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Helix HX-4700 complete overhaul


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#1 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:22 PM

Recently I did a full and complete overhaul on member Mac Daddy Freshness's (Adrian) Helix HX-4700. I acquired a 4700 from member Fresh Produce (Peter) some time ago and have been working on it. Since I have become somewhat familiar with this model, I offered to fix some of the problem's Adrian was having.

 

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We modded this radio for Bluetooth some time back and Adrian has been rockin' the streets with it and although it can still get the job done, I would put it's condition in the "Daily Driver" category.

 

Repairs needed:

 

Broken off cassette deck A door

Broken spring tab on battery door

Bad deck belts

Missing antenna

Broken antenna mounting post

Multiple Broken speaker mount's

Broken case posts

Broken Mic Mixer knob pot

Creaky case

Creaky Handle

Filthy over all condition inside and out

Lots of loose wires

Horrible vibrations and rattles while playing at volume

 

As everyone knows, this era of radio, especially the big "Black and Empty" radio's suffer from lack of build quality and overall rigidity. My goal for this rebuild was to overcome as much of that as possible. I know from seeing / hearing and inspecting Peter's NIB Lasonic TRC-935 that these big black radio's were indeed at some point TIGHT and rattle free. But once they are opened up, all that goes out the window. 

 

The goal: GET THAT FACTORY FEEL BACK.

 

It all starts with a full tear down, assessment and cleaning...

 

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Removed the transformer and fully scrub the case inside and out.

 

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Once clean, I pulled the handle apart completely. Of all my complaints I could have regarding this radio, like the discolite, it's right here in the handle. Although the handle of the HX-4700 feels solid and there is little threat of it breaking, it creaks so bad when you lift the radio that it's downright embarrassing. This is something I aim to fix. But it starts with a full cleaning. Dust and dirt in the gaps add to the creaking and loose feel.

 

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This radio has been opened many times before. Infact when I first worked on it, it was missing screws and had miss matched hardware. Also, the wiring was a rats nest of loose wires all of which add to the overall BUZZINESS of the radio's sound. Having wires loose in the case is never good. Over time you may end up with wires rubbing on metal components and eventually shorting out. When I reinstalled the transformer I took time to zip tie everything in place eliminating the chances of wires rubbing, but mostly to keep them from banging on the case and causing noise during playback.

 

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These wires are for the clock power and antenna connection. I will deal with them later.

 

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The rear case had the typical paint splatter and grime. It took some elbow grease, isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush to get it all clean. It came out REALLY good!

 

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Time to pull everything out. I take pictures of where all the plugs go to make sure I know where it all goes when it's time to put it back together. 

 

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With all the electronics out of the front case, it's time to do some serious cleaning. The HX-4700 has many lines and grooves in the front that require cleaning with a toothbrush. 

 

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Once cleaned, the front case really started to show what this radio is going to look like.

 

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The alarm system component's on this radio were all broken and loose. The red cover was another source of rattles and the prism inside was broken with parts moving around. All these things add up to what I call "Sound Fuzz". 

 

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#2 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:39 PM

Next up was to rebuild the hinges of Deck door A.

 

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The biggest problem I faced here was, there was no way to reattach the old hinges and the new hinges hit the two cassette deck mounting posts. So lots of fabrication and adjustment had to be done.

 

Ultimately I had to file away some of the mounting posts to clear the new hinges, then build them back up and strengthen them with epoxy.

 

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In the end, the decks fit back in, mounted up tight and the cassette deck A door was back on. The only thing missing were the springs that push the door open when you push the eject button.

 

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#3 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:41 PM

The Mic Mix knob pot post was busted off on this radio...

 

More on that later!

 

EQ out for full clean and deoxit

 

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#4 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:45 PM

Time to clean the chrome...

 

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#5 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 12:49 PM

YEAH! :clap: The belts are here!

 

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There are a few places where the amp slides into the front of the case. Even when mounted in place there are still vibrations from loose fitment. I glued small pieces of felt in place to fill the gap and tighten things up.

 

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Same goes for the back of the tweeter bezels...

 

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#6 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:02 PM

The biggest flaw of the HX-4700 is the single mounting post in the center top of the case. There are two other posts, one at each corner, but with it's central handle position, all the weight of the radio is supported on this one post. To make matters worse, this radio's center mounting post was partially broken and stripped. The damage made it impossible to get that center screw tight leading to a loose fitting case and a creaky handle / top case.

 

So, what I did was rebuilt the center post with epoxy, enlarging the whole area and encasing another post (from another radio) into the epoxy so the new screw would have a place to hold onto. I found a proper fitting screw to go in it.

 

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This is not the final screw, I was using this one to align and straighten the post in the epoxy. 

 

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#7 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:04 PM

Next was to repair the antenna mount and fit two new antenna's.

