Northern Electric Baby Champ 5000 AKA Rainbow - 1946

Finished! This took awhile as I've never painted a case before.
But I think it turned out real nice. Take a look.

This is a picture of the radio as I received it.


The case cracked on the side during shipping.

as received

This radio measures 10 1/2"W x 6"D x 6 1/4"H. Typical older AA5. Uses tubes 12SA7 mixer/oscillator, 12SK7 IF, 12SQ7 detector, 35L6GT audio and 35Z5GT rectifier with an 80 ohm 2 watt dropping resistor in the filament run to drop an extra 15 volts. The 35L6GT is the odd ball. The dropping resistor is a bit under watt as they are usually found a bit charred. Some people have removed the dropping resistor and replaced the 35L6GT wit a 50L6GT tube Here's more pictures of what it looked like.

The side crack may be hard to fix right as I've never done one before. Most discussions I have found on news group center on gluing, bonding and painting. But Iíll investigate further before I decide how to tackle the case repair job.  In the mean time I can still do the part I enjoy, getting the electronics in working order again.

    Here's inside after pulling the chassis.

Ok, after searching the internet for info on fixing a broken bakelite case I decided to use a procedure I found at Plastic Radios,  (thanks for the info Peter).  I fixed the break with 5 minute mixed epoxy and then used glazing compound to fill in the crack. Came out real nice.  Next I started to sand the numerous chips in the cabinet.  It was a real mess.  I will be going back to the origional antique white color that was under the horrible listerine color that that someone painted this radio. Here are some pictures after the fixing and sanding.


    Next I primed the cabinet.  I found out the hard way not to use Dupli-Color Filler Primer.  I thought the "filler" would fill in anything I missed sanding.  But your better off doing it right by sanding good first as this stuff didn't dry very well and was like a thin putty 3 days later.  It also didn't sand worth a darn and it gouged in spots easily.  It was a lot of extra work and I ended up sanding and scraping a lot of it off and re-priming it with good old Rust-Oleum regular gray primer.  That worked much better!

On to the inside...

A view from the top as I received it.  All components appear to be there. That's good.
And here it is, all cleaned up. Luckily the dial pointer was in the bottom of the shipping box!
    A quick look at the front chassis when it arrived. The speaker is in great shape, I like that!

Click for larger view.
A view underneath the chassis. Lots of room under there. Shouldn't be too hard to recap this one.

Click for larger view.
And here it is recapped. Since the case was cracked I just used what caps I had on hand. That's why there's a mixture of axial/radials replacements.  I also had to add 3 solderable terminal strips, with 5 tie points each, at the arrows. Not all Radio Shacks carry these now a days.  I had to go to 2 before I found them. Northern used a 3 electrolytic cap (black tube in top chassis picture) that has 6 terminals on the bottom (3 + AND 3 -) and all had multiple wires connected to them!  So I figured the easiest way to replace this was to add the strips to solder all the wires onto.
Luckily there was enough room under the chassis and I was able to use screws already there for the speaker and a coil to attach the strips to the chassis.  I also replaced the 82 ohm 2 watt filament resistor with a 75 ohm 10 watt that I just happened to have lying around. The 82 ohm was a charred dark brown.  Must have been under wattage I figured. I have read that some people just remove the resistor and switch the 35L6GT witt a 50L6GT tube, but I did't want to do that as I've also read that using the 50L6 results in longer warm-up time, maybe decreased RF performance and reduced audio output.  Besides, I had the 10 watt on hand.
I added a new cord with one wide blade, and a Baby Champ picture I found on the web that most of these radios have on the back.

Time to paint the cabinet...

I used Rust-Oleum antique white. I couldn't find Krylon in that color. The color matched the underside of the cabinet perfectly, which was never repainted.  Painting the cabinet was a real pain. It took me about 2 1/2 weeks! I found out how not to spray a cabinet!  At first I sprayed holding the can about 10-12" from the cabinet, spraying it somewhat lightly.  I let it dry a half a day to a whole day or so between coats and put on about 5. Then I let it dry 4 or 5 days. When it dried it was alligator like and sanded right through to the primer in spots!  So after investigating a bit I guess I wasn't getting a thick enough coat. So I redid it holding the can about 6" from the cabinet and sprayed fairly heavy. That worked much better. After 5 coats it was somewhat smooth, no alligator finish! However I found out you also need to spray much more around the edges of the cabinet.  I sanded through on the edges several times. Also you may get a few small chunks sprayed out of the can after the first coat. The first time I freaked on that, thinking I'd have to start over again, but as it turned out it wasn't so bad. After letting it dry a week it sanded out real nice. Also use 600 and finish with 1500 wet. Ya gotta finish with a wet sand in a sink.  It makes all the difference!

Oh and don't even use mild stripper on knobs that have been painted.  I used a 3M brand that was low odder and environmentally safe. Ya, sure. After sitting in a small cup of stripper for about 20 minutes the stripper softened the plastic knobs and I slightly gouged them with my fingernails pealing the paint off.  Well, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper to the rescue!  I let them dry for 3 or 4 days and wrapped sand paper around a piece of shim I had lying around and sanded them back into shape. You couldn't tell the difference, and it got the rest of the paint off that the stripper didn't!

And here is the completed cabinet, the pic on the right was the broken side!

And the finished radio!

Ok, there it is, and what a project it was!  But I got it back in shape.
It feels good to take something like it was and get it workig again. Like
bringing it back from the dead. So now it joins my others, playing the sweet
sound of music. Just as this radio was originally made to do.  It has even
become my everyday radio to listen to!
- Mike

For anyone interested, here is the schematic
and service data for this radio.

PDF File  - Thank you Baby Champ !

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