1950's RCA 45 record player

radio, tape, stands and accessories
spittenkittens
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by spittenkittens » 28 Mar 2015 13:31

I think the turntable is the same though.

Hugues TR4
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Hugues TR4 » 01 Apr 2015 13:39

Hi All, Hi Phil,

Just found this thread by pure luck!
As mentioned earlier to Phil, I developped a like for these little machines: when I was a teenager the RP 190 was my first record player and I used to play my 7" singles coupled to an old AC-DC Novak late 40ies little receiver (Belgian brand today disappeared).
I have now restored a RP 190 as well as an earlier (1949) 9EY3, both work like new!
Very impressed by the overall design and build quality, as compared with the junk you sometimes find nowadays. All metal and fairly easy to maintain.
The bakelite parts needed some repair but I managed to repolish them, so that one can hardly see the repair marks.
Bought the missing or worn parts from VM as well. Gary has been of great help.
Linked the RP 190 to my HiFi through a DIY small device Phil helped me to develop, which helped me playing with my ceramic cart through a MAG input.
Only small drawback is the rumble I get at higher volume.
Both changers are working flawlessly and are not that difficult to adjust: just some patience, and it will last for ever!
By the way, Phil Vourtsis published a very interesting and complete book over the "Fabulous Victrola "45" and you can find it on e-bay.
It also gave me all sorts of precious info about the little b...ers!
Really have enjoyed working on them.
We should ask JaS to open a dedicated forum for the RCA's.
Will send pics soon.
Cheers,

Hugh.

Hugues TR4
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Hugues TR4 » 01 Apr 2015 14:10

The promised pictures.322713227032269
Cheers,

Hugh.

Big B5515
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Big B5515 » 06 Apr 2015 04:47

Got my changer cleaned up and functioning a few days back. Seems to be working right with the exception of the plastic top of the changer spindle being slightly uneven and out of round. This causes some records with tight or imperfect holes to hang up. I also reused the mounting brackets from the old Astatic 743 cartridge (some filing of the mounting holes was required) to mount the 51-1 higher in the headshell, more solidly and closer to original alignment than mounting suggestion with cartridge kit. This changer does seem a little hard on records though, as the tonearm lowers so fast, it often bounces on the first record. There was a 12 gram chunk of lead above the original (?) cartridge, which I removed and still had 7 1\2 grams VTF with the new cartridge. Also, the origonal tonearm bearing was a deteriorated fiber warsher which I replaced with a thin bronze thrust washer (unsure if this was correct, or a result of previous servicing as there appears to be room for ball bearings). The unit will play a maximum of 10 records before the tonearm rubs the edge of record. Maybe, a little more fine tuning, but at least it isn't in the basement in pieces anymore. I did find a date on the motor, 02-49, so maybe not quite a 50s model though. Our "guest" finally got herself a camper, a 74 Dodge rat toilet with a wiring disaster area under the hood and dash (turn on the lights and the horn blows and smoke comes out of the dash, rusted out fuse box, 10 Lbs of extra wire, ect). I have been busy trying to straighten the wiring out so she can get it registered, serviced, cleaned up, and hopefully hit the road, and have been too busy to go any further with the changer.
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spittenkittens
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by spittenkittens » 07 Apr 2015 02:38

I do have the same problem with some records not dropping, I used a pice of 400 grit sandpaper to round the inside of the hole of the record to fix that issue. My can hold 12. The height should be adjusted as high as it can go and not hit another record. My tone arm does not bounce, works fine so speed is not the problem, it only takes about 2 seconds to change a record. That little guy is fast. This web page http://www.phonojack.com/RCA%20Victor%20Collection.htm has some great advice on adjustments that was a big help to me. http://www.phonojack.com/45/RCA-Victor- ... tments.jpg
Also some of mine were stamped with dates in the 40's. I listened to mine today. The phono selector also has the radio and tone for phono all in one switch. It has a unique sound all of it's own. I would like to have a separate turntable on like yours too.

ehtoo
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by ehtoo » 07 Apr 2015 03:07

I love these little 45 spinners. Sad thing is, I saw one of these in the front window of a store in Hamilton Ontario. The sun had caused significant discolouration/bleaching of the baklite which, to me was an absolute crime. I inquired about it (in the vain hope of a rescue) and was told it works fine but wasn't for sale. I wish I could tell you it has a better home.

spittenkittens
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by spittenkittens » 07 Apr 2015 03:42

I agree, Bakelite can polish up like new with chrome polish. Bakelite is one of the few plastics I actually like. Those little guys were built to last, copper plated bottom simple design and just plain cool. That is a real shame to let it go bad from sun.

