Thursday, 30 January 2014

ADVENT 300 Receiver Rebuild - Part 1

I've had this ADVENT 300 receiver hanging around for quite awhile and it's time to get busy on this project. It's not hard to tell it needs a little work.

 Advent 300 receiver

I plan to improve on the cosmetic issues as you can imagine, but also plan to replace other parts to update this classic receiver that came out the year I graduated from high school. Back then I had a tube receiver that I scavenged from a Viking stereo console that an elderly neighbour was tossing out. She had had a tube TV catch fire and didn't trust them (tubes) any more so was going all solid state. She was still sticking with Viking, the Eatons house brand name though. Little did she know that almost 40 years later people still want those tube gadgets. But I digress...

The Advent 300 is still considered to be a great performer and even with its low power of 15 watts per side and kind of chintzy build quality it can rival much nicer newer amps. It's an FM tuner only (even back then AM sucked), and pre and power amp in one case, with jumpers between the pre and power sections so you can use it with other components or add an equalizer if you like.

This one has some stickers and scratches that have taken off the paint, rust damage, and just old parts. The voltage regulator has already been replaced but as far as I know it has had little servicing since new.

Advent 300 case 2

Advent 300 case

The old electrolytic capacitors are all going to be replaced in this project. I will also be trying to clean up or replace some of the fittings, for example the grounding screw and AC jack on the back are respectively rusted and cracked.

I'm going to clean extensively and might "reflow" solder joints. Essentially that means melting the existing solder to ensure that the contact is good. I will replace some of the jumper wires I think too, and clean up the routing in the process. Maybe I will anyway; I will certainly have a look at them and replace if questionable.

Advent 300 inside top

Advent 300 PCB

In the pic above and the one below you can see some of the rust on the case near the power supply and on the RCA connectors. I've actually removed a lot of the corrosion on the RCAs to the left already with a 3M pad and sand paper. The ones to the right are essentially untouched.

Advent 300 RCA jacks

Here you can see the power supply. My first actual real "upgrade" is to replace the 2 large capacitors you see to the left. The stock components are 3000uf at 30volts but I will be using 4700uf at 50volts which is totally acceptable as a component value change for this area.

Advent 300 power supply

In addition to other resources, I am using the excellent website by David Eaton devoted to the Advent 300 as a reference. Thanks David!

I'll be back soon with Part II...

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ol' Shakey on the Swirly Table

Neil Young by Buhduh
Neil Young, a photo by Buhduh on Flickr.
I treated myself to one of my current favourite records on my current favourite turntable.

Neil Young, live at Massey Hall 1971 is an amazing record in my opinion. A man with a guitar, and sometimes a piano, in a hall with great acoustics and a reel to reel tape deck propped up on an office chair...what could be cooler than that?

Apparently this recording was "lost in the vaults" for 30 or more years before Neil decided to listen to it and eventually release it in 2007. Neil is a stickler for, and proponent of, high quality recordings including digital media formats. He didn't give this recording much thought but when he listened to it after many years he realized it was good and deserved releasing.

Deserved indeed. It's really good. Really really good. And I only discovered it a couple of months ago myself. Go buy it. If you can't get the vinyl, buy the CD or the DVD. Or get them all.

It sounds great on my newest turntable project and is a good showcase for any system. This "swirly table" as I have been calling it is a Technics Sl-1200 MKII that was in usable but battle scarred condition when I got it, but not anymore.

Technics 1200 MK2 3

I can't stand the mess that DJ tables become. It's not just DJ tables but a lot of other too that people abuse. So I fix them up.

This one had already had the RCA cables replaced and obviously whoever did that had some idea what they were doing so I saw no reason to mess with that. I dealt with the cosmetic and other issues.

I took it apart and went to my friends shop with it with the intent of bead-blasting all the paint off but it turned out that the blaster was not working well. I got some paint off with it, but now I was kind of stuck, so I grabbed the angle grinder and a sanding disc and took the rest of the paint off. When I got it home a did a bit more controlled work with my Dremel and a sanding disc. I like the random swirly effect of this. I then gave it a few coats of a satin finish clear coat spray paint.

Technics SL-1200 Raw

Technics Sl-1200 raw 2

A few parts also needed replacing so I ordered them and I put it aside. It took a few months before I decided to get back at it and just the other day I put it back together. I had to get a trim piece for the pop-up target light, a new slider trim plate and ordered a lid and hinges. I also decided to order an LED kit but decided to just replace the pop-up light which was burnt out anyway and the pitch LED. The stock one is green but the new one is white. It's a bit too bright IMO so I will try to do something about that.

Anyway, here's the mostly finished product.

swirly Technics 1200

And the darn near completely finished item. It has the new parts mentioned above, a couple of new feet, and the heaviest thickest Technics mat. I even took an aluminum 45 RPM adaptor and "swirled" it with my Dremel. I still am going to tweak a few things but I really like how it has turned out.

swirly Technics 1200 4