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 Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth

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Victor
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PostSubject: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 8:19 am

Hi all,

I had a discussion recently with a CT member Alan Pilot (Hi Alan) regarding radio repairs. We briefly discussed some of the nonsense regarding 're-capping' radios.

For those that don't know, it's where someone replaces the capacitors in a radio as either a 'repair' or even claimed as an 'upgrade', a longevity claim or other such.

This rumour of Re-Capping has been doing the rounds for quite some time from the looks of it and always centres around the 'electrolytic' capacitors. As you can imagine if you are paying someone to perform such a task it's usually going to be quite expensive, price of replacement components and extensive labour costs on top.

But is it worth it?

Here's a video by George Donaldson posted recently on Charlie Tango Facebook page :-



In it he discusses the Re-Capping process and goes on to do a comparison with a re-capped radio versus a non re-capped.

Overall and generally it shows that the process is highly unlikely to show any so called performance improvements. There is a also discussion about whether it would actually provide any longevity or other such claim.

If it were to make the radio last longer by replacing the 30 or 40 year old electrolytic capacitors then why aren't other just as old components being replaced? None of the ceramic capacitors ever get changed, nor do the 'old' semiconductors, (chips and transistors), and the pots, (potentiometer), controls which see much physical wear and are never changed either(?!)


I personally think it is due to several factors....

20 years or so ago there was a problem with electrolytic capacitors, it was known as the 'Capacitor Plague'. Wikipedia link to it's history is shown below :-

Wikipedia - Capacitor Plague

The problems were mainly surrounding Personal Computers of the time, my own HP PC was affected by it although the manufacturer denied such responsibility(!) I ended up replacing the power supply and the motherboard power electrolytic capacitors to repair it.
The large manufacturers found that they could save pennies per unit buying these cheap capacitors, not much cost to you for all the hassle but worth millions to them in savings.... ain't that always the way? Wink

But quite how a problem from 20 years ago affected radios from 40 years ago beggars belief...TARDIS anyone?

'Audio or Hi-Fi Enthusiasts'
Sheesh, this is a world unto it's own(!) There's gold connectors, oxygen free copper cables and other such nonsense in pursuit of the 'Highest Fidelity' sound which also includes unsurprisingly......capacitors. Not just electrolytic types either, oh no!
Orange-dip, green-dip, (which is usually just the case covering colour?!?!), manufacturer type, none of the Chinese cr*p, etc. etc. You find it in every audio enthusiasm including electric guitars and other such.

But there it is again, mention of capacitors Wink


'The Uninitiated or Little-Bit-Of-Knowledge Brigade'
This is an easy one to fall into, you don't rightly know but you're mate said it was true so it must be. Must be true, I read it on the internet or other such. Electronics, component manufacture and equipment manufacturing processes are a complicated world. Don't expect to understand much about it unless you have worked, been trained and have years of experience in that world.

I can see the 'goop' at the bottom of the capacitors....no, that was the glue the manufacture used to hold the capacitors in place on the board before they are soldered. You see this one a lot in older electronics and is usually the basis for the 'Trio' radio so called capacitor problem. The electrolyte in a capacitor is a thin fluid, not a 'goop'.

Straightening the capacitors....
What? Why? All those lovely little blue/black/grey cylinders in my radio are leaning all over the place, I shall waste some time by making them all straight....by bending them straight! 
I've personally seen this one done, with much gusto and enthusiasm straightening all those lovely little cylinders until they all look neat and tidy. No idea why, maybe it's an OCD tidying thing? The thing is they get bent straight, the leads to the capacitor are pulled and usually pull the seals or connections internally apart! Sometimes the PCB is damaged due to the same enthusiasm or the solder joint is pulled apart damaging the connection....dry joint anyone? Wink

Of course the one that rears it's ugly head is simply making money. Anyone unscrupulous can easily make money on perpetuated myths and if onto a winner will perpetuate the myth also.


So there you go, just some thoughts on the capacitor so called problem. More of my 'waffle' eh? Wink

Thanks to Alan Pilot and thanks to George Donaldson also.