 

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#8 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:07 PM

The battery door had a broken spring clip, so using stainless steel sheet, I fabricated a new latch.

 

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The aluminum battery door is one I had made for Peter some time ago for the 4700 that I now have.

 

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#9 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:19 PM

Back to the biggest issue with this radio and many others like it.

 

CREAKY, SQUEAKY plastic on plastic!

 

I HATE RATTLES and I HATE SQUEAKS!

 

This radio had those in spades! But I found a permanent way to fix it. I picked up some very thin fabric called ULTRA SUEDE. It's a synthetic that doesn't have threads to run and doesn't deform when used with a hot glue gun.

 

If you have ever pulled the dash board out of a new car to install a stereo, then you most likely have noticed that every joining surface is covered in a thin layer of felt. This prevents the plastic from coming in contact and making squeaks in the car. I basically did the same thing. 

 

I found all the surfaces that touch or rub and put this ultra suede between them gluing them in place with hot glue gun all along the rim of the case sides. 

 

The difference is MIND BLOWING!

 

This simple fix has transformed this radio from a cheap feeling creaky rattle trap to a super tight premium box.

 

I also put some felt in the handle hinges and rubber bumpers where the handle rests in the down position, further eliminating rattles. The combination of the top center post fix, handle fix and case seem fix have completely transformed this radio. 

 

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#10 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:26 PM

Getting back to the broken Mic Mixing Knob.

 

I unsoldered the knob pot from the EQ PC Board and through conversation with member John (Beosystem10) he was able to go to a local electronic components store near him in the UK and find the correct part. I ended up pulling the pot off of my HX-4700 and installing it into Adrian's box so he would have a fully working unit while I await the part from the UK.

 

A Huge THANK YOU goes out to John for taking the time to drive across town and research this part and mail it to me. Another reason why these projects are even possible and his efforts go to helping Adrian get a fully working radio.

 

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#11 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:43 PM

The final product barely resembles what we started with. Without a doubt this was the most comprehensive tear down and restoration I have done to date. I have done all these steps to other radio's just not all to the SAME radio. It took everything I have learned plus inventing a few new tricks to bring it back to "Like New" condition.

 

This radio was a horrible squeak rattle trap.

 

The rear cassette storage door either popped open when you didn't want it too or wouldn't open at all. The latch was fully rebuilt and it works as it should.

 

The decks were fully rebuilt and play as they should. 

 

Two new antennas were installed and mounting posts rebuilt.

 

All wiring was tidied up and tied down to prevent rattles

 

The deck door hinges were repaired

 

All the components of the alarm were secured to prevent rattling.

 

The dents were hammered out of the woofer grills and they were re-painted gloss black.

 

The handle and case were tightened up and in the end, this is the tightest radio I know. When you lift the radio up, there is NO SOUND at all. You can hang it from the handle and wave it around and it is completely silent.

 

I will be doing the ultra suede seem fix to ALL of my big black radios for sure! Look for a future thread on step by step instructions, plus video, on how to make that repair.

 

On final assembly, I played a Frequency Test through the stereo to track down any last offending rattles or vibrations. This is a great way to find out what is moving. 

 

These black boxes suffer from rattles that translate to audio output. Every rattle and vibration becomes part of the audible sound you hear. Eliminating those rattles and vibrations pulls those frequencies out of the mix, cleaning up the sound output. The sound quality of this radio has improved exponentially with these fixes.  

 

I think the final product speaks for itself....

 

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#12 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:58 PM

One last thing to mention....

 

Obviously, a lot of work went into this restoration. I have probably 25-30 hours if not more invested. 

 

Since I have been on this site, many people have helped me out and most recently, members bklyn sound, THAFUZZ, Beosystem10, superlew, Mac Daddy Freshness, Fresh Produce and blu_fuz (to name but just a few) have helped me out, asking NOTHING in return!

 

Some have hooked me up with impossible parts finds, some have mailed me parts FREE OF CHARGE! 

 

And although it may be hard for me to repay them back directly for one reason or another, the only thing I can do is pay it forward. 

 

So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all that have contributed to me in the past. Know that your efforts were with me in spirit as I past that "Blaster Karma" forward into this box and along to Adrian (Mac Daddy Freshness) who is a super nice guy and very deserving to have a fully worked out Helix HX-4700.

 

Now I have to go do this whole thing all over again on my 4700  :-/  :-D



#13 BoomboxLover48

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 02:20 PM

Wow!

 

Great job Chris!  :jawdrop:  :jawdrop:  :hooray:  :hooray:



#14 -GZ-

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 07:05 PM

The man! Excellent work! Chris is Boomboxery.

#15 JustCruisin

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:17 PM

Looks brand new! Getting a big, black box to feel solid adds $$$ to its value..

