Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Denied, 6 Jun 2007.
Right, this has been a long time coming. I have actually completed this project but took shots throughout it so that I could jam up a quick worklog about it.
Now, this project started out with two goals:
1) to provide me with a nifty looking stereo so that I could listen to my ipod in my mate's garage/workshop
2) to save a poor helpless stereo from being unceremoniously destroyed in the name of a HTPC.
Too many vintage stereos have come to fall upon outstretched dremels and jigsaws and I felt i needed to make a stand! To show there is still life in these vintage pieces of equipment. But truth be told, i just enjoy restoring things and I thought it'd be a bit of an interesting take to restore an old amp rather than gut it and stick a PC inside of it... call it doing something original for these forums
My requirements for the stereo is that it must have an unfeasibly large volume knob. It definitely needs to have a metal face, but then that's kinda a moot point since all equipment back in those days had metal fronts... but still, i digress. So I started trolling through ebay looking for something suitable...
For the princely sum of $A20 bucks I got myself a circa 1976 Pioneer SA5300. I did a bit of research about the amp... since i would prefer it not be the equivalant of listening to music through a wet sock. It's definitely not a top of the line amp and falls into what was described as the budget hifi component sector... good but not great. For $A20 bucks, i'm satisfied, the most ironic part was that the postage was actually more than the unit totalling $A35...
So enough jibba jabba...
click for biggahness!
So as you can see... the top cover looks like it's been chewed by a metal eating Chihuahua and then left out in a rainstorm. The dials also haven't been the most fortunate, with a good coating of gunk and scunge all over the bases. The light bulb to indicate the power was busted in the vicious Chihuahua attack and thus needed to be replaced.
The big stereo headphone plug in the headphone jack was put there by me to test the sound on a set of headphones and it was surprisingly good... until i tried it through a set of speakers... looks like the left channel was buggered. Took the cover off and had a diddle about and couldn't see anything obviously wrong there. Gave the RCA leads a jiggle and voila... stereo. Turns out the plugs just need a bit of a clean.
So enough with the wordy wordy syllable type jive and onto the next post which has a lot more picture-type things.
Cool project. I love old modular components. I'd love to get my hands on an old MacIntosh Amp. and Yes, it would fall upon outstretched dremels and jigsaws
First things first, take the thing apart, unlike current generation Mac products, all that was required was a small 7/32" socket for the front face and a nice big phillips head screwdriver. Unscrew the four big obvious bolts on the sides and ZING! Off with the main cover. Pull off all the controls on the front (being careful to avoid using the word knob, for fear of puerile giggling) and then undo the four screws in each corner. And you are left with one nekkid 1976 Pioneer amplifier.
Avert your eyes young ones! NAKED ELECTRONICS! As you can see... it's hardly the most complicated setup. I forgot to get some good shots of the PCB but let's just say you could happily drive a Hummer down the traces and not touch the sides. Yep they are that wide... That said, it's nothing out of the ordinary considering the period.
I opted for using chemical paint stripper to start the process. Now this stuff is hiliariously evil and by 'hilariously' i mean it actually isn't... it burns like buggery if you don't notice it sitting on your unprotected skin. Since i have worked with the industrial grade versions of this stuff I approached with caution... and bright yellow gloves! Still, keep your eye on the gloves as they have a tendency to melt, which seriously reduces their effectiveness. Here are the panels after they were stripped *giggle*
You can clearly see where it looks like a large bovine creature has sneezed down each face, leaving snot and other gross stuff... The metal had been pretty badly affected by spider rust. The rust had managed to make it's way under the paint via the scratches and dents from the previously mentioned dog attack. Oh yeah, the grill... biggest pain in the butt to try and strip the paint from, ended up getting rid of most of it with a paint brush i'd hacked down to half it's normal length (so the bristles were extremely stiff) and big jets of water from the hose.
