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Just bought a 1940 160 series with a premium radio that has decided not to work. Previous owner had enjoyed the nice sound and I'm anxious to figure out what happened and fix it. Any radio experts out there?

Thanks, Tom

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The most common part that fails is the Vibrator. The original type is a round metal can that plugs in like a vacuum-tube and makes a vibrating (buzzing) sound when it is operating. When you turn on the radio, are the vacuum tubes lighting up? If so, that tells you the radio is getting power. If the vibrator tube is not buzzing then it is probably defective or someone has put in a modern solidstate vibrator? Also check for loose wires to antenna and speaker.

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Someone posted not too long ago something about the two parts most likely to fail in the older radios. One was the vibrator and the other apparently was the next thing downstream from it. Coes anyone have the part numbers of source of these two parts - particularly for the 55-56 Wonderbar radio?

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> the other apparently was the next thing downstream from it.</div></div>

The second thing is the filter capacitor that is attached to the bottom of the socket that the vibrator plugs into. Replacing that is not an easy fix and should be left to someone with electronics repair experience. But changeing out the vibrator or vacuum-tubes is something almost anyone should be able to do. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

99 % of the time it is a loose wire or a part that can be just pulled out and replaced, that fails.

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Forget the filter capacitor - if you have a bad "flux capacitor" you ain't going nowhere!!! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> ...Steve

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The last time I entered "vibrator" in a search I got more than I bargained for!

I picked up a vibrator for my radio in Minnesota last summer. When i returned to Canada the border guard asked the usual "Did you purchase anything while you were away?" You should have seen the look on his face when I told him "Yes I bought a vibrator.................(pause).. for my Packard car radio."

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">"Yes I bought a vibrator.................(pause).. for my Packard car radio." </div></div>

Good thing you said radio.....because that was one accessory I didnt think came form the the factory!! I guess that could be classified as a Dealer "Installed" item.

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Tom, give "The Old Radio Guy" a call (618-281-8377). He's got many years of experience with Packard radios (Philco, Delco, Stewart Warner) and is a Packard guy too!

Is your radio a Stewart Warner?

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  • 4 years later...
Just bought a 1940 160 series with a premium radio that has decided not to work. Previous owner had enjoyed the nice sound and I'm anxious to figure out what happened and fix it. Any radio experts out there?

Thanks, Tom

I repair classic car radios; tube/ transistor. No FM conversions

Barry Dalton-Antique Radio Doctor

1489 Rogue River Hwy

Grants Pass, OR 97527

541 474 2524

radiodoc@rvi.net

Radio Days | KDRV

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i have the schematics for the radios from 49-56 packard radios here the capactors are not hard to replace once you have all the values on hand,, the one under the viberator is normally a .1mf 1500 v which can be a pain to try and find as transistor stuff does not use high voltages like that,, the rest are 200V and 400V i normally just use all 400V or better as replacements.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If the tubes face the back and you can reach all the screws to get the back cover off, maybe. Pretty tight quarters and mostly by feel if you try. These look like they might face frontwards and if so, then no. Getting the tube location key lined up and back in by feel might be a whole new experience in itself and one I wouldn't want to try.

post-43944-143138424254_thumb.jpg

Edited by HH56 (see edit history)
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The back comes off with a single thumbscrew. As HH56 points out, it's very cramped back there. A dental mirror might help.

Edit: Just verified, the tubes are accessible from the back. I found the photos in the radio brochure confusing so I went out and looked... good thing I'm still relatively limber.

post-54089-143138424256_thumb.jpg

Edited by JD in KC
Went out and pulled the back of the radio to verify. (see edit history)
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The old wax paper capacitors have a half life of about 10 years. Any originals still working are a miracle. Tubes are made of glass, with a vacuum inside. In dry storage, not being used, have a life of 100 years or more. In use, about 10000 hours.

So, the big problem is capacitors not tubes. Lots of tubes are available as there were thousands of radio shops, each got stuck with thousands of tubes when transistor radios came in.

They still make capacitors of all sizes, the new ones use mylar instead of wax paper and tinfoil so they are more reliable and last longer.

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