from AES.

      Some books I have found helpful are:
      Automobile Electronics Servicing Guide by Joseph J. Carr - copyright 1973 Howard W Sams
      Rapid Auto Radio Repar by G. Warren Heath - copyright 1960 Howard W. Sams
      Auto Radio Servicing Made Easy by Wayne Lemons - copyright 1963,69,70 by Sams

      Although these are no longer in print, they frequently show up on eBay and sometimes may be found on

      I have all the early Sams AR (auto radio) series books with schematics if you need some info.

      - looking for a good 1950 - 1951 Studebaker in the near future


      • #4
        Hello Stokester, I understand in what you say. I have check all of the tubes. All tubes were good. Vibrators, I can purchase them (solid state) I will look for those books that you mentioned. Thanks and let keep in touch. Also, If you are looking for a really nice 1950 champ. convertable, please check out ebay. They have one of the best stude I have ever seen. Let keep in touch. Roy email:


        • #5

          I am far from an expert on old radios, but I am involved in tinkering on 'em. Stokester has given you good advice. It's not just the electrolytic capacitors, though; the tubular paper ones are either bad or on their to be being bad. One capacitor that is CRITICAL is the "buffer capacitor". It is connected across the secondary side of the vibrator transformer, and likely will be something like .002 mF at 1600 volts. They go bad, and the radio will EAT vibrators. And they nearly always go bad.

          You can get schematics for your radio from <>; just use the Philco model number, not the Stude AC number. Just download the .pdf file for free.

          There is a pretty active old-radio newsgroup,

          Be sure to copy that EXACTLY if you are setting up your newsreader to subscribe, as there is a "dead" NG with a name one character off.

          One of the frequent posters to that group, Gary Tayman, of Florida recently made a post about these very same radios, in which he made mention of the fact that they can be very hard to work on, owing to the way the tuning mechanism is constructed. For most service work, though, you needn't mess with that.

          I have a couple-three of the postwar body car radios myself, and I also have a '40 President/Commander radio awaiting restoration.

          Hope this helps. BTW, an aerosol can of brake cleaner does a pretty good job of washing the gunk out of these old car radios, and doesn't appear to hurt anything.

          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


          • #6
            That is a fine looking car on eBay - out of my price range right now. But I'm patient and will find one eventually. My Volkswagen Beetles keep me busy enough!

            Gord is spot-on about the buffer capacitor. Even in the Mallory Vibrator Guide from 1954 lists the proper buffer capacitor replacement for each type of vibrator. This capacitor prevents arcing and insures the long life of your vibrator. It's SOP to replace it when replacing the vibrator.

            The solid-state ones are great. They run about $30, and have no moving parts to go bad. I did purchase some NOS vibrators one time, not a single one worked and the supplier sent me more but had no way to test them, they were non operational as well.

            If you send me the model numbers of the radios you have I can probably fix you up with schematics. I can scan them into pdf files and put on my web site to download. These files generally get pretty large but give great detail and are readable by anyone who has Adobe Acrobat reader.

            Let me know.


            • #7
              Next to Studebakers, I like old Philco Radios best!!! They are much like our Studebakers. I got a radio out of a 1950 Champ that was rusted to the ground (literally). It had been outside for many, many years. I took the radio home and hooked it up to 6 volts, the tubes lite up! I carefully cut the vibrator tube open and cleaned the points the best I could. It worked!!!!!! In addition to your capacitors, which you [u]</u>may[u]</u> need to replace, note the replacements will be surprisingly much smaller!! Also use some tuner cleaner to clean the tube pins and the tube recepticle. Sometime that will cause the tube to act up. Good Luck!!!

              Laisez le bon temps roulez avec un Studebaker
              Laisez le bon temps roulez avec un Studebaker