Life After Death for a Mazda Tube
By Bernie Bowden
How many of us 405 TV addicts have got hold of an old TV we have been looking for only to find after many a hour spent rewiring, changing every wax capacitor, main electrolytic rebuilds, and switch rebuilds, to find when the big switch on time comes the good old MAZDA CRM died most likely 18 months after the set was sold. When I was an apprentice some 45 years back they told me it was a built in fluffer the tube died just after the guarantee runs out. This is what happened when I restored my EKCO TS88.
I worked when I left school at the EKCO factory just down the road from me in Southend-on-sea and then served an apprenticeship at a large local TV shop. My job was to walk down the road to Brybel Tubes and get tubes regunned for a couple of old pounds. This firm moved away many years back and became Wellview tubes.
They went the same way and I believe became Canvey Tubes, which was run by a friend of mine, Derrick. For many years he supplied us with both black and white and colour tubes and I can’t ever remember having a bad one, until the local Council closed him down because of their pathetic rules and red tape.
I called to talk to Derrick a few years back asking if he could regun old tubes. He said “that’s easy, but you can't get the guns”. I found a source of new guns last year and confronted Derrick. His response was “Oh, sorry, I have just dumped all my old gear down the tip. There’s no money in it”. When I told him I would pay £100+ per tube he said “OH --------“.
I then made contact with Philip in France at RACS. He said “send me your old tube. There is no problem (and there wasn’t )”. I went to the post office to send the tube to the south of France. I was told it would cost £75 !!!!!!! The following week my friend was going over in his car for a day run in France. We popped into the Boulonn post office and in my poor French I asked to post the parcel. In perfect English she said “that will be 8 Euros (about £5)”. I spent the other £70 I saved on wine and beer for Christmas.
Back to my EKCO TS88. Purchased for £55 with a very poor cabinet, I had to do major repairs to the veneer and replace a lot of it and repolish the cabinet.
All the wiring was totally rotten, being rubber and cotton tied every half inch with twine rather like the old military equipment, and very difficult to replace. Nearly all the wiring was solid copper. Rather than changing all the wires, which would increase the chance of mistakes, I cut one end of each wire and pulled off the old insulation or in some cases crushed the rubber with pliers and it crumbled.
Radio Shack sell some silicone rubber sleeving (part number 252-1688) which does not melt with a hot soldering iron. It is mat in colour and looks very original threaded over the old solid copper. A long job but worth the trouble. I replaced every capacitor, since there is no such thing as a good cap at this age. High value resistors are often open circuit.
TREAT THE EHT WITH THESE OLD SETS WITH GREAT RESPECT, MODERN TVS WITH 25 KV PLUS ARE SAFER THAN THESE OLD SETS PRODUCING 4 KV.
After all this work I had a picture in a totally dark room. RACS to the rescue - not a cheap option. We now have a second tube with Philip which I also took to France for my friend Trevor. This one has the neck broken off, but he says it can be fixed. Watch this space for more information.
You can contact RACS at firstname.lastname@example.org Philip speaks perfect English.