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Fisher 600T restoration cost ?

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by 1ontop=, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    Late Friday night I was looking at the Craigslist electronics section in my locale and spotted this 600T. Since the seller lived only an hour away and gas is only $2.06 in my area (making for an inexpensive drive) I sent an email at 11 p.m.stating I would like to purchase the unit the very next day. The seller called me at noon Saturday and we made arrangements for the sale early that afternoon. When I arrived at the seller's home the Fisher was setting on the kitchen table. The unit looks extremely nice as does the wood case. The information I got from the seller is that he cleaned the pots and switches and it performed well using an 8 track player in AUX mode. When I inquired about the FM Stereo mode, he stated repeatedly "it should work". When I got home I hooked it up and ran it through some modes for a few minutes to see exactly how well it worked and sounded. The Phono, Aux and FM Mono worked fine however FM Stereo works only through the left channel.

    I do not typically disclose my purchase prices on these forums however the price is to be taken into consideration of a restoration (whether to restore or not). I paid $200 for it and the case may be worth $75 - $100 alone. I spent a good deal of time reading the AK forums on the 600T last evening and learned some pros and cons about it but saw no price estimates on a resto. I did read that it is a very complex unit and I assume that to mean more labor cost involved to repair than others. My question is .. has any AK member had a 600T restored by a Fisher service center and was the cost considerably more than other receivers. I realize that is somewhat vague but I think you get the gist of my question. The serial number is 39508H and has the secret compartment / hidden door for the dial light adjustment .. and the phono section is to die for ! Well .. almost.:music:
     

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  2. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    801
    Location:
    Western MI
    Fisher service center? They don't exist, except by technicians who were around when they did exist. IIC, the Fisher name got dumped when Sanyo merged with Panasonic. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    As to your question regarding restoration prices. They probably vary from place to place. Different quality parts demand different prices. Labor cost can vary as well.

    You realize you are getting into "Dollars and Sense" forum territory right?
     
  3. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    I misspoke. Meant to say a repair shop that has technicians knowledgeable of the older Fisher equipment. I do realize labor costs vary from one geographical location to another. Also, I stated my question was somewhat vague. Let me try again. Regarding what I have read about the so called "complexity" of the 600T, (and I don't know which Fisher receiver of that era the poster had in mind for comparison), apples for apples for parts used .. would it be likely to cost say twice as much as others to repair. I am not asking for value of the 600T in any way, shape or form, rather, if regardless of labor cost, would it require immensely more 'time' to restore. If I knew of the time factor involved I could deduce whether or not I wanted to restore my 600T or only have the FM tuner section repaired. I hope this inquiry is clearer now.

    P.S.
    I tried to delete the word "cost" from the title of this post but could not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  4. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    801
    Location:
    Western MI
    Under any circumstances, your best option is to RESTORE the whole receiver whatever the cost may be by an experienced tech or by yourself. People on these forums often fix things themselves to save money rather than hiring somebody else. Fisher 600T's were made in the mid-1960's and are now over 50 years old. Yours is one of the earlier ones. (1964-65) Just repairing the tuner section is not enough. There are parts in old electronics that don't age well. If you found a 1965 Ford Galaxy 500 Convertible sitting in a garage since 1980, you wouldn't just be able to take it for a drive. The car would have to be made "road ready" in order to use it. Same is true for old stereo gear. My own 600T is still unrestored and I quit using it years ago out of fear something catastrophic might happen! There is also the problem of modern AC wall voltage (124v) being applied to equipment designed to run on lower (110-120v) AC voltages.
    Restore the 600T and it will last the rest of your life...fix part of it and you will be getting it fixed again and again as more components fail over time.
    BTW, the "complexity" that you refer to has to do with it being a tube/transistor hybrid. Some early 600T's had a problem with overheating output transistors (thermal runaway). All the more reason to do a COMPLETE restoration before using it regularly. A tech won't charge you more money simply because it's a hybrid.
     
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  5. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    Thank you. That is what I wanted to know. I will proceed with a complete restoration once I find a qualified tech and receive my tax return next spring. In the meantime it will sit in a bookcase unused just looking pretty.

    What a coincidence you referenced a 1965 Ford Galaxy 500 Convertible. My family's car from 1965 to 1971 was a Galaxy 500 purchased new. Not a convertible (I wish) but a 4 door pillarless sedan .. a bit more practical for five children.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  6. fred soop

    fred soop Super Member

    Messages:
    2,035
    Looks like a really clean unit but what I don't understand is why people would pay a fortune for something like this when it was new and then can't turn the knobs without dragging their hands on the panel, removing the lettering, as in your volume control. Clean units with reasonable functionality are going on eBay for more than you paid, without the wood cabinet, so you did well.

