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LEDifying a Ten Tec Triton IV – part I

I dug out the old Ten Tec Triton IV (now called a model 540 as Motorola complained about using its trademark) transceiver so Dave, KA7VLL, and I could play with it. First up was to replace the panel lamps with LED’s. Under the idea that ‘when you get a new hammer everything looks like a nail’ this was an exercise with LED light strips – see LED lighting – DIY strip lights. Here are some pictures to show what we’ve done so far.

making holes for light to shine through

strip trimming

The LED light strip, at 8mm, was a bit too wide

A modified panel and a modified LED strip together to check for fit

One module of an LED light strip for the S meter

The LED light strip was a 5m long circuit board with 100 circuits. Each circuit had 3 LED’s and a limiting resistor in series for a 12v nominal supply. It appears that they will function with the existing series dropping resistor that was used to dim the original bulbs a bit. That additional dropping resistor is needed to keep the LED’s from blinding the operator.

Wire wrap wire was used to connect the LED’s together to the power access points the original lights used.

What’s next? Before we can really see these LED’s in all their glory, Dave and I will replace the dial string and lube up the PTO.

For the dial string, I did have a shock cord rescued from a box of candy for Christmas to replace the 35 year old stretched out one in the rig. It was a bit bigger diameter but looked like it’d stay in the pulleys and do the job. The problem was that the .020 Dacron string was a tad short. (You can see the string wrapped around a couple of pulleys and going over the S meter in the picture of the S meter LED’s). That was why the adjustment cam was set to minimal effect. So a new, calibrated, part of the dial string assembly was needed.

Dave sprayed some contact cleaner into the PTO bearing and that did loosen things up a bit but the gears were not really happy. It turns out that Ten Tec sells both dial string and PTO lube kits. The dial string kit cost has increased at about twice the inflation rate so the 25 cent cost mentioned in the manual is now a dollar something. The PTO lube kit is supposed to have a good guide to the recipe for getting to the shaft bearings as well as the proper lube and whatnot. It’s cost was $35 and should get the main tuning knob back to ‘as new’ condition if we do it right.

The Triton IV was one the first all solid state, no tune, amateur bands only, 100 watt class, transceivers. It was known for its CW full break in performance. It’s also a good radio for learning about how these things are built. The block diagram has a circuit board for each block so you can hit the hierarchy of functions at the top level and work your way down to individual circuits and then to the components used to implement that circuit. Lot’s of room, mostly discrete components, and well laid out to see what it does.

The value of these things at flea markets and online appears to be about $250 or so. This one has been through a few ‘learning experiences’ so it isn’t in an OEM state. That is one reason I was able to handle it when Dave grabbed the Dremmel to start cutting a few slots for the LED lights ….

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