How many of you built Heathkits?

Discussion in 'AK Polls' started by HiFiCanada, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. teal'c

    teal'c It's all moo

    Messages:
    14,440
    Location:
    Michigan, N of Detroit
    I did not, but our first color TV was a Heathkit built by my dad. A lot of the circuitry was on board to the right side with the power button and controls. After a few years the connectors got tarnished and sometimes you'd have to slide the board out by pulling a tab in a handle at the bottom of the set and reseat it to get it to turn on.
    It was cool to me then, now I'd be annoyed and fix it.
     
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  2. MyHeresyIsMe

    MyHeresyIsMe AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Can't remember exactly the year, but I built two Heathkits in one 12 month span. One was a 5 tube 'superhetrodyne' radio (for a grade school shop project) and the other was a Fuzz Box for my Kent 6 string guitar. Both were easy to assemble, the directions were very clear and the kit were complete --- no missing parts. Heathkit was good, at least in my limited experience.
     
  3. taineasy

    taineasy Member

    Messages:
    84
    Just completed a FULL rebuild of a Heathkit AR1500A for a customer. Wow! This is one sweet sounding amplifier. Actually got the DC Offset to dead zero with a bit of adjusting (and a boatload of new parts!) This is a brute of an amp and is putting out 73 watts per channel RMS at 8 Ohms and a whopping 129 at 4 ohms without pushing it at all. The massive heat-sinks attained a good temperature and maintained it even after 24 hours continuous running. Very stable with low impedance speakers . Great build quality (this was a 1975 factory built unit and weighs 50 lbs) and one of the easiest amps to work on I have seen in a while. I would say this ol'fella easily sounds as good as the Marantz 2270 I repaired last year- Warm but captures the detail nicely when it is needed.
     
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  4. Fran604g

    Fran604g Love at first sound... Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,659
    Location:
    Finger Lakes Territory, RONYC
    I'm happy to hear your results! It's been quite a few years since I've done any critical listening to ours at my son's house. But it still (remarkably) seems to be doing well. I'm nervous, and I'll continue to try and convince him to have it gone through, before catastrophic failure. I loved that amp for many years!
     
  5. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    25,514
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    I did the same, built lots of Heathkits, Eico kits, and HH Scott, and Fisher Kits NOS, and made good money finishing what overworked Oak Ridge scientists, engineers, physicists, and nuclear technicians didn't have time to do, they paid me well. This in the early 1970's. One of my customers used to engineer an AM/FM combo in Oak Ridge, TN, and helped me get into the broadcast engineering field. At 9 years old. Kits became career.
     
  6. RTally

    RTally Speaker addict Subscriber

    Messages:
    443
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    When I was a teenager in the 60s I was into ham radio, not audio. I built several Heathkits and Knightkits. Ham and shortwave receivers. Test equipment: VOM, RF signal generator. Good times.
     

     

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  7. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    I still have my Heathkit metronome.
     
  8. RTally

    RTally Speaker addict Subscriber

    Messages:
    443
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Too many years. Too many moves. Sadly, i have none of that old stuff. I wish I did, though. There have been times I could have used some of it.
     
  9. daveo50

    daveo50 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    I also built a number of Heathkits. I believe most of my kit building was in the early to mid 70s. I built at least 2 of their color televisions. I drove to Benton Harbor to get the cabinet for the 25" set I built for myself. We watched that set for probably 20 years.

    I remember the assembly books were well written with plenty of illustrations.
     
  10. Hunted11

    Hunted11 Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    Western Massachusettes, USA
    I've built Heathkits, Knightkits, and Schober. The Schober I built with my dad when I was in high school. It was a Theater Organ. 2-61 note keyboards, 25 bass pedals. It took 5 to 7 mos. to complete.
     
  11. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    1,495
    Location:
    NE. FL.
    Sorry about the late discovery of this post, soundmig, but I built that same RTA analyzer, with the optional rack mount power supply interface..
    Pretty nice device/equipment.
     
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  12. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    Yes, surprisingly useful device. I still have mine. It's been packed away for about 20 years. I'll have to get it out and see if it still works!
     
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  13. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    1,495
    Location:
    NE. FL.
    1974 1st kit was Archerkit VOM, then SS Heathkit 10 meg single channel scope, and rotary switch frequency selected tube based audio signal generator, Audio VTVM.
    All part of self teaching audio electronic repair program
    1975~6 ; Kit`s : 30 meg. frequency counter 4X8 ohm dummy load, a un-built and discarded tube based Heathkit THD + N distortion analyzer(because it`s residual distortion was higher than the audio equipment I was repairing!