    When in FM MONO mode, are you leaving the MONO push button switch out? If so, the channels will remain separate after the multiplex decoder, so it is sending both channels. Is the right channel missing in both FM AUTOMATIC and FM STEREO modes? In FM STEREO, the output is muted if the stereo beacon is not on and it could be that the muting circuit is bad on that channel. If it is also dead in FM AUTOMATIC, then there is a possibility that the decoder matrix (small black box on the multiplex board with numerous internal parts) is bad. This is somewhat common. If that is the case, the circuit can be rebuilt with individual parts.

    Another test: Using FM AUTOMATIC, tune a station broadcasting mono only. Do both channels work?

    Be aware that the AC line voltage is higher today than in 1965 and the ±36 V power supplies are now around ±38 V, way too close to the 40 V rating of the main filter capacitors. You can find replacements of the same diameter (use the same clamps and holes), shorter in height, and around 10,000 µF at 100 V.

    I have 38215G, same series as yours, undergoing major design and rebuild of the amplifier sections. Another restoration thread will be started eventually. My other one is 43415K, restored to near original but with some improvements to the output bias, some sections of the power supply, and a new design phono preamp. That thread from 2014 is buried somewhere on this forum.
     

     

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  7. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    I am glad you mentioned that. I was pretty stoked at the opportunity to acquire this piece and my adrenaline pumping must have blocked my attention to detail because I sure did not catch that at time of the purchase. I would like to answer your questions but now that I am aware of the voltage issue I'm afraid of damaging the unit while running it.
     
  8. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

    Messages:
    21,895
    Location:
    Glen Burnie Md.
    You can run it on a Variac @ 117VAC as necessary, or build a "Bucking Transformer" that will drop the line voltage down 6V to 12V for the time being. It's designed to run from 105V to 120V. Fred's right tho. The operating voltages on the P.S. caps are perilously close to the maximum rated voltage for the Main Filter Caps. Not that they'll explode when "overrun" @ 41v but it's not healthy for them either, especially at their age and stage of hydration (pretty dry). 10Kuf @ 100V will give you the filtering you need, and the voltage headroom (although I would do it a little differently and use 8200uf to10K @ 63v and stuff the can's.)
     
  9. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    A very early production 600T is likely to have germanium outputs. They sound very different from their later silicon replacements and are less tolerant of out-of-spec operating values. Good luck finding matched replacements. So the OP is well advised to do a full recap all the way through to the driver boards at a minimum. If this has not been running recently, don't play variac games with it. It needs recapping.

    Rebuilding a 600 is a good bit of work. At this point, the PCBs are going to be very frail. Pad and trace lifts were a problem with these 40 years ago. It's only going to be worse now. Any shop is going to charge far more than the unit is worth to properly rebuild one of these. Do it yourself if you can. I stopped doing them a long time ago, because even when fully rebuilt, they were more trouble-prone than the 'lesser' models (which sounded just as nice).

    Don't Dr. Stereo the electrolytic couplers where you find them with film replacements; it completely destroys the tone on them. Drop in a fresh high quality electrolytic and don't look back.

    $200 for one of these? I remember when people were tossing them aside in the 80s and 90s as barely worth the cost the shipping. I saved quite a number of these Gen I SS units from the dumpster back in the day. Back then, they were labors of love to rebuild and were often worth less rebuilt than the cost of the parts.

    I can't say that the phono stages in these were any better than those in the tube receivers. If anything, the early transistors tended to go noisy sooner than the tubes in the low level stages.
     
  10. fred soop

    fred soop Super Member

    Messages:
    2,035
    So do the later ones. The 600-T always had germanium.
     
  11. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    This remains to be seen. I won't know until it is restored and have it appraised by a professional in the business. If restored to flip right away the repair cost may very well be more than it's worth. For the enthusiast that wants to enjoy the unit long term it can only go up in value. Then both your point and mine are moot.

    Maybe so. And I can remember when people were hauling their perfectly good hifi / stereo consoles to the curb for trash day because they could not pay anyone to take them away. But this is 2018 soon to be 2019. Have you seen the prices of those old consoles today?
     

     

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  12. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

    Messages:
    21,895
    Location:
    Glen Burnie Md.
    Yeah, and most aren't worth 1/3 of what most are asking. Except maybe the High End FISHERS, Motorola's in Drexel Cabinets, and Tubed Magnavox's. What they get for the most part is dependent on the Cabinet styling. For example, a FISHER EXECUTIVE from 61 thru 64 wrapped in a MODERN Cabinet will bring TOP DOLLAR (>2K) even not working, or with a beat up cabinet. However the same Model in either French Provincial, Italian Provincial, or Early American will barely get the asking price for an 800C. Even the Early-to-Late 50's MONO Units prices are really dependent on which cabinet it comes wrapped in. Want a popular style,be prepared to fight off everyone else that wants it. Grab a less popular styling and get a deal.
     
