Home Up RCA 25BP Radiola 17 1-R-81




This is an RCA 25BP "Pick Me Up" portable Battery/AC/DC radio, chassis RC-1020.  This radio accompanied the owner's father across most of Europe.  It carries memories for the owner.  I was asked to electronically restore the radio.  I went further to bring a cleaner original look to the radio while maintaining its character.  

The old standby Clorox Clean Up was an ineffective cleaner.  Eventually I found Denatured Alcohol removed the accumulated soil.  Brown shoe polish darkened the rubbed spots on the leatherette. I did not cover the whole radio with shoe polish, but only used it on the scuffed spots. Shoe polish may have a tendency to flake although, I have not experience such flaking.  Perhaps since I clean and scrub leatherettes first the shoe polish does not flake.  The leatherette cabinet was finished up with Kiwi Mink Oil leather softener.

The grill paint was rubbed off, chipped, a bit rusty and missing paint.  Once removed and separated from the dial plastic it received a vigorous wire brushing and a shot of GM Gold auto paint.  I found GM Gold automotive paint color closest matched RCA's gold color on other radio models.  The color may be easily changed to represent different levels of newness, aging or patina.

The original model number sticker and tube location chart was scanned in on the computer.  Color correction software (that came with MS Office) was used to eliminate any yellowing, moisture spots and to convert the picture to Black and White.  MS Paint Brush was used to recreate the missing line art.  Missing letters were "cut and pasted", recreating missing words. A yellow/brown lacquer toner was used to "Age" the paper and to seal in the Ink Jet ink.  Finally, a bit of Elmer's Wood Glue secured the paper to the wood. 

This radio could use three new knobs.  Two are quite worn out and were glued by the original owner.  I used a furniture scratch repair toning marker to restore some of the brown plastic color to the knobs.  I will have to send Mike Koste, "Gobs of Knobs" Ambler, PA an email with a close up picture or two. 


IM000038.JPG (244417 bytes)This picture is the best representation of the cabinet's color when directly viewed.  

IM000036.JPG (312776 bytes)You can see the difference between the sides and the top of the cabinet colors.  It is a two tone leatherette tan.  You can see tiny nuts and bolts on the lower left and right side of the antenna.  These are the connections to the primary coil winding of the antenna .  One contact goes to a long wire the other to ground. According to the schematic, these were originally loops of bare wire. 

IM000035.JPG (344703 bytes) This compares the original with the reproduction back panel and model number sticker. The sticker was "aged" with a toned lacquer spray. 

  RCA 25B pick me up 300.jpg (641472 bytes)  RCA 25B pick me up 300 corr no ser.jpg (473477 bytes)

Original             Reproduction.

IM000033.JPG (330352 bytes)I started to repair the back panel.  The corners and access door were missing.  But I found it best to recreate the back panel. The wood blocks that receive the panel screws were glued clamped and the old holes filled with epoxy.  They were later drilled to match the restoration panel. 

IM000037.JPG (233506 bytes)No flash shot color, corrected a bit. 

IM000052.JPG (187952 bytes) The next seven pictures show the radio with a much brighter hue under the photographic lamps. 

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IM000043.JPG (224451 bytes)The top handle was not replaced.  The available trunk handles are long enough but are too thick to fit under the existing handle loops.  A custom handle will have to be cut and stitched from a single width of leather. 

IM000022.JPG (310714 bytes)I take plenty of pictures in case I have to establish the  original component location. 

IM000026.JPG (239795 bytes) This speaker has missing paper and has been repaired a few times.  It was replaced.

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The speaker mounted output transformer has an open primary. It was replaced along with the "Swiss Cheese" speaker.  

The variable capacitors in the IF cans were contaminated.  One chewed up mica insulator was replaced.  The others were removed and cleaned with alcohol.  The silver capacitive plates were burnished to a bright shine (oxide removed).  

IM000032.JPG (279733 bytes)  Deteriorated rubber insulated wires were replaced. 

IM000031.JPG (232247 bytes)Use Alligator clip leads to keep track of where you clipped out the components or wire.

IM000029.JPG (292287 bytes)The can capacitor was replaced by three separate electrolytic capacitors soldered onto the can capacitor's leads.  Of course the can was cut off and the guts removed.  The can top was epoxy glued back together for appearances. If the can  capacitor was not gutted a significant resistance or short would appear across the power supply sections. 



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