#16 mac daddy freshness

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:24 PM

Chris!! I cant thank you enough man you really outdid yourself on my Helix i can finally bust out my haul of Cassettes and piss everybody off LOL But good things are coming your way man

#17 blu_fuz

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:25 PM

Holy shite i wish i had the time these days!

#18 oldskool69

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:28 PM

Fantastic work Chris!!!

 

Pinned!!! :clap:



#19 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:46 PM

Thanks guys, this is one I am very proud of. I wish more than anything you all could just pick it up off the ground to feel how this box feels. It's simply amazing. I never thought ANY big black radio from this era could ever feel this solid.

 

 

Chris!! I cant thank you enough man you really outdid yourself on my Helix i can finally bust out my haul of Cassettes and piss everybody off LOL But good things are coming your way man

 

I'm glad your happy with it man. It makes me feel good knowing your gonna be out there delivering the goods with this beast. It has another 25 years left in it for sure. Thanks for everything you and Peter have done as well. You guys are the best! Just my way of paying you guys back and passing on some of the kindness that has been bestowed upon me from all the great members of this site.



#20 stragulus

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:59 PM

That is absolutely awesome work man! :w00t:  Very detailed, and super- super informative! I'll be coming back to this thread a couple of times to figure out some fixes of my own. Kudos!  :clap:



#21 gsbadbmr

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 09:14 PM

:jawdrop:  WTF...that's MADNESS right there...amazing job :thumbsup: ...just taking and uploading all those pics is time consuming, let alone your hours of work  :thumbsup:



#22 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 12:41 AM

That is absolutely awesome work man! :w00t:  Very detailed, and super- super informative! I'll be coming back to this thread a couple of times to figure out some fixes of my own. Kudos!  :clap:

 

Right on man. I hope this helps. Hit me up if you ever want details on some of this stuff. 

 

After three or four cassette deck door re-attachments, I have figured that out.

 

Same goes for battery door rebuild / replacement. 

 

Now that I have figured out how to properly seal these cases and eliminate squeaks and rattles, which will only improve with time, I see this as the future of my collection. 

 

Picking up this Helix and then picking up my J1, which I considered to have far superior build quality, WOW, now I have to go through the J1  :yes:

 

:jawdrop:  WTF...that's MADNESS right there...amazing job :thumbsup: ...just taking and uploading all those pics is time consuming, let alone your hours of work  :thumbsup:

 

Last week we were talking about this radio and I said I was working one out, this was it. 

 

In hindsight, I think this is a really good radio. Two weeks ago, I would have said it was so so and that's the best it could be.

 

Now I think to myself, if this radio could be returned this tight, other radio's, that start out in better condition could only be better!

 

I'll be starting up the other 4700 soon and I will detail the important steps to tighten it up in that thread.



#23 jimmyjimmy19702010

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 02:16 AM

You've done it again Chris! Your dedication to these empty black boxes is unbelievable. You must very patient as 80% of your work is to correct the design faults to be found through out these things. Your triangular top post mount was very nicely done - the extreme strength of that redesign must be responsible for much of the improvement in the carry experience.

Despite the lower build quality, they're cool looking boxes and for some reason, many of these black boxes have healthy amps. In comparison, many of the brand name boxes I've worked on have had uneven channel outputs etc. Maybe the better quality units had more use and wore out earlier!?

You've come a long way Chris - your definitely the resident BBB expert around these parts.

Well done!

You can work on my boxes anytime!

James.... :-)

#24 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 12:10 PM

You've done it again Chris! Your dedication to these empty black boxes is unbelievable. You must very patient as 80% of your work is to correct the design faults to be found through out these things. Your triangular top post mount was very nicely done - the extreme strength of that redesign must be responsible for much of the improvement in the carry experience.

Despite the lower build quality, they're cool looking boxes and for some reason, many of these black boxes have healthy amps. In comparison, many of the brand name boxes I've worked on have had uneven channel outputs etc. Maybe the better quality units had more use and wore out earlier!?

You've come a long way Chris - your definitely the resident BBB expert around these parts.

Well done!

You can work on my boxes anytime!

James.... :-)

 

Thanks James,

 

I don't know why that happened, but I love to work against the grain. I used to own a bunch of MG's, this might explain it. When you use an MG Midget as a daily driver "Family Car" and drive it across the country, AGAINST your mechanic's suggestion, then something must be wrong with you!  :lol:

 

These are easy to work on, unlike the complicated logic decks so I don't mind diving in. Not sure why these BBB amp's have held up. Maybe because the tolerances are lower they aren't pushed as hard.  :huh:

 

I have no idea why they are still working....

 

But, yeah, making something do what it was never meant to do....that sounds like me! :lol:  :dunce:  :chris920:



#25 Beosystem10

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 01:32 PM

When you use an MG Midget as a daily driver "Family Car" and drive it across the country, AGAINST your mechanic's suggestion, then something must be wrong with you!

 

 

:w00t:

If an A-series won't get the job done, nothing will! You total masochist! :thumbsup: I just knew that you were crazy in a very positive way, your British Leyland-related confession just proves this. :yes:

 

Now please tell us that it wasn't the large journal, 1493cc Triumph engined version you owned. They used to need fresh mains & ends every 24,000 and thrust washers between times so if it was one of those, then you actually were mad to use it as a daily ride, therefore all the more worthy of respect.



#26 T-STER

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 04:22 PM

This post encompasses everything that is great about this hobby. Some stunning repair and improvising work there, I can just see so much care and attention has gone into that. To put this much into a repair for some one else is selfless and amazing.

 

 Then there is the work itself, this for me took 20 minutes to read and I saved the post to read again as there was so much good info and ideas/tips.

 

I demand the universe applies the correct amount of boombox karma to you.......stunning.



#27 blu_fuz

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 04:39 PM

PS, thanks for thinking of all of us when getting your chance to pay it forward. Some things I obviously have to charge for, but as often as I can I will throw some freebies or cheapies!

 

 

Nice job man.

 

 

My Dynasty needs the same creaky treatment.



#28 JVC Floyd

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 06:45 PM

i know how much work chris puts into everything he does, he made me a metal battery cover for my trc 918 which look amazing and works as good as the one from the factory. i wish i had somebody like him living near me that could fix up radio's like that . looks awesome!.



#29 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 01:02 AM



:w00t:

If an A-series won't get the job done, nothing will! You total masochist! :thumbsup: I just knew that you were crazy in a very positive way, your British Leyland-related confession just proves this. :yes:

 

Now please tell us that it wasn't the large journal, 1493cc Triumph engined version you owned. They used to need fresh mains & ends every 24,000 and thrust washers between times so if it was one of those, then you actually were mad to use it as a daily ride, therefore all the more worthy of respect.

 

Oh John, I know I just opened up a serious can of worms and showed a side of me I maybe shouldn't have!

 

Both my B and my Midget were 1978 rubber bumper cars, both show cars, both on the cover of Moss Motoring Magazine and my Midget pulled 2nd place in the slalom at the Flag is Up Farm in Solvang California in 1996 only losing to a Mini owned by the man who owns Moss Motoring! My Midget was a 1500cc nightmare that I regularly broke the smog emission laws of California to keep on the road. I put 20,000 miles on the car using 3 engines! I spent more than $11,000 on the car and gave it to a friend who returned it to England where she is currently rebuilding the engine (again).

 

This is my one and only racing trophy 

 

Attached File  20141203_223837.jpg   145.62K   16 downloads

 

:offtopic:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 



This post encompasses everything that is great about this hobby. Some stunning repair and improvising work there, I can just see so much care and attention has gone into that. To put this much into a repair for some one else is selfless and amazing.

 

 Then there is the work itself, this for me took 20 minutes to read and I saved the post to read again as there was so much good info and ideas/tips.

 

I demand the universe applies the correct amount of boombox karma to you.......stunning.

 

Thanks T-STER, I'll tell ya, I am just paying my debt. If I was to list out everything that has changed hands between Adrian, Peter and myself, not to mention everyone else, you would see I am way behind on paying up!

 

I was just reading in a Blu_Fuz thread on an M90 he was working on for someone else, there is something that is very scary about working on someone elses radio. In this case, I was a little at ease knowing I had another if I F'd something up, but I didn't want to take that route. But there is also an excitement because I know Adrian uses and loves this box. 

 

When we were at the China Town meet, Peter and I noticed and commented on the fact that people were walking right up to Adrian and asking him for pictures with the Helix. Peter was there with is C100, I with my J1. Those are some big fires to stomp out!

 

The Helix HX-4700 has a presence and I'm glad that this one now can properly represent!

 

Once mine is done, we can Rock China town with them both! 

 

 



PS, thanks for thinking of all of us when getting your chance to pay it forward. Some things I obviously have to charge for, but as often as I can I will throw some freebies or cheapies!

 

 

Nice job man.

 

 

My Dynasty needs the same creaky treatment.

 

Joe, your Blaster Karma meter is always pegged for all you do. Spending the time to engineer, test, purchase, test and repurchase and retest in order to perfect the straps with none of that time added to the cost is amazing.

 

PM sent

 



i know how much work chris puts into everything he does, he made me a metal battery cover for my trc 918 which look amazing and works as good as the one from the factory. i wish i had somebody like him living near me that could fix up radio's like that . looks awesome!.

 

I am going to get the materials to remake those out of plastic so we aren't carrying an extra 1/2 pound of aluminum, but some sort of door is better than duct tape. Glad it's still working!



#30 skippy1969

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 05:29 AM

FANTASTIC!!!!!  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

Super great job Chris!  :drool:  :jawdrop:  :jawdrop:  :jawdrop:  :cool: