Help! Please identify this barn-fresh Fisher find

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by slywuf, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    While at an estate auction the other day I picked up what appears to be the internals of a Fisher tube type console. This is my first Fisher find, so I do not know what the model numbers are for the tuner or amps. The tuner has 13 tubes in it. The only marking on the chassis is this number: 149061. There is a yellow tag on the power cord that says "Fisher Radio Corporation." Its got two mono-block amps with sizeable transformers. They use a pair of EL34 tubes plus a ECC82 and EF86 tubes. Output terminal is labeled 16 ohm. There is also a multiplex decoder model 520 made by Ampex. The control panel, which contains tone controls and switches has 4 tubes in it - 3 x 12AX7 and 1 12AU7. It has a tag on it stating it was made by Ampex.
    Have a look at the pictures... Can you tell me what model tuner and amps this is, approx when made, and anything about the quality? I'll probably do a cleanup / restore if it is worth doing.

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  2. Dswankey

    Dswankey Super Member

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    3rd picture is an Ampex tube amp, the one with the shot EL34, the picture below that is an Ampex 402 pre-amp pulled from a console. It's a shame how mangled it is cosmetically

    As for the last picture I can't tell what make or model it is as for the Fisher I'm sure a Fisher fab will come along and hopefully be able to identify the model

    Nice parts unit and if you can restore those I'll be impressed. Looks like they spent quite a bit of time in the elements here's hoping you didn't spend too much at the estate auction.
     
  3. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Thanks for the info you provided. So, did they mingle Ampex and Fisher equipment in the same console, or do you think this equipment came from two entirely different units? That last picture is the Ampex model 520 Multiplex Decoder (according to the markings on the chassis).
    Any idea what the model number is on the Ampex power amp?

    Did not have to part with much coin for this stuff... got it all for $5. I've got a lot of experience restoring barn finds, so I'll be able to get these
    units back in shape, however it will require quite a bit of time and energy.
     
  4. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  5. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Ah Yes! That 80-R does indeed look like the unit I have. I think I'm starting to get a handle now on what these components came out of. At first I thought it was a Fisher console, but from some info that I just turned up, looks like this stuff came from an Ampex console. Apparently Ampex used a re-branded Fisher tuner for a couple of years in their consoles. All the other Fisher tuners that I have seen have "The Fisher" written on them. The one that I found does not have this. Has anyone else come across one of these that is missing the Fisher name?
     
  6. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not one of those, no -- but Radio Shack sold a rebranded Fisher MPX stereo tuner in the early 1960s.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    source: www.radioshackcatalogs.com (1962 & 63)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018

     

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  7. Dswankey

    Dswankey Super Member

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    If I remember correctly the Ampex amps were usually referred to by their output tubes,

    $5 that sounds like my kind of Estate auction, what was the starting bid?
     
  8. Dswankey

    Dswankey Super Member

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    Yes, the Fisher receiver you have would not of been part of the Ampex console.

    They did but not like the one you have, google "Ampex stereo console" then select images and you'll see what receivers they used in their consoles.
     
  9. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Great info - my hat is off to you guys that have provided me an education here on Fisher and Ampex. I'll restore this stuff and look forward
    to seeing what kind of sound they will produce. I have quite a bit of Magnavox and E.H. Scott vintage equipment, but this is the first
    Fisher and Ampex that I have come across. Yea - good estate auction... this stuff sitting on a shelf in the barn (shop) had probably been
    there for quite a while. Pretty much the only vintage electronics in the place, and I was surprised to see it. Starting bid was $5, and no one
    else had a clue what that dusty old equipment was, or what the potential might be.
     
  10. radioactive

    radioactive tube gear fanatic Subscriber

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    actually they did check this out.

    https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ampex-tube-preamp-am-fm-tuner-console-165830691
    he doesnt have a reciever but a seperate tuner,preamp,and amplifer .the link shows a cisher tuner and ampex preamp although not the one he has.the link also states that theyre 2 seperate chassis bolted together with a single faceplate.think of tje dynaco pam1 preamps with the dsc 1 stereo adaptor with single faceplate connecting them alltogether.so the msytery continues.iirc before fisher came out with their high end tuner they used a marantz tuner with a custom fisher faceplate.
     
  11. Dswankey

    Dswankey Super Member

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    ^ The mystery doesn't continue, the OP has a separate Fisher that looks nothing like the pictures in the link you provided.

    I'm almost positive the OP's tuner/receiver did not come from an Ampex console. I'm not trying to be a jerk but I've had first hand experiences with a couple variations of Ampex consoles and between that, and the various research I did here on AK and elsewhere on the web, none of them had what he has pictured.

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  12. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    FISHER Used a variant of the 70-R or 80-R for the AMPEX Consoles in the late 1950's until AMPEX could get their own tuners. This is an old issue and has been discussed before on this and the Tube forums. radioactive. That was Marantz. They used the FISHER 101-R with a custom Faceplate to simulate a Marantz unit, while they were in development on the Model 10 Tuner. http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/mfisher.html
     
  13. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Wish I knew what the story was from the owner of the estate sale where I picked up this equipment, as far as where he obtained it, and what happened to the rest of the console. Judging by the type of stuff that was in this estate sale, the owner was not really into vintage electronics. Most of the other stuff was tractors, tools, automotive machine shop equipment, household stuff. These Ampex / Fisher parts were the only thing of that kind, and were all together on a shelf in the back of his shop, with decades of dust / dirt on them. All the components are here for a system (except speakers) even the multiplex decoder, so seems logical that it was all once in the same console. It may be an example of a time in quality audio history when things were changing and evolving rapidly. Now begins the challenge to see if I can get these pieces operational again....
     
  14. CoastinHome

    CoastinHome New Member

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    Location:
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    slywuf,

    Photos 1 and 2 are of a manufactured-for-Ampex subset of the Fisher 80R tuner chassis. This would have been from a 1957 Ampex A423 console. You'll notice that that a couple of the rear panel RCA's are not wired. It mounts side-by-side with a small mono Ampex preamp with a single faceplate for a unified look.

    Photo 3 is of an Ampex 40W EL34 amplifier. This would be from a 1960 or 1961 Ampex Signature console like the one in my avatar. This amplifier is nearly identical to the earlier 30W EL34 amplifiers except that the 5U4 rectifier tube has been replaced with solid-state rectification (thereby increasing the power supply voltage and the power output).

    Photo 4 is an Ampex 403 preamp. The circuitry is nearly identical to the earlier 402 but the source input switching configuration has been revised. The 403 is easily recognized as having five buttons on the upper row and three on the lower row. The 402 has five and five.

    Photo 5 is a 1961 Ampex 520 multiplex unit. You can find a brochure describing it if you do a search for Ampex 510.

    The Ampex 40W EL34 amplifier, 403 preamp and 520 multiplex unit are very likely all from the same 1960 or 1961 Ampex Signature console. The tuner would have come from an Ampex 423 as shown in the attached photo.

    The preamp and power amplifiers are well worth restoring. The tuner should probably be used for parts -- given the lack of enclosure, broken dial glass and general condition. If you like FM and want a tuner to cosmetically match your preamp, find a Ampex 502 tuner to use with the 520 multiplex unit.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob in San Diego
     

    Attached Files:

  15. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Great info you provided there Bob - Thanks for the detail. I found a NOS dial glass with the Fisher logo on it for the 80-R tuner. I'll keep an eye out
    for a face plate for it as well as the 403 pre-amp. I suspect it will take quite some time to locate these pieces. I can make wood cabinets for
    those chassis. You mentioned the solid state rectifiers in the EL34 amps having higher voltages... did they not add any power resistors to compensate
    for that? How much higher is the solid state voltage compared to the 5U4, and is there any problem with that as far as tube life or output distortion?
     
  16. CoastinHome

    CoastinHome New Member

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    Location:
    San Diego
    Glad I could help. I did a face plant on the desk shortly afterward.o_O

    To answer your questions about power supply voltages:

    The voltage supplied to the center tap of the output transformer is specified as 475Vdc on the 40W amplifier and as 440Vdc (Sams shows 420Vdc) on the 30W amplifier. The power transformers are different between the two -- the 40W amplifier does away with the filament winding and uses a pair of 1N2863 silicon diodes in a voltage doubler configuration to get the higher voltage.

    The input amplifier and phase splitter use the same voltages in both amplifiers -- so the dropping resistor from B+ to B+2 has been increased from 39K to 56K.

    I don't have enough information to judge the relative efficiency of the 5U4 used in the 30W amplifier versus the pair of 1N2863 silicone diodes used in the 40W amplifier - given the difference in configuration.

    I also don't have enough direct experience to appreciate the relative longevity of the tubes when supplied with full B+ before their filaments are fully heated. I've done enough reading on the subject to make the decision to add the circuitry necessary for a delayed or soft start B+. The cryptic service notes I have from 1968 do show replacement of output tubes due to running hot. The 12AU7 phase splitters were replaced at the same time though. Again, not enough information.

    I have all of the same models in the photos you supplied and am gradually working my way through them.

    I will let you know if I see another 403 faceplate. In one of my earlier postings I show the difference between the 402 and 403 faceplates. Most of the 403's are re-drilled left-over 402 faceplates with a thin cosmetic overlay to hide the previous holes.

    I do have the combined Fisher 80R subset w/non-Fisher dial glass + Ampex Preamp + Ampex faceplate (see attached photo and above worthpoint link). They are all in beautiful shape. I might consider a barter.

    The 40W amplifiers are the only components I've gotten to so far -- This past winter I did a full rebuild on the amplifiers (as one had an AC hum - and for reliability considerations). I replaced all of the capacitors on both except for the ceramic discs. I used stock values -- but the capacitors I chose to use are physically very large (Russian FT-3 Teflon for coupling caps, polypropylene's for B+2 and B+3, and polyethylene with polystyrene bypasses for the output tube cathode bypass) -- requiring a chassis layout in Visio to help me figure out where things would fit. What once was a sparse chassis underside is pretty well packed now.

    Upon completion I was surprised that one of the amplifiers still had the exact same AC hum. As we get towards cooler weather I will revisit them to consider the diodes and B+ delay -- as this is to be my living room heater. I think that all that's left to consider is a leaking diode in the voltage doubler circuit.

    When you can, please share well-lit high resolution photos of the underside of each amplifier. I have a collection of underside photos and noticed that Ampex changed the grounding scheme between some of these amplifiers to accommodate physically larger voltage doubler capacitors. I will be able to better comment from there.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob
     

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  17. CoastinHome

    CoastinHome New Member

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  18. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    Bob. Physically large caps will easily pick up RFI and EMF compared to physically smaller caps and cause a hum. This may be part of your problem.
     
  19. slywuf

    slywuf New Member

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    Appreciate the info Bob. I'd be interested in seeing your plan for the soft start B+. I'll be keeping my tuner chassis/cabinet separate from the
    403 preamp chassis/cabinet. Tracing thru both your amps with a scope should point you to where that hum is coming from.
    I do have a picture (attached) of the bottom of one of my amps.... have not looked inside the 2nd one yet - assumed they would be the same.
    When I start restoring this stuff, I'll probably have additional questions for you.

    P7100004.JPG
     
  20. CoastinHome

    CoastinHome New Member

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    Location:
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    Larry,

    Thanks for your input. I am a degreed electrical engineer -- but was not aware of these limitations of physically larger caps. I will read up.

    I seem to recall having seen in one design ground wires attached to the outside cans .

    In recapping I first learned that the line marking one lead of the polypropylene caps indicates the lead which is connected to the outside of the foil wrap -- and therefore should be connected to the lower impedance point to provide the best shielding.

    Still, I don't expect the capacitors to be the source of the problem - as before recapping one amplifier was very quiet and the other had a prominent AC hum. After recapping the quiet amplifier was still quiet and the amplifier with the hum had the same hum as it did prior to recapping.

    You've inspired me to jump in and answer that question sooner than later... will let you know what I find.

    Bob



    (Not sure of the best way to upload detailed photos here.)

    Ampex 40W Recap.jpg

    Ampex 40W Bef Recap.jpg
     

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