All the best,
Victor


Charlie Tango Facebook page is another wealth of resources that compliments the Charlie Tango forum well. I'm not much of a fan for 'Facebark' but did setup a profile just so that I could pop along there and see other stuff going on in this wonderful radio world.
Big thanks to Paddy, (admin), for all the work he does over there. Give it a go, you might like it!

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 10:25 am

Great Post Victor,

Very interesting to see how easy some poor uneducated person would be easily taken in by a Snake Oil as George says in the video. 
Love the comment regarding Mystical Unicorns -  Razz


Great education as always.

73's

Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 11:11 am

Hi Graeme,

Was only chatting to Alan on the forum the other week and then this week George posted his video so had to share it Smile

I know, isn't George great, love that humour. I like that he has all the gear, the knowledge, component level expertise, (often without schematics), and yet doesn't blow his own trumpet. Real down to earth solid guy.

Glad you enjoyed the share and put up with my own 'waffle' input Wink

All the best mate,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 12:50 pm

Great post, Victor.👍

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 3:35 pm

Hi John,

Cheers mate Smile 
Again back to my old mantra, if only one person gains anything from my waffle, then it's been worth it Wink


------------

Hi Martin,

I know what you mean Martin, George is a star and would be well handy if he lived closer Smile
At least he's far enough away to not get an official knock on the door!


All the best guys,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 5:21 pm

Victor wrote:


If it were to make the radio last longer by replacing the 30 or 40 year old electrolytic capacitors then why aren't other just as old components being replaced? None of the ceramic capacitors ever get changed, nor do the 'old' semiconductors, (chips and transistors), and the pots, (potentiometer), controls which see much physical wear and are never changed either(?!)

The answer to that is simple. The other components don't have the ability to leak a fluid which will eat away a PCB if left on it long enough. There's no need to change the ceramic caps because the material that's used to maintain insulation between the different layers in the capacitor, and thus retain it's original value, doesn't leak out.
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 6:05 pm

Hi Conor,

I had made mention of the electrolyte fluid in the original posting and still stand by the fact that so long as nothing untoward has occured to the capacitors they simply don't suddenly leak. Yes, that includes after a considerably long time.

I have valve equipment from the 1950s & 60s and transistor/semiconductor equipment from the 1970s and 80s that still have the original electrolytic capacitors in them working as fine as the day they were made.

It's often the apparently 'simple' understanding of such things that perpetuate these myths relentlessly.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 8:32 pm

Northern Crusader wrote:
Victor wrote:


If it were to make the radio last longer by replacing the 30 or 40 year old electrolytic capacitors then why aren't other just as old components being replaced? None of the ceramic capacitors ever get changed, nor do the 'old' semiconductors, (chips and transistors), and the pots, (potentiometer), controls which see much physical wear and are never changed either(?!)

The answer to that is simple. The other components don't have the ability to leak a fluid which will eat away a PCB if left on it long enough. There's no need to change the ceramic caps because the material that's used to maintain insulation between the different layers in the capacitor, and thus retain it's original value, doesn't leak out.

The most radios I have seen that have failed due to capacitors were due to failed ceramic disc caps going open. I have never actually had a radio stop working due to a failed electrolytic cap so far...

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 8:35 pm

Victor wrote:
Hi Conor,

I had made mention of the electrolyte fluid in the original posting and still stand by the fact that so long as nothing untoward has occured to the capacitors they simply don't suddenly leak. Yes, that includes after a considerably long time.

I have valve equipment from the 1950s & 60s and transistor/semiconductor equipment from the 1970s and 80s that still have the original electrolytic capacitors in them working as fine as the day they were made.

It's often the apparently 'simple' understanding of such things that perpetuate these myths relentlessly.

All the best,
Victor


I agree!

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 8:40 pm

NUBSTER wrote:
I message George quite a bit via YouTube and he does know his stuff , my only wish was that he lived local to me lol ,its shame that he's in Ireland TBH cost of postage and length of time your radio would be away mind you one day I will send him my old trusty original mk1 President Lincoln from the 80s so he can put all the modifications that can be done to these radios .


I do have an address in the UK to keep the cost down., I can generally turn a radio around inside 6 weeks once it arrives working ok. Its when people want really in depth custom work done, which requires getting parts sent from the states etc. That can slow things down quite considerably. I'm getting quite a few radios from people lately that bought them on GeeBay and paid quite a lot for them. I've had to go back and tell them its not viable to repair and then modify them. Just be careful folks of what you are buying, only buy radios you 'know' if that makes sense.

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 8:43 pm

Victor wrote:
Hi Graeme,

Was only chatting to Alan on the forum the other week and then this week George posted his video so had to share it Smile

I know, isn't George great, love that humour. I like that he has all the gear, the knowledge, component level expertise, (often without schematics), and yet doesn't blow his own trumpet. Real down to earth solid guy.

Glad you enjoyed the share and put up with my own 'waffle' input Wink

All the best mate,
Victor

I do my best. Learning as I go

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 9:08 pm

Hi George,

It's an absolute pleasure to see you here and may I say, a little bit of an honour too Smile

I applaud you for not only making your video, but all the time you took in performing the task at hand and to top it all, sharing with everyone. You could all have so easily followed the bandwagon on the capacitor myth and mercilessly profited from others lack of knowledge. In my book that makes you an exemplary person and despite your humble attitude, the best damn electronics engineer I've met in some time! (I've been fortunate enough to work beside some of the countries best during my past career)


Take good care of yourself my friend and I truly wish you nothing but the very best.

Kind regards,
Victor


"Mystical Unicorns"  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy That one is going to keep me laughing for a long time!
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 9:45 pm

Thanks very much for your kind words. I'm far from an Electronics Engineer. I fly by the seat of my pants a lot of the time and completely self taught. I cant read schematics and I struggle with fault finding (thank god I have Ray) to the point that I refuse to do it.

I like to make radios look their best, that what floats my boat. Not everyone likes what I do, bt thats life. Id never tell anybody a radio need x y and z done. Most people who send me their rigs just tell me to 'go to town' on it.

'Made in Taiwan, Improved in Ireland'
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 10:02 pm

Honestly George, I've worked with qualified engineers that know s*d all! 

Degrees coming out of their ears and couldn't identify a capacitor let alone read a resistor colour value. The best have been hands on guys, often self taught, no elitist attitude and just get on with it, always without the bull. Keep doing what you do, you can't always please everyone and you shouldn't bother either.

Still think your Re-Capping vid is the best thing I've seen in a long time.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 10:28 pm

Cheers Victor. Appreciated. what part of Bedford are you in? I have a lot of family in Luton.
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeThu Aug 27, 2020 10:40 pm

No worries George.

Ah, Bedford's just the nearest town Wink I'm actually a born Lutonian, you can tell by the way I say Lu-on without the 't' Very Happy
I'm not surprised, we had lot of the Irish in Luton but for my own sins I'm the son of a Scotsman. Been a fair while since I left Luton and it's changed beyond recognition, not the same place anymore.

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeFri Aug 28, 2020 12:24 am

Nowhere is anymore is it?

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeFri Aug 28, 2020 8:21 am

Morning Victor Morning George.
Fantastic post's and video's.
I was self taught like George and by the sounds of it i was just the same as you +dyslexic in the bargain.
Of to watch more videos brings back some good memories but i don't think it will improve mine lol.
I did enjoy doing repairs and the mod's but that's all over now all i have now is a multi-metre and an iron.
Keep it up guy's.

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeFri Aug 28, 2020 8:16 pm

Hi Alan,

I can 'blame' all this lot on you after our brief discussion Wink

I enjoy discussions of such subjects, especially with self-taught people. A lot of engineering principles and discoveries were made not just by people in labs and degrees coming out of there ears, but by what I lovingly call "Men In Sheds"!

