RCA CT-100
The Merrill
Chassis Serial Number B8002390
Cabinet Serial Number 663

Restoration Log            

On June 24, while searching the net for information about this model television set I came upon the site of Pete Deksnis.  He has a very nice site devoted to
the preservation and restoration of this significant piece of our television history (link is on the main page).   
This restoration log will be updated on a regular basis.  It will wind up being quite lengthy and it will take several years to reach the end of this tale.  You can understand the difficult task ahead by looking at the pictures on the first picture page.  There is quite a bit of damage to the chassis and it's going to take a long time to get this television set back to the condition it deserves.  Fortunately, its seems the 15GP22 is still under vacuum since the getter is shiny silver and I have .5 ohms continuity between pins 1 and 20 (filaments).  It was always my intent to restore this television set but I never really thought of a time schedule to actually get it done.  I had hoped to have it ready to watch the Rose Parade on January 1, 2004 but that didn't happen.  My goal is to have all three of my 15 inch color sets working in 2004.   This will be a detailed "classic" restoration.  ANY input from others restoring 15GP22 based receivers is welcomed.  This page will most likely be enjoyed by myself and other restorers (hell, they might not even like it).  If you are not into the details of this restoration go to the picture page and enjoy the pictures and highlights that document my attempt to bring chassis 2390 back to life.  Otherwise, read on...................

1976            Sometime during this year I first saw this television sets when it was delivered to the KRIS-TV transmitter site after being stored at a bonded warehouse for many years after it was removed from service, probably in the early to mid 60s.

1983             Moved 663 to the KIII-TV transmitter site.

1997             Moved 663 to my garage.

6/22/2001    In preparation for the restoration of a CTC-16 I was searching the web for information and found Pete's site on the CT-100.  It became very       apparent 663 was not an ordinary television set.  I went to the garage and took a close look at it for the first time in many years.  Nothing had changed.

6/24/2001    Sent first email to Pete

6/28/2001    Detailed inspection of unit.   Checked filament continuity.  .5 ohms between pins 1 and 20.  Getter is shiny silver color.  Much rust and corrosion due to rats pissing on chassis and general bad storage conditions at the KRIS transmitter site.  Damage to lid.   Missing the following:
Volume control knob
HV cage cover
Rectifier cover
Metal back
Several tubes missing.  Horiz output tube broken.

6/29/2001    Catalogued and checked all tubes.  Found several missing and numerous bad ones.  I've decided to replace all tubes with NOS.  Tube shields are rusty.

6/30/2001    Created pages for web site.  

7/01/2001    Completed creation of pages.   Cleaned escutcheon panel.

7/07/2001    It's Saturday and I've got time to pull the chassis.  After documenting all connections with pictures, I began sliding the chassis out of the cabinet.  Many of the plugs had been disconnected years ago.  Inspection out of the cabinet did reveal quite a bit of surface rust and corrosion.  There is also a metal cover missing that covers a tube and transformer near the front, center of the chassis.  T11, the horiz convergence transformer has been damaged by the rats and must be replaced.  The underside turned out to be a real surprise.  It is in excellent condition overall.  The peaking coils MUST go as everyone has told me.  The wiring in OK.  The big surprise is that in the late 50s or early 60s someone at KRIS-TV tried to feed composite video into the video amps and bypass the rf path.   There are pictures of this modification on Picture Page 2 along with other pictures I took today.  The internal audio path had been interrupted at the volume control and and external feed wire installed.  This was removed and the normal path restored.  Removed the components installed in the video mod also.   The inside of the tuner shows some corrosion but not too bad.  I did not attempt to disassemble it today.  After about an hour of scraping and cleaning most of the major chunks of rust are gone.  Surface rust and discoloration must be dealt with.  Cleaned video line and picture tube socket wiring. 

7/08/2001    After working on the chassis this weekend I think my plan will be to determine what components need replacing and begin the process of acquisition.  During this time I can finish cleaning the chassis.   At some point I will remove the picture tube so I can take the cabinet to the antique furniture restorer for all necessary repairs.  Once the parts are here I will make all electronic repairs then follow the sectional power up procedure described by Pete on his site.

7/17/2001    Top of chassis is now quite clean.  I took the cabinet top to the restorer and he will begin work shortly.   The cabinet will be moved to Goliad, Texas in the next three weeks.  Cleaned video boards and removed some of the paper caps.  For some reason I can't melt the wax enough to pull out the insides.  Will use the drill press to remove some of the material and finish with heat.  Found more modifications associated with the video input mods.  I've had telephone conversations with John Folsom and Bruce Buchanan.   I also met with my brother concerning the possibility of manufacturing replacement covers and backs.  It looks like this is very possible.   If so, I will have about 20 complete sets made.  I have not found replacement millihenry value coils as yet.  Purchased a rectifier cover from another restorer.  I tried to order a .01 at 6000 volt focus capacitor from AES but they are no longer available.

7/27/2001    Received a focus capacitor from John.  He also sent his IF covers.  I will send them, along with my pencil-box to my brother to see if he can reproduce them.  If so I will have about 20 sets made of all covers and the back.  More capacitors are being replaced.

RESTORATION NOTE:    I've tried several methods of cleaning out the paper capacitors.  The easiest is to try to melt the wax and pull the insides out of the shell.  This works sometimes but all too often there is a very hard material on the ends.  The only way I've been able to get this out is by using a drill press and making multiple drillings into the center of the cap and then pulling out the insides.  This is quite a mess and I've had a couple of the shells damaged a bit.   I've tried using candle wax and jewelers wax to fill the caps after inserting the new cap inside the shell.  I haven't been happy with either solution.  I found some almond colored silicon sealer at the hardware store and this seems to be an acceptable method of securing the new cap inside the shell.  The material is, of course, a bit pliable but the only time the leads will be moved in when the cap is re-installed and then it's totally secure.  It would take quite a bit of force to pull the new cap out anyway.  I'm going to try some this way and see if I still like it in a few weeks.  I've never been totally satisfied with the results of pouring wax.

7/31/2001    Rectifier shield arrived today.  Nice telephone conversation with Bruce B. this weekend.  Talked with Scotty at Hawkeye Picture Tubes about the 15GP22 project.  He is still waiting on one last piece to begin restoration. 

8/2/2001    I decided I did not like the look of the top of the chassis.  I've ordered nickel plating materials and will begin re-plating the top of the chassis this weekend as well as replacing more capacitors.   I should receive my 21FJP22 from Hawkeye today or tomorrow.  This will go back into my CTC16 and this television set should be functional this weekend.  I will post pictures after it is complete.

8/8/2001    The CTC16 is working and pictures are posted.   It still has HV regulation and vertical hold problems but they are minor and will be repaired shortly.  The TV will then be moved to my office.  A few more capacitors were replaced this weekend.  I'm not sure I like the silicone as a method of repair for the caps.  It's great to work with but the enamel  paint I use to color the ends will not adhere to the silicon.  I may pull the 5 caps rebuilt with silicon and redo them with wax.  Pete is sending his HV cover and all covers will go to my brother for analysis as we attempt to duplicate them.

8/29/2001    Finally caught up after a trip to Reno.  Worked on the CTC16 over the weekend and moved it to my office last night.   Looks OK except for a slight bit of retrace on low contrast scenes.  It's not very noticeable so I'll probably leave it alone for a while and just enjoy the TV.   All covers were sent to my brother for evaluation last week and Steve D. sent a tracing of the back (and pictures) that I have also sent to my brother.  I will continue replacing caps in the CT100 this week.

9/01/2001    Well, I decided to DO IT!   Today I removed the picture tube from the cabinet.  I have it safely stored in a shipping container for a 21FJP22.  I was most careful as I removed it.  I did not even tilt it to look at the face of the tube since I was alone and didn't want to take any chances.  I removed the front glass and all the trim pieces in one unit.   Later I will disassemble this and clean as necessary.  I noticed the cabinet and front wood insert have the same number.  The top has been restored and tomorrow I will take the cabinet to Goliad to begin restoration.  I will see the top tomorrow and I hope it meets my expectations.  I also did some work on the chassis today.   I'm finding a rather large number of resistors that have gone high in value with an occasional open one.

During a recent trip to the Texas Association of Broadcasters Convention in San Antonio I ran into Jerry S. who was Chief Engineer of KRIS-TV in the late 50s and early 60s.  He remembered this TV and was astonished that it was still around.   He told me they used it to monitor the off air signal and, using a demod, they also monitored the incoming NBC network feed.  It was the only color monitor they had.   He also mentioned they had to replace the picture tube at one time.  I will follow up with Jerry  since he worked at RCA for many years and knows a lot of the old employees.  Perhaps I can gain some more knowledge of the early days of color television at RCA.

I have added a few more pictures to Page 3 showing the picture tube before removal and the empty cabinet.

9/09/2001    Today at 11:45A.M. the filaments in my 15GP22 lit up after four decades!  I used a standard power transformer with a 6.3 volt filament winding and my variable AC Supply.  After cleaning the pins (twice) I attached alligator clips to pins 1 and 20 and SLOWLY raised the voltage on the supply.  My digital meter was across the filament windings.   At 2.2 volts the filaments began to glow and after about 10 minutes there was a very slight warmth around the neck of the tube.  Steve Dichter is absolutely right - handling this picture tube is like handling an unexploded bomb.  In an email sent to me by Pete in July, he suggested running the filaments at half voltage for a few months.   If any one has any additional suggestions as to how I might proceed, please let me know.  For now, I'm going to leave them on at 2.20 volts for a few hours and then bring them up again tomorrow for a bit longer.

It's now 8:30PM.  I got home from the television stations early and restored voltage to the filaments.  They have been running at 2.42 volts for over two hours now and everything looks stable.  UPDATE:  I ran the filaments at 5.5 volts for over 15 hours and have noted no change in the filaments or the getter.   This is a very good indication the tube is good.  I will test emission after the first of the year.

10/20/2001    We are making slow progress on the cover recreation project.  I have started the disassembly of the high voltage cage.  There is a lot of work to be done in this area and I thought I'd at least start the initial clean up.  I'm still restoring the paper caps but it has been slow going due to other things I've been doing that keep me from the project. It's a shame when work interferes with your hobbies.  I hope to get back to the capacitors in about 2 weeks.

11/22/2001    Still no progress on the paper caps but I've taken apart the HV cage for cleaning.  At least I've started taking it apart.  This is going to be a chore in itself.  I was in Goliad today and Andy is ready to begin work on the cabinet refinishing.  After I get the cabinet back sometime in early 2002 I will clean all the trim pieces, reassemble them and return the picture tube to the cabinet.  I actually found an original RCA decal set (on ebay of course) that has the decals for the front knobs.  New pictures are on Picture Page 3.

12/12/2001    Andy emailed yesterday to let me know the cabinet restoration is complete.  With the holidays and our New Years trip ahead I doubt if I will have time to go to Goliad until mid Januray.  It is my intent to finish the capacitors and HV cage area by mid Feb.

1/19/2002    I recently purchased a good 15GP22 from Jim Luttmer in California.  It was shipped yesterday.  I have yet to get back to the capacitor replacement but should be back on it in a few weeks.

1/26/2002    The 15GP22 arrived yesterday.   It was carefully packed and initial inspection reveals the tube is still under vacuum.  I will test the filaments later but there should be no reason they are not OK.

2/10/2002    The cabinet is back home and it is BEAUTIFUL.   I am unable to take pictures because there is limited space where it is stored.   It will remain there until the remodeling is complete and I move it to its new home - The Media Center, where it will sit beside a 50 in. plasma screen HDTV monitor.  I removed the glass from the front bezel and what a mess.  The gasket had completely deteriorated.  It is quite a task removing it.  I tried several methods and light scraping with a razor knife is the best.  Light reflected off the surface differently when the light source was moved around so I decided to use Novus #2 and very lightly clean the surface with my finger.  Only a tiny bit of oxidized color came off (along with sticky gasket residue) and the surface looks much better.  There is only one needle point sized area of paint missing in the visible area near the bottom right.  New pictures are posted along with some initial pictures of the CTC 7.

3/24/2002    Finding a replacement material for the front glass gasket has been a challenge.  I tried some thin closed cell foam I found at the hobby shop.  It has no adhesive and wasn't what I really wanted for this application.  After several more weeks of looking I found some thin PVC weather-strip at the hardware store.  It was easy to put in place and was just the right size.  It's grey but I actually think I prefer this.  It is visible only if you look for it and the grey is very neutral.  After putting all the pieces back together, I reinstalled the assembly in the cabinet.  It is very clean and looks great in the restored cabinet.  Two new additions to the collection will be arriving in the next few weeks - a CTC5, The Arliss and a Westinghouse H840CK15.  All sets should be in the new display gallery within 3 or 4 weeks and I'll post better pictures of all of them.

3/31/2002    I now have 6 HV cage covers and 4 rectifier covers.  They were made at my brother's company near Waco.   Pictures of the new covers are on Picture Page 4.  I took pictures of the original covers, one is mine and the other is on loan from Pete, for comparison.  There is no way to tell them apart.  They are EXACT replicas.  The video detector covers and the back are not ready.

11/11/2002    The back is complete and is identical to the original down to the lettering Robert has engraved.  The cabinet is in its new home and I will remount the picture tube and all the neck assemblies this weekend.  After numerous discussions with other CT100 collectors I've decided not to do a complete classic restoration of the capacitors.  I will replace them with orange drop capacitors instead.  They are typical of that era and will look fine under the chassis.

12/22/2002    I reinstalled the picture tube in the cabinet and built some pins with clips to test it.  :-((  The emission on all guns is VERY VERY LOW and there is a H-K short.  Running the filaments up to over 7.5 volts brings up the emission a bit and even HI restoration only brings it up for a short time.  The only good news about this situation is I have a spare that has excellent emission.  I'll probably bring the set up first on the weak tube and then replace it.

12/27/2003    A full year has passed and I've still not finished the restoration.  It WILL happen in 2004!  Since the condition of this original chassis is so bad I've decided to restore the spare chassis I got in 2003 and use it to get the set working.  I will have to install the spare CRT as well.  I will then tackle the daunting task of restoring the original chassis and perhaps the original CRT will be a candidate for the rebuilding project.

7/25/2004    After a very long wait I will begin replacing the capacitors in the "new" chassis.  It is in very good condition so I hope this will not take very long.  If this is successful I will install my spare 15GP22 and store the weak tube for the day when we get the picture tube rebuilding project is up and running.  Bruce and John are working with Scotty at Hawkeye to make it happen.

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Created: July 1, 2001. Last Updated: June 15, 2013
Copyright 2004, PakRatz, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA