Philips Valve Sets

Philips are known for producing receivers that, for various reasons, can be problematic to repair and restore. They are particularly keen on awkward tuning drive arrangements, positive feedback tone controls, and using unexpected valve types. If you are new to valve radio restoration, you may want to avoid this type of Philips set for a while. On the other hand, they are good if you like a challenge and are bored with the more straightforward Bush and Ekco sets!

Some of their smaller, lower cost AC/DC sets were more conventional. Indeed, in some of these sets Philips had the good sense to position the main smoothing capacitor at the far end of the chassis, away from the heat-producing rectifier and output valves, and dropper resistor.

Philips also made sets under the Stella brand, and in the mid-50s acquired the right to use the Cossor brand name, so Cossor branded sets after this date will have been made by Philips. See the Cossor page for more details.

There is a complete article describing the Philips type numbers on Gerard's Radio Corner website (choose "Articles" then "14: Philips Type Numbers"). For brief details and photos of a vast range of Philips models see Mario's Place, and for schematics try A World of Wireless. Jon Evans has several Philips sets in his collection at Jonz Valve Page. It seems that a lot of collectors like Philips sets!


151U

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - UCH42, UF41, UBC41, UL41, UY41

Date - Mid 1950s ?

Status - No longer in my collection

This is one of Philips more conventional offerings, and it is gives good quality sound for an AC/DC set. The tone control is actually a two-position switch.

The main fault seems to be failure of the rather diminutive dropper resistor. Surprisingly most of the capacitors in my set were OK, but the set had been in regular use until a few months before I was given it.

On my set the adhesive on the felt pads behind the tuning scale had become sticky, and had affected the tuning scale printing. I touched it up with model paint, but the damage was still visible.


310A

Wavebands - SW, MW, LW

Valves - ECH42, EAF42, EBC41, EL41, EZ40

Date - 1952

Status - Repaired for a customer

This set proves everything I mentioned above! The tone control uses negative and positive feedback, from a specially wound output transformer having a grounded centre tap on the secondary. This could be a problem to repair if the transformer failed.

The EAF42 valves acts as the IF amplifier and the detector, while the two diodes in the EBC41 are unused.

The tuning drive is sufficiently complicated that the Trader service sheet has insufficient space to describe it! Small bowden cable sections are used for the sections to the tuning capacitor. Please see the Tuning Drives page for suggestions on repairing these.

In my opinion the sound quality is not particularly good, which makes it more difficult to understand why Philips did things the way they did!


341A

Wavebands - SW, MW, LW

Valves - ECH42, EAF42, EBC41, EL41, EZ40

Date - 1952 ?

Status - No longer in my collection

This set is electrically and mechanically very similar to the 310A above, but with a different cabinet presentation.

Thanks to Jon Evans for the picture.


400A

Wavebands - SW, MW, LW

Valves - ECH42, EF41, EBC41, EL41, EZ40

Date - 1950

Status - No longer in my collection

This set was kindly given to me by a visitor to this site, William Stanley, because it was not relevant to his collection. Thank you William!

It was missing the speaker, mains transformer, and back. Although not really visible in this photo, the knobs are tatty and some of the woodgrain-effect printing on the cabinet has worn away. I have recently passed the output transformer onto another collector who needed one for a set in his collection. Various other components, such as the valves and smoothing capacitor, have been used for other repairs, so in the end I decided to scrap the set.


538A

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - FC4, VP4A, 2D4, SP4, AC/Pen, 1821

Date - 1934

Status - Contributed photo and description

Nigel Hughes provided the following description:

I was attracted to this because it is a fine piece of Deco furniture and because it was one of Philips first Superhet designs with their strange "Super Octode" frequency changer. The valves were very antique looking and balloon shaped, some with screw terminals instead of top caps. The gramophone machinery also appeared to be well made.

The radio side covers long and medium wave. The Valve line up is British 5- and 7-pin, but the valves are clearly earlier designs than those used in the HMV 443. The valves are: FC4 Octode frequency changer, VP4A IF amplifier, 2D4 double diode detector, SP4 AF amplifier, AC/Pen Power output and 1821 rectifier. The set has bandpass tuning at the front end and the rest is very conventional, with a passive, treble cut, tone control in the output stage. The radio is very sensitive and selective and the set is easy to listen to, without bass "boom" and with a smooth top response. The gramophone works reasonably well but has little top response. It seems better suited to acoustic and early electric recordings than to post-war records.


