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 Post subject: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 11:42 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Greetings Boys and Girls! Lori and I are in the middle of a big project at this time, and felt it would be a great thing to share with fellow collectors.
It began with the purchase of an unrestored 1928 Mills Hiboy phonograph, from an auction in October 2018. See the first photo below. Upon arrival in the following January, we took a detailed inventory in what was there, and learned that the machine was mostly complete, but suffering from some loose and damaged veneer, poor finish, distorted and swelled pot metal parts and an accumulation of grime and dirt both inside and outside. The wood issues are not too big of a deal to me, but the pot metal parts initially seemed like there would be a huge expense to have them remade by a machinist. Along with the machine was supposed to be a box of extra parts, which did not arrive with the machine. After a call to the seller, they agreed to send the box separately as it had somehow been accidently missed from the shipment. While waiting for that box to arrive, Lori and I tore into the machine to begin cleaning and saving whatever we could and working to re-glue the lifting veneer along the bottom edge and around the windows. (A syringe filled with diluted Elmer's Carpenter's Glue was very useful to get the glue under the loose layers of veneer.)
While the glue was setting up, I began to check the electrical system, first looking at the credit/coin system. To my disappointment I found the pot metal plate which had held the accumulator wheel, several relays and the run switches had disintegrated into several pieces. Some of the parts had fallen off completely, and the whole thing was being held together by the remaining parts. See the second photo. (Lori suggested the boy with the hatchet had tired of destroying the Standard and so found a new place to go.)
Okay, likely we’ll never find a good plate, so fabricating one out of brass seemed like the best way to go. After cutting up rods and blocks, and soldering them into the proper locations on a piece of cut-to-shape 3/16” plate, then drilling and tapping as necessary, we managed to piece together a new plate. Picture number three shows the completed assembly installed in the machine.
The fabrication of the plate took several days, enough time for the veneer repairs to dry thoroughly. We found that in a couple of spots the veneer did not go down to its original level, flush to the surface. Using an old iron on medium setting, I applied heat and pressure to those spots and that solved the issue. Some of the veneer chips were filled in using this “Iron Down” method also.
This story will be continued in few days as more progress is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 12:22 pm 
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Victor III
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music is time travel and strings moments in time together like nothing else I know -- Kathleen Lane
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:23 am
Posts: 911
Location: North Oregon Coast
Very nice work. i woould expect nothing less from you. Always great work. This will be fun to watch!
-- Dan

Visit My YouTube Channel
Visit the OTAPS Home Page http://otaps.org


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2019 1:46 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Thank you Dan. Good to hear from you. We still talk about our visits to you and the great enjoyment we derived of seeing you and your collection.


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 7:52 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Well, the next thing I decided to attack is the sound system. The amplifier is rather simple, with minimal parts beneath the chassis, see the first photo. There is no method of controlling tone, only volume, and there were no protective devices in the amplifier other than a ballast lamp. The second photo shows the top side of the amplifier before cleaning and prepping for repaint.

The first task was to clean the top side and remove all of the covers for repainting. The metal box of capacitors was opened and all of the old capacitors taken out. I installed all new oil filled capacitors, all of which were rated at 600V except the one closest to the rectifiers in the circuit was rated at 1200V. All transformers and coils were checked and all resistors were checked and replaced as needed (I used the fusible resistor over as it is located on the top side of the chassis and is an easy access for replacement or changing its value). A fuse was installed in the B+ line to protect the transformer and the hard to find #10 vacuum tubes.

The second task was to clean the speaker. It seemed to me that for such a primitive amplifier design, the speaker was a way more advanced design. The cone appears to be a doped linen or canvas, with the field coil in front of the cone. A continuity check indicated that both the field coil and the voice were good, and I found there was no scraping of the voice coil against the magnet. Yippee! I would hate to have to rebuild or replace that speaker.

Both the amplifier and speaker were repainted in their original colors as seen in the third and fourth photo.
After testing the amplifier and speaker, and running them on the bench for several hours (playing tunes from my iPhone, it amazed me how good the amplifier/speaker combination sounded), I put the two aside, and went on to other tasks.

In a few days, I'll test the various parts of the mechanism.


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 8:04 pm 
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Victor II
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:32 pm
Posts: 402
Location: PA
Russie,

Before you re-install the amp could you measure the high voltage windings of the power transformer? Right after I sold my Hi-Boy I got two in for restoration and both need new power transformers and of course I never documented the voltages.

Thanks

Chuck


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 8:53 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
PM sent.


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 10:27 pm 
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Victor Monarch
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 4080
Location: Albany NY
This link might be of interest- it pictures a line of PA Systems, components & speakers, made by Operadio.

http://www.vintageradio.com/history/Operadio.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:28 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 9:45 am
Posts: 169
Russie,
You did a nice job repainting those components. Mine are about in the same scroungy condition as yours were so I will have to repaint mine as well. Pretty simple amplifier, eh?


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:36 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
estott
Thank you so very much for sharing that information. I've seen actual examples of Operadio products before, and they always seem to be well built.

edisonclassm
Thank you. Yes, I have to admire how simple a push-pull amplifier can be and still effectively get the job done. This Operadio design shows an amplifier doesn't need all those complex ancillary systems that the last vacuum tube amplifiers employed.


Cheers, Russie


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 Post subject: Re: Restoration Of Mills Coin Operated Phonograph
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:23 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 575
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
For the past week, as time permitted, tests were performed on the various part of the mechanism. The Mills design was straightforward, twelve turntables, perpendicular to the axle, rotated to the playing position by a master motor and each driven, one at a time, by a governor controlled turntable motor. I chose the turntable motor first for testing. It had a disintegrating pot metal housing, and I was fortunate to have found a spare motor on Ebay. When it arrived, I connected power through a variometer and powered it up. It worked fairly well first test. Yet, old grease, grime and other buildups, had to be done away with. Complete dis-assembly and cleaning were in order. While the motor was apart, the motor case was repainted in the original color. Upon re-assembly, all bearings and pivot points were lubricated with special attention being given to the governor. There was a rubber drive wheel on the end of the governor shaft that had hardened to stone. I made a new one from Buna, grinding it carefully to rotate true without bouncing when it engaged the edge of the turntable. Meanwhile, all other parts, including levers, switch contacts, wires and other parts were cleaned and lubricated as needed. I re-installed the turntable motor. The photos show the before and after.


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