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View Poll Results: Will Radio Shack Wither Away ?
Will Radio Shack Die ? 3 42.86%
Will Radio Shack Survive ? 0 0%
Do You Remember P-Box Kits? Yes 0 0%
Do You Remember P-Box Kits? No 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A P-Box Kit? Yes 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A P-Box Kit? No 0 0%
Do You Remember Lafayette Radio Electronics? Y 0 0%
Do You Remember Lafayette Radio Electronics? N 0 0%
Do You Remember Knight Kits ? Yes 0 0%
Do You Remember Knight Kits ? No 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A Knight Kit ? Yes 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A Knight Kit ? No 0 0%
Do You Remember Heath Kits ? Yes 2 28.57%
Do You Remember Heath Kits ? No 0 0%
Did You Ever Build a Heath Kit ? Yes 2 28.57%
Did You Ever Build a Heath Kit ? No 0 0%
Do You Remember Dynaco Kits? Yes 0 0%
Do You Remember Dynaco Kits? No 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A Dynaco Kit ? Yes 0 0%
Did You Ever Build A Dynaco Kit ? No 0 0%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 09-13-2014, 03:07 PM
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Question Wither Radio Shack...?

Subject: Re: the Shack..

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/radios...115714705.html

Hey, The legendary Radio Shack™ is soon to be just that ... A Legend . We have been watching The Shack*™* circle the drain not for years but decades. You knew things were going bad in the early 90's . You go to buy a replacement phono cartridge...Nada. "We Don't Stock Those Any More" Clearly irritated by answering that question over and over again. Then you look around, No Speakers...No Big Receivers...Just a few tiny combo "stereos" and I mean cheep cheese box sound. Did you hear a church bell in the distance.

There lies the essence of Radio Shack™'s demise. Not having a single cartridge or stylus, the end of the Optimus™line of decent sound components, the end of P-Box™ hobby kits, the severing of the Allied™- Radio Shackİ bond. Abandoning CB-Ham and Business communications. Even TV antennas and accessories. Failure to fully fuel the coming computer tsunami that Radio Shack helped start in the first place. They were there brother. Alienating a customer base and market after market that Tandyİ and Radio Shack created in the first place. They even fumbled the biggest radio revolution ever...Cell Phone Communications. Billions, BILLIONS of dollars in consumer cellular communications not realized. They already had the consumer side of a possible cell phone monopoly open and running in every town across the US. They just needed a network. They even fumbled the digital TV debacle. Radio Shack could have installed millions of digital TV's and antennas. That market is still up for grabs as most folks think free broadcast television is D.O.A. They don't even realize their expensive flat screens can get free TV. Lee... You are the only person I know viewing and recording stunning broadcast TV shows. After all TV is just a fancy radio isn't it? The 'Radio' Shack fails again....C_S
PS>I have asked the web master/ moderator to remove my poll(OUCH!)

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Old 09-13-2014, 11:40 PM
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Telecom is in the trillions of dollars, including online shopping, banking and bill pay.
So yeah, they really did lose it. They skipped the disco era. The hip-hop era.
I remember when they did stock strobe lights and color organs in the 1970's
They missed MIDI and car stereo, and they could still do something with that and with Raspberry Pii Kano kits for car stereo control decks. But no.

Everything wrong about RS started back when they pulled parts and components, relegating that sector to "special order-only" with up to a two week wait for store pickup. I can see why that happened. In the 90's, their casual customers only wanted pre-built cell phones and convenience, not hobby parts.

This is slightly ironic to me as I sit here staring at my 32 inch 720 monitor, an LG 32LB9D that someone tossed because an obvious power spike blew out 5 capacitors on the power board. I didn't need to test. They were all bulging at the top.

So I went to Frys, bought the 5 caps for $16 total, and now it works.
But Frys is about 10 miles from here. Radio Shack Online had the exact parts, but even now I would have waited a week for delivery when my local RS is only six blocks from here.

Frys took up the slack and in years past offered hobby kits. They still have parts.

