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Reinstall original British Motor Corporation radio in my '66 BJ8

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HBJ83341 Avatar
HBJ83341 Warren Voth
El Cajon, California, USA   USA
I am thinking of reinstalling the original British Motor Corporation transistor radio that came in my 1966 BJ8. My problem is the tuning post mounting nuts and tuning knobs are missing.There are markings 4TMB and the letters 20041 left side of the case. Stamped into the top of the case are the letters 15D42350. Under those are the stamped letters A06. I want to find out if there is a source for the missing nuts and knobs, or replacements, before I proceed with this.

The original BMC radio is AM band only. The road noise is so great it is difficult to hear sound on the road. The new Moss Retro Sound radio that I have installed in it's place is a good radio. However its two speakers are mounted above either side the transmission tunnel and in front of the council facing right and left. Difficult to hear sound on the road with this installation also.

The original radio had one speaker facing the out from the council. In either case the sound was problematic at highway speeds.

I have attached photos of original BMC radio and present installation.

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San Jose, California, USA   USA
I have the same--or very similar--original radio in my BJ8. It appears you are missing the large, thin-rimmed chrome octagonal nuts that secure the radio to the console, and the 'stacked' plastic knobs. All look pretty generic to me; you can probably pick up very similar ones at any good radio repair shop. These people fixed the radio in my dad's '55 T-Bird (they have an 'old guy' that works part-time and fixes the really old stuff; the owner--Doug--is a retired NASA telemetry engineer and very honest and helpful):

http://www.sacramentoradioexpo.com/

Joe A. Joseph Amodea
Oceanside, New York, USA   USA
I have the original American made BMC AM radio in my BJ8 as well.

The previous owner had installed an 8 Ohm mid-range Radio Shack speaker and recently I was able to get usable volume out of the radio by switching to a 4 Ohm 5" round speaker with smaller magnet more in keeping with a speaker of the period.

A large magnet implies more power to get the voice coil moving and most auto radios back then had 4 Ohm output impedance. Going to an 8 Ohm speaker roughly halves the output.

Cheers,

~ Joe



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-06 04:03 PM by Joe A..

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mgtf328 Alan Jones
Frampton, Gloucestershire, UK   GBR
I also have a period radio installed in my car, no speakers or aerial right now. I guess it's not too difficult to get speakers and assumed they would be 4 ohms each. However, I'm pondering over the aerial. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to how I could rig up an aerial without drilling holes in the body. Don't know how the previous owner had it rigged up.

Thanks
AJ


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sliproc Avatar
sliproc Kevin Quistberg E
Long Beach, california, USA   USA
Alan,

I had the same aerial installation problem when I installed a radio in my Healey. I took a piece of sheet metal and made an L-shaped bracket big enough to drill a hole to hold the aerial on one side, drilled a bolt hole on the other and mounted it to the inside bolt of the rear bumper. Then I just ran the aerial cable through the bumper bracket hole in the body around the rubber plug to the aerial.

HBJ83341 Avatar
HBJ83341 Warren Voth
El Cajon, California, USA   USA
Thanks for the information Joe,

The original speaker is marked 8 ohm. That might account for the low sound. This may be an American made radio for the British Motor Corporation for Austin Healey's imported to America. I am going to open the case and look inside for more information. I am also going to check with <Sacramentoradioexpo.com> for more information. I will look for a speaker to hook it up to see if the radio still works. IT did in1992.

We purchased the car in 1967 from Westcott Motors in National City, CA. It had 4,000 mills on the ODO. So I think the speaker is original. The car was originally had Florida plates on it. The story was the car was purchased from Ship and Shore Motors, a major Healey importer at the time, by a sailor, who realized he was being shipped out somewhere, and he couldn't really afford it, and sold it to Westcott Motors.

Thanks again for the help, Joe

Joe A. Joseph Amodea
Oceanside, New York, USA   USA
Hello Warren,

It must have been nice getting the car with only 4,000 miles on it back in '67. I purchased mine from the second owner in August of 1995 with 101K miles on it . . . having had a reasonably good restoration a few years earlier.

I meant to look up the spec. on the audio output transistor mounted on the front panel right of the dial as you look at the radio, but it slipped my mind to record the number before everything went back together recently. My guess is the radio is rated at only 5 watts or maybe 8 watts output, so it was always going to have marginal volume or loudness in a period sports convertible. From reading in another forum, people were speculating that the original radio was made by Motorola . . . not a bad guess as the Galvin Brothers did make automobile radios from the mid 1950s and that is when they first started using the Motorola name.

The original speaker may have been either 4 or 8 ohms. Using a 4 ohm speaker will allow the amplifier to deliver more power, with the possibility of a bit of distortion, probably undetectable, if the amplifier was designed for 8 Ohms. In any case, I will rarely listen to the radio in the car and it is louder with the 4 Ohm speaker and with acceptable 'retro' quality.

One of the many downsides of AM radio is that the frequency band and type of modulation makes the radio susceptible to ignition noise, power line noise, and fluorescent light noise when lighting is in close proximity . . . which should only happen sitting in the garage. ;-)

European radios of the day would often have another broadcast band added that was not authorized for broadcast in the US.

If I ever thought I'd actually want to use a radio in the car, I'd probably put the 'BMC' radio aside for the next owner and install either a Becker or a Blaupunkt with FM and a bit more power.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-07 09:31 PM by Joe A..

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mgtf328 Alan Jones
Frampton, Gloucestershire, UK   GBR
You've jogged my memory (a little!) Joe. I used to have a radio in my Triumph Spitfire just like the one I included in my post above. I'm sure it was a Motorola. We used to have to fit a capacitor between ground and the distributor to cancel out the interference. If I'm not mistaken I think we also fitted one to the dynamo as well. Can't remember what size it was but I think you can still buy them on EBAY.

AJ

Joe A. Joseph Amodea
Oceanside, New York, USA   USA
AJ,

Back in the day, they called kits which included capacitors (condensers back then,) and shielded spark plug wires "ignition suppression kits." Cornell Dubilier is a name that comes to mind. ;-)

VHF FM is immune to such issues.

Ignition Noise Problems - Electronics World 1964

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San Jose, California, USA   USA
"... radio susceptible to ignition noise ..."

I have an original BMC/Motorola radio, and for all intents and purposes its only use is an an audio diagnostic tool; tune it between stations and you can hear every plug firing and the 'beat' of the fuel pump. When the engine running the radio is unlistenable, except with the top up at slow speeds.

HBJ83341 Avatar
HBJ83341 Warren Voth
El Cajon, California, USA   USA
Hadn't thought of that. Actually, mine had/has a resistor or capacitor that shielded the spark plugs and fuel pump. It was a novelty in 1966 as many of the car radios were still vacuum tube and took a short period for the vacuum tubes to get hot. Transistor radios were on instantly. Really high tech...ha,ha... I am having second thoughts of reinstalling it. The Moss Retro unit works fine, but it's hard to overcome the normal road noise. Nice to have such critical problems to worry about...

RAC68 Avatar
RAC68 Raymond Carbone
Shore, Jersey, USA   USA
Hi Warren,

I enjoyed reading this thread as it brought back memories of straining to hear news casts on that same BMC radio in my younger days. When first picking up my new 64 BJ8 Phase 1, the radio came with plastic knobs that were less than attractive to me. At the time, it was possible to roam the auto salvage yards in NJ and I came across a destroyed 61 Chrysler 300 and acquired the metal knobs which fit perfectly and looked much better.

Although I still have the radio in the original console, I changed polarity to negative, installed an alternator, and needed a replacement for my original positive ground BMC radio.. Saving the console/radio and replicating the vertical dash with slightly wider dimensions to accommodate, I installed of a full multi-input BOSE sound system and now enjoy clearly hearing the Beach Boys (or other period music) while driving and am transported back a younger period.

By the way, although the antenna is still installed in the fender, the present radio can receive without attachment amd is not affected by ignition interference.



All the best,
Ray(64BJ8P1)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-11 09:45 AM by RAC68.


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mgtf328 Alan Jones
Frampton, Gloucestershire, UK   GBR
This post has really shaken my brain up and I now remember how difficult it was to get one of these old radios to work without interference. Here's an option get them converted:

http://www.vintageautoradio.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=64
http://www.tadpoleradios.co.uk/#

I only got one answer to my aerial question. Has anyone tried out the hidden aerials such as the attached you can get on Ebay for next to $0.
AJ


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Rob Glasgow Avatar
Lompoc, California, USA   USA
Back in the 1960's, I installed a microphone jack on the dashboard that allowed me to used a single ear plug from a transistor radio to listen to the Sears AllState AM radio mounted under the heater box. It never worked very well but better than using the speaker. I still have the radio but it's not installed. I've tried ear buds and headphones with an iPod, but never found anything that made for good listening. I know they make hearing aids that will pick up a Bluetooth signal that might work but I have to turn off my hearing aids when I drive because my ears flap around in the wind and create too much noise...
So it's just the sound of the big six.

RAC68 Avatar
RAC68 Raymond Carbone
Shore, Jersey, USA   USA
Hi Alan/All,

When running Concourse (prior to electronic ignition, Alternator, etc.) I installed suppression ignition wires, and the electric filtration unit pictured in hopes it would eliminate the ignition interference. Although there was a substantial reduction in interference, it did not eliminate all interference all the time. There are many sources of electrical noise including the generator, ignition, voltage regulator, and even the heater blower motor and other electrical units, so applying capacitors or suppression components to each could will be hit and/or miss and get to be a hassle. Applying an electrical filtration box to provide clean power to the radio may not be the total solution but it should get you close.

With respect to knob replacements, keep in mind each side requires an inner and outer component of each knob.

Enjoy your Healey,
Ray(64BJ8P1)


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