Long live "Men In Sheds" Smile

All the best mate,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeSat Aug 29, 2020 7:59 am

Morning Victor
I can blame you for the 2 faulty radio/scanner that came in the post yesterday.
Old stuff but you never know they might jog my memory when i get into them.
Just hope my wife don't come in the shed/shack lol but i will say you sent them.
Alan.

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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeSat Aug 29, 2020 8:50 am

Hi Alan,

Really nice to hear of your recent acquisitions and you're ready to dive into them. I hope it goes well. Smile

Hee! Very Happy You can blame me as much as you like too Alan, more than happy to take the rap to see you enjoying yourself Wink
You'll have to let me know how you get on.


All the best mate,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeSat Aug 29, 2020 5:22 pm

Victor wrote:
Hi Conor,

I have valve equipment from the 1950s & 60s and transistor/semiconductor equipment from the 1970s and 80s that still have the original electrolytic capacitors in them working as fine as the day they were made.

It's often the apparently 'simple' understanding of such things that perpetuate these myths relentlessly.

All the best,
Victor
That's nice and whilst I question whether they're actually working as fine as the day they made I've seen enough examples of leaking caps to know it's an issue but then again the difference between you and me is the volume of stuff I've seen, when you're doing it for a living 40hrs a week you'll see more instances than someone who doesn't.

Bulging capacitors in computers were still a problem 5 years ago. I recall a couple of years ago when I was working as a systems tech getting in systems with unexplained reboots and because of my age I knew to look at the caps for the CPU and in every case they had caps that had domed and some starting to weep so once the CPU load got above a certain point the voltage dropped and the PC rebooted. These were Dell Optiplex systems typically in use 18hrs a day, sometimes 24hrs a day and placed in areas with less than ideal ventilation.

Given that electrolytics of a few thousand uF at sensible voltages are literally pennies a go and we had a workshop it was worthwhile changing them.
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeSat Aug 29, 2020 6:24 pm

Hi Conor,

You're talking about capacitors in computer use not general radio or even CB as discussed.

Most CBs or radios do not use capacitors in the thousands of uF range, as you mention, unless they have a built in power supply. Even then I've never seen a radio power supply capacitor actually fail except in older valve equipment that wasn't powered up properly. (To reform the capacitors)

Most CB radios aren't powered up for 18 or 24 hours a day as you mention with your work.

I think much as George saw commented on his video that you have missed the point entirely.

Also may I add, you make presumptions in your "difference between you and me" statement. You have no idea who I am, no idea of my qualifications, no idea of my career background, no idea whatsoever to make such a sweeping statement. 


The posting was made to assist, aid, educate, inform or otherwise help people from being ripped off by those unscrupulous enough to profit from others lack of knowledge. It was also made to provide enjoyable content and reading for Charlie Tango members and being a forum is open for discussion and debate. This means mature debate, not dragging it down to an argumentative state or other such or at an attempt to elevate one's self profusely or degrade others.

This forum exists as a happy and reasonable place for those with radio interests to come together. Let's keep it that way.


All the best,
Victor
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Alan Pilot
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Alan Pilot

Call Sign : 163-CT-220...MW7TTA
Posts : 1008
Times Thanked : 28
Join date : 2019-11-19
QTH or Location : Anglesey North Wales
Equipment Used : 2x Yaesu FT-991A,,Anytone AT-D878UV PLUS",,LINCOLN II+.

Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Empty
PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitimeSun Aug 30, 2020 7:56 am

Well Victor i got the scanner up and running yesterday.
It came to me with the power cable cut off so i sorted the power supply out and fitted a mains cable.
Plugged it in and away it went and very surprised how well it picks up with a 6" bit of wire for an aerial.
Needs the back light sorting out now but i think that might be down to a fault on the board as the voltage to it is around 1v and i thought they ran on 12v but will have to check up on that.
Wife is away for a few days so i can play all i want lol.
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PostSubject: Re: Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth   Radio Repairs & The Re-Capping Myth Icon_minitime

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