Heathkits? Lafeyette? Dynaco Quad Boxes?
Have you ever heard of Olson Electronics (EDIT: NOT a Texas Instruments partner, though they did sell TI ICs. It was Teledyne Olson. You might know Teledyne as the Water Pik company, or the Teledyne Shower Massage company.)
They (Olson Electronics) died in the 1970's-80's, can't remember now.
But in the late 1960's, their catalog was like the Sears Christmas catalog. Ampex mod cassette decks (looked like the later Atari 2600). Teac and Akai reel-to-reel tape decks. Garrard turntables. Shure phono cartridges. Later, Audio Technica Shibata-stylus phono cartridges for CD-4 Quad record playback. Guitar amps. Spring Board Reverb boards (amp not included). And the Olson "Sweet 16" PM Speaker Array for "that sweet sound". Please use One per channel.

http://www.audiokarma.org/gallery/sh...php?photo=5534

Last edited by sleepy; 09-14-2014 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:26 AM
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And here it is. The Olson Electronics 1973 catalog (complete).
I had a copy of this exact catalog, and I slept with it religiously for many years, and the updates until the end. Radio Shack also used to have an annual free catalog.

Right off, you can see they (Olson) were all in for Quadraphonic Sound.
This catalog features the first 25 pages devoted to QUAD receivers.
It's Friday night and I just got paid. I'm off to Olson.
Test equipment starts on Page 82 and Dremel tools on Page 90.

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/...74-Catalog.pdf
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Old 09-14-2014, 05:00 PM
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I remember Heathkits, and I've built a transistor radio too. I always call Radiooshack "the useless store" because whenever I go there to make something they either don't have it, or have never heard of what I want to do. I'll admit I have a way of "rigging" things up, but most of those guys couldn't find their way out of a paper bag.
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Old 09-14-2014, 05:57 PM
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In the 1960's I bought "a spy crystal radio kit". It came with "a pen barrel"ninstead of a breadboard and it was portable, except for the need to attach the wire to earth ground.
I bought it with pocket change from my paper route and bought it from the local mom and pop department store. Arnold's Department Store.

Seems there were more things to make and do and available in many more places back then. I didn't even have to go to Radio Shack back then. The supermarkets even had vacuum tube test stations and tubes for sale, often near the (separate) liquor counter and Xerox copier.
These days, everything like that is pretty much gone. The stores don't even have the separate liquor counter anymore.

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Old 09-15-2014, 11:39 AM
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When I was a kid I loved going into Radio Shack. It was fun, they had a lot of electronic toys and you could play on a Tandy they had set-up for display. It was twice as big a store than what they built later. It went from fun to creepy, always asking me for my phone number whenever I buy batteries. The last time I went to RS, I needed an optical audio cable and the cheapest one they had was $20. I ended up ordering one off of amazon for a few bucks.

A bit unrelated, but what's up with graphing calculators? When I was in high school, a TI-85 cost about $90. 20 years later, a TI-85 still costs about $90 and it hasn't improved one bit. You'd think you could pick one up at Dollar General for $9.99 by now.
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:00 PM
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I'm thinking that a graph plot calculator probably doesn't sell as well as the standard models. Most people don't use them, so the unit sales are stagnant and the price remains the same.
Compound that with the availability of free computer graph software with printers, and I'd guess the computers have the edge.
I was expecting low cost units with easy connection to vehicle computer output by now, but like everything else, the kids these days leave it to the experts, else when it breaks, they throw it away for a new one. Spiritless dependency and complacency is rampant, and with an Attitude.

I spent time growing up with some exposure to electronics, but on a related note, I was more likely to fiddle with balsa wood. Does anyone remember squared balsa wood dowels and sheets? They used to be available just down the block a just about any hardware store or mom and pop department store (Arnold's Department Store, near the incense cones, Monkees' Banana Bubble Gum Trading Cards, and the goldfish and turtle pet dept.).

I haven't gone there in decades since we moved and since most of the local suppliers vanished from the face of the earth years ago, but Walmart has some balsa sheets and Unfinished Cigar and Purse Boxes. Really neat. I am considering Walmart to be an oasis for us Boomers. They sell a lot of stuff that I used to use.

