Emerson 699B

17" screen, 1951

click on image to enlarge





An oddball, that's for sure.  I would love to hear from anyone who's ever seen an identical example of this model.  It was given to me in 1977 by the original owners.  It had been sitting in their basement in Fort Wayne unused--or, rather, unusable without UHF.  I had admired it so much while visiting the previous year, they very kindly brought it with them to give to me when they moved back up to Holland.  

I talked to them briefly in the fall of 2006 hoping to somewhat flesh out the history of this unusual set.  

"I really don't remember"

"...it had a record player that pulled out..."

"Oh, that one, that one."

Which illustrates the fact that most folks just don't attach much significance--let alone sentimental value--to an object like a television set.  In fact, today he thinks the idea of a combination TV and record player is "dumb"!  Neither one could remember just exactly when or where the set was bought, but there was speculation that it may have been bought off the showroom floor as a closeout as late as 1954.  If so, I'll bet it was a bargain!  

Tube Complement

Even the power supply is weird:  it uses twin rectifiers for B+, originally to be a pair of 6W4GTs(!) as seen on the tube location chart, that designation is crossed out and stamped over to indicate a pair of 6AX5GTs.  A third 6W4GT, in the HV cage, was unchanged.  ;)

  • RF amplifier                  1    6CB6
  • oscillator/mixer              1    6J6
  • 1st video IF                   1    6AU6
  • 2nd & 3rd video IF          2    6CB6
  • video & AGC detector      1    6AL5
  • video amplifier              1    6CB6
  • sound IF                      1    6AU6
  • FM limiter                    1    6AU6
  • discriminator                 1   6AL5
  • audio amplifier              1    6AV6
  • audio output                 1    6V6GT
  • sync amplifier              1/2  12AU7
  • sync separator               1    6AU6
  • sync output                 1/2  12AU7
  • horizontal control & osc   1    6SN7GT
  • horizontal output           1    6BQ6GT
  • damper                       1    6W4GT
  • vertical oscillator           1    6SN7GT
  • vertical output              1    6W6GT
  • B+ rectifier                  2    6AX5GT
  • HV rectifier                  1    1B3GT


Restoration notes:

I never had a correct schematic for this set.  The Rider schematic in Volume 10 for model 699D shows a different tube complement and an entirely different sync circuit.  I ended up referring to model 681F (Rider 8) which matched up in every way except its lack of a phono input.  I approached this TV the same way I had previously done radio restorations:  replace all electrolytic and paper capacitors and all resistors more than 10% out of tolerance.  The only thing I did differently (which as of this writing I haven't done again since) was to power the set on after every stage of the process to check progress.  There never was a dramatic difference.  

This sets's main B+ is, by design, a bit on the low side.  350V electrolytics were the order of the day, and fortunately I had the values I needed on hand.  The old 'lytics were in two "firecrackers" (EDIT:  M-80s?  Let's make that "dynamite sticks") mounted side-by-side;  I removed these and mounted terminal strips for the new caps in their place.  This set's problem when it was given to me was vertical instability.  The picture would be steady for a few minutes after turn on, then it would start to "blink" every few seconds.  This blinking would become increasingly rapid over the course of ten or fifteen minutes until it was constant, finally reaching the frequency of its own duration.  I did not try to find a definitive cause for this...but after breaking a contact on the vertical out tube's wafer socket I really didn't have to.  When I replaced the socket I replaced everything that had been attached to it.  However, I did find  that the 6W6 vertical out had been subbed with a 6V6, which I corrected.  The screen cap at left was taken after replacement of nothing but electrolytic caps and those components associated with vertical sweep.  With a rabbit ear antenna.  You've gotta admit, running on virtually all original caps, that looks pretty darn good!

This is one of my favorite images>>>
Pressing on, I found a wirewound B+ dropping resistor to the IF section which was supposed to be 1250 ohms had been replaced with one that was 125 ohms!  They didn't even bother to solder it in, just took needle-nose plyers and twisted (and twisted and twisted) the leads together.  As if sloppy service isn't bad enough, how about sloppy construction:  from the way it pulled right off, a cap lead in the sync section had apparently been missed by the soldering iron from the factory.  Poor old set I really am rescuing it!  (John Goodman as Linda Tripp, tee hee!)

A flip-over cartridge is most commonly seen in V-M turntables with this style arm, but was not used in this set in favor of a fixed cartridge, presumably fitted originally with an all-speed needle (wince).  This is fortunate, as it meant that a much newer, lighter tracking ceramic stereo cartridge with flip needle could be substituted for the original without modification to the arm.  Ross Rian, who does all my turntable restorations including this one, set out to choose a cartridge which would perform optimally in this application and he certainly succeeded;  it tracks even bassy dance records flawlessly.  Of course, the new cartridge's output is but a fraction of the original's, the result being a "hollow" sound with the volume cranked to max just to achieve a normal listening level.  To correct this, I bit the bullet and gave in to a bit of solid-state hotrodding.  Under the turntable, I built a one transistor preamplifier (left) based on Syl Vanier's original design, with modifications per DXer.  It derives power from the potential between the 6V6 cathode and chassis ground, boosting the ceramic cart's output to approximately that of the long dead and gone original crystal.  No more getting "blasted" by forgetting to turn the volume down when switching from phono to TV.  

Examined on the whole, the set's design is...enigmatic. It would have been easy enough to modify one of Emerson's standard chassis of 1951 to add an auxiliary audio input controlled by a switch that would also blank the raster. Indeed many of the 1950s-era TV sets which include a phono input were made that way. But such gimmicks waste the power consumed by all the TV components, which remain hard at work behind a darkened screen. By contrast, switching the 699 into the phono position not only kills the horizontal sweep section, it also cuts voltage to the IF section, eliminating any chance of crosstalk. Still, all of the set's tubes remain ablaze despite the fact that only four of them are doing anything useful. Disabling the sweeps somewhat mitigates this and the set actually ends up drawing slightly less power in phono mode with the motor on: a whisker over 170 watts versus about 180 watts for just TV.

The turntable connects with a plug unique to this unit via a specialized three-wire harness with redundant grounding to eliminate hum pickup. Yet despite the sound engineering (no pun intended), an all-speed needle was OEM. The original owner spoke of being unimpressed with the record player's fidelity. Even today with the pre-amplified ceramic cartridge, although some records sound better than others, their reproduction is not on par with the superior TV audio. With barely 3 watts audio output the bass component of a TV soundtrack will shake the floor.

© 2006-2016 Phoenix Enterprises