Parts for Vintage Equipment

Where to get vintage gear spares?

Over the last 6 months I have received quite a few mails from desperate individuals wishing to restore their old radios, tube and semiconductor, integrated amplifiers, turntables and tape decks.

Honest Sam's Top Notch Sales - Cars in Unbelievable Condition
Honest Sam’s Top Notch Sales – Cars in Unbelievable Condition

Belts and power supplies and many semiconductors have equivalents but we get stuck with Germanium, decals, knobs and switches with most gear and then the mechanical parts to decks and turntables. In South Africa we have to turn to eBay where often shipping charges become exorbitant. Continue reading “Parts for Vintage Equipment”

Transistor Equivalents – old equipment restoration

Where to find transistor equivalents?

Restoring old gear can be a nightmare when it comes to some of the more obscure transistor types, and a pretty expensive exercise as well. Transistor equivalents for substitution is often a necessity when repairing vintage gear. This applies equally well to silicon devices and not just Germanium.

Years back we were confined to telephonic conversations or writing letters to the supplier, the snail mail variety.  In South Africa we are fortunate enough to have proactive suppliers in the electronics industry, unlike in the motor or metal industries where staff are still learning how to send emails, except if they see a big sale pending. Continue reading “Transistor Equivalents – old equipment restoration”

Soldering and Rework Stations and other Kit

Magnum Rework Station 3005

The best soldering iron and rework stations for the job?

Of course this is a commonly asked question and the reply will always be to get the best one can afford.  Most home users are now spending a lot more money on getting better quality soldering and rework stations to complete projects. Cheaper irons, the home store DIY project types are not designed for intricate electronic circuitry.

Weller WSD81
Weller WSD81

There is no thermal control, the stupid tips wear away after ten minutes of use and after an hour one can hardly pick the thing up because it is radiating more heat than Koeberg. So bottom line, get one for an emergency – it will only last a day.  Do not use it on CMOS or static sensitive devices, just for simple home wiring.

Weller, Antex and Magnum Continue reading “Soldering and Rework Stations and other Kit”

Audio and consumer electronics – trends in 2017

Curved HDTV, Bluetooth and Sound Bars

Love it or hate it, Bluetooth is making a big comeback in the world of audio. Although Bluetooth never really left our shores it’s only with the iPhone 7 that we gather a lot more emphasis is being placed by certain manufacturers on either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or both. (here it would be for BT earphones). Or maybe inductive charging?

Crystal Radio - Arnold Reinhold
Crystal Receiver:  Wiki Commons – Arnold Reinhold – Own work

Bluetooth is treated as a proprietary protocol because of licensing requirements,  Wi-Fi more for internet usage.  Wireless on the other hand, like Bluetooth can also be used for components to communicate with each other albeit at longer distances and at higher speeds, bandwidth allowing better imaging as well (stereo, quad etc). Continue reading “Audio and consumer electronics – trends in 2017”

Asian Imports – to do or not to do

Asian Imports – not purchasing a white elephant

In today’s throwaway world it becomes enticing to purchase something cheaply because either you are cheap 🙂 or more importantly, if it doesn’t work you can just trash.  There is of course a cut off point to what is cheap. A student may baulk at paying R200.00 for a gadget which Joe, the JSE executive would not dream of buying, opting for the Apple equivalent instead.

We will refer here to electronic goods and of course,  the South African market.

Electronics Kits - Arduino
Electronics Kits – Arduino

A little about the Consumer Protection Act Continue reading “Asian Imports – to do or not to do”