Unfinished Cigar Boxes, and balsa wood:

http://www.walmart.com/c/ep/balsa-wood
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:27 PM
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[quote=Shooby Doo;102262always asking me for my phone number whenever I buy batteries.[/quote]

Yeah, that phone number thing pissed me off. It kept me away from there because of it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:01 AM
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Was asking for the phone number about the RS battery club? I remember something about a punch card and a free battery after so many phone numbers.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
Was asking for the phone number about the RS battery club? I remember something about a punch card and a free battery after so many phone numbers.
Not as far as I rememeber. It was after the battery club. I was never a part of that.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
I spent time growing up with some exposure to electronics, but on a related note, I was more likely to fiddle with balsa wood. Does anyone remember squared balsa wood dowels and sheets? They used to be available just down the block a just about any hardware store or mom and pop department store (Arnold's Department Store, near the incense cones, Monkees' Banana Bubble Gum Trading Cards, and the goldfish and turtle pet dept.).
I also used to spend a decent amount of time in hobby shops when I was a kid. There were 2 about a mile from our house and had the balsa wood sections, comic books, model planes & cars, train sets, RC cars, etc. I had built a lot of stuff with balsa when I was younger... I got into skateboarding when I was about ten and used to make my own tiny skateboards, cutting and gluing wood to make the trucks and using colored beads as the wheels, then I'd make all kinds of ramps and rails.

Now I'm in the engraving business and work with a laser engraver, and I can use it to cut all kinds shapes out of wood, but the only place I can find balsa and other soft woods is at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Though they have a lot of unfinished wood trinkets and boxes and other wood items that are perfect for engraving and staining and giving as small gifts.

PN is always filled with nostalgia-type posts, and while I assume most of you are older than me, it still always brings me back to my early 80's childhood. I grew up in and old section of Kansas City, KS and it still had a lot of the mom & pop stores and diners that were around when my parents were kids, though by the late 80's pretty much everything started to close up, including the local mall, which is still standing as an empty dilapidated mall 25 years later. It had a hobby shop.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:53 PM
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The good thing about the RS in Monrovia, CA was that it was between a good Family Billiards (and multiple pinballs, of course) emporium and a non-chain auto parts house run by some WWII vets who liked racing on Sundays. The bad thing was having to stand there while the clerk stared into your driver license to make sure he/she got your name correct---on a purchase of some insignificant little P.O.S .
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:09 PM
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last month at goodwill i bought an anti-SAD device "sphere gadget," but it didn't come with a power supply. i rooted through my whole box of transformers, but couldn't find a DC12V 600mA model. anybody know if radio shack still carries those universal power supplies? CVS?

i also have no idea whether adding too much or too little amperage will damage this sucker. it's electronics plus a bank of LED's for SAD therapy purposes.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:41 PM
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Well, let's see.
600 milliamps = .6 Amps
To determine the Power, multiply the voltage x Amps.
12v x .6a = 7.2 Watts.

I can't guarantee this, but normally it is the Wattage rating that will make or break you. You can try a lower output voltage with a proportionally higher output amperage, as long as the power supply's total Output Wattage matches the original rating of the device in use, in this case, 7.2 Watts.
If you have a 10 volt power supply with a maximum output amperage of .72a, then try it. Make Sure that it is a (point seven two amps output).

You can also try any power supply with a lower Wattage, or lower volts And amps.
The thing about amps (current) is, you can try using any value of amps, large or small (it may fail due to being underpowered), as long as you do not exceed the maximum Voltage. A 12 volt car battery rated @ 20 Amps will not destroy the device, as long as the device's maximum voltage is not exceeded, but Make Sure Not To Connect Any DC Device Backwards. Always connect the negative to the negative and the positive to the positive. Else Kablooey, especially with higher amps x voltage (Watts) if connected Wrong and backwards.

You could also try looking up the SAD unit by model number or by whatever name is on it, then look for the mfg website or try Amazon or Ebay for the power supply. It might be less than RS, or no. It depends on any existent surplus supply of the item.

Last edited by sleepy; 09-16-2014 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:10 AM
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nice! i think that's the formula... forrest mims or whatever, tried to teach me via those RS electronics booklets from the 60's or 70's
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:52 AM
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Forest Mims! Holy Cow Batman!
That takes me right back to "Basic Electronics" "Understanding Your ICs", and "Speaker Construction". I changed the names only to protect my foggy memory.
But I know.

Hey! He's still alive!
Forrest_Mims Forrest_Mims
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:06 AM
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this was my intro to electronics. did anybody have this book also?
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinballdaveh View Post
this was my intro to electronics. did anybody have this book also?

Not me, too old. When I taught myself electrical I equated plumbing to wiring, and off reading schematics I was...

Mind you, even in my operator days I never really did PCB work. I always sent that out.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:42 AM
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Back in '57, my old man studied vacuum tube Radio and T.V. repair at Allegheny Technical, Pittsburgh. So he had RCA repair manuals around our home, and this 3 year old had diagrams of waveforms and peak to peak voltage bandwidth and pictures to look at.

I remember a specific set of diagrams and pictures for a one-tube RCA hi-fi volume expander. I wondered why it wasn't in wide use back then, what we later called a compander (expander/compansion) circuit once ICs were introduced,
and I remember sitting by the family Philco combo t.v./record player listening to the scratchy records while looking at the waveform bandwidth diagram and wondering about boosting the treble and compressing the volume before cutting the record master. This was in 1959. DBX came out with the volume compander version of noise reduction later, while Dolby came out with the treble-emphasis-but-no-compander version which found immediate use in video tape noise reduction in 1960, and later, in cassette noise reduction, by 1969.

The DBX version required correct level sensing in order to determine the correct amount of volume expansion for recovery of the treble dynamics, else it would sound like a screwed-up duck, same as first generation Internet sound and video (or RealPlayer) did when the signal processing was offset some 16 years ago. This was problematic and so DBX lost the battle to Dolby. And at that time, Dolby had cachet for inventing the Ampex Video Tape system.

But Forest Mims, I followed for IC circuits and for speaker system designs, corner horn loaded woofers, folded horn cabinets, horn-loaded tweeters, etc.
At that time (the 70's) I bought several of the magnets that RS used to sell, and their all-purpose analog multimeter for $19, and a spool of fine copper wire, and then wound my own speaker coil from scratch using the multimeter to adjust the wire length for 8 ohms. I think I unspooled the wire straight until I saw 8 ohms on the meter, and then wound a coil from it, using a hand-made paper ring to wind the coil around, and then connected it to a surplus radio that was laying around and inserted one of the Radio Shack magnets into the electromagnetic flux zone of the coil.
It worked, but I had no diaphragm! Very tiny sound...but clean!

I also had a Longines Symphonette stereo phonograph as a bonus from the Capitol Record Club that fell into disuse. It and the membership was a Christmas gift. So I attached my brother's electric guitar to a Calrad phono preamp and out to the phono cartridge leads for a makeshift guitar amp, but I also remember running the speaker wires through a capacitor and a small potentiometer back to the phono cartridge leads on many occasions.

This was because the entire circuit from the phono input to the amp output worked out as a PnP (positive feedback) transistor circuit, so the feedback functioned as a simple audio oscillator, aka, a simple analog synthesizer. Turning the volume down made the highest frequency sound, while turning up the volume to full made the lowest frequency, due to the amount of change (voltage) in the feedback.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:56 AM
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i remember using oscilloscopes and watching lissajous curves, but didnt know much about them. some kind of waveform pattern i guess.
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Old 09-22-2014, 10:28 AM
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my wife has a screensaver on her desktop i think its called dancing hearts , that almost looks like a lissajous pattern. any way back to the RS issue i have 2 RS stores in my area 1 is in a major size mall and is a large store that has their full line selection. the other store is in a small strip mall that is a smaller store but still on a busy street. i still go there for soldering supplies and some other parts. it seems like there is always more employees than customers. RS prices i think are little high and with the competitive online sales from everybody else and the decreasing interest in electronics i cant see how they will survive.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:42 AM
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There's a Frys Electronics near me. They stock common parts and a few exotic items,
so I usually go there. Their in-store prices are pretty reasonable and they have a low price guarantee, including online prices.