It took at least 3 to 5 coats of paint stripper to get down to the bare metal. You just smear on a layer of the stuff reasonably thick... wander off for a few minutes and then come back and scrape it back off with a palette knife or anything with a hard edge (i suggest a piece of wood as it doesn't scratch the metal surface). Keep doing this until you get rid of all the big chunks of paint. Some small areas require more coats than others, so just wait a little while longer with these before hitting them with the hard edged object. Most of this is in the instructions to the paint stripper by the way, always pays to read the instructions... well after you've messed it up a few times and can't figure out why
Now... this is where the fun starts... and by fun I mean plenty of dust, noise and abuse. Once the panels had dried off from their hosing, it's time to break out the orbital sander. I think i used 240 grit wet & dry paper to start with, but it was a while ago and i can't be sure. Obviously since this is an ELECTRICAL tool I had to do without the wet part of the wet & dry paper. I suggest that you find something good to rest your piece on unless you want it to look like a large hippopotamus has sat in the middle of it thanks to you putting pressure on it with the sander. You can only use the electic sander on the open parts of the panel, on the inside where the sander would foul against the edges you are resigned to using good old fashioned elbow grease. My fingers hated me after this part, in fact they petitioned to be removed from my body under charges of grevious bodily harm... thankfully the judge threw out the case. You can see the parts that i had to do by hand below, this is part way through as you can still see some oxidation surrounding the vents
Be warned... getting the case down to bare metal and smooth and blemish free takes AGES and a heap of wet & dry sand paper. It is by no means a quick and simple task because your aim is to remove as much of the rust and oxidation to prevent it re-establishing itself once you've repainted it. Below you can see the results of my efforts...
It is by no means perfect but the oxidation has etched into the surface of the metal. I would've liked to remove these blemishes but it would've involved WAY too much sanding and all in all i decided that it really wasn't worth it. I would be using a rust inhibiting, etch primer when painting so figured as long as I got it as flush and nice as possible then it was good to go. I think you'll agree there is a bit of difference from what i started with.
i love pioneeer!!!
and indeed, some gross stuff on the panels
I have a respirator... a very nice expensive one, with interchangable filter cartridges, very comfortable and handy. Well at least it is if it happens to be at my house. In my infinite wisdom it was at my mate's workshop... so I made do without it and BOY! Did i have fun! Painting things is so much more amusing when the thing you are painting won't stay still, even though it's an inanimate object. I basically floated out of the garage after each coat. So let this be a lesson to all of you... don't paint without a respirator, even if it is only using rattle cans. I did limit my exposure and I'm obviously exagerating a heap here for comic effect but still, your lungs are with you for life... don't mess em up early just cos you were lazy.
Right, onto project work. Basically I wanted a nice satin black finish on the case to match the original finish. The finish also had to be very hard wearing... I've sprayed without using a primer or undercoat onto metal and it's a waste of time unless you are keeping the piece in a sealed perspex box with no chance of impact, however slight... the paint will just chip off. So! I picked out a couple of cans of metal etch primer that also said it was a rust inhibitor... wahey to that since we've already seen this amp's casing is prone to rusting. Can't remember the exact brand but it was basically the only one that Bunnings had and it seemed like the business.
Before you start spraying highly noxious paint fumes everywhere, you'll want to key the surface of the metal. In this case I used some 600 grit wet and dry and criss crossed the surface to prep it for the paint. Hit it with some turps to get rid of the sanding dust, try not to use too much purely as it takes a while to evaporate off the surface of the metal. Finally hit the piece with a tack cloth to get any errant bits of fluff that may have decided to set up home on your soon to be painted surface. Once you've jumped through all those hoops, lay down a nice big chunk of newspaper in your selected wind and dust free painting area, in this case my garage. I suggest that you get any cars, bikes, women, animals and priceless antiques outta the way since overspray is not very nice to get all over those things (and trust me, it's gets bloody everywhere)
As you can see I used another can of paint to get my piece off the ground and I used a tin of polish to get the flat piece of the ground. This means that you can get at all the surfaces and you don't get nasty buildups at the point where it would've been touching the ground.
Try not to get any spots or drips, but all in all it doesn't really matter too much if you do since you sand between the coats, giving you a chance to fix these mess ups. As you can see in the picture below, this is from spraying when it was slightly too cold and the nozzle was continually getting blocked up. This resulted in the paint spitting out of the rattle can instead of having a nice even flow. I attacked the nozzle with the point of my trusty compass and widened it out a little bit and didn't have any problems after that.