Coffee Phil
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Coffee Phil » 07 Apr 2015 07:23

Hi Big B,

Congratulations on getting your RP 168 up and running again. It is looking good. I was intimidated by all the moving parts in that thing so I got the simpler RP 190. I seem to remember that since the RP 168 is blazing fast in changing records it requires a dashpot to damp the lowering of the arm. You might look at that to solve the arm bouncing issue.

Phil
Big B5515 wrote:Got my changer cleaned up and functioning a few days back. Seems to be working right with the exception of the plastic top of the changer spindle being slightly uneven and out of round. This causes some records with tight or imperfect holes to hang up. I also reused the mounting brackets from the old Astatic 743 cartridge (some filing of the mounting holes was required) to mount the 51-1 higher in the headshell, more solidly and closer to original alignment than mounting suggestion with cartridge kit. This changer does seem a little hard on records though, as the tonearm lowers so fast, it often bounces on the first record. There was a 12 gram chunk of lead above the original (?) cartridge, which I removed and still had 7 1\2 grams VTF with the new cartridge. Also, the origonal tonearm bearing was a deteriorated fiber warsher which I replaced with a thin bronze thrust washer (unsure if this was correct, or a result of previous servicing as there appears to be room for ball bearings). The unit will play a maximum of 10 records before the tonearm rubs the edge of record. Maybe, a little more fine tuning, but at least it isn't in the basement in pieces anymore. I did find a date on the motor, 02-49, so maybe not quite a 50s model though. Our "guest" finally got herself a camper, a 74 Dodge rat toilet with a wiring disaster area under the hood and dash (turn on the lights and the horn blows and smoke comes out of the dash, rusted out fuse box, 10 Lbs of extra wire, ect). I have been busy trying to straighten the wiring out so she can get it registered, serviced, cleaned up, and hopefully hit the road, and have been too busy to go any further with the changer.
Before
SANY0058a.jpg

After
SANY0098a.jpg
SANY0099a.jpg

Coffee Phil
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Coffee Phil » 07 Apr 2015 07:36

Hi Hugh,

They both look great.

Congratulations! As I mentioned I was intimidated by the RP 168 when I saw the manuals of both machines so I got the RP 190.

Maybe after some of my other projects I'll attempt an RP 168. I want to see the blazing fast record change. Do you notice much difference from the RP 190?

Phil




Hugues TR4 wrote:The promised pictures.322713227032269
Cheers,

Hugh.

ehtoo
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by ehtoo » 07 Apr 2015 14:05

spittenkittens wrote:I agree, Bakelite can polish up like new with chrome polish. Bakelite is one of the few plastics I actually like. Those little guys were built to last, copper plated bottom simple design and just plain cool. That is a real shame to let it go bad from sun.
True. I've restored enough bakelite vintage radios to support what you've said. I use Novus products for the finishing touches. Bleached bakelite does pose a significant problem which sometimes forces one to spray a paint finish if you want to make the piece look new.

Hugues TR4
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Hugues TR4 » 07 Apr 2015 16:04

Hi Phil,

For a pro like you, the RP 168 shouldn't present any challenge!
The only thing is: if it is in its original state, make a mark under the spindle axle to mark the right position of the star. This will avoid a lot of research every time you will have to open up for adjusting.
I have the piston arm damping device on mine and it helps reduce the bumping of the needle on the record at each record change.
The inside spindle mechanism is quite easy to adjust if you follow the SM procedures.
Also, I first got puzzled by the resting position of the arm: the arm return spring is always under tension when on the arm rest. This took me some research to find out. Always thought I had made some mistake in reassembling.
Mine is the table top record player with built in amp and its performance is really amazing.
Both platter and tonearm are metal and the arm needed respraying with some satin gold paint. As you see, the result is quite nice.
You probably noticed that the red spindle is shorter than the 190, so I can only play 10 records.
If you bite the bullet and buy one, let me know: I might be able to share my experience.