But...my favorite store is now closed. Electronic City in Burbank (Not Circuit City...No!) used to stock the factory-authorized replacement parts for electronic gear, DIY projects, and stuff like 1 inch heavy magnet PM speakers and those wall-mount transducers that you screw into the wall (or the back of your car seat) to turn it into a loudspeaker, and electret elements that, apart from microphones, could also be useful in an array to produce some electricity. They were also among the first stores in this area to stock solar cells and panels. Back in the 1970's.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:29 AM
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I recently worked on a cyclone that had been in storage for some time. a young boy watching me and helping me who was eager to play some pinball. when i took the backglass off of course it was leaking AA's. so how do you tell a young boy he cant play until the battery holder gets changed. you dont you repair the original. RS desolder braid to the rescue. scrape away all defective insulator and wrap about a 2 inch piece around the 2 posts at the bottom just below the batteries. this will work even without soldering or replacing the socket. the young boy was happy to play his machine again, and i gave him a pinball ball for helping me.
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:58 PM
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I was curious about Radio Shack's finances. Their stock has dropped from $4 in late August to bouncing around one dollar this morning. Uhgh ! . It looks like we all have had similar experiences at our local stores. I did get lucky when I needed a RS 232 serial to USB adapter cable about 5 years ago(But I Think it was almost $40@RS). Thanks for mentioning the Olson catalog. I don't think I would have ever thought about those guys again. I enjoyed scrolling through every page of that time capsule. Radios to HiFi to Quad, Oscilloscopes to Chainsaws to Capacitor Discharge Ignition boxes. Wow that's variety. I especially like the range of audio equipment and remembering all those schemes, processors and gimmicks to get better sound. I had one of those CDI ignition gadgets--all it ever did was make my engine run rough when switched on-- in the '66 Barracuda my dad handed down to me in 1972.

I remember Radio Shack having 2 Battery "club" cards. First was 'Free Battery Of The Month' a punch card that got you one of their "50% More Life" 9V,AA, C, D's each month. When you complained about those batteries going dead real fast they said" The 50% More Life meant 50% more SHELF LIFE and had nothing to do with the actual performance of the battery".That card system lasted a few years and was sure to get you in the store every month. I think that card was replaced by a punch card of a number of purchases to earn a free battery. I remember Radio Shack asking for your address and phone number going way back. Their flyers and catalog started showing up in the mail. I thought the mailing list was why they asked. Soon that did get a bit of 'Big Brother' flavor. I started to wonder if a 555 IC purchase was going to the FBI as a possible detonation timer.

About power supplies and such. Too many Amps = OK... The amount of current (Amps) going to a device is determined by what the unit draws. You can not over power a device because a power supply has(Can Deliver) more amps than the device needs. Having more than enough amps is better than not having enough amps. A power supply that delivers too many volts is going to cause trouble. Over voltage is bad because it will likely make your device draw too many amps, overheat and blow something. Too many volts = Bad.
Thanks for the replies and using the poll. The poll only accepts one choice and is not how I wished it worked. I have asked PN for it's removal but it still has some interesting info.C_S
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:34 AM
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I wasn't a 555 kind of guy, but I did play around with a couple of 741 op amps,
and I think I bought the replacement sync circuit transistor from them to repair the family t.v. after I bridged the original one under load. It exploded in two like a kernel of popcorn.