All up I laid down 5 to 7 coats of the primer on each of the pieces. Usually I would lay down 1 coat on each piece, wander inside, drink my beer and maybe play a game or two on the xbox and then mosey back out there and lay another coat. You want to wait around 20 mins between these coats (though refer to the instructions for exact timing, or you could just wing it but don't blame me if it messes up!). Once i had 2 or 3 coats down i would let them sit for a good while longer and then stick them somewhere in direct sun and leave the painting for a day. After a day, hit them with a 600 grit wet and dry... you don't want to go mental here since the paint will still be soft. All you're aiming for is to give the next proper coat something to stick to by scruffing up the surface a bit.
Here are the two pieces with their final coats of etch primer, basking in the sunlight...
The final shot i leave you with is what happens when you use a paint can as a stand for painting on and then move the piece after the paint has start to set... a nice big ring in the primer. You can only just make it out in the photo and it was sanded back out and then re-coated so it was no real problem. I must admit i did do some yelling and abusing of myself when i heard the tell tale ripping sounds as I moved the piece off the paint tin.
So the next update will be just text before the finished photos are put up.
I did the colour coats over at my mate's workshop (where i had left my respirator). He has a compressor and proper spray gun, which I have never used before... but he was adamant that I was doing the spraying, "so be it", says I (begrudgingly since he is an awesome painter but I'm glad he did since now i have a little experience under my belt). I had bought the paint from the local automotive paint supplier and my mate also had some spare colour primer that I could use as well. So i went through the same motions i used when i was priming, key the surface, spray the colour, wait for a while, spray again, leave overnight. So using this technique i laid another 2 coats of colour primer, well 2.5 since I would've laid 3 but sanded off another .5 a coat .
And finally, the scary part... mixing up the colour for final coats. I proceeded to make a mess EVERYWHERE... everything i touched turned to smeared black finger prints and grottiness. Thankfully it was confined to my paint prep area and I managed to keep the actual stereo parts pretty tidy! (wasted quite a bit of paint though, oops)
Unfortunately my mate's camera was out of action at the time and I had left mine at my house. Also we didn't really fancy the idea of using the cameras when i had proved that I had all the motor skills of a drunk 4 year old at kindy when it came to the paints. I ended up laying down 6 full colour coats over the top of the colour primer. Hand cutting back each coat, inside and out. As you can imagine... it took a few days for me to finish it. There is one blemish, but thankfully it is on the inside face of the cover.
That pretty much covers all the restoration of the case pieces...
The front panel and the knobs *giggle* are another story. Basically the front panel is just a 5mm thick chunk of aluminium. Once you get it off the unit and you aren't hampered by all the controls it is nice and flat. Perfect for some polishing and waxing. Now before you get all excited and picture the front with a mirror finish or something ludicrious like that, I wanted to maintain the look of the unit and RESTORE it not bling the heck out of it. I used Auto Glym polish to take the surface back and get a nice even shine across it and then finished it off with a few coats of Mothers carnuba wax to seal the front nicely.
Each of the knobs and switches were removed and left to soak in a warm water sink with some dish washing liquid added for good measure. Each of them were then removed and dried out, which is really hard to do by the way. Now the fun started... how do you polish a cylindrical object evenly? yes, that's the correct answer "With Great DIFFICULTY". I ended up holding them in a cloth and then polishing around the edge to get rid of the gunk that had built up against the small lip on each of the knobs. Finally i polished out the faces so they were nice an uniform in their shine since a lot of them had small surface blemishes.
The last port of call to restore this wonderful piece of equipment to a working state is to fix the Chihuahua ravaged power light. I had the choice of trying to chase down a replacement... well that was until i pulled the light out of it's socket... it was hardwired in, no socket. So since I was going to have to solder anyways I figured I could probably use something else. After breaking out my trusty multimeter i figured out i could do a straight swap with an LED and a resistor... I went for a nice plain white high output LED. As I have said it was a while ago, so i can't tell you the resistor i used or the voltages etc, or any of the important information... so you'll just have to believe me when I say it works. So there. Funnily enough the hole for the power light exactly fits a 3mm LED... which was a nice stroke of luck
The next post should be of the completed amp... but there will be more after that, which i will tell you in my next post.