@ Big B: Pity for the record change knob: I would at least paint it gold or try and find a smaller one, more discreet before you find a new one. Try and use a pencil or a bit of 6mm thick tube, you paint in gold.
For the rest, it looks like a very nice restoration. This is one of the very first productions with the built-in bakelite arm rest and the RCA logo on top left.
Do you still have the date sticker underneath?
(3 numbers code: first n° is the last figure of the year (1949...) and the two others indicate the week in that year).
Have lots of fun!

Cheers,

Hugh.

Coffee Phil
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Coffee Phil » 07 Apr 2015 16:24

Hi Hugh,

I may do it, but first I need to finish my Beogram 3000, my R-O-K Rondine 2, and my Edison cylinder machine. I've got to stop starting new projects before finishing the one I'm on. My Harmon Kardon Citation 4 has been nearing completion for a couple of years and here I am working on a Little Bear. Hope I live long enough.

Seems like I read that the RP 168 will smoke an RP 190 in record changing speed. Is this true?

Phil
Hugues TR4 wrote:Hi Phil,

For a pro like you, the RP 168 shouldn't present any challenge!
The only thing is: if it is in its original state, make a mark under the spindle axle to mark the right position of the star. This will avoid a lot of research every time you will have to open up for adjusting.
I have the piston arm damping device on mine and it helps reduce the bumping of the needle on the record at each record change.
The inside spindle mechanism is quite easy to adjust if you follow the SM procedures.
Also, I first got puzzled by the resting position of the arm: the arm return spring is always under tension when on the arm rest. This took me some research to find out. Always thought I had made some mistake in reassembling.
Mine is the table top record player with built in amp and its performance is really amazing.
Both platter and tonearm are metal and the arm needed respraying with some satin gold paint. As you see, the result is quite nice.
You probably noticed that the red spindle is shorter than the 190, so I can only play 10 records.
If you bite the bullet and buy one, let me know: I might be able to share my experience.

@ Big B: Pity for the record change knob: I would at least paint it gold or try and find a smaller one, more discreet before you find a new one. Try and use a pencil or a bit of 6mm thick tube, you paint in gold.
For the rest, it looks like a very nice restoration. This is one of the very first productions with the built-in bakelite arm rest and the RCA logo on top left.
Do you still have the date sticker underneath?
(3 numbers code: first n° is the last figure of the year (1949...) and the two others indicate the week in that year).
Have lots of fun!

Cheers,

Hugh.

Hugues TR4
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Hugues TR4 » 07 Apr 2015 16:52

@ Phil: to reply to your question, there is no comparison: the record change occurs in one and 1/4 revolution! At 45 RPM, it's really very fast (probably twice as fast) and if the adjustment is right, it works every time.
Sometimes, as mentioned before, the record gets stuck, but usually due to a difference in the thickness on the center area and not the mechanism itself.
The switch to RP 190 occured for cost saving reasons (more plastic parts, less parts) and surely not due to reliability issues.
Cheers,

Hugh.

spittenkittens
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by spittenkittens » 07 Apr 2015 21:31

I am not familiar with the rp 168. But the sound from my is surprising from a little 1/2 max amp and a tiny speaker. There is something about the Bakelite box it is in that might help create that sound, I don't know. I just now I love it.
It have to look for your tube video on the speed on the rp 168. I believe you but it is hard to imagine it being any faster at changing records. Found this video which also explains the bouncing on the drop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9P891s3Pck

Coffee Phil
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Re: 1950's RCA 45 record player

Post by Coffee Phil » 08 Apr 2015 06:05

I'm guessing a bit here but I know RCA was soured on 33 1/3 RPM having introduced a 12" 33 1/3 format very similar to the Lps which we know in the early 1930s. Bad timing (the depression) and I think some bungling on their part caused the format to fail. Sarnoff wanted the 45 format to be the replacement for the 78s. It was to be for classical music as well as pop. I'm thinking that Sarnoff and his engineers thought the blazing fast change would make the format acceptable for extended works. When CBS started eating RCA's lunch with the format which they abandoned a just over a decade earlier it was clear they would have to capitulate and make Lps. With 45 RPM relegated to pop and other shorter form music the need for the fast change went away.

Hugh, other than record changing speed how do the machines compare? Even with my efforts with the platter bearing the rumble while kind of tolerable in mono is a bit much in stereo.

Phil