Ekco Radio Continued, Model ACT96

Shown above is the ACT96 from 1935, this receiver is a six valve plus rectifier set that cost £13.2.6 in brown and £13.13.0 in black and chrome.  Valve line-up is AC/VP1, FC4, AC/VP1, 2D4A, 354V, PEN4VA, UU3.  The “T” in the model name denotes that this receiver is a Transportable model rather than a table set.  It is still a substantial size and weight though.  It operates on long wave and medium wave only, and incorporates a frame aerial for both wavebands inside the cabinet.  Although aimed at a slightly different market to the AC86 of the same year, it is a more advanced model.  It uses an additional valve (the first AC/VP1) as a signal frequency amplifier, to compensate for the fact that the set is likely to be operated without the benefit of a fixed external aerial.  The set is provided with a ball-race turntable such that the receiver may be smoothly rotated to pick up the strongest signal from the highly directional internal aerial.  Notice that the cabinet incorporates extrusions to either side that form hand grips to enable transportation of the set – it is a two handed job!

The chassis is constructed in two parts, which folds in upon itself.  The power supply and speaker is on a metal deck at the base of the cabinet, with the radio section mounted on a separate chassis at the top of the cabinet.  The chassis at the top may be swung out and rests back on the two frame aerials giving access to the chassis underside, though first a screening plate must be removed.  I’m sure at the design stage this must have been thought very helpful to the service engineer, but the result is it takes a lot longer to gain access to the chassis underside than for an average receiver of the mid 1930’s.  Suffice it to say that including back and grub screws, to gain access to the chassis underside involves the removal of 29 screws!  Full dismantling instructions can be found in Ekco service data, or abbreviated in Trader service sheet 663 or 138.  Here’s a précis to give you an idea though: 

Remove back 6 screws, remove knobs 5 grubscrews, remove  FC4 valve to permit access to screw, remove 2 top chassis screws, remove 3 turntable screws and retain spacers, remove 4 under chassis base screws, remove 1 earth strap screw, remove 4 swing chassis screws, retain 12 fibre washers that isolate top chassis from lower deck, remove 4 top chassis screening plate screws.  Re-assembly is reverse of above.  I imagine servicemen must have groaned when one of these appeared in the workshop for repair! 

It’s because of the dismantling time that I took the decision to replace all under chassis components at risk of failure in the receiver shown. Unusually the speaker was also defective on this receiver when I obtained it, however a perfect replacement spare was obtained from a donor ACT96 with a damaged cabinet. (By the way, the four pictures above of the chassis are from a different ACT96 receiver, with brown cabinet rather than black and chrome - I didn't want to dismantle my black and chrome set again for the photograph!) 

Continue to next Ekco page featuring the Startling AC97