And now, the final shots. I realise there aren't many... but I can always take more since the amp is currently in my spare room. But i really like these pics and they help to focus on the bits and pieces that i shot in the first batch of pre-restoration shots. But i'll let you guys make up your own minds.
I think that it turned out really well. It was complete overkill and really didn't need to have this much time and money spent on it, but i really enjoyed the restoration process (except for the colour coats & spray gun which I found nerve racking). I think i ended up spending at least three times the amount on paint, sand paper and various other prep stuff... actually now that I think of it probably even more than that, oops. But as i say... i had fun and that's the important thing!
Now, as I said in the previous post, it doesn't end here. I needed an interconnect cable for the ipod to the stereo. I could've just gone to the local electronics store and grabbed one for like 2 bucks (or i could've raided my cable box as I know there is one in there) but I figured I would make one in keeping with the theme of the amp and i would base the design on the some of the audiophile cables out there. Now before anyone jumps on me... i'm not making an audiophile cable... i'm making a cable that looks audiophile. Audiophile to me is the biggest crock ever but each to their own. SooOoOoo that aside I'm going to add my howto make a nifty looking stereo RCA to 3.5mm headphone cable... but that will be tomorrow as it's past my bed time. So until then...
My apologies. I can barely sit up to type this with the massive headache i have... hopefully i will get the howto up friday or over the weekend. Sorry people...
Onto the interesting bits... the howto on how to make up a cable that for all intents and purposes could be purchased for close to naff all at any electronics shop. With that disclaimer out of the way onto the bits and bobs required. You are making a cable... so some cable is definitely required, in this case some very nice Japanese Canare shielded microphone cable . Since we are hoping to connect some things some plugs are also required, so some rather nifty looking gold RCA plugs are required (in the black and red flavours)... and also a 3.5mm stereo headphones jack in the same flavour of gold.
That's the main bits required for the cable and should you not be anal rententive like myself you could happily knock together a cable using those parts... IF! on the other hand you wish to make a cable that is completely OCD then you will also need... some nice black heatshrink, preferably in the 8mm black variety. Since we don't want any exposed insulated wire, we will also be needing some small black cable sleeving.
Finally to complete the job, you will need some nice flux in core solder, a soldering iron to melt and use said solder. Some Zap-a-gap Cyanoacrylate glue... otherwise known as super thin super glue of the medium setting style. Some nice snips/side cutters are very helpful, as is a ruler and a compass. To summarize i have listed all the materials below
1.5m Canare sheilded microphone wire (this can be however long you want to make the cable)
21AWG black insulated wire
2x RCA plug (1 red, 1 black)
1x 3.5mm stereo headphone plug
3mm black cable sleeving
Zap-a-gap Super glue
Now, let's get things started...
1) take off 5" worth of insulation from one end of the cable. use your scalpel to ring around the insulation gently making sure not to slice into the shielding beneath too much... save the 5" of insulation you cut off for use later
2) using the snips, cut back the shielding so that only 1" of the shielding remains. This is shown in the pic below
3) now the fun begins. unbraid the 1" of shielding that is showing, i found the best was to do this was to use the point of my compass and one by one unhook each of the strands. As you can imagine this is exceedingly tedious and obsessive compulsive... hey, sue me, I warned you I was pedantic. You should have something like the pic below when you are done (about 3.5 THOUSAND hours later, i may be exagerrating)
4) seperate the shielding into two even bunches on either side of the 2 central wires
5) now, cut off the fabric wadding that is surround the wires and twist the two bunches into nice little wires on either side... once all twisted together, tin the wires with your soldering iron and the solder (as opposed to tinning them with corn chips... which is much less likely to work)
6) trim back the tinned wires to a length of 1/4" and cut a couple of piece of the 21AWG wire to a length of 6"
7) strip a 1/4" off of the 21AWG wire and tin these ends... you can see my 'precision' snips in the photo here, they are definitely precision, it even says so on the handles so it must be true!
8) now attach these pieces of wire to the twisted shielding that you tinned earlier on in the piece
9) cut off a 1 1/2" piece of the 8mm heat shrink, put this aside for a tick
10) now prep your sleeving. If you aren't as pedantic as I, you can just slide the sleeving over the wires as is. On the other hand if you are mental like me you can do the following. Slide the sleeving over a suitable piece of plastic or metal. Take the Zap glue and liberally apply it close the the end of the sleeving, making sure to fill up the gaps in the sleeving with the glue. Leave this to set. You will be left with some sleeving that holds its shape rather than fraying. Now I realise that I could use the lighter/heating trick to stop the sleeving from fraying but this leaves an unsightly bulge under the heatshrink when you're finished... the Zap glue gets rid of this.
