Atwater Kent Model 85 Restoration

I acquired this radio a few years back and have since started the restoration process. This is their second console superheterodyne radio. Due to RCA trying to corner the market on superhets all the other companies up until 1930 such as AK, to that date had made only TRF’S or tuned radio frequency sets. It had AVC (very rare in 1930), used Pentode output, and had image suppression.

It used the following tube line up:

  1. 235 – Mixer
  2. 227 – Oscillator
  3. 235 – IF Amplifier
  4. 224 – Plate Detector
  5. 224 – AVC and Volume Control Tube
  6. 247 – Pentode Power Output
  7. 280 – Rectifier

It was in pretty fair condition cosmetically, the grill cloth and speaker were intact and the chassis was in good condition.

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All of the transformers and chokes on the aluminum chassis tested good, and the resistors that I could check were within tolerance. The electrolytic filter cap was junk and I replaced it, but left the original metal canned caps in the circuit in place. The biggest issue was with the rubber coated wiring on the chassis that had turned to junk. All the cloth coated wire was still in good shape, but the wire feeding the IF cans, tuning cap and grid caps had to be replaced. Unfortunately the audio output transformer mounted on the speaker was open on the primary side. The primary is supposed to be 500 ohms and the voice coil side .25.  A real show stopper.

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I don’t know the slightest thing about refinishing but gave that a shot also. I stripped and sanded it inside and out and used some Minwax Antique finish to rub it down with and left it at that. I also found a reproduction face plate  for the tuner over at Old Radio (Mark Oppat’s site) and replaced that.

Hopefully I can find time to finish the project one of these days.

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