This FAQ seems to be too wordy and it's not easy to find things in it. It's really supposed to summarize what's on the other pages.

Policies and Terms FAQ

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Car Radio Vibrator

Terms - Definitions

Q: What is a "set"?

A: A "set" is general term that is used in place of antique radio, antique tv or chassis.

Q: What is a Restoration?:
A: I define an electronic restoration as the replacement of all paper + electrolytic capacitors in an antique radio or tv.
My specialty is electronic restorations. If I need mechanical work done, I have some who does that work for me. So when I refer to a restoration below I am referring to the electronics.

Q: What is a paper capacitor and what is a electrolytic capacitor?

A: From the early 1920s until the1960s, manufacturers made a capacitor that used paper as an insulator (also known as a dialectric) between the foil plates. It's actually sheets of paper and foil rolled up. The end of one sheet of foil protrudes from one side of the roll and the end of the other sheet of foil protrudes from the other end of the roll. These ends are attached to the wire leads. The roll is placed inside a cardboard tube and sealed in wax. It was also placed inside a plastic tube which was filled with oil. At the time these capacitors failed due to moisture. But it was discovered later that over time the acid in the paper deteriorated the capacitor. This type of capacitor rarely lasted longer than 40 years. So this is usually the problem when Antique Radios or TVs no longer work.

An Electrolytic capacitor has an electrolyte between the plates just like a battery. Over time, just like a rechargable battery, these capacitors no longer hold a charge and the radio will hum. That's because these capacitors are used to smooth, or filter out the ripple in the power supply. That's where the term "filter" capacitor comes from. The electrolytic capacitors of yesteryear would dry out or even leak just like a battery.

Today's version of both of these capacitor types have been greatly improved. Paper capacitors are no longer manufactured. Instead capacitors have a type of plastic insulator between what's called metallized film plates. Some people think that the old style paper capacitors sounded better, and have made them available again. These are very expensive. Some cost as much as $100.00 each. The ones I use range from $1.00 to $5.00 each. Both types of capacitors made today last much much longer than the ones did because they don't suffer from any of the problems the old types did.

Q: Why must all the paper and electrolytic capacitors be replaced?  Can't only the currently defective ones be replaced?

A: As I described above, even if there are a few surviving capacitors, they will fail after a short time and your Antique radio or tv will stop working again. So all the paper and electrolytic capacitors must be replaced to prevent further troubles.

Q: Does this mean that all the capacitors in a radio or tv must be replaced?

A: No, only the paper and electrolytic capacitor types.  Mica and ceramic capacitors did not suffer the same fate.

Occasionally a mica capacitor can be damaged by moisture or just by physical damage.

Q: What is a repair?  How does that differ from a restoration?

A:  The correction of problems that may exist after a restoration, is what I define as a repair.   Since all paper and electrolytic capacitors in an Antique Radio are usually inoperative, they may mask any other problems a radio or TV may have.  It is practically impossible to tell if a set has other problems before a restoration is done on it.

Q: Is a repair always necessary after a restoration?

A: No.  Most of the time after the restoration, an antique radio or tv will work fine.  If there is a repair, in most cases, the line cord or light bulb needs replacement.  Very seldom do I get a radio that needs extra bench time. TVs do need a repair more often after a restoration, especially ones from the late 40s and early 50s. In the late 50s, PC (printed circuit) boards started to be used. They weren't very high quality back then, and are sometimes in need of a repair as well.

Q: My radio has a lot of wires where most of the insulation has dried up and has fallen off. Do you charge extra for replacing these wires?

A: I don't charge extra for the wire but I do charge extra labor. It takes the same labor to replace a length of wire as it does to replace a capacitor. So I charge the same labor but I start counting at the 6th capacitor. The first 5 lengths are included in the restoration labor.

Update:4/1/06: Some of my antique electronic restoration services include re-wiring. Please see White Glove radio and White Glove tv extreme below.

Q: My chassis is totally rusty and it looks like mice were inside and chewed up the wiring. Can you fix this?

A: Ordinarily rust on the chassis wont keep the radio from playing and sounding great. It's a cosmetic problem. However if wires or the power transformer wes chewed through by rodents, they will have to be replaced for an additional cost. Completely rewiring a set will add an additional cost as well. If you want the rust removed, depending on the severity of the rust, that will also be an additional cost, above the cost of any of my electronic restorations. If this is a radio chassis, then a White Glove service restoration is necessary. In a tv this is called White Glove extreme restoration service.

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Q: If a set requires extra bench time, do you charge extra for it?

A: If the extra bench time is for replacing parts like a lamp, resistor, or line cord, or other obviously defective part, no.  But if the extra bench time requires extensive troubleshooting to find an elusive problem exceeding 5 hours, or if I have to adapt a new speaker to fit a chassis, I  do charge $20.00 per hour.  Otherwise the cost of the restoration covers it.

Q: If a set needs an extra part like a resistor or tube or coil, that is obviously damaged, is there an extra charge for it?

A: Yes there is a charge for the extra part. However, I will replace a few (up to 5) small resistors, if necessary, without charging extra.

Please Note: Some of my flat rate antique electonic restoration services include more parts. Please see below under Prices.

Q: What is the price of an Antique Electronic Restoration?

A: The price of an Antique Electronic Restoration is different for each model of radio, tv or car radio and is calculated as described below.

Q: How do you calculate the cost of an Antique Electronic Radio restoration?

A: There are now 4 ways to price an Antique Radio Restoration.

1) Labor by the hour:

For Radios with 160 volt electrolytic capacitors, the labor is $65.00 per hour + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping.
For Radios with higher voltage electrolytic capacitors, the labor is $70.00 per hour + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping.
There is an additional charge for mechanical work.

2) Labor by capacitor:

For radios with 160 volt electrolytic capacitors, Labor is $8.45 per paper or fiter capacitor.+ parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping).
For radios with electrolytic capacitors higher than 160 volts, Labor is $9.40 per paper or fiter capacitor + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping. There is an additional charge for mechanical work.

3.   Flat Rate:

Flate-rate is a single price that covers the electronic restoration (replacement of all paper & electrolytic capacitors) of the radio chassis (also applies to car radios).  If necessary, dial lamp(s) and/or line cord, and/or simple dial cord restring are also included.   All other other parts such as coils, mica capacitors, resistors, tubes, transformer (IF, power, speaker, input, etc), vibrators, will cost extra.  But the total labor for the set is included in the capacitor calculaton below:

For radios with 160 volt electrolytic capacitors flat-rate restoration is $10.00 per paper or electrolytic capacitor + sales tax (NY state residents) + return shipping.

For radio with greater than 160volt electrolytic capacitors the flat rate restoration is $15.00 per paper or electrolytic capacitor + sales tax (NY state residents) + return shipping.

(This is what I charge over 90% of the time.)

4.  White-Glove radio service:

This is also a flat-rate service but covers more mechanical problems and rust. I offer everything and anthing to get your radio working well. White-glove service costs $20.00 per paper/electrolytic capacitor. There are some exceptions, such as when a tube costs $200.00, it would have to be extra. White glove service is for radio chassis that are not in very good condition to get them back into shape. The best way for me to tell you what is going to be included is if I see your set and tell you what I can include.


Please Note: Minimum charge is $65.00 for radios with 160 volt electrolytic capacitors and $70.00 for radios with higher voltage electrolytic capacitors.

Please note also: I also have All American 5 and 6 Tube table radio restoration specials.

Q: What is your current labor rate for Antique Car Radio and TV restorations?

A: There are now 4 ways to price an Antique Electronic Car Radio or TV Restoration:

1) Labor by the hour:

Labor is $75.00 per hour + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping, for Antique Car Radios and TVs. There is an additional charge for mechanical work.

2) Labor by capacitor:

Labor is $10.00 per capacitor replaced + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping. There may be an additional charge for mechanical work.

I see I forgot "Flat-Rate".   Look in the section above.  Flat-Rate has been the most poplular way I have been pricing car radio restorations. So there are 5 ways.

3. White Glove tv service:

White Glove service is a flat rate electronic restoration. A single price that covers the electronic restoration of your tv chassis. In addition to paper and electrolytic capacitors, this also includes, if necessary, other readily available components such as coils, mica capacitors, resistors. Large components such as the power transformer or parts that are special to the tv may be an extra charge. Minor mechanical repairs are included, such as replacement dial cords, repair of cardboard backs, bakelite handles, PC boards. Major mechanical repair is extra. The best way for me to tell you what is going to be included is if I see your set and tell you what I can include.White-glove costs $20.00 per paper/electrolytic capacitor + NY sales tax (NY residents) + return shipping.


4.  White Glove tv service Extreme:

This is also a flat-rate service but covers everything White Glove tv service covers plus it includes more mechanical problems and heavy rust. In other words anything and everything to get your TV working well. Some examples are All tubes are missing, or most of the wiring is missing, etc. White-glove tv service extreme service costs $40.00 per paper/electrolytic capacitor + sales tax (NY customers) + return shipping, and is designed for tv chassis in very bad condition. There are some exceptions, such as when all tubes costs exceed $500.00 in a large chassis, it would have to be extra. The best way for me to tell you what is going to be included is if I see your set and tell you what I can include. Some chassis are may be so bad that I may not be able to bring those back to life.

Please note: Minimum charge is $75.00 for all tube type car radio or TV restorations.


Q: I have an Antique Car Radio from the Late 60s or early 70s. It doesn't have tubes, do you restore those too?

A: Most of the time these radios don't need a restoration, but when they do, the low voltage electrolytic capacitors have to be replaced. I have the same 3 ways of pricing this type of restoration:

1) By the hour:

Labor is $65.00 per hour plus parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping.

2) By the capacitor:

Labor costs $8.45 per capacitor replaced plus parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping.


A flat rate restoration cost $10.00 per paper/electrolytic capacitor + parts + sales tax (NY State Residents) + return shipping.

4)White-Glove transistor service:

If I need to completely dismantle your solid state car radio to get at the capacitors or other parts to do a repair then it will get White-glove service which costs $20 per electrolytic capacitor + sales tax (NY state residents). Mechanical Repairs are included.

Please note: Minumum charge for all Solid State car radio restorations/repairs $65.00.

New: I have made a special for All Transistor AM only car radios made from the early 1960s until about 1975.

The price for this restoration is $65.00 + (sales tax, NY State Residents) + return shipping. This restoration includes the replacement of all paper and electrolytic capacitors. I will also replace the dial lamp if necessary. I'll also clean the volume and tone controls if necessary. Then I'll check to see if all the push buttons are working and give the radio a short test by listening to it a while. I usually make a recording of it and will e-mail that recording to you.

Q: I have a 5 or 6 tube table radio. What does it cost to restore that?
I have All American 5 and 6 tube table radio restoration specials. I also have a double-special for small radios with higher numbers of tubes that have FM.  The Price of each is a flat rate.  Please see my specials page for more details.

Q: Why isn't each restoration the same price?

A: The price of a restoration is based on the number of paper and electrolytic capacitors.  The more capacitors to replace, and the more elaborate
set, the higher cost of the restoration.

Q: Can you tell me what it will cost to restore my radio before I send it to you?
I can give you a pretty good restoration estimate, provided I have a model number and I study the schematic.  But I wont know if a repair is necessary until I actually see your set.
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Q: What is the price of an estimate?

A: My estimates are free. No payment is due unless the estimate is approved by you.

Q: If I approve an estimate, what is my next step?

A: After I complete an estimate, I'll e-mail you an invoice form as an attachment or e-mail the estimated amount. If you approve the estimate, print out the form, sign, where indicated, and/or send an initial payment with your set.
Signing the estimate and/or sending an initial payment indicates to me that you approve the estimate, agree to pay the grand total amount (+ return shipping), when the work is completed, and are serious about having the work done.
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Q:What should the initial payment be?

A: For regular Antique Radios, Car Radios and TV restorations, the initial payment should be any amount from 25% of restoration or my minimum charge up to the grand total.

My Restoration Specials require that the full amount be enclosed with your radio. This full payment includes NY State Sales Tax (NY State Residents), and return shipping.

Q:In what form do you accept payments?

A: I accept US Postal Service Postal Money Orders.  (Point to the link without clicking to see a picture of one above.)
They are available at any US Post Office. 
Make the money order payable to "Dave's Antique Radio and TV Restorations".
Please do not leave it blank. USPS Money Orders process instantly at any post office. There is no clearing because it is cash.
I also accept cash but it's not a good idea to send cash through the mail.

Q: Do you accept personal checks, personal money orders, credit cards or PayPal?

A: Please do not send another type of money order or Bank Check. You can but please be aware that these payment instruments take a lot longer to process than a US Postal Service Postal Money Order. I really prefer a US Postal Service Postal Money order though. They cost less and make things a lot easier. I do not accept Credit Cards or PayPal or personal checks.

Q: When is the full payment due?

A:  Full payment is due when I notify you that all work is completed and your set is ready to be shipped back to you. This payment includes the Sales Tax (NY State Residents) and return shipping.

My restoration specials, as mentioned above, require that full payment is enclosed with your radio. If a USPS Money Order is enclosed with a restoration special it is possible to restore it and it back in the mail on the same day due to a USPS Money Order's quick processing time at the Post Office.

Q: Do you have late fees?

A: Yes, on past due accounts. If an item hasn't been totally paid for 30 days after completion, I may assess a $5.00 per month late fee on that account if the overdue amount is $50.00 or over.

I also have a storage fee.  As mentioned above, when the approval of the estimate is signed and/or I receive an initial payment, I will assume that you are serious about having your set restored, and have the amount necessary to pay for the restoration.
Unless a date is agreed upon, if 15 days has elapsed from time I notify you that the work is complete and your set is ready to ship back to you, and I have not received a full payment a storage fee of $1.00 per day may be added to your account.
If a completed set is paid for but no amount for return shipping has been sent or the set has not been picked up, after 30 days, a storage fee of $1.00 per day may be added to your account.

Q: What happens if a set gets left and return shipping is never sent and the set never gets picked up?

A:  After 2 years, an abandoned set becomes the property of Dave's Antique Radio & TV Restorations.

Q: What happens if the restoration is completed but extra bench time is required?

If extra parts are needed I will notify you of the extra cost, if any, and make sure I have your approval before proceeding.

Q: Do I still have storage fees for extra bench time?

A: No. Storage fees do not accumulate until after  all work is completed, as described above.

Q: How many payments should be made?

A: A maximum of two payments should be all that's necessary, an initial payment and a final payment.
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Car Radio Vibrator

Q: My car radio has a vibrator in it. Do you charge extra labor to replace it with a solid state vibrator?

A: As of 4/1/06, there are now 4 ways to price a restoration. For Labor by the hour or labor by capacitor there is a charge for the part, but there is no additional labor charge for installing it. White Glove service includes the vibrator as part of the restoration.

Q: What is this vibrator in my antique car radio, and what does it do?

A: The vibrator creates alternating current from the car battery voltage, which can be stepped up with a transformer, to the proper high voltages needed by the tubes. 

Q: What is the difference between the original vibrator and a modern solid state vibrator?
A: An old mechanical vibrator has contacts and springy metal strips, that wear out over time. A solid state vibrator has no moving parts to wear out.  So if cared for properly, by operating the radio on the correct voltage and polarity, it will last many times longer than the old mechanical types.

Q: How do I care for a solid state vibrator properly?
A: By making sure to operate your radio on the correct voltage and polarity.

Q:What is the correct polarity?

A:With a mechanical vibrator it has more to do with your car than with your radio. What ever battery terminal is directly connected to the body of your car, determines the car's polarity. So if the positive terminal is attached to the body of the car, this is called "positive ground". If it is the negative terminal, this is called "negative ground. Once a solid state vibrator is installed in your radio, it must then be cared for as described above or the vibrator will be damaged.

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Q: How do I ship my radio or TV to you?

A: I prefer that you ship your set using Priority Mail from a US Post Office.  However if an item is very large another shipper can be chosen that specializes in larger packages.

Q: How much will return shipping cost?

A: Return shipping should be exactly what you pay to ship to me.  This amount will not be on the estimate invoice because it will be unknown until the package is actually shipped.
If your radio is shipped to me for an estimate, then the return shipping amount will appear on the estimate.

Any payments for shipping must be made before I ship your item back to you. I have had to do this because on a couple of occasions I have shipped back items and have never been reimbursed. So all shipping must be paid for in advance.

Q: What is your shipping address?

A: Dave's Antique Radio and TV Restorations
     P. O. Box 285
     Liverpool, NY 13088-0285

Dave's Antique Radio & TV Restorations
P. O. Box 2265
Liverpool, NY, 13089-2265

(PLEASE NOTE: These addresses accept US Mail ONLY.  Please send me an e-mail message if you choose another shipper).

Please use P. O. Box 2265 during the snowy winter months. I moved to a different part of the same town, about 2 years ago. When it's snowing, I don't drive very far. So it may take me a while to get to Box 285.

Q: Do you accept work from outside the USA (50 States)?

A: No, however, I will accept work from an address in one of the 50 USA states and ship back to that address. It must be a physical address. There should be someone at that address who I can talk to about the item. I cannot make calls out side the 50 USA states either.

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This page was created June 13, 2005

Last Update: May 22, 2018