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Old 03-17-2010, 10:12 AM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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Pacific Stereo's Fisher 500C restore, about 1.6M of photos.

Howdy, everyone!

I just got done restoring a 500C, and thought that everyone here might like to see this. This thread has 1.6M or so of photos. It will load slow if you have a slow connection.

The restore on the 500C is done. I want to thank Drew Bolce and Audiodon over at AK for their help. Without them, I would have made some common mistakes, this would have taken much longer and the set would be incomplete.



Oh, she's a beauty. There is some damage to the front panel which can't be repaired, but we can overlook that. No beauty is without a flaw.

This set has been sitting around for quite a while. I've been dreading dealing with it, because I am just not a tube guy- all voltage and no current makes Pacific a befuddled and dangerous tech! Plus, I just had no idea where to start. But what swayed me was something I found when I took it apart. I found something I did not expect, and that was a Pacific Stereo service invoice stuck to the bottom of the set. WHOA!! This unit had been through our Costa Mesa Recycled Stereo outlet (run by an old friend), and I fell over when I saw it. I now HAD to do this!

The tech (I can't read his name) replaced a 12AX7, a 6CU4 and a lamp. The wind was blowing so hard when I took the photos that I had to hold the invoice down with stones.



She started out pretty ugly, and very dirty. Here's a few shots of what we started with.


It looks like it is missing brights, but it isn't... they've just fallen off.





Here, I was thinking I was going to preserve the Part 15 sticker, but I later abandoned that idea.



Yup- dirty, all right. And some problems, for sure. Surprisingly, it actually worked as-is, but there was major trouble. One problem area was that the 7591's ran HOT. I mean, so hot, I could turn the heat in the lab off (well, not really, but you get the idea). Not good. Some of this problem was the fault of the selenium rectifier (of which I had never seen the sexy little Siemens flat-pack before. What a work of art!) and leaky coupling caps, but much of the problem was Avery Fisher's decision to run the output tubes way beyond their design parameters. This made them sound great, but heat kills! The previous owner had run this set hot for a long, long time- you could see that the silvering from the getter in one of the outputs was literally burned up. This was ugly, and I expected the worst from the outputs.

Here's what the set looked like before I started in with the soldering iron.



Here's a closer look at the output section.



Well, first things first. I started by changing out the coupling caps between the drivers and the output. When these start to leak (and they do), they take bias down (or is it up? This is sort of like turning the air conditioning up, when in reality when one wants it colder, you really turn it DOWN. Anyway, the bias voltage becomes more positive), which turns the tubes on more, which makes them run hotter. I changed the selenium bridge rectifier for a silicon one. With the exception of the micas and ceramics, every electrolytic, paper and mylar capacitor was replaced. Many resistors were replaced. The high-voltage rectifiers were replaced (they weren't bad, but hey, why not?) The death cap was replaced, along with just about everything else.

Parts in the FM section were also changed to make de-emphasis correct in both mono and stereo.



You know, this doesn't look like nearly the number of parts I remember...!

Of course, DeoxIT and Faderlube treatment of switches and controls was part of the repair process. Tube pins were scrubbed and DeoxITed, and tube sockets got the same treatment along with tightening.

Part of these repairs is dealing with the can-electrolytics. Some folks like to put the cap board in these units, but I decided that keeping the original look was important, so I decided to restuff the cans. This was my first attempt at such an endeavor.

The first one I did was the bottom dual-1000uF part.

You know what's scary? I have a NOS original part.



But I decided that restuffing with modern 105C parts would be better.



After that one, I did the other three on top. Here's a sample of one re-stuff.



And here's what it looks like reassembled.



After the caps were done, it was time to tackle amplifier performance and alignment. The first thing I did was install the 10-ohm cathode resistors. I also added some terminals to keep my meter probe from slipping while taking bias measurements, cause, well, I'm a klutz.



You can also see a number of the replacement components in this shot, but not all of them. I was still waiting for some caps when this one was taken.

In the original design, bias is not adjustable at all. Initially, I modified the design to put bias where I wanted it. Then, I decided that it would be good for it to be adjustable, so I designed a little circuit and installed it. But the imbalance between tubes bothered me, so I built an interpretation of Drew Bolce's individual bias circuit and installed THAT.



Here's what the set looked like after I got done repairing and messing with it.



The arrows point to modifications. One is Drew's circuit. The other is a relay installed to take the load off of the power switch (it's under that blue fiberboard). One convenience outlet is always live (for your turntable), and the other is switched by the relay. The power switch now only operates the relay instead of the entire unit. I also installed a large varistor on the AC input (you can see it to the left of the relay, at about 10 o'clock and parallel to it) to prevent turn-on surges. I agonized over replacing the power cord to prevent swapping hot and neutral, but I decided that the Fisher logo on the plug was too cool to get rid of (not to mention that sometimes, one WANTS to swap hot and neutral!). So I made a mark on the side of the cord to denote the hot side.

After this came FM alignment. This was interesting, because this set is so old, I have never had to do an alignment on one. This was made worse by the fact that the procedure in the manual is badly written, unclear, and in some cases incorrect. Once again, Drew came to my rescue with some tips and help. As part of the repair process, I had also disassembled the tuning mechanism and flywheel, relubed it, restrung the dial mechanism and made the pointer work right. Nice!

The FM works great.

Part of the tuner rehab was new dial lights. I did not have original Fisher parts, but I do have fuse-lamps of the correct value. But they're too short! So I took the end caps off the old bulbs and soldered them onto the fuse lamps. Take note that the solder quality in this photo is pretty bad. These fuse lamps are delicate, they don't LIKE to take solder, and if you heat them up too much, the end caps come right off (ask me how I know this!). So the old caps are tacked on with as little heat as possible, and the joints are ugly and not up to my normal standards.



The old lamps have white paint on them to help deflect light onto the dial. I don't have any paint that would stick to glass (or withstand the temperature), so I used some white-paper coated cardboard to use as a lamp reflector.

Now, it's time for clean up and beauty-maker. As the previous photos show, this set was pretty sad. So I started working on it. The trouble is that the chassis was not only dirty, but corroded and oxidized. Cleaning was a delicate balance between the ultimate shine (and the ultimate amount of work) and actually having nomenclature left on the set. Difficult. Even the tube shields were nasty.



I think cleaning was more work than repairing. The sad thing is that when you so much as take a dry cloth to the tubes, much of the nomenclature comes off. So you either have dirty tubes that say stuff, or nice shiny glowing tubes that might not. I made a list of each tube, what it was, who made it (and where) before I decided to clean the tubes.

I think she's come out very sparkly (well, except for that one 7591!)









What's cool is that with Drew's board, I was able to balance the output tubes, and even that crispy critter is working just fine. What amazingly robust bottles those are!

Here's a couple more:




Ugh. There's always one rebel, isn't there?

And lastly:

These are NOT repro brights!

Once again, my thanks to Drew Bolce and Audiodon over at AK. This was FUN!

Photos are copyright 2010 by Tapeheads member Pacific Stereo. All rights are reserved. Absolutely no unauthorized use without permission.
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net

Last edited by Pacific Stereo; 08-31-2011 at 05:50 PM.
  #2  
Old 03-17-2010, 10:29 AM
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Thumbs up Fisher 500C

Beautiful inside and out! Here's to a job very well done and the courage and skill to tackle said job. All of this is well beyond my skill level but I sure can appreciate what it takes to accomplish.
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:20 AM
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Awesome! A job very well done.
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  #4  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:11 PM
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Great Job, thanks for sharing the story and pics.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:20 PM
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Looks great, nice job, congrats . Nice pics too.
  #6  
Old 03-17-2010, 09:29 PM
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That is great. Looks like a work of art!
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  #7  
Old 03-25-2010, 09:43 PM
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Nice job P.S.!
  #8  
Old 03-26-2010, 06:45 AM
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another ripper restoration from Pacific Stereo
  #9  
Old 03-28-2010, 09:48 PM
stuwee stuwee is offline
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other than having to go to my room....

I have to ask, that background looks like the Colorado front range, is it?
  #10  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:35 AM
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That is so slick they keep traffic 3 blocks away! Thank you for saving the birdie.
  #11  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:41 AM
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I have never seen anyone stuff a cap before!

Careful, tubes are addictive... very addictive. The first one is always free.
  #12  
Old 11-03-2010, 04:37 PM
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Well, the 500C is about to go up to the auction block. I put the finishing touches on it today.

While I was auditioning it, I put on some of Kris' stuff. This particular track has a bunch of her guitars done on a tube amp, and this track just shines on the Fisher. It was the perfect vehicle to enjoy this track.

Kristin Hersh - Moan

Enjoy the tune. PDP-II encode.
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net

Last edited by Pacific Stereo; 02-01-2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Fixed broken music link
  #13  
Old 11-09-2010, 05:36 PM
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Dimitar Georgiev Dimitar Georgiev is offline
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What a marvelous piece of equipment! I whish I could lay hands on such kind integrated amp. Did you make any measurements for output power, distortions versus freq range? I would be cuirous to see the figures.

thanks
Dimitar
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2010, 10:06 AM
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I always check units for performance after repair and before I offer them, and I also always audition them critically. This unit has a huge amount of labor in it, and I just can't spend any more time on it to do more measurements. However, the ears have it, and it's working wonderfully!
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #15  
Old 11-21-2010, 10:47 AM
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Hey guys, need some help on this. Shipping damage has stuck.

Well, the 500C got boxed up and packed to withstand a fall out of an airplane and yet, something bad happened to it anyway.

It arrived with smashed glass. I just can't believe it.

Does anyone have a line on a faceplate, a piece of glass or anything of the sort? I think even the glass from a 400 will work.

Thanks, everyone.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #16  
Old 11-21-2010, 01:06 PM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific Stereo View Post
Well, the 500C got boxed up and packed to withstand a fall out of an airplane and yet, something bad happened to it anyway.

It arrived with smashed glass. I just can't believe it.

Does anyone have a line on a faceplate, a piece of glass or anything of the sort? I think even the glass from a 400 will work.

Thanks, everyone.
Is there anybody in the winner's area that can screen a dialglass? We used to have an antique radio source for some.
  #17  
Old 11-22-2010, 09:21 AM
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I've got Mike over at Radiodaze thinking about this, but he needs a sample to start with.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #18  
Old 11-23-2010, 02:34 PM
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Wow. That really sucks. I'm sorry for you. When I ship Mac stuff, I prefer to remove the glass and pad and ship separately if possible. Kinda tough on that piece though. What a pity.
  #19  
Old 11-23-2010, 05:46 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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It does indeed suck, but at least the customer understands and isn't jacked up about this. He definitely gets it. I wish all my customers were as awesome as this one is.

But we still need replacement glass.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
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