Zenith Porthole Wrapup

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Well, we’ve finally come around to the final wrap-up on the Zenith Porthole “Aldrich” sent in by Richard G. from New Zealand. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll also enjoy the first and second parts:

Part 1
Part 2

We received the cabinet back from Lance over at Nook n Cranny Refinishing much faster than expected, and as always, he did an immaculate job, so we were all set to reassemble as soon as we could wrap up the rest.

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In the first picture: Here’s a shot of the first stage of the bezel refurb in-progress. That brassiness to the left is what was left of Zenith’s notoriously thin matte plating. I’m really not quite sure what this stuff is exactly. It looks like anodization, but as those in the plating biz will know, anodization is a process akin to plating that is done to aluminum in order to create that special matte finish. This bezel is essentially pot metal with a copper and nickel plating, followed by a topcoat of ‘whateverthisis.’ It’s so poor, it actually scratches off with your fingernail.

What I’ve done is taken the bezel to a high speed buffing wheel and compounded off that finish in one pass, and high polished the underlying nickel finish in the next pass. Perhaps not 100% authentic, but a huge improvement cosmetically!

Second pic: closeup of the ‘pencilbox’ (hidden control) area in dire need of new paint. The same paint runs around the inner and outer areas of the bezel as well- some of which had flaked off due to corrosion.

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First picture: A shot of the entire bezel after buffing. The Zenith logo on the control door was also removed. The badge was painted, and afterward the top of each letter buffed off in order to bring out the polished nickel.

Second picture: A much needed and unexpected lightning storm. I enjoyed sitting under the eave out on the loading dock as the rain poured- there was just enough rain spatter blowing in to dampen the piece in order to wet-sand the painted area of the bezel to prep it for new paint. What a perfect day!

Next, we wrapped up the electronics. Here are some before and after shots of the underside of the main chassis:

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IMG_2242[1]zenith porthole chassis restoration

Every tubular capacitor and out of spec carbon resistor has been replaced. Every power resistor (those sandy pink pieces) have been replaced with a modern ceramic wirewound unit. Very important- because these things are prone to fail even if they are good due to internal corrosion. I never leave one to chance. Every electrolytic filter can has been disconnected and replaced with an equivalent unit underneath the chassis. I like to leave the disconnected units in place, since they are attached to the top of the chassis, they do show… so at least if they’re disconnected they can be left in place and not cause there to be a gaping hole. Purely cosmetic.

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Chassis installed, ready to power…… Closeup of the freshly painted areas as well.

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This TV set has the honor of having a picture tube in EXTREMELY good condition. These TVs had screens that were, even when new, comparatively dim to later standards and were designed to be watched in a darkened room. This is one of the brightest pictures I’ve ever seen on a black and white roundie.

That’s it! We’re ready to crate up and ship.

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