    1981: Kit : Morse code oscillator and Novice ham license learning program.

    1987: Kit :Complete separate wired connected Weather station system, Most Accurate Clock, RTA Analyzer, and rack mount charger/stereo hookup for same.

    1991: Kit : HV power supply, Scope calibrator, ultrasonic cleaner, electrostatic HVAC air filter system.

    Final Heathkit purchase in 1995, though not kit built, but still in use, except WX station : (updated and more inclusive over the original multi unit) type LCD weather station, : Most Accurate Clock II(2 HF WWV 10 MHz receiver master clocks, and 4 Power line communicated/synched slave clocks in various rooms)

    And a hand full of various Heathkit/Zenith small household helpful type(flood alarm, freezer malfunction alarm, etc.) kits I assembled for friends in the mid eighties.

    Sorry, don`t remember model #`s, though some equipment is in use on my bench, or house.
    Heathkit was not always top notch, but usually a good value, and in my case, helpful in learning and understanding electronics for me during my early learning curve..
    I was sad to see them go.
     
  14. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    seattle
    in the service i built several AR-14s. guys would get fishers and heathkits and i had to fix them.
     
  15. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,772
    Location:
    west Texas
    I helped a friend build his TV and I built his receiver, but that was 35 years ago.
     
  16. dB happy

    dB happy Active Member

    Messages:
    204
    My dad had a heath kit receiver he built in college. He also had a massive set of bozak 12" 3 way cube speakers. I remember they sounded really good. His childhood friend turned heroin addict stole the receiver.

    I had a knight kit integrated amp my friend's grandfather built. It was about 50w from my guesstimate. It sounded excellent.

    Can't remember the model numbers.

    I assembled a RadioShack am radio kit when I was 8. It was a little black plastic box that ran on a 9v. My dad showed me how all the little to92 transistor outlines silkscreened on the board showed which way they went. Taught me capacitor polarity markings, and resistor color codes. Worked the first try.
     
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  17. dB happy

    dB happy Active Member

    Messages:
    204
    Pretty sure my dad's heathkit was the ar15. I remember the green lighting, and he said it was 50w. Last time I saw it I was 6, so I could be wrong.

    Still haven't got a clue about the knight kit, I remember the outputs were on big heatsinks, and were to3 transistors. It was also pretty big. Can't find an image I recognize.
     
  18. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,612
    Location:
    MI, US
    My grandfather and both of my uncles built Heathkits back in the day. There was a store only a few miles from my grandfather's house (on Old 8 Mile Rd.) and he had various kits, large and small, he would build on the kitchen table. He had built a cardboard workspace that he could pick up and move when he wasn't working on the kits. He had built one of those tube integrated amps and a tuner before I was born, and in the early 70s, built one of their solid state receivers (which I have). He also built a color TV, a model with vacuum tubes, which was also around when I was born. (We saw the first moon landing on it when I was a kid.) The tube integrated amp, sadly, was in a console that got tossed to the curb back in the early 90s when they cleaned out his house. I figured it wasn't working (it was--it's just that the controls were very flaky from oxidation), and only now I realize it was probably a highly sought after model. I'm hoping someone drove past and took it for themselves.

    My one uncle was more into the Heathkit than the other--he also built his own TV in the late 70s, as part of some Heathkit learning program.

    I only built a few small kits as, by the time I could afford it, their kit business was dying off (see below).

    In high school, our electronics teacher switched out the old textbooks for Heathkit's educational series, and they were far better written than the textbooks we originally had. (First year, we had the old books; 2nd and 3rd year, we had the new ones. Worlds better!) He had to struggle a bit to get these books for the program since they were outside the school's usual channels, but it was very worth it.

    It was sad to see Zenith take over Heathkit and turn that store into a computer store, with kits just an annoying afterthought. I see that someone tried to make a comeback with the Heathkit name, but I don't think it ever got very far.
     
  19. Celt

    Celt Peanut Head Staff Member Super Mod

    Messages:
    37,669
    Location:
    Paragould, Arkansas
    Here are two I made many moons ago and still use...

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  20. danj

    danj modern primitive

    Messages:
    4,996
    Location:
    Somewhere in Oregon
    I wanted to but as the Lafayette Radio kits were cheaper I built a few of them. Built a guitar amplifier that actually was pretty awesome and a stereo amplifier that worked really well. There were also some misc radios, an easy evening for a pretty good portable transistor radio.
     

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