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  13. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    801
    Location:
    Western MI
    I would like to add Pilot, HH Scott, Packard-Bell and Ampex to Larry's console list. Except they are probably much harder to find than Maggies, Motos, and Fishers. I second the comment on console cab style. Danish/Mid-Century Modern seems to be everything these days. Others styles are unloved.
     
  14. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    I hate to burst your bubble, but a 600T is hardly the holy grail of vintage-era Fisher Audio. None of the Gen I SS models were. They are nice, but are never going to out play or out draw a B or C series tubed receiver in market value or collectability. Just not happening.

    And as far as 'appraisal by professionals in the business', these early SS units are generally worth what you can get for them. There has never been a dependable market reference for them. Many of the old hands here are as good a gauge of market value as any 'professional' will ever be.

    If you pay $4-600 for a competent full bench rebuild of a 600T that you already poured $200 into, you will be very hard pressed to get $6-800 for it on resale in 2018-19. That kind of money buys a working 500C.

    And I will also tell you I am floored that 400CX2 preamps are now selling on Ebay for $5,000. I once had half a dozen of them, several of which I paid well under $100 for (I think one was actually a freebie), and the one I kept is in better shape than anything I now see selling for $5,000.

    The point is, if you are looking to buy vintage Fisher gear to hold or grow value, you stick with the bottles. Even then, most of us do it out of love for the gear and not for money.

    So if you love the 600T, fix it up -- for yourself. Don't do it as an economic exercise. I was probably one of the earliest vintage community advocates for the Gen I SS models. But the only reason I am so familiar with them, and was advocating for them 30+ years ago when everyone else was dumpstering them, is because they were a decent sounding instrument for the cost of a Happy Meal, and rebuilding a 220 only took a couple of hours and a few dollars in parts.
     
  15. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    801
    Location:
    Western MI
    1ontop, guard those Germanium output transistors with your life. I actually had somebody try to buy my 600T in order to cannibalize it to fix another one that some knucklehead tried to replace with silicon outputs. That person constantly had problems with his.
     
  16. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    Yeah, you're right.

    But I always condition everything with Fishers from that time frame, as whenever I said something absolute in the past, an odd production example would then pass across my bench to prove me wrong.
     

     

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  17. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    They are not merely different in their operating values and ranges. They genuinely sound very different from their silicon substitutes. Much warmer, almost tube-like, but without the full natural presence of a genuine tubed output.

    And they are more fragile. It does not take much to burn one up.

    That is why you don't variac these units unless you know exactly what you are doing. If you burn up a Germanium output, you might as well toss the chassis in the donor pile.

    FWIW, you can substitute silicon on them (I did one that was otherwise NOS perfect for poops and giggles). But you need to juggle around some driver board and supply values to get it right. And it never sounds as nice no matter what.
     
  18. 1ontop=

    1ontop= Active Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Croswell in the Thumb, MI
    No bubble burst here .. never said the 600T was the holy grail... I certainly did not state an intent to resell in 2018-19. Are you even reading my responses? If so you certainly are not comprehending my responses. You are making absurd staements seemingly gotten from the voices in your head. Hmmmm .. so the knowledgeable people at AudioClassics in Vestal New York (for one) could not give me a proper valuation? You are making blanket statements on most everything stated in this thread. I refuse to repeat myself or engage in further conversation with you because you simply do not have command of the English language let alone the proper credentials or the facts to back up your comments.
     
  19. sgmlaw

    sgmlaw Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    Whatever, young fellow. You are the one who paid $200 for a raw unserviced 600T.

    I’ve only touched a few Fishers over the years.

    Good luck in your journey.
     
  20. fred soop

    fred soop Super Member

    Messages:
    2,035
    I think I paid just over $200 sometime around 2012 for a 600-T (the 2014 restoration thread), excellent cosmetics and all functions working. No restoration, still all original. BUT, the seller didn't know what they had. It was titled "The Fisher 600-T Professional Series Stereo Beacon". No mention of the word "receiver" or "amplifier". I thought it would get bid into the stratosphere but late in the game, it had only been viewed 18 times. I was searching for "Fisher 600", not "Fisher Receiver". Today, this wouldn't happen because eBay will load you with near matches in addition to exact matches.
     
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