580A

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - FC4, VP4A, 3D4A, SP4, PM24M, 1821

Date - 1935

Status - Contributed photo

Thanks to Gary Matthews for the photo.


581A

Wavebands - MW, LW, 4 x SW

Valves - ECH21, EAF41(x2), EBL21. Rect. AZ31

Date - 1949/50

Status - Contributed photo and repair

The repair of this set by Tim Pullin is in the Recent Repairs section. Thanks to Jon Evans for the photo.


585U

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - FC13, VP13A, 2D13A, HL13, Pen 26, CY1, C1 (Baretter)

Date - 1949/50

Status - Contributed photo and repair

The repair of this set by Nigel Hughes is in the Recent Repairs section.


838HU Superinductance

Wavebands - LW, MW

Valves - C1 (Barretter), CY1, PEN26, SP13, VP13A

Date - 1934

Status - Contributed photo and description

Colin Carmichael provided the photograph and the following description:

A fairly late set for a TRF. But it uses special copper coated screening cans which gives good selectivity. Also a bit of a cheapie costing only 8. It uses side contact valves which were rarely used in Britain at this time. The dial is an interchangeable type probably in case there was a change of wavelengths.

It is a typical Phillips set with strange features,for example the tuning drive "cord" is not the usual type it is a thin copper belt which looks rather fragile. This also has one pulley which is attached to spring loaded runner, probably to give it tension (not a bad idea). The dial assembly is held onto the cabinet with about 6 very awkward nuts. I did a bit of swearing when removing this as the cabinet needed repolishing!!

Other than this, it is fairly well made and has a very attractive Art Deco cabinet.


B0IF95U

Wavebands - MW only

Valves - UCH81, UBF80, UCL82, UY42

Date - Early 1960s ?

Status - In my collection

This set was probably one of the cheapest sets Philips produced. I think it is rather cute!

The choice of rectifier valve is rather odd - presumably Philips had a lot of them to use up. It is actually a bad choice and should be replaced with a UY41. For full details see the Recent Repair of this set.

I purchased this set in January 2002, from Past Times Radio with two others for £60 total (including carriage).


B2G81U

Wavebands - MW, LW

Valves - UCH81, UBF89, UCL82, UY85

Date - 1961 ?

Status - In my collection

This set is built on a printed circuit board, and the same circuit is used in the Cossor CU1201. This is a low cost set, and there are a couple of common problem areas - namely the dropper resistor and the smoothing capacitor.

The sound quality is, in my opinion, rather shrill and unpleasant - but this can be largely cured by a simple modification that adds a little negative feedback. This gives a vast improvement in the sound quality, and although some restorers would object, I feel it is necessary if the set is to be used rather than displayed.

The cabinet is one of the nicest oversize round tuning scale types I have seen, and this is one of my favourite radios in my collection.

A full description of the restoration of my set, plus details of the modification, are in the Recent Repairs section of this website.


B3G63A

Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - EF80, EF80, ECH81, EF85, EABC80, EL84, EZ80

Date - 1956

Status - No longer in my collection

I bought this set some time ago - in fact it is probably the one in my collection that has been waiting the longest for repair! In the end I sold it - still unrepaired. I needed the space.

Paul Sexton kindly supplied me with a replacement tuning scale that was in good order (the printing was flaking away on the original), and a copy of the Trader service sheet for this set.

Tim Pullin's repair of a B3G63A is in the Recent Repairs section.


B3G75U

Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UF80, UF80, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85

Date - 1957

Status - In my collection

I cannot remember where I bought the set pictured - I think it was probably the same BVWS Wootton Bassett swapmeet that I bought several sets from (all from the same stall-holder in fact). I probably didn't pay more than about a fiver for it.

The case is cracked right along the bottom right corner (from front to back) which has been glued back together slightly inaccurately. The white painted section needs repainting and the speaker fabric is dirty.

Internally it looks complete. The speaker has been disconnected and an extra 50uF 350V capacitor is dangling on a couple of long lengths of wire. I haven't tested it yet. I will obviously have to investigate the previous "repairs" before applying power.

