Sunday, September 20, 2015

Updates and Such

It's been a little while since I have been here. It's funny because I have been busy doing various restorations. Just been a little lazy on posting some of that stuff on this blog site.

The poster sign I blogged about a few months ago was sold to a gentleman looking for some cool stuff to fix up his new 'Mancave'. It was just sitting in my basement in storage and doing nothing for me.

Since that happened, I bought another jukebox. This was a CD Playing unit made by Rowe built in 1991. I spent a little time trying to repair the overhead door on the unit and various electrical issues with the lighting. If you look in the top left of the photo, you can see the big crack in the door. I tried to repair the crack, but it kept cracking again and again. In the end, the cost to repair far outweighed what the machine was truly worth. So, I stripped it for it's parts, repaired and lubricated any of those parts that needed some TLC and started putting various parts up on eBay. I have already made my money back on what the unit cost me so any funds after that, go to financing any other projects I have going on.

If anyone is looking for parts for this machine, drop me a message and I will let you know if I still have what you are looking for.

In June, I picked up a third Jukebox. This was a Seeburg Mardi Gras which was built in approximately 1977. The unit looks like something the Bee Gees would have put in their hangout. This unit is also not without its issues. Mice had gotten into the cabinet and eaten the subwoofers and most of the insulation. Surprisingly though, they didn't damage any wiring.

The mechanism is also seized in the back and will require a complete tear-down and lubrication. It's a big undertaking so I suspect it will be a slow and careful process.The front middle bottom glass is also missing but otherwise, the unit is mostly in need of some cleaning up and adjustment. And new speakers.

 My Rock-Ola 484, which was the first unit I bought and what started my love for fixing more of these things is working great. I have been slowly buying new parts for it as I can find them and afford them. A few weeks ago, I sourced a new back access door for this one. All that's left in that project is to replace the locks and two small cosmetic pieces that are missing. Otherwise, the machine is working fantastic and I may eventually put it up for sale once I have more working units in my collection. Right now, it is kind of like my demo model as I have no way to show off my work if I do not even have a working model in my house.

I also picked up an old Marconi radio from the 1930's that I intend to work on, I have a Cuckoo clock from the 50's to clean up and repair for my Grandfather and just finished restoring a Sony Turntable from the 80's for a coworker who pulled it out of storage recently and found it was in need of some repair and calibration.

I will update this Blog in more detail as I go along with each of the above-mentioned projects. The hardest part is remembering to take pictures and to get them moved to this Blog site.

Till I Post Again!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Commercial Movie Poster Sign

About 5 years ago now, I got my hands on this big commercial movie poster sign left over from a local Video Store that was closing down. I actually got two of them, but sold one soon after to a neighbour after giving it a once-over.

I haven't looked at this one in a while and decided to pull it out of storage. The unit is in good working order and the actual condition of the sign is also in pretty good shape. This thing stands at least 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide and a foot deep. It probably weighs about 40 to 50 lbs. The marquee lamps around the outside are custom to the sign, unfortunately, so I suspected that it would cost a fair chunk to replace the burned out ones. It has two industrial hooks on top and the sign is double-sided (so it can take two posters). However, the marquee lamps are only on one side of it.

So, instead of buying new bulbs, I replaced them with cheap LED's and the substitute worked pretty well for a while. They looked good and I was able to fill all of the sockets. The problem was that the LED's are not authentic and they tended to burn out quickly. I still had a handful of the original bulbs and replaced about a quarter of the LED's with what I still had in original bulbs. I admit that the original bulbs still look better.

I haven't decided yet if I am interested in putting the money into getting new bulbs for this thing or not. The company that manufactured it is still in business and still makes signage (BASS Industries located in the USA). You can still get the bulbs from the manufacturer, I'm sure. I figured this sign is almost 20 years old.

Without a poster in it, it is REALLY bright to the eyes and would probably make a good ceiling lamp if mounted sideways. That would probably make a pretty unique feature to a Man Cave or Rec Room. I am on the fence about selling it as is to pool my money towards things I am more interested in. In my last house, we had it hanging in the family room with it's own custom light switch on the wall. But we hardly ever turned it on.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cycle Race Pinball Toy

A friend of mine picked up this little tabletop pinball toy manufactured by Marx Toys. I figure that it is probably from the late 70's to early 80's, just based on the 'Atari-Like' font they used on the front of the box. However, it is not affiliated with 'Atari' in any way from what I can tell.

He asked me to look at it as it wasn't working all that well considering it's age. So, I cracked it open on my home bench and discovered the simplicity of the toy. Basically, there is a metal ball bearing inside the table that is fired around like a real pinball machine. The bumpers on the surface have two contacts in them, one is a sprint to bounce the ball and the other contact is on the bottom under the spring. So, when the ball hits the contacts, it triggers an electromagnet inside that strikes a bell and also moves a mechanical points counter. Basically, that's all there is to it.

The flippers are moved manually with hand-grip levers that you squeeze. The ball launcher is also mechanical and works from the center of the table.

The ball and the contacts have become somewhat corroded over the years so the ball striking the contacts does not always trigger the electromagnet. I was going to pop the table open to clean up the contacts but found that the table is actually assembled in such a way that you would have to break it permanently to get it open. So, unfortunately, this is one old vintage device that is better off not being messed with.

So, I basically just cleaned it up and oiled a small lever connected to the magnet and bell. The bell is louder now but the contacts are still flaky. That's okay, it isn't the real deal and I doubt the owner is very concerned about that anyway. He just thought it was a neat toy from the days of his childhood.

It would make a better decoration on a shelf or hung on the wall I think than anything else.

The Rock-Ola is Cleaned Up Now!

It's exciting that I have managed to clean up my Rock-Ola. After replacing a few obvious problem components and lubricating some easy to access mechanics, the machine seems to be in amazing working order.

I put some good favourite tunes into it and we set it up in our front office. So, intimate enough that if you turn it down, you can privately enjoy some tunes or that it can also be loud enough to be heard across the main floor of the house.

I think that in the not too distant future, I will actually strip the machine right down to be repainted and to grease and oil even the things I didn't get the first time. But for now, it's working really good so I will just let the family enjoy it for a while.

A good friend of mine has been coaxing me to make some offers on more machines that have been appearing online so I can start restoring them and flipping them. He is interested in being a silent partner, so to speak, and to help me out financially if I am serious about making this kind of thing into a more professional hobby. It's something I have to think about as I don't really have the best facilities to work on these things or to store them. My basement is ideal and where my main workshop is, but hauling those machines up and down the stairs could be asking for disaster.

I do have a garage, mind you, but it is small and not exactly secure. I will have to think on the idea a bit more. My heart tells me 'Yes' but my brain tells me to keep my feet on the ground.

Update for the Sony Receiver

Well, I cleaned out the Sony receiver. Mostly just what looked like a bit of sawdust material throughout the inside of it. There was nothing wrong with any of the components so that was a plus. So, I cleaned it out and greased the tuning controls as they were really dried out. I also pulled the tuner display off and cleaned out all the dust that was in behind it.

Then I sprayed contact cleaner into all of the control knobs and switches to get rid of the crackly noises they were making. After making sure the controls were completely dried out after a couple of days, I plugged it in and took it for a test drive. Still sounds amazing. Even better now that the controls have stopped crackling.

A little furniture polish on the wood cover and it looks really good. I might keep it around for my workshop to test audio equipment that I am working on (turntables and such) or just use the radio to keep me company while I work on other things.