General Electric JE61L

This radio is a large bag of surprises, questions and problems. First of all, I have been absolutely unable to find any data on it, other than what is shown on its label, like its date of manufacture in 1942. So, I have only done a basic functional repair, waiting for someone to provide me more info before I attempt a full restoration.

I'm referring to the large radio, not to the small RCA on top. It uses a very strange design. The tubes are a 6SA7GT converter, 6SK7GT IF amp, 6NT7GT detector, AGC and audio preamp, a 25C66T audio power amp, a 6U5 magic eye and a 25Z6GT rectifier. So far, so good. But the filaments are series connected and powered from an autotransformer! That means that the chassis is hot, despite the use of a transformer. The plate circuit comes from the autotransformer too. But another strange thing is that the autotransformer has input taps for a lot of strange voltages, the only normal one being 220V. There is a 48V input, but nothing in the vicinity of 110 or 120V!

I got the radio with the cabinet in the exact condition pictured here. Some "restorer", obviously a fine specialist in antiques, has scraped away almost all remains of an original finish, and applied several coats of polyurethane varnish! He didn't even care to remove the speaker cloth, which got soaked in varnish...

But that guy had the decency of letting the decals over the knobs and under the dial survive. They give a glimpse of the original color of this radio: A much darker brown, not that light reddish tone. But I really don't think that the entire radio was finished in a single color! Rather I would expect the many decorations to have been painted or tinted in a different tone. If anyone out there in the wide world has any idea how this radio originally looked, please let me know! My e-mail address is on the main homo ludens homepage, and you can get there by following the return links at the end of each page.

It had just one knob when I got it. I made copies of this only knob, but I don't know if this knob was original at all!

Electrically this radio had its share of contact trouble, but nothing too difficult to fix. It has great sound! But once it gave me the scare of my life: It was election day, and I was eating breakfast in the kitchen while listening to the news from the radio running in the living room. Suddenly there was a "FFFFLOFFFFF" sound, the electric power went out, and the radio went silent. I ran over to the living room, and found burning paper chips all over the floor, and 20 cm high flames coming out of the back of the radio, in close proximity to a highly flammable curtain! I ripped the radio away from the curtain, trampled barefoot on the burning paper chips, then carried my dear radio in a hurry into the bathroom, and gave it a cold shower! My home was saved, the radio was saved and later repaired, and my foot soles fixed themselves after some weeks. A leaky paper capacitor had been the culprit.

Dear fellow collector: Replace ALL paper caps in your radios, that work at dangerous power levels! And very specially those that go directly across the AC line, unfused, like in this radio!!!

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