X-202 restoration

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by JEM@Clem, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. JEM@Clem

    JEM@Clem New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    I recently acquired a Fisher X-202-b that had been my Grandfather's. It has not been stored in a dry area and needs a lot of work. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a restoration kit. I have seen a couple on Ebay and am not sure what I will need to get the thing fixed.

    Any advice would be welcome.
     

     

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  2. Dave451

    Dave451 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Welcome to AK! Well, what needs to be done depends on the condition of the unit. Not being stored dry will raise some challenges. I have not used kits, having done the resto work myself, but there are many here qualified to advise you on the kits. I expect your X-202-b will need a good bit of work. Some pictures of its condition would be useful to those here who can help.
    Dave
     
  3. Dave451

    Dave451 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    PS Congrats on the find. You have one of Fisher's best on your hands!
     
  4. notdigital

    notdigital AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    First, welcome to the forum. You couldn't have found a better bunch of helpful folk.

    Where you go from here really depends on your skill level and how comfortable you are in attacking a competent restoration. The X-202-B is one congested bugger that is quite challenging even for the initiated. The phono stage makes many squirm given the buried components. Still, it is not impossible and even I have manged to get through a thorough restoration. It all depends on how far you want to go. There is a basic approach that gets you to the "it's working" point. Then there is the enhanced state of restoration which brings the instrument to a safe, modern, state. Depends on how far you want to dig.

    Like Dave451, I shy away from kits opting, instead, to compile a collection of components needed. Works out cheaper that way and you get what YOU want and not what someone else thinks you need. My suggestion is that you read as many of the X-202-B threads here. That always gives you a very, very good idea of what and how to approach the restoration. Once you study each section of restoration, you can then decide what to change, what to leave alone, and what to add to enhance the instrument. In my view, that approach is the most satisfying.

    Good luck and, again, welcome aboard.

    PS: It's a good idea to amend your avatar to include your location. It may very well be that someone from AK is right around the corner :thumbsup:
     
  5. notdigital

    notdigital AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  6. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    Don't limit yourself to the threads pertaining to the X-202-B. FISHER used a lot of common circuits in their lines, with minor modifications depending on the unit the circuit was installed in. Get the service manuals for the X-100-b, X-101-B, X-202, and finally the X-202-B and peruse the schematics. You'll notice a lot of common circuits in them, and as you go up the line more complexity in them.

    I agree with NotDigital in that the X-202-B is a Gold Plated Bitch (my description but it fits) to work on and to get it right the 1st time. It's not really a unit that I would recommend for a 1st time restoration. Luckily, We have on the Forum one of the BEST (if not THE BEST)Tube Guru's that knows FISHERS inside and out, in Dave Gilliespie.

    Please take some pictures of the unit, top and bottom, Outside and Insides (especially the insides). Quarter the bottom and take photo's of the sections. Make them close enough that we can identify items, and focused clearly. This will tell us a lot of things and we'll be able to tell you how far approximately you'll need to go to resurrect your grandfathers X-202-B.
     
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  7. rufleruf

    rufleruf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Don't correlate cosmetic condition with functionality. I have an all original working X202B that looks like it was thrown in a shed muddy and wet where it spent 40 years.

    I'm not saying it wont need work, but the amount of work it needs isn't proportional to how it looks

    Time for a "worst looking, but working" thread
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  8. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    My best running gear is also my worst looking stuff! The "shelf queens" meaning they just sit there and look pretty, have more problems and needed more work just to get running reliably than the "dumpster diva's" that have rust and discolored chassis's. So what if the front panel has corrosion on it, and the chassis looks like it sat in a pool of hazardous waste for 10 years. Mine actually run and sound better than the "PRISITNE, Showroom condition" units I've seen. I worry about working condition 1st and then look at the cosmetics last. I'll clean them up but not spend too much time on them. None of this polishing until I can shave myself with a butter knife in the dark with a 1/4 moon shining, they weren't designed for this. If FISHER wanted you to have a "CHROMED CHASSIS" he would have issued you one.

    Electronics, just like anything else mechanical, need use to function at their best. Let them sit, and they still degrade from evaporation, temperature changes, etc. Best to use them and bring them up to operating voltages, temps, etc. Just like a car. The more you use an old car the better all the lubed and greased points stay lubed and greased, door hinges work better, ad nauseum.

    Actually NONE of my gear would be considered "pristine" or cosmetically VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT. They all have the dings, dents, scratches, dust, dirt, corrosion, and rust you'd expect of 50 to 65 year old electronics that lived in varying levels of care from previous owners. But the biggest thing is, even tho most of them look like they've been thru WWII they all work very well. And I'm comfortable with that. Some guys get so OCD over how a piece of gear looks that you wouldn't recognize it compared to a stock as built from the factory unit still sealed in the box.

    Just get it running, and clean all the dirt and grunge off it, add a little polish to slow down further corrosion, etc. and enjoy it!

    Larry
     
  9. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    I have had somewhat similar experiences at times. In the car world the old saying was "chrome won't get you home", and it applies to electronics too. Just because its shiny doesn't mean its not an electronic disaster. For me, first and foremost it must work reliably and safely. Once it does that, it can be pretty.

    I tend to be in the clean it up as best you can and don't obsess about it camp too.
     

     

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  10. Todd Dodds

    Todd Dodds AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I remember organizing my bench, lining up all my shiny new parts and pouring the first cup of coffee. All the strategically placed lights were glowing, and I took off the bottom of my X-202. I looked at it and sent a PM to Dave Gillespie and asked when I could get it to him. It was the absolute best experience I've had in Audio World.
    Dave's one of those odd ducks that not only knows what he's doing, but also how to communicate with his clients (or give advice to DIY'ers).
    I suggest writing his name on a sticky note, and keeping it handy if you jump into the X-202b.
     
  11. JEM@Clem

    JEM@Clem New Member

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    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    Sorry it took so long for me to get back, I had to make it through a few final exams last week :yikes:. But now pictures.
    Front 1.jpg
    She's missing a few gems and caps and even the speaker on/off switch... but the face plate looks good!
    Back.jpg
    There's lots of grimyness, but there is also a random switch. It appears that the master volume potentiometer's on/off switch was failing, so someone routed the on/off switch through there.
    Top Full.jpg
    Mostly dirty, a bit rusty. Question though, is the black power capacitor original?
    Top Left Front.jpg
    A few rust spots...
    Top Right Front.jpg
    More rust...

    Now the bottom:
    Bottom Full.jpg
    There it is in all its glory.
    Bottom Left Front.jpg
    None of the capacitors appear to have leaked anything. (Bottom Left Front)
    Bottom Right Front.jpg
    (Bottom Right Front)
    Bottom Left Back.jpg
    (Bottom Left Back)
    Bottom  Right Back.jpg
    (Bottom Right Back)

    Words of electric wisdom are requested.
     
  12. dcgillespie

    dcgillespie Fisher SA-100 Clone Subscriber

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    Very doable, but you've got your work cut out for you! Everything underneath appears to be original, as is the can cap that is covered with the black cardboard cover.

    Dave
     
  13. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    That Black can cap has a cardboard cover on it for a good reason. As it's part of the Voltage doubler circuit, the cap is in series with another cap to boost voltage to get the hi voltage necessary for operation. If you look closely at the base, you'll see that it's NOT grounded to the chassis like the others, (it's on a phenolic isolator) so the "negative" side is actually carrying about 200VDC. which isn't healthy for you or a future rug-rat/crumb-cruncher or Grand rug-rat, should fingers get inside that area. It's all original as Dave said.

    The rust can be taken care of by use of some Naval Jelly or other rust converter and a small paint brush. The Transformers can be un mounted from the chassis (undo the screws only) and masked off with newspaper and masking tape, wirebrushed with a drill, then a couple of prime coats with a hi temp filler type primer, and a couple coats of Hi-Gloss Black. Shoot a little clear coat over the bare areas after the naval jelly has done it's job. The wood case looks to be in good condition and would probably benefit from some Howards Restore a Finish and some 0000 steel wool, and then some feed and wax. .
     
  14. JEM@Clem

    JEM@Clem New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    More dumb questions...
    In my parts list from the service manual I see 3 types of capacitor: Ceramic, Mylar, and Electrolytic. Do all the capacitors need replacing, or could the Ceramic caps stay?
     
  15. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

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    Ceramics are usually left alone. Mylars can be left as is IF they test out with an ESR meter and a capacitor tester as not electrically leaky and the value is within spec (10% either way).
     
  16. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    The thing with those mylar caps is they can break internally from physical movement. Mostly its the brown ones, but the orange and the ones that are sort of clear with the brown paper label are all that type. Usually electrically OK as long as you don't mess them up physically. The clear ones with the paper labels don't like heat, so keep away from them with the soldering iron.

    personally I'd be real tempted to swap the electrolytics only and run it.
     
  17. JEM@Clem

    JEM@Clem New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Am I correct in assuming the at the can caps need to be replaced? Also, how do they work, from what I can gather all the caps in the can go to a common point, which appears to be the can casing itself, and the positive ends all go to separate terminals in the middle. What's the price difference between getting replacement cans vs. putting in separate caps?

    I have also read a post that said something along the lines of "in fisher's day the tubes were cheap and caps were expensive, so they designed the circuits to let the tubes fail." What caps could i put in to preserve the tube life?
     

     

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  18. JEM@Clem

    JEM@Clem New Member

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    How bad is too bad on a ceramic cap? Many of mine are cracked around the leads, but otherwise seem fine. Ceramic cap.jpg
    I should probably get a cap tester at some point...
     
  19. notdigital

    notdigital AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    A thorough restoration would include the replacement of those caps either by undermounting new ones or stuffing the existing cans. My preference is to restuff but that's me.


    Yup, typically the caps in the cans share a common ground which is the can itself heavily soldered to the chassis. As you've observed, the terminals and their respective caps all have their respective responsibilities.

    I don't know about designing the tubes for failure. Rather the design was intentionally harsh on the tubes for performance reasons. Squeezing the most out of the tubes resulted in a shorter tube life which is very different from making them fail so you can go out and spend another $3 on a new tube. As far as what caps to buy the short answer is fresh good caps. I tend to stay with either Panasonic or Nichicon from the big vendors. That way you know what you're geting is authentic and, given the turnaround, fresh.

    Oh yeah: leave the ceramics alone. The cracking you see where the lead meets the body is just a consequence of flexing the lead during installation. Nothing to be concerned about.
     
  20. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    make sure you check the markings on the can caps though. Some can be can common positive, some have a common terminal on the bottom. Not sure what is in this one specifically.
     

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