And then I got it right. I was inserting a diode and cap with a potentiometer to adjust and filter the horizontal sync...so I could watch both On TV and Select TV.
The two over-the-air pay tv channels that used irregular horizontal sync pulses to tear the picture. That worked...
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:51 PM
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I could never figure out that Horizontal Sync Suppression Scrambling. I was never to much into IC's ether. As a mater of fact I blame Integrated Circuits for taking the fun out of Electronic Hobbying. I too tried to build a volume expander. It used op amps. It was easier to build with op amps that came in a round, T05 ? , package with wire leads. Never did get it to work. I experimented with some 7400 TTL logic and counting circuits. I did build a digital clock with 8 segment incandescent display tubes. I am still quite proud of that one. It looked really cool. It did have a major glitch. I used the 60Hz power line as the time base. Spikes coming along the line would throw it off every few days. I had more failures building stuff using IC's. Some how they took the fun out of things. Integrated Circuits seemed to de-personalize projects. Maybe that was the true beginning of the end of Radio Shack.
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Old 09-28-2014, 04:26 AM
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What they did was, the horizontal sync was sent with two pedestals instead of the standard one pedestal. Like double frequency, but at or near the voltage level of conventional sync pulses, which was well above the voltage level of the picture. The double pulses would miss the bandpass-to-sync pulse discriminator circuits of most t.v. sets. The "descrambler boxes" for this system used phase lock loops to construct a single horizontal sync pulse per line and substitute it for "the double pulse interval" in the broadcast.
So, a quick and dirty method was only a matter of "smoothing" the two pulses to one usable sync pulse per line; one that would pass the t.v.'s pulse discriminator circuit and stabilize the picture.
They also sent the video portion at low contrast, and the box would then boost the contrast, but this technique resulted in a poor video signal-to-noise ratio.

Some broadcast pay service systems would also periodically invert the phase of the picture voltage from positive to negative and back and forth, and they used a simple embedded trigger signal to switch the phase polarity in the decoder box. So in this case, the simple sync filter was insufficient for full video recovery. But it was still watchable from a sync standpoint. Now, encrypted digital scrambling really took care of that.

The ICs were still interesting to me since they constituted circuits containing many transistors. To do what they did by instead using discreet components, transistors, caps, vericaps, varistors, etc., would require buying quite a few standalone discreet parts.
What made ICs impersonal was in trying to play with junk radios and gear that used them. Trying to use junk gear for pet projects, but they still often have reusable caps, diodes, pots and resistors to play with, as long as you have desoldering wick.

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Old 09-30-2014, 02:24 PM
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Greetings Earthlings!

I just bought a pack of 20 amp ceramic fuses online from RS. I'm trying to see if I can get a microwave oven to work. After the purchase, I was asked to complete a survey about my experiences at the RS site, so I included this thread's URL in my survey comments.
The survey promises to pass my comments along to RS, so we shall see what happens...nothing...?

And if you have anything to say to Radio Shack, then...maybe post it here?
And if anyone from Radio Shack happens to read this thread, then please. Make yourself at home.
Good to see you.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:37 AM
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your microwave could have a magnotron problem.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:19 AM
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I expect it won't work. It's a used microwave oven with a missing HV fuse.
The snap-around fuse insulator is laying on the floor of the unit and the blown fuse is nowhere to be found. I got the fuse rating from an interior sticker.
The unit has two fuses, one for the control panel, and the second HV fuse of interest, for the power to the HV capacitor (NOTE TO OTHERS: DO NOT TOUCH THE HV CAPACITOR. WHEN IT IS CHARGED WITH ELECTRICITY, IT CAN EASILY KILL YOU. IT CAN HOLD A CHARGE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. MAKE SURE NOT TO TOUCH THIS UNTIL IT IS DISCHARGED PROPERLY. NEVER ASSUME THAT TURNING OFF THE POWER AND UNPLUGGING THE AC CORD FROM THE WALL SOCKET WILL DISCHARGE THE CAPACITOR. IT WILL NOT DO SO IMMEDIATELY, SO BE CAREFUL, BUT LEAVE IT TO THOSE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. TAKE GOOD CARE.)

The control panel works, but it could be the previous owner removed the fuse to prevent mishap by others due to overheating issues. Usually when a device is unrepairable and/or in danger of hazzards, most folks around here cut the AC cord off to prevent mishap.
We will soon find out...

It's not a reliable brand. It's one of those mysterious "Oster" models not manufactured by Oster. Those units are produced under license by Oster to a string of third-party manufacturers and "the branding" is "in-name-only".
There are no online parts offered for these ovens that I can find, and Oster has absolutely nothing to say about "Oster Microwave Ovens" on their official website.

Last edited by sleepy; 10-01-2014 at 10:29 AM.
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