Tag: rca

eBay and Honesty

eBay and Honesty

By the title you can guess where I am going with this post.


I am a big boy and smart enough to know when a deal is too good to be true… Having said that some folks are just over the top dishonest.

I collect and with some luck restore, vintage electronics.  I don’t do it for money; I do it because it gives me pleasure.  I enjoy repairing something that someone else could not for one reason or another and… Sometimes I simply enjoy the challenge.

Small hand held radios
This is NOT the lot that I am writing about…

Small transistor radios from the 50’s and 60’s are a specialty of mine in that when I was a kid I thought that it was magic.  How someone in one place could have their voice come out over a speaker in a small battery powered device well, was magic.

Thinking back on those days I wonder what I would have thought about smart phones?!


Selling and buying on eBay has its challenges and I think its opportunities for people to be a little better.  With the feedback scenario it somewhat forces us to play nice; and that is a good thing.


While we should not need such a thing to play nice, that is simply the way of man. I wish it were different.

I often will purchase a “lot” of radio’s or a lot of some electronic thing that maybe I am looking for one or more of a certain kind in the lot and then sell the rest or repair them and sell them or what have you.

One such purchase was a purchase of a handful of RCA Radio’s from the 60’s.

When they arrived I opened the box and noticed straight away that they all rattled which meant that they had been taken apart.  “That was not noted in the description.”

Upon taking the backs off not only had they been taken apart but they had obviously been in some sort of flood situation as they were covered on the inside with mud. “Also not noted.”

To further the “insult” some of them had parts missing from them, also not noted.

I paid a fair price for these as if they were simply “not tested.”

When someone says something like, “I don’t know how to test this.” Translated, “I did everything that I know how to do and this thing does not work!”   I get that and I understand that people do this but… to sell something that has been taken apart, things removed from and oh by the way, had been under water!  Folks, that is wrong on so many levels.  This type of activity gives eBay itself a black eye and I think messes with the whole concept of eBay in that it is a self-policing community.

This blog is about one of those radios and how I managed to bring it back to life in-spite of the fact that it was pretty much ready for the re-cycle bin.


Taking the back off of the radio it pretty much just came apart looking as you see it.

The mud and rust are all one needs to conclude that this was under water and most probably in a flood situation as this is also the way the rest of them appeared.


Normally when water gets on electronics there is an acidic effect that actually eats the traces and I did not see that here.


Removing the circuit board and cleaning both controls with contact cleaner as well as washing the board I could then dry it and apply power to see what needed to be replaced if anything.

IMG_2231One small capacitor by the volume control was the only part that needed replacing.  The rest was simply cleaning the mud out of the controls and doing a simple alignment.


Miraculously, the speaker just needed the dust blown out of it and while it is certainly not perfect it plays about as loud and with the fidelity that a radio of this age will have.

IMG_2230 Here is the radio after cleaning and repairing with a new battery shield installed.

IMG_2232 Radio after repair and cleaning.  

People ask me when I am looking, what am I looking for in old electronics….

First and foremost, the case must be in tact. 

The more damaged the case, the less of a collectible it is.  The problem with transistor radio’s is that they are portable!  Portable means that they get dropped, knocked about etc.

One of the radio’s I purchased was a Walkie talkie which I paid top dollar for.  When I got it I found that it too had been under water but the board was green with corrosion and since it was surface mount technology with corrosion it was trash.

Folks, I will ding you if you knowingly sell crap.  I have not had too many that I have dinged but, I expect some modicum of honesty.  I sell as well as I am overly honest about what I sell as I would rather not get top dollar and have a satisfied customer than someone like me who feels the need to blog about it!

If it has been under water, tell the folks, it has been under water or under the chicken coop or what have you.  the simple truth is that not everything that you own is worth anything on eBay or Craig’s list or the local junk shop.  Somethings just need to be thrown away!

Had the fellow with the handful of radio’s been honest about them I might still have bid on them as the cases looked ok but at least I would have known that I was buying plastic cases that had been under water and, had parts missing!

Many people will not take returns on electronics and do you know why?  People will buy them, take whatever parts off of them they were looking for and then return them as not working!  So, they have screwed it up for everyone as I will certainly not take returns on electronics!

This is where it works really well if you take the time to “ding” a dishonest seller or buyer. If they do not make it right, than you know what to do.

If you have some old electronics that you would like to sell, drop me a line.  I have purchased radios from all over the globe and while I am not trying for a number that would have me move out of the house to store them, I am interested in finding some that I don’t currently have.  It does not have to work, it just needs to look good and have all of the parts.


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