11) Once you have let the glue dry and you've removed it from whatever you used to form it up over you should be able to neatly slide the sleeving over two of the cables... make sure you have one black and either a white or a blue... we are going to use the black as the ground for the cable btw. Once one pair of cables is has sleeving on it... cut the sleeving to length and then slide the remaining sleeving onto the other two cables, as shown in the second pic. (you will obviously repeat step 10 for the sleeving you use on the second pair of wires)
12) Here you can see the two pieces of sleeving over the wires and the heatshrink we cut up earlier
13) Slide the piece of heatshrink over the two pieces of sleeving and back onto the wire, you want 1/2" an inch over the sleeving and the remaining heatshrink over the cable. Shrink the heat shrink and we are done with that part and you should have something that looks similar to the pics below
14) Now comes the part where you really do question my sanity. Since the RCA plug have such a wide opening for the cable when you have just the 2 wires it looks like it's missing something... so now we are going to add something into bulk it out and make it feel a little less self conscious. Cut a 1 1/2" section of the insulation that you saved from the start. Once cut you want to slice down the one side of it as shown in the pics below (which are much clearer than my explanation)
15) Once you've cut this piece put it over the the wires and sleeving... you want to leave 2" of sleeving visible. It doesn't matter about the split in the insulation as we are going to be covering that up in... the next step, hehehe.
16) Cut off a 1 1/2" piece of 8mm heatshrink. Slide this over the slit piece of insulation and back onto the sleeving... as shown below:
17) Push the heatshrink back over the slit insulation until you have covered an 1" of the insulation, leaving 1/2" over the sleeving
18) Shrink the heatshrink and if all has gone well and France hasn't invaded Germany... you should be left with a nicely fattened up pair of wires that looks nice and sleek as if it came straight from the factory!
19) We have now prepared everything for the impending arrival of the RCA plug *dramatic music plays*. Dun Dun DAAAaaaAAah! One RCA plug. I suggest that you jam a bit of solder on each of the connection areas as you can just make out in the pic.
20) This bit is going to require a bit of input from your fine selves, I forgot to properly write down this bit of the cable making process so i'm kind of winging this bit. Basically you want to have the spring part of the RCA plug covering the insulation and only showing the bit that you've covered with heat shrink... this will become clearer in the photos later on, so for the moment just trust me... trim back enough of the wires so that the RCA plug will sit correctly and then trim back the black wire by an extra 1/8"
21) Take 1/8" of insulation off both of the wires and then tin the bare wires... make sure you have a nice shiny finish as it really helps reduce the problems in attaching the wires to the plug!
22) Make sure that you put the spring and screw cover of the RCA cable over the wires BEFORE you start soldering things! Trust me, you will kick yourself numerous times when you realise you've soldered the joints perfectly and the screw-on shielding is sitting neatly on the table below and as much as you will contemplate how you can possibly get the screw-on shielding onto the cable WITHOUT removing the solder you will finally come to the conclusion you need to desolder the wires and start again. Once you are DAMN sure you have everything on the wire... then and only then, solder on the plug end to the wires
23) If all your measurements and pedantic-ness have paid off you should have a plug looking much like the one below. just as a side note I have used the black and blue to carry the right channel (red ring on the RCA plug)
24) Rinse and repeat the above steps for the other side of the RCA end. This plug will be wired up to the black and white wires and connect to the black RCA plug. And once finished you should have a nice pair of plugs sitting together and playing happy families...
25) Finally this is how the Y split in the cable should look with the sleeving and heatshrink covering them... I think that it is a pretty nice neat solution to the problem of splitting a cable from 1 into 2.
You have now achieve +1 on your cable building skills... stay tuned and you will get another achievement point when we continue with the 3.5mm jack end of the cable
@Tile: Thanks man, I appreciate it... i don't get that many comments whenever I post anything up here so it is mucho appreciato!
In regard to the howto so far... I haven't proof read this as much as I would usually do with my other big ass posts, so if there are any glaring issues or something that isn't really clear... give me a yell and I will try and sort it out.
RCA end down? Check! To connect things, we really need something else on the other end... we could just try and hold the bare wires in the right place but putting a plug on the other end works much much better... trust me, i'm a penguin! So we have to put a 3.5mm stereo jack plug on the other end of this cable, onto the fun part, INSTRUCTIONS!
1) Start like we did on the other end but this time only strip 4" worth of insulation from the wire. And no... i'm not cheating and just reusing the pictures, look at the ruler!
2) Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but trim the shielding back until you only have an 1" of it left showing. You will want to trim off the fabric and wadding, shown here looking like toilet paper that has become attached to the wire.
3) Unbraid the shielding using the technique i mentioned somewhere up there in a previous post. Split it into the 2 bunches, like we have down before but this time cut off one of the bunches, leaving one ever-so lonely piece of wire just swingin' in the breeze. Twist it together nice and tightly...
4) Tin the lonely wire and then further victimise the poor wire by trimming it back to only a lowly 1/4", as you can see in the following foto. Look how lonesome and forlorn it is... we'll be accepting donations at the end of this project log to aid in the rehabilitation of this poor wire
5) Cut a long 5" piece of the black wire (fine... if i straightened it out properly it would probably be longer than 5" in the following shot but really it doesn't matter that much, honest!)
6) Trim off the usual 1/4" of insulation and tin the exposed wire. Attach the black wire to the stubby little downtrodden wire we saw earlier... try and make the joint a bit neater than i did...
7) This is a tricky bit just to make the cable look a little neater, take the 5" worth of black cable and wrap it around the already twisted together blue and white wires. It should nestle nicely into the same pattern as these two wires... take a look below and you'll see what i mean.
8) On the non-attached end (obviously) trim the black wire so that it's the same length as it's blue and white compadres. Prep a length of black cable sleeving using the glue method outline in the previous posts. Slide this over the 3 wires until it butts up against the end of the insulation. Slide a chunk of heatshrink 1 1/2" long over the join so that it evenly covers the sleeving and the insulation... and shrink that baby! and voila!
9) Take the 3.5mm plug and position it so that you can figure out how much of the sleeving you need to remove to neatly solder the wires onto the plugs insides... and then trim the sleeving appropriately (should be about 3/4"... well it is in my case)
10) Trim back the black wire by a 1/4" and then take a 1/4" of insulation off all three wires... tin the exposed wires. Now, like in the previous section with the RCA plugs, make sure to SLIDE THE SPRING AND SCREW ON COVER onto the cable BEFORE you do any soldery soldery! Getting the spring thing over the top of the sleeving is an absolute nightmare too by the way, i found the easiest method and try and bash as much of it into the spring and then flick each errant piece under the sleeving using the point of the compass.
11) Now it's just a simple case of soldering the relevant wire to the correct pickup point on the headphone jack's internals. With the headphone jack i was using it had the following 'pin out'. The base of the plug is the ground... thus the back most contact. The tip is left channel and funnily enough, it's the left contact too... leaving the ring, which is obviously right... and since you only have one contact left, I think you can figure out the rest. To give you the colour coded version, white goes to tip, blue goes to ring and black goes to base.
12) Screw the cover over the top of the soldering... and voila. One completed cable!
That pretty much wraps it up. For those of you that have actually read through all this... hopefully i kept you somewhat amused as I drivelled forth with my pedantic cable making, for those of you that didn't... then you won't read this anyways so it doesn't matter now does it. If anyone has any questions about anything here just pipe up and I'll do my best to try and clarify or answer whatever it is...
I leave you with some more glory shots of the connectors, adieu.
F I N
Those cables are quality
Dude, those are some sexy cables. They almost look gold plated with this lighting... Love the project as well though!!
Thanks guys... really appreciate the kind comments
Just as an aside the cables that I based my appearance for these cables on are Cardas, which are high end audiophile-quality cables, for the same cable that i made here they charge $US180 for it... so you'd better hope they do something nifty with the way they make theirs.
I admire the project and especially the photography!
Thanks for the cabling tutorial. It was very helpful. Keep up the nice work.
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