Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Estate sale finds (vintage test equipment)

kpatz

Feb 24, 2014
334
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
334
Hi folks. I haven’t been on these forums in a long time. Lots of life changes. But anyway…

I hit up a local estate sale and came home with some vintage electronic testing equipment. I’m hoping to restore them to working order and either keep or sell them.

B&K 801 Capacitor Analyst
Jackson 655 Audio Oscillator
RCA WV-87A Master VoltOhmyst
Sabtronics 8610A Frequency Counter

I have no idea how old these things are, or how restorable they are. I haven’t opened them up yet either. If anyone here is familar with these pieces of gear I’d love to learn more about them.
 

Attachments

  • BD567ADA-872C-4B08-A44B-3957E0624443.jpeg
    BD567ADA-872C-4B08-A44B-3957E0624443.jpeg
    319.6 KB · Views: 8
  • F56F74E6-067A-48A3-854B-A1788A19BEB2.jpeg
    F56F74E6-067A-48A3-854B-A1788A19BEB2.jpeg
    351.5 KB · Views: 5
  • 5D74B2BF-1CF2-4D00-A34F-6FC91566BFAF.jpeg
    5D74B2BF-1CF2-4D00-A34F-6FC91566BFAF.jpeg
    366.3 KB · Views: 8
  • BEDE04C9-06EE-4783-9273-616E55A7BB52.jpeg
    BEDE04C9-06EE-4783-9273-616E55A7BB52.jpeg
    331.9 KB · Views: 8

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
6,514
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
6,514
There's an active 'industry' in vintage test equipment - some people swear by them, some hate them but if they work then they'll provide good service for many years. Faults - if any - will be down to the usual suspects, dirty switch contacts, carbon tracks and dried up capacitors, all of which are readily fixed.
 

kpatz

Feb 24, 2014
334
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
334
I opened them up to take a peek. They are all in excellent condition inside, no dirt or mouse stuff or anything. They were well kept. The oscillator almost looks like it was never opened since it was built.

The Sabtronics frequency counter (which is from 1979) appears to work, the only fault with it is corrosion in the battery holder. Connecting a power supply to the leads make it light up, though I haven’t tried feeding a signal into it yet.

The remaining pieces are older than I am, all tube (or valve depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on) equipment. Obviously I have work to do on them before attempting to power them up.

The B&K 801 is from 1964 (based on the copyright date in the manual).

The RCA WV-87A is from 1961 (based on a calibration label in the chassis). I found a D cell battery in there, probably dating back to 1961, that was well corroded on the + terminal. Surprisingly, no corrosion spread. They don’t build stuff like this anymore. Hopefully a little sanding of the contact will make it work again. This is the only piece I didn’t get a manual with, hopefully they can be found online. I’ll have to find test leads that will fit the weird connector as well.

The Jackson oscillator is the real gem. I only opened the back to take a peek, I haven’t pulled the chassis yet, but the schematic in the manual says October 1946! My parents were teenagers then. It’s also really heavy, and absolutely pristine looking inside, like it has never been opened.

I’m going to have to invest in a variac and a isolation transformer in order to work on these pieces safely, at least the variac. I haven’t looked to see if any have a live chassis or not yet.
 

kpatz

Feb 24, 2014
334
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
334
I just purchased a Calrad 116B variac on eBay. Should have it next week sometime.
 
Top