Coronado Model 8154 Plastic Radio

This sassy red plastic radio belonged to my wife's grandmother. My mother-in-law gave it to me one Christmas, proving that not all those old mother-in-law stories are true.

A couple of years after I got it, I finally got around to fixing the electronics. All of the paper and electrolytic capacitors were replaced, as well as the 35W4 rectifier tube. Now it plays just fine.

The design of this radio reveals several cost-saving measures. Like many small table sets, it has an AC/DC transformerless power supply. Omitting the power transformer saves the cost of one of a radio's most expensive components. Only four tubes are employed instead of the usual five. The electronics include an early type of integrated circuit, combining several capacitors and resistors in a flat ceramic envelope (a feature also seen in my Majestic 5LA5). The chassis is a single sheet of aluminum, instead of the usual box shape, and instead of lying flat on the bottom of the cabinet, it slides sideways into slots molded in the cabinet's inside top and bottom. The masonite back snaps into slots in the cabinet, and the entire radio is held in place with only a single screw, whose threaded hole is formed by stamping thin semicircles out of a little wing on the chassis.

This radio was a Geo Metro, in other words, not a Mercedes. Still, it's interesting to note the clever touches that allow a manufacturer to turn a profit on a low-priced radio.

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