Philco Predicta - Wildest looking clock radio from 50s!
When it comes to out-of-this-world concepts, the late 50s Philco Predicta series is unmatched. Like its TV counterpart, the Predicta clock radio features a similar head and shoulders design:
These iconic examples are rare and collectible. Late 50s early 60s futuristic designs were a reflection of a world contemplating space travel for the first time. Fascination with all things outer space, inter-planetary travel, and alien creatures was reflected in product designs. Some of the modernistic approaches were truly ahead of its time. Others leave you scratching your head. These Predictas embody both depending who you ask. Nowadays, these retro futuristic period icons are a reminder of our naive visions of the future back in the 50s.
This Predicta clock radio is a rare white on white original color combination. These were also available in white clock with black base.
This one is in fair condition. The clock assembly is cracked in many places and reglued. The buttons on top of the clock were all present although loose. These buttons tend to pop off over the years. There are no easy replacements for these lost buttons.
Also a common flaw among these surviving Predictas is the crack in front of the clock buttons that holds the metal clock surround in place.
The little clock set knurled knob in back goes missing over the years. A flawed design. The knob should be fixed and not threaded.
When I first plugged this clock radio in, the clock worked. The buttons worked although they were popping off all over the place. The radio was not working. It was missing the power cord and the bottom panel was not secured.
The restoration and repair of these old Predictas require a little extra consideration compared with regular clock radios designs of the day. These Predictas have a lot more parts. It is important all the little clips, interconnects, and hardware be maintained and accounted for during disassembly and re-assembly
The electronics were all original. Although, the inside was dirty, I have seen far worse.
The circuit board is very serviceable:
Here's with the circuit board removed:
Here are the wiring interconnects that snap into these clips molded into the chassis. These are extremely unreliable and not suited for servicing. The design seems intuitive but, practically, these plastic clips fatigue and break off unless you are careful. Once they break, the electrical clips are not securely held in place. This results in clock, radio or both not working. The little metal clips that insert into the clips also get loose and create an open circuit.
Next, removing the clock assembly, held on by two screws on a substantial metal base that serves as a clock pivot.
The unusual long oval shaped speaker is in impeccable condition.These replacement speakers are not easy to find.
The clock assembly is dis-assembled. The clear clock face is in very good condition with no cracks or major scratches.
The buttons are all there. These things are not easy to replace if one goes missing.
There are two screws that secure the clock mechanism to the back attachment.
The clock is a typical Telechron movement that is common in 50s clocks. This one is unique, obviously, because of the top push buttons. But, the motor and clock mechanism itself is found throughout late 50s clock designs.
The two wires one black and one white that connect to the clock winding are soldered to two clips that are on the back of the mechanism of the magnetic core. The two clips are held in place with a very feeble attachment that is basically a piece of paper. The wire winding is very thin wire the thickness of a human hair. If either of these clip break off and the thin wire under the paper sheath comes detached, your clock will stop working. Poor design but it was prevalent throughout the 50s.
The copper clock movement is actually sealed and is not designed to be serviceable. If it fails, you simply replace with another clock motor.
The cracked plastic back housing is dirty. It shows signs of having been repaired previously.
After a thorough cleaning, the clock re-assembly begins:
The only way to secure the metal front to the plastic back housing is with glue. The front edge that hold the metal trim has chipped off.
The next step is to re-assemble the base interconnect swivel. This is the correct mounting orientation as viewed from the top back. If you get it wrong by 180 degrees, the clock will swivel backward.
The bottom of the base is attached to the console radio base with a tension washer, flat washer and C-clip, then two machine screws.
The next step is to attach the volume and tuning control knobs. Be sure to orient the tuning dial within the knob as shown. Otherwise, the tuning station will not align with what is displayed. Also, once you install the circuit board, you won't be able to reach the dial so it aligns with the station.
To resolve the clip interconnect that is prone to failure, I decided to solder the connections directly onto the circuit board. I scraped the contact pads so the solder would have a rough surface to attach to. Otherwise, the solder ball could easily pop off.
Here's the red and blue speaker output wires soldered directly onto the circuit board:
Here are the other circuit connects
Next, this Predicta needed a new power cord. Fortunately, there was a hole already existing on the back of the radio console section that appeared to be factory design. All I need to do was widen it with a round file for the power cord stress relief bushing.
Then, I sealed up the opening through the original power cord was routed for safety purposes.
Here's the little clip that holds the circuit board in place.
Here's with all the internals re-assembled. Nice and clean!
Here's with everything put back together:
These Predictas work well as Bluetooth MP3 players. They convert easily and look out of this world!