Should a 30 year old radio still work?

albert_135November 6, 2012

A 30 year old GE clock radio, never before removed from its original box, will not play any radio stations. Should it still work or has radio gone digital too?

The clock part works.

There are several stations that come in strong on the car radio.

Should the old GE still work?

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Car radios are usually built to provide better reception than clock radios.
Does it make any noise at all when placed close to a TV?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:14AM
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Most likely the electrolytic capacitors have dried out, the transistors should be OK.
Probably not worth fixing.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:24PM
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It should, but Mikecowley is probably correct. It may also have been faulty out of the box.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:51AM
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Radio has not all gone digital, you should be able to pick up any local AM and FM stations.

If it has an antenna screw or jack, add a wire to that, or if it has a pull-up FM antenna, make sure that's pulled up.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Dried out caps.

The common commercial ones have around a 10 year lifetime, used or not.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:52PM
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"The common commercial ones have around a 10 year lifetime, used or not.

That misconception comes from the inexpensive Sanyo electrolytic capacitors used in the 80's. They were the light blue ones used for DC rectifier circuits, audio coupling, and servo sample/hold circuits in VCRs.

Better quality electrolytic capacitors, and even those used in the old tube-type AM table radios, will typically last 30-40 years and stay within their +/- 20% tolerance.

BTW - to explain the what is meant by "dried out electrolytic capacitors" - electrolytic capacitors use a wet paste within their rolled foil construction that eventually dries out over time.

Without any feedback from albert, there is no way to further address the exact cause of his particular problem. While it may be 30 year old caps, they don't usually fail in a go/no-go way but will typically degrade over time causing hum, buzz, or low volume levels.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:49PM
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"That misconception..."

Hardly a "misconception" since all of the less expensive aluminum electrolytic caps have the problem.

The rubber seals are not hermetic and the oil eventually leaks.

Solid tantalum capacitors are some of the few that last nearly forever, or hermetic wet slug tantalum.

They are also far more expensive than aluminum electrolytic.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:45PM
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