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Amazing Troughline, first variant.

Discussion in 'classic' started by George J, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

  2. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Good stuff, I've seen these but not heard one. Of course you can't get 100-108 MHz, but if you don't want to then that's OK.
    I still want a TL2 in red and gold, with or without an aftermarket stereo decoder.
  3. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    If you can see the photos, then you can see that it is in staggering clean, but not cleaned up condition, for its age. My ESL is equally clean..

    The photos have come out with the last to see at the top, so go down to the bottom to see them in a logical order.

    A label is on the inside signed John Singer and dated 18, Nov, 1957, and what appear to be a serial number if I am correct. Any comments on this gratefully received.

    It also seems that the unit may not have been opened since. As may be seen there is a light amount of dust about and nothing seems to have been changed from new, now 61 years ago if the date is indicative.

    I am told that it works, but as everything is looking good, I have the self-control not to plug in. [to try it out myself], and wait to have it checked and probably completely rebuilt with new capacitors and resistors, and re-aligned as well. It would be a shame to damage what could be brought back to superb more or less mint condition, cosmetically and functionally.

    I want it ready for the BBC Proms this summer.

    Best wishes from George
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  4. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Steve,

    Itv will only ever be tuned to two very solid VFH/FM stations [from the Big Sutton Coldfield mast, which gives such a big signal in Bromyard at bearing 43 degrees] - these being BBC Radios 3 and 4 on frequencies 90.5 and 92.7 respectively. What goes on further up the dial would be wasted on something like this for me!

    I reckon it will make a nice wireless set when feeding my Quad II Forty onto my, 1957 made, ESL.

    Mono rules here, you see. No fancy stuff, just good stuff!

    Best wishes from George
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  5. GML

    GML pfm Member

    Looks like you've found a very fine example George.
  6. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Sometimes luck shines nicely!

    It is like finding a similar era Morris Minor with no rust. The engine might need a rebuild, but it can be made as good as new from this. Thanks for your post.

    Best wishes from George
  7. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I have one of these but I've never tried it. The actual troughline itself is much better than on the later version with higher Q and greater stability.
  8. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Jez,

    I did know that the actually Troughline was made cheaper in the Tr II onwards. If you look at the point to point, it is also far neater than later variants, where the added complexity seems to have completely defeated any possibility of a clean layout with easy soldering access and so on.

    I want to get this rebuilt before turning on. get the ancient capacitors out [only being very complex resistors at this age I suspect], and get the various resistors checked and changed as per. My view is to aim for reliability in the choice of replacement parts rather than slavish adherence to like for like NOS type parts. The very best modern sympathetically introduced for safety and reliability. I am not even interested in any effort to "improve" the sound quality. Just to equal what it was capable of back in the day.

    I have not decided what to do precisely, and would appreciate any advice you might offer. At least it is not ruined by over-heating or cobbled repairs so far. Like a 61 year old virgin really!

    ATB from George
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I have one too, though mine has no wood case (never seen one like that before, I assume it was DIY?) and is a bit tarnished round the back.



    I’ve never powered it up so have no idea what it is capable of.
  10. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Tony,

    This is my project - I always have a project underway - for the next six months. No rush to the finishing line.

    I did say what I hope for to Jez. Safety and reliability being the cornerstones. Also of course sympathy to the fact that it has proved a survivor.

    I had a pair of Troughline IIIs that brought immense pleasure and an equal amount of frustration. Both were early 1960s, and much more complicated than this one. To have rebuilt one with a fair re-population of the resistors and capacitors would have been an expensive and nightmare-ish operation, but as the photo of the underside shows, this is well laid out for work on it.

    Sometimes a person needs a bit of a challenge to find the options for development and make the correct choice ...

    You only live once so a bit off madness like this cannot be all bad!

    Best wishes from George
  11. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I would take it on as a rebuild job if that's any good to you? Completely rebuilding a point to point constructed unit with all new parts and realigning it would not be cheap though....
  12. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Isn’t that a US plug? I’m assuming the voltage isn’t directly changeable.
  13. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc pfm Member


    The black power transformer is bottom left on the picture - it is directly changeable and the back fascia shows 50-60 Hz next to the power lead

    Stunsworth likes this.
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    It's changeable by the plug on top of the mains transformer but that plug was probably used to take power from another units switched mains outlet.
    Stunsworth likes this.
  15. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Thanks Charlie, it’s obvious now I know.
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That two-prong plug type was widely used, e.g. you’ll find switched outlets on the rear of many Leak, Quad and other components. The Quad 33 had two of them to power the FM3 and 303 so everything came on with a turn of the volume knob, the old Leak valve systems working similarly. Pretty dangerous plugs as they are quite long and the live prongs can be exposed if they are not pushed fully home in the sockets. The very last Quad 33s had a bit of a raised shroud on the rear panel to help avert this, but it was still less than ideal given audiophiles often end up groping round the back of kit trying to plug stuff in. The 33 has to be the last item using them, that was still in production in the early ‘80s as I recall.

    Is it a US mains plug? I just think of it as a ‘Quad 33 outlet plug’ as that’s where I first saw one!
  17. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I think it is a USA mains plug but I'm not 100% on that. It certainly looks like one and the identical looking switched mains outlet sockets on the back of USA pre amps etc are USA mains socket type that take USA mains plug.... So yes I think they are but if not they look identical and could only be a few mm different prong length or whatever... sorry can't be arsed to go and find a USA plug (could take some time) and then try it in a Leak amp....
  18. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    In spite of my eminently sane advice to myself NOT TO START the Troughline, I did for about twenty minutes ...


    While it would be expected that I would be enthusiastic that it works as un-repaired in just over 61 years, I will go further and say this is not only the best radio I ever heard, but one of the best source items in replay I ever heard. Far better than the pair of Troughline IIIs I used to have. Solid, lucid, sonorous, and absolutely lacking the normal vhf hiss and occasional birdie sound on quiet parts.

    This makes me more than ever sure that this is a candidate for the best rebuild possible.

    It may be limited in tuning range, not very selective on the signal [so useless if stations are close together] but for BBC Radio Three it has proven to be a revelation to someone almost as old as the radio - in my home replay experience.

    Best wishes from George
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    calorgas and GML like this.
  19. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    It's a lovely looking thing and great that it also performs well (within its constraints).

    I have a Quad FM1 sitting on the shelf that I bought mainly because I like the look of it, but I do have a little mono valve 'n speaker combo in the loft and one day when I have some spare money I'd like to get them all serviced and installed in my bedroom. One day.
  20. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    A bit tarnished? Tony, the quality of your very old used gear and your standard regarding what is in "good condition" never ceases to amaze me . I'm convinced that if you got your hands on a Faberge egg you'd turn it down as "rather worn". George, as for starting up old gear, you've got away with it. In the absence of a variac the safe way is to wire in an old fashioned 60W bulb in series. This reduces the voltage and limits the current and makes it less likely to blow. Not that this would be a big deal, it's all repairable at this age.

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