I have since obtained a B3G97U as a source of spares. This uses the same cabinet so will gain me a better cabinet for this one.


B3G85U

Wavebands - MW, VHF

Valves - UCC85, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85

Date - 1958

Status - Repaired for a customer

The MW aerial in this set consists of a large single turn of rigid copper wire, which gives reasonable results, although it is not quite as sensitive as a ferrite rod. The tuning is by variable inductor rather than the usual variable capacitor. This seems to be another example of Philips doing things differently - presumably to save the cost of a tuning capacitor in what is a relatively low cost set.

The wavechange switch is a large sliding wafer type which, although OK in this set, looks to be a likely trouble spot due to its flimsiness. This is mechanically linked to the rotary knob on the front of the case.


B3G97U

Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UF80, UF80, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85

Date - 1958-59 ?

Status - Two in my collection

This set is very similar to the B3G75U above. The chassis is identical, as is the bakelite moulding. The differences seem to be confined to details - different coloured tuning scale and speaker cloth, small Philips logo at the bottom instead of larger one on the speaker grille, and that's about it. I think this is the more attractive version.

I have two of these in my collection. The one shown is is complete and appears to be in good order, but some of the white paint is chipped.

I then obtained another one for £2 in the auction at the December 2003 Wootton Bassett swapmeet. This one has a damaged tuning scale, but cabinet paintwork is in better condition. The aim is to make one really good one out of the two, then use the remaining cabinet for the B3G75U above (the white is a different shade, and I'll have to fill the holes where the badge is removed, so will need to be repainted in any event). The knobs will be useful for the Philetta (below) too.

I'll probably get some good valves and other useful parts (speaker, o/p transformer, dropper etc) from the left-overs too - not bad for £2!


B7X14A/65 "Reverbeo"

Wavebands - MW, LW, VHF

Valves - ECC85, ECH81, EF89, EBF89, EAA91, ECC83, EL84, EL84, EZ81, EM80

Transistor - OC71

Date - 1963 ?

Status - Repaired one for a customer and one in my collection

This is clearly an upmarket and expensive Philips model - and it sounds really good too!

It features a stereo amplifier and twin speakers. Although it was made before the days of stereo radio broadcasts, it has a gramophone input to allow it to be used to play stereo records. To give a stereo effect on radio a reverb feature is included, which the manufacturers claimed:-

"...gives considerable depth and spaciousness to sound stemming from radio broadcasts or gramophone records and appears to expand the dimension of a conventional room to those of a concert hall."

I repaired one of these sets for a customer a few years ago. This repair is detailed in the Recent Repairs section of this website.

I liked the set so much that I had been looking for one for myself. I recently purchased one for £20.50 on eBay. The tuning scale was broken as shown in the photo, the cabinet and speaker were rather dirty, and there was an additional control mounted on the back of the cabinet. Otherwise it was in complete condition. To save the cost of postage and risk of further damage, I collected it from the seller on the way to our holiday in Devon.

I have now repaired it and included details in the Recent Repairs section of this website. The set lives in our spare bedroom which doubles as a home-office and is in regular use - tuned to Saga 105.7FM naturally!

Due to popular demand, the two pages of the Philips publicity information for this set are available by clicking the links below:

Page 1 (306K)  |  Page 2 (177K)


BD283U "Philetta"

Wavebands - SW, MW, LW, VHF

Valves - UF80, UF80, UCH81, UF89, UABC80, UL84, UY85

Date - Late 1950s ?

Status - In my collection

I bought this radio in the auction at the December 2003 Wootton Bassett swapmeet for £5. The small front knobs are incorrect and there is no back - apart from that it is complete and in good order.

Since I have two B3G97U radios and aim to make one good one from the pair, this will gain me a pair of knobs for this Philetta.

The set is designed for 127V or 220V mains, so will need a small extra resistor in the heater chain for operation on 230-240V.




This website, including all text and images not otherwise credited, is copyright © 1997 - 2006 Paul Stenning.
No part of this website may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from Paul Stenning.
All details are believed to be accurate, but no liability can be accepted for any errors.
The types of equipment discussed on this website may contain high voltages and/or operate at high temperatures.
Appropriate precautions must always be taken to minimise the risk of accidents.

Last updated 14th April 2006.