Grundig Satellite 800 Millenium

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KE4CIJ, Nov 1, 2018.

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  1. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure if this area is the Correct area for this particular radio. However if ever a radio is a Boat Anchor this one by sure size should qualify, besides it's getting up in years. I've owned this radio for well over 10 years and haven't heard it play in over 10 years. It failed shortly after purchase and was sent to Drake for Repairs. Back then Drake Handled repairs for Grundig. The radio came back from Drake all ready to play, it played best I recall about 2 weeks and failed again. No fault of Drake's I might add, it was an early radio and those had a lot of QA problems in the early runs of Production. Well after paying a gosh awful shipping and repair combined, I decided to shelve it and when I find Time I would tare into it. I never found time until recently and I'm over the 2 weeks this time! That being said, I had kept up now and then with the 800 and watched videos, read forums but just never got time to bust it apart or throw it away. Excuses? Yea, Life.

    Which leads me here as to share my findings...Okay so Over the years, I have seen a lot of complaints concerning the VFO backing up or jumping frequency or just doing weird things. I may have the answer to solving that if anyone is interested. My radio was Dead, no audio, it did power on and the key pad worked but no audio. So I took the thing apart and saw a lot of surface mount. In fact I was hoping for some thru hole as that is what I am comfortable with. Surface mount holy crap! Well I went and got together what test gear I had left and went hunting. I took off the front cover trying to get access to another area of the radio when a spot caught my eye right beside and under the VFO. Hmmmm could that be signs of troubles? Removed the VFO board and had to REMOVE the RF shield to gain access to that board.

    Spotted a TIP32C that had nearly melted a danged hole through the plastic cover. Man this thing was cooked! No heat sink, nothing! To make matters worse it appeared it had been placed inside heat shrinking tubing? That for some reasons didn't look factory but it could've been. The TIP32C is a power transistor and can be used as an AMP. Either case it is recommended to HEAT SINK It. I tested it with my old Fluke and it tested bad. Removed it and tested it again and yep it was toasted. I ordered some NOS Motorola TIP32C's and on arrival stuck one in and replaced several of the surrounding caps. I also repaired some crappy soldering joints. Stuck it all back together enough to Test the Radio out and sure as Bob ate the apples, it plays! Joy! Why shouldn't it? It's only been through 3 floods, several horrible storms and hellish summer heat sitting out in that old storage shed 10 to 15 years! But it PLAYS!

    Okay the TIP32C needs a Heat sink! If it starts to over heat the VFO will act nuttier than what we see on TV. Trust me that's nutty! I suggest if anyone has issues with their 800 VFO check out the TIP32C. Mine has worked well and gave no more issues. The MOTO TIP32C is running cool. I removed the melted plastic and used a multi-bit to enlarge the hole to allow room to stick in a heat sink and also allow some venting room. The FACE Plate actually hides my modification so it doesn't hurt the appearance of the radio whatsoever.

    Long story short so far so good but if the thing fails again. I guess it will be waiting for the next guy as I don't think I have 10 more years to get time to check things out.

    Anyone having issues with their VFO before seeking a new board, check out that TIP32c would be a good place to start. That radio is seriously short of any venting and sure lacks a lot when it comes to protecting components like Power Transistors that most certainly need heat sinking! Some venting would've been a great idea to add into that design!
    KB4QAA likes this.
  2. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  3. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not exactly sure why "we" wouldn't have known what we were talking about considering the title? Maybe The Title was misleading?

    But yea that pic certainly shows a good example of overly priced poor quality cheaply made piece of smoke holder. Hopefully the picture is that of a newer example that didn't suffer from quality issues and a by far better receiver than my very own? On another note of poor quality The supplied power supplies, the cursed wall warts were also crappy little noise makers which really hurt the receive. Again I hope the power supply for the receiver shown is something by far better than my own. Back when I purchased my Grundig Satellite 800 it came with a Cigarette lighter adapter cable. It was basically a straight through power cable that really had nothing with it to reduce the voltage other than the cable and fuse. I was always curious why they used a 9 volts about an amp and a half wall wart but then supplied a cigarette lighter adapter that is gonna stick over 12 volts into the radio. I don't know maybe they were counting on the cable dropping the voltage? I will say the receiver works much better with that cable than the wall wart. I got curious and my actual Grundig Supplied wall wart claims to be 9 volts at 1000 ma. Measured that this morning and it's throwing out 13.8 volts.

    By the way thanks for adding a picture that is helpful and I should've taken the extra time to added a pic in the first place. I'm of the old school vintage when pictures hadn't replaced words and take for granted that pictures sometimes speak louder than words. Thank you for taking that extra time to add the picture.
  4. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm gonna add a couple of pictures later today if possible and show the transistor in question, After I spend a couple of hours cleaning up my old Grundig. Keep in mind it's been in storage for many years sitting on a shelf. It's been through 3 floods, heat, cold and many storms and maybe a mouse or rat ran across it several times. Insects? I have no clues what all that old radio went through out there, I just know what I went through in here....It wasn't pretty rest assured!
  5. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't recall it. I would not call it one of the leading SWL radios of the last 35 years. A large portion of hams don't keep up with the SWL market, and benefit by providing photos and information links to radios being discussed, even common ham radios. Remember there are always newcomers to the hobby who aren't the least familiar with older topics.
  6. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    In all honesty it's not a terrible receiver IF you dump the supplied power supply and do some other little mods. It's actually a pretty decent sounding receiver and has several ways to connect up different antenna's. Most folks that are into SWL will know Grundig and this model and like myself counted on the Grundig of many years past when they bought these beasty things. Most Grundig were out standing radios with excellent quality. That said, like all things Grundig went cruddy and sold out and all that's left is the name.

    The Grundig Satellit 800 is a beast of a radio and takes up a lot of space but it's not like a lot of radios of today a big old empty box. It actually has some stuff in there! Yea for the money a used one fetches I am guessing you could get a better radio for less but then again you wouldn't have a Dinosaur that has survived working or not several events both natural and man made that would have killed other little radios. Yep you are correct it wasn't a leader but it has it's following and those that have it either love it or hate it and they part with it. Grundig was a leader in their day and they made some of the best radios made in the World and a pity they stopped but all things come to an end...Would I recommend it? No unless someone is into collecting Grundig radios and just wants one of the last Grundig. I believe Eton made the radio for a whiles under the Grundig name but the one I have was made by Grundig somewhere in China! lol, I am guessing the same plant that popped out the Eton Crap. Anyways yea not a leader but It is worth sitting on the shelf...Not a bad radio at all.
  7. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Trying to upload some pics of the transistor that fries itself. The pics show the transistor after I spent several minutes removing what appeared as heat shrink. That transistor cooked itself. I also replaced those 3 caps surrounding the TIP32c and several others on this board. Notice the brass? That's part of the VFO encoder if you can call it that... If it were me and I owned one of these 800's I would take it down and replace that transistor and add a heat sink.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  8. KE4CIJ

    KE4CIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did some research and seems the Grundig Satellit 800 was a popular Receiver with Shortwave listeners as well as Many Ham Radio Op's. I wasn't really that aware of and had thought it wasn't that well known. I knew it was fairly well known amongst the Shortwave community and those that loved it still love it and those that didn't really get it didn't keep it. Shortwave although Not as popular as it once was still has a pretty decent listener base according to the research I was doing concerning the 800. According to articles Shortwave still has at least 10 million listeners world wide which is AWESOME in my humble opinion! I find the NEWS on Shortwave to be far more honest reporting than that I see on tv which is a crock of mouthing heads that do not report the news they just run their pie holes!

    At any rate, the 800 I own the repairs I made are still holding so I am very pleased about that. It has played non stop since making the repair with exception I did power it off to do a last check and cleaning of the inside. It was off about an hour total and then back on and spent several hours on each mode from AM to FM to USB and LSB to AIR. I can say after listening for several hours, it has a very pleasant sound, warm and rich. The internal speaker is of a decent quality it seems and has offered up some really nice tones when listening to music. In all Honestly when I first purchased the 800 and it came to me broken, then repaired and then broken again I was very unhappy with the thing although it was still worth well beyond what I paid for it even as a parts radio. Can't complain about the nice lady who sold it to me whatsoever who was very kind. That all being said after thinking about it and realizing what my radio has endured for years I realized it had to be not that bad of quality in components. Some were and some weren't in my opinion, some of the parts where cheap as crap and the QA when the radio was being assembled wasn't there at all that I believe was my radios faults. The assembly plant was in China and that explains it all right there. HOW COULD YOU GRUNDIG!

    After replacing those parts and fixing bad soldering joints all over it seems that between what Drake Replaced and then YEARS after the fact I replaced several other crappy parts. It turns out I have a Really decent sounding receiver that is in line with my HF radios I spent 100's for. I've compared the reception to all 5 of my HF radios and the Grundig seems to be just as sensitive as any I have. I didn't stop comparing there I own a horde of Shortwave receivers and in all honesty only one can compete with sensitivity and sound quality. SO I have to really eat my earlier words and say maybe it wasn't that bad of a radio! Had I known that around 15 years ago I may have shelled out the dough to get it repaired then!

    That said we live and learn that maybe Old things can become new and give us some enjoyment. I know for the past several days I have really enjoyed sitting back and listening to my big ole boat anchor of a radio. I'd guess the hardcore boat anchor guys may not consider a transistorized radio a boat anchor but Hey I am going on sure size and weight! Not it's internal components!. At any rate I am happy as a pig in the pen getting slopped because the Repairs are holding. I do have some mods to do but I think I will wait till the weekend to do that as I have ordered several parts I want to install in the Grundig. One being a by far better heat sink on the TIP32C and another on the TIP31 Behind the meter. I think getting the heat off those will really help.

    Another hint to make the radio better is to get a better power supply!
    KD2ACO likes this.
  9. KP4SX

    KP4SX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have one of these and it could be a likeable radio :) On mine there is no action on the Bass/Treble controls and the FM is out of alignment causing me to have to tune low for center channel. I have previously repaired some other things in it. Its a good sounding radio and is my 'background' when the ham rig isn't turned on. Oh, there's the goofy S-meter settings on FM which I sort of got a handle on.
    I like it because its handy for whatever I might want to listen to. Aircraft, hams, SWBC, BCB, FMBC, etc

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