Crosley 515

© Copyright Alexander D. Schapira, 2014, All rights reserved

Here is an account of how I restored and repaired a Crosley 515 receiver.

I hope this will be of some interest to other Crosley afficionados.

Click on any picture for a larger view.


I bought this radio locally because I already had a Crosley 516 that I previously restored. I thought it would be nice to have this 515 to accompany it. Although it was in absolutely terrible condition, missing all knobs and bezel, I thought I could restore it.

Before investing too much time and effort in the radio, I checked that critical components were okay. The power transformer, IF cans and antenna and oscillator coils ohm'd out properly.

This radio has five tubes: 80 rectifier, 6B5 output, 76 detector, 6D6 for oscillator/mixer and another 6D6 for IF amplifier. Luckily all five were good. The pilot lamp is a #46, the screw-in equivalent of the more common #47.

The dynamic speaker was beyond repair. The cone was disintegrating and the field coil was open.
The filter capacitor was missing (a replacement had been wired in and held with tape below.)
The chassis was filthy and the transformer shell was rusty.
A second output transformer had been bolted on and wired in and the original output transformer, still in place, had an open primary winding.
The tube shields were rusty and the grid cap leads were flakey.
Below chassis, black tape disease was evident.
The original wax paper capacitors had to go. Some of them were double capacitors with a common connection, usually, but not always, connected to ground.
The 25k/8.5k candohm resistor was open.
The Red-White-Blue dial, glass, and friction wheel tuning mechanism were in good shape.
Other Crosley 515's have plainer dials; this type is rare.
The chassis cleaned up nicely. I de-rusted the transformer shell, primed and repainted it. I replaced the speaker and output transformer, and substituted an appropriate resistor for the field coil.
The filter electrolytics, all wax capacitors and all resistors were also replaced. I left the candohm resistor in place, but disconnected. I replaced it with equivalent 2 watt resistors.

The tube sockets on this radio are phenolic wafer sockets. Each socket is stamped with the number of the tube that goes in it. Unfortunately, the socket for the 6B5 output tube had become conductive due to contamination between the wafers. When B+ voltage was applied, conductive paths between the socket pins began to arc over and smoke. I had to replace and re-wire the 6B5 socket.
I found an original bezel, three of the four missing knobs, and a cabinet through the Antique Radio Forum.
I'm still looking for one of the small Crosley knobs!
The cabinet had to be stripped of paint and refinished.
Some of the veneer needed repair and re-gluing.
A little stain and lacquer finished the cabinet.
The bezel cleaned up nicely.
The chassis cleaned up well. I added a dummy electrolytic can above the chassis just for appearance.
I had only one small original knob, so I substituted a pair of similar knobs to use until I find another original Crosley one. They don't look too bad.
Another view, different lighting.
The 515 together with the 516.

Finally, I aligned the set according to the service instructions. Reception is excellent with a short wire antenna.


Radios of this era did not have automatic gain control (AGC). As a result the audio output level varies greatly with the signal strength of the station. The volume control, which effectively shunts the antenna to ground, has to be adjusted often when tuning across the band to compensate for varying signal strength.

I added X1/Y2 RF bypass capacitors to the AC line, and a 20 ohm/10 watt series line resistor to reduce the transformer primary voltage by about 10 volts to about 112 VAC. The radio draws about .5 amp during normal listening.


It was very satisfying bringing this set back to life and restoring a radio of a bygone era. I hope you enjoyed the story. Please feel free to contact me at w2ads@arrl.net

    -Al Schapira, W2ADS


Page last modified 12/01/2014