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 Post subject: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 19
Hello everyone,

I have been utilizing this remarkable forum as a resource for some months now, but have never posted before. I tried to join a short while ago but had some difficulties [which now seem to be resolved].
In the meantime another member of this forum [Pete AKA: flashpanblue] very generously attempted to help me out by posting in the trader section on my behalf. We both live in Nova Scotia BTW.

I always think a bit of background is good manners on a first post so here goes. I would say I’m not a collector, but an accidental tinkerer.

I came across a VV-80 for $75 and not knowing anything took it home. With the help of this forum and other internet resource’s, I took apart the motor, cleaned and re-greased the springs, replaced a missing governor weight [after I found Bob Nix who supplied me with parts], cleaned the cabinet [with goop – thank you forum for that!], and replaced gaskets and flange on the N0. 2 reproducer.
I recently did more or less the same for $45 junk store tabletop off brand [Savoy] and gave that away to some friends.

And now I have a $90 Consolette as my next project.

All my questions are about the orthophonic soundbox. I have searched the forum a lot and I don’t think these have been specifically asked.

So first, as you see it is pretty typical and the pot metal is cracked in several places. However, the spider is firmly attached and the needle bar also seems well attached to the spider. It is missing a screw in front but I can get this replaced. It is also missing a 3 armed cross piece in the throat just behind the foil ... I have no idea what this called, does or relative importance.

This one seems to be a bit different from the other Victor orthophonics in that there is no slot on the back outer ring and the back is red. My guess is that since the consolette was the bargain model this was the bargain model soundbox?

Has anyone ever worked on one like this?

My assumption is that any attempt to remove the back will result in disaster. My plan is to buy a new flange and bearings then attempt to stabilize the cracks with a bit of epoxy and see what occurs.
Waste of time or worth a go?

I see a few other pot mental ones here and there, but mostly in same cracked boat so doesn’t seem logical to replace one bad one with another … nor frankly do I want to spend the required money for a brass one on a $90 machine.

So my next question. Is there a list of non-Victor orthophonic reproducers that will fit or could be made to fit with a flange swap or other bodge?

I will tell you what I have found searching so far on this forum: A later victor from a portable, an HMV 5a or 5b [although they seem to be plagued with pot metal issues as well] and perhaps a Thorens primaphonic …

I know a generic or lesser known brand will not sound as good as a Victor, but I’m not super fussy and it would do until I found a workable Victor orthophonic at a good price.


Thanks in advance for any advice,

Darrell
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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:29 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1121
burke wrote:
...My assumption is that any attempt to remove the back will result in disaster. My plan is to buy a new flange and bearings then attempt to stabilize the cracks with a bit of epoxy and see what occurs.
Waste of time or worth a go?


I think it's worth trying.

I wouldn't recommend removing the back. If the diaphragm is undamaged, it should be okay to leave it as-is until you can find an affordable good quality replacement.

For fixing the cracks, some members here recommend JB Weld -- https://www.grainger.com/product/2UV83? ... 23231534:s -- which is an epoxy adhesive. I've never used it, but it sounds like it would work okay.

The important thing is to make it completely air-tight. I'd also recommend replacing the ball bearings in the needle bar pivots, or at least cleaning everything off.

I have a more or less as-found Orthophonic pot metal sound box on my 4-40, which I acquired about 17 years ago. Tiny cracks--more like crazing--covered most of the surface of the front plate. I painted them with a few coats of Krazy Glue, and they've never expanded.

As for the 3 armed cross piece in the throat, if that's the flat, thin metal kind, I think it's main purpose was to protect the diaphragm. The later ones, which were die-cast, and had a bullet-shaped center, functioned as a "phase plug" -- viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17719 -- to enhance the sound quality.

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:56 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 19
Thank you OrthoFan,

JB weld is what I used to repair some crack pot mental on an off brand tonearm. Great info re:the Phase Plug.

Since posting I've been contacted by a member who is sending a better version of the soundbox and I think between the two I may be able to do a full re-build.

I read and re-read Wyatt Markus's online guide hopefully I can marshal the "LOTS OF PATIENCE" he wisely recommends :)

I must admit although I don't really need a non-Victor reproducer now, after scrolling through many eBay ads with loads of fun and funky otho reproducers, I'm still curious about which would have fit.

Perhaps a resource exists already? "The Compleat Talking Machine ..." seems to be the bible. Maybe Mr. Reiss has already done something like this.

Darrell


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:38 pm 
Offline
Victor IV
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 8:20 pm
Posts: 1000
What you have there is a very early potmetal soundbox. You can tell this by the fact that the needle setscrew comes straight out rather than on an angle like most potmetal Orthos. The missing screw is actually used to limit the motion of the needlebar so it can't be moved far enough to damage the diaphragm. It has a nut to lock it in place, once it is set. This screw on the early potmetal Orthos is of a smaller diameter, like those on the brass ones. Also, the bearings are likely magnetic, again like the brass reproducers and the outer bearing races are steel.
I have seen these boxes both with and without the crossbar, which is a simple stamping held in with the rubber mounting ring. Later ones had a cast phasing plug that was screwed to the inside of the backplate. I have also heard that the diaphragm on the brass and early potmetal ones is different than the later ones, thinner I believe, but I have never verified that.

I know that I have a few backplates that are useable and I may have one or 2 frontplates as well as other odds and ends, but no rings for the backplate. If you need anything, let me know and if I have it I'll send it to you. I once did quite a bit of restoration of Orthophonics and sometimes it took 2 or 3 to make one, so I have parts left over which I'll never use.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:42 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 19
Thank very much Jim,

More great information and a generous offer to boot!

As I mentioned I have a soundbox coming from another member and with luck two may get me one, but I've been reading everything I can find about rebuilds and know full well nothing is guaranteed. Bob Nix happily had a spare screw if I'd needed it.

Bob is also sending me a rebuild kit and I know there is some differing options on what I have called a flange, but I believe now is more properly called an isolator. Specifically making your own out of silicon vs using a replacement [a stiffness issue]. Also gaskets ... white tube vs red flat [I've used both in the two mice rebuilds I've done].

Another feature that I have wondered about but have found no reference to is the purpose [if any] of the hole on the case next to the next to the needle bar. Another site ID's it as way to tell if your ortho is potmetal rather than brass, but that's it. First impression would be there must be a screw in there, but there doesn't appear to be or have been. Maybe a byproduct of the casting process?
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Finally I found this site where a dealer is selling replacement/reproduction backs for HMV's from cast aluminum.
http://www.windupgram.co.uk/back.htm
Seems like there could be a market for Victor's as well, especially for the rings.

I even googled DIY 'lost wax casting' ... hopefully it won't come to that :)


Darrell


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:57 am 
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Victor V
User avatar
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:36 am
Posts: 2197
Location: Delaware
Ron Sitko (and maybe others) is selling complete new castings for orthophonic soundboxes (back, front and ring). You only need your old needle bar I think. He also sells the ball bearings, gaskets, diaphragms etc.

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:24 am 
Offline
Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1121
burke wrote:
Another site ID's it as way to tell if your ortho is potmetal rather than brass, but that's it. ...
Darrell


Hi Burke:

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The brass Orthophonic sound boxes (right image) had seven tear-shaped opening in the front plate, while the pot metal ones (left image) had nine. In addition, the "housing" for the needle-bar bearings was attached to the front plate of the Brass sound box, and is normally black painted, while for the pot metal version, it's molded as part of the plate.

HTH,
OrthoFan


Last edited by OrthoFan on Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:23 am 
Offline
Victor IV
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 1566
Location: Harrison Township, MI
burke wrote:
Thank very much Jim,

More great information and a generous offer to boot!

As I mentioned I have a soundbox coming from another member and with luck two may get me one, but I've been reading everything I can find about rebuilds and know full well nothing is guaranteed. Bob Nix happily had a spare screw if I'd needed it.

Bob is also sending me a rebuild kit and I know there is some differing options on what I have called a flange, but I believe now is more properly called an isolator. Specifically making your own out of silicon vs using a replacement [a stiffness issue]. Also gaskets ... white tube vs red flat [I've used both in the two mice rebuilds I've done].

Another feature that I have wondered about but have found no reference to is the purpose [if any] of the hole on the case next to the next to the needle bar. Another site ID's it as way to tell if your ortho is potmetal rather than brass, but that's it. First impression would be there must be a screw in there, but there doesn't appear to be or have been. Maybe a byproduct of the casting process?
Attachment:
20170418_152835.jpg


Finally I found this site where a dealer is selling replacement/reproduction backs for HMV's from cast aluminum.
http://www.windupgram.co.uk/back.htm
Seems like there could be a market for Victor's as well, especially for the rings.

I even googled DIY 'lost wax casting' ... hopefully it won't come to that :)


Darrell



Darrell,

As to the hole you ask about. If you were to remove the back plate, you would see that it has, (or had), a small tongue on its outside diameter that sticks into that hole. It orients the back plate correctly so that it's not rotated out of position once assembled. It also keeps the whole back plate from turning when the retaining ring is screwed in, which would destroy the diaphragm and needle arm.


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:32 am 
Offline
Victor IV
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 1566
Location: Harrison Township, MI
Darrell,

Here is an option for you: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Early-Victor-Go ... SwTM5Y5QNP

It's not technically "correct" for your phonograph, since it has the cover plate, which signifies that it's for a portable model. However, it's in infinitely better condition than yours, and while it may still need work, it's rebuildable and yours is not. Other than the cover plate thing, it's essentially the same reproducer. They tend to sell for a bit less money and have the added benefit of having the diaphragm protected all its life under that cover.

If you feel like spending more money, there's this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Victor-Victrola ... SwvihY-8cy

I wouldn't do that though for a Consolette model.


By the way. Rebuilding Orthophonic reproducers, especially pot metal ones, is not for beginners. Although I suppose everyone has to be a beginner at least once...


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 Post subject: Re: Consolette orthophonic soundbox
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:17 pm 
Offline
Victor Jr
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 19
"Ron Sitko (and maybe others) is selling complete new castings for orthophonic soundboxes (back, front and ring ..."

Extremely invaluable information and hopefully useful to many besides myself! Thank you Andreas.

"As to the hole you ask about. If you were to remove the back plate, you would see that it has, (or had), a small tongue on its outside diameter that sticks into that hole"

Now that I take another look at this photo of the parts of a disassembled Otho soundbox its painfully obvious :)
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTE4MlgxNjAw/ ... 880000500F

I had been 'watching' both of those [and others], but as I mentioned, I have a serviceable soundbox winging its way towards me from another member even as we speak so unless I botch it up well and truly ...

"By the way. Rebuilding Orthophonic reproducers, especially pot metal ones, is not for beginners."

The dozens of posts I've read here and in other places definitely confirms that! But having read all that, Mr. Markus's wonderfully detailed page and having rebuilt two non-ortho soundboxes, I would describe myself as merely "Painfully overconfident" rather than "Woefully ignorant" and as you go on to say:
" Although I suppose everyone has to be a beginner at least once..."
Undeniable logic and a state of being I have enjoyed on many occasions ... ;)

Cheers

Darrell


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