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Hallicrafter s 38c restoration .

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by AD9Y, Sep 24, 2012.

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  1. AD9Y

    AD9Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    I Have recently acquired a hallicrafters s 38c and am in the process of restoring it for my brother. First thing i did was cut off the old power cord and polarized the plug.
    Then I went and replaced all of the capacitors. The problem im having is that when i went to go a turn on the radio it starts to warm up slowly and then it blows the
    rectifier tube???. This radio had already been worked done to it by someone else. So i am trying to get it back to its original appearance underneath. Before i went and replaced the electrolytic capacitor , I saw that the original electrolytic was wired parallel with another electrolytic??. Im starting to think my problem is in that area. And i really havent messed with it lately because im not going to keep wrecking good tubes. Anybody run into a problem like this before??.
  2. K9ASE

    K9ASE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  3. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 4 rubber isolators (grommets) usually disintegrate after 50 years.

    Stan Watkins has a photo (close-up) of these rubber isolators/insulators (grommets).
    A good hardware store will have these in their parts drawers (Hillman parts drawers).

    The Hallicrafters S-38 restoration web sites have these details (and photos).

    Brian Ripley, The S-38 Guy web site is a good start for working on this classic All American Five.
    These AC/DC radios have NO AC transformer.

    Bottom photo of Hallicrafters S-38C (factory)

    Notes on S-38C model

    Replacing the safety capacitor on Hallicrafters S-38 series. (Just Radios carries)

    Proper re-wiring of power switch, when using polarized cord.

    The Hallicrafters S-38 series and many others (All American 5) of that era --
    these are AC/DC radios -- and should be used with an isolation transformers on the workbench.

    Hallicrafters Collector

    Phil Nelson and many experienced antique radio (AM/SW) restorers can provide great guidance throughout the project.

    John Schmitz's S-38 restoration (northern Chicago suburbs):
    Complete rebuild from bare chassis

    Bob Piekarz, in LaGrange Park, IL (just down the road).

    Bob attends most of the antique radio shows and a few hamfests in Chicago area.
    He had these S-38 backs and bottoms made by the same Chicago factory that made them originally for Hallicrafters (which was HQ in area).

    I would recommend RadioDaze for parts. They have replacement Multi-section electrolytic capacitors
    in cardboard tube -- if you desire authentic look.

    Bill Turner (St. Louis area) is also a good source for restoration parts

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  4. AD9Y

    AD9Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    W9GB thanks for reminding me i did forget to mention i drilled out the old rivets holding them in and replaced them and used small bolts and a little nut
    to hold them in place .
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    You MUST restore properly .... and maintain the ELECTRICAL ISOLATION ....
    Otherwise you created a DEAD SHORT ... Which would cause exact problem you are reporting.

    These radios can give you a bad shock, or kill you (cardiac arrest) if proper safety is not followed.

    You should have the John F. Rider service volume, before starting any repairs.
    This was a primary service knowledge reference for post-WW2 Radio/TV service personnel.
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page


    The S-38C manual is also available at


    Actually, the Rider's manuals have as much information on radios from the 1920s and 1930s as well as the 1940s into the 1950s. There are 23 manuals plus the I - V "abridged" manual which contains most, but not all, of volumes 1 through 5. There was also a special Cunningham version which contains both Volume I and Volume II. That edition was published by Rider with a black hard cover (instead of the normal blue cover) and contains advertising for Cunningham tubes. The Cunningham Tube edition is fairly rare (I do have a copy as well as the rest of the Rider's volumes). Unless one has the several indexes, which cover various editions (but none that I know of has the entire 23 editions in a single index), using the Rider's can be VERY hard. There are a number of radios that are in several volumes and finding the exact one can involve literally going through several thousand pages if you don't have the indexes! As such, I find it MUCH easier just to go to the Nostalgia Air website and download the information for a specific unit. That takes less than a minute and going through the indexes just to find the volume(s) in which the unit is/are found takes more time than that!

    Glen, K9STH
  7. AD9Y

    AD9Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    THANKS guys for those websites i was able to print one off from bama
  8. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    First and foremost -- get a 1:1 isolation transformer for it.

    I never cared that much for AC-DC series string filament radios.

    Gary WA7KKP
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page

    Also, after making sure that the insulating washers between the chassis and the metal cabinet are good, replace the 2-wire power cord with a 3-wire power cord. Connect the "green" ("ground") lead of the power cord directly to the cabinet.

    Move the off/on switch to where it goes to pin 2 of the 35Z5 and connect the black wire from the power cord to the switch.

    Connect the white wire from the power cord to the chassis in place of the wire from the original 2-wire cord through the power switch was originally connected.

    Wiring the 3-wire cord and power switch in this manner will get the chassis at basically the same voltage (neutral) as the ground connection. If, for some reason, the insulation between the cabinet and the chassis fails, both the chassis and cabinet will be at "0" potential. This will basically eliminate the possibility of a "shock" when one touches the cabinet.

    Glen, K9STH
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