My Freed-Eisemann FE-15

© Copyright Alexander D. Schapira, 2005-2014, All rights reserved

With thanks to all who helped and provided information and
encouragement, I am happy to say that I have gotten my
Freed-Eisemann FE-15 working. For those interested,
here is what I have done so far, and what remains to do:

While on vacation one summer I visited an antique store in Eastern Massachusetts
where I found the chassis of a Freed-Eisemann FE-15. It was wrapped in old newspapers from 1964, but never-the-less was covered in grunge. All five UV-201A's were there, but it had no cabinet and was missing two of the three large knobs and both of the smaller rheostat knobs.  I decided to take a chance on it.

After the initial cleanup, it looked like this.

I downloaded a schematic from Nostalgia Air (Thanks!).
 Two of the UV-201A's had open or intermittent filaments, or so it seemed.
 Two of the transformers had open windings,
 and the two wire-wound resistors, and the grid leak resistor were open.

I have never worked on a TRF set before but I was
 encouraged by list members to attempt a repair.
Here is what I did.
I unsoldered the pins and gently removed the old cement,
separated the base from the glass, cleaned and tinned the leads,
re-glued the base (using Elmer's White, per previous discussion)
and re-soldered the pins.  Both now have solid connections and
work fine in the FE-15 and in a test jig.

BEFORE/FE15res.jpg   GridLeak2.jpg


One of them (on the left, below) was itself a replacement transformer that had gone bad.
I now know that open transformers are very common in sets of this type
because of the fine wire used in the transformer windings.

BEFORE/FE15Xfrmr1.jpg   BEFORE/FE15Xfrmr2.jpg

I used RC coupling to get around the open transformers.
For the coupling from the detector to the 1st audio stage,
 I used 100k in the detector plate through .1 uF to 1 Meg at the 1st AF grid to C-.
 (Only the secondary of the 1st transformer was open,
but I removed the primary lead when I inserted the 100k detector plate load.)

For the 2nd audio stage and I used 100k in the plate of the 1st AF stage,
coupled with .01 uF to 1 Meg to C- in the grid of the 2nd AF stage.
(Only the primary of the 2nd transformer was open,
 but I removed the secondary connection too).

 These values were determined empirically using
RC substitution boxes adjusted for best results.

Here is what the lash-up looked like on the bench.


Not having any suitable high impedance speaker to plug into the
output jack, I used a 10k resistor (the output jack is in the
plate circuit to 90 volts) and coupled a little transistor
amplifier to it. (The value of 10k was again determined
experimentally.) Voila! AM stations heard!
I was lucky enough to get an original FE-15 cabinet
and two original large F-E type 360 knobs thanks to Travis Ogden, a reader of my initial post.
The cabinet needed major work.
(Notice someone had attached the top to the lid.)

BEFORE/pict0007.jpg BEFORE/pict0008.jpg BEFORE/pict0027.jpg

AFTER/pict0009.jpg AFTER/pict0010.jpg AFTER/pict0025.jpg

 I used gold acrylic paint and wiped off the excess around the engravings.

BEFORE/pict0002.jpg AFTER/pict0012.jpg

(This is reversible if I locate the appropriate transformers.)
I measured the current draw on the bench and found that I needed
      A supply:        6V @ 1.0 - 1.25 A
B1 supply:  90V @ 11 - 15 mA
B2 supply:  22 1/2 V @ 0.55 mA
C supply:  -4 1/2 V @ 0.7 uA
I used transformers and parts on hand to incorporate
a regulated 6 volt DC supply for the filaments,
zener regulated B+ supplies, and
a regulated -5 volt C- supply.
I found that I got sufficient audio output using a 5" speaker
with an output transformer from my junk box.
 I mounted the speaker in an old wooden speaker box that I refinished.
But I would like to find a more appropriate speaker.
Any recommendations for an appropriate speaker or horn?
I obtained a copy of the original battery interconnection diagram,
 thanks to Tom Provost, a reader of my initial post.
This is attached to the back of the set and serves to
 identify the function of the seven binding posts.

Here is the finished product!
Only the two small rheostat knobs are not original.
Does anyone have two original F-E type 385 knobs?
These are engraved 0 - 100 around 270 degrees, and are about 2 1/2" in diameter.

I really enjoyed this restoration project and learning about and listening to a TRF receiver.
  Now I truly know where the expression
"Stay tuned"
comes from.

Thanks again for your help, advice, opinions, comments.


Please feel free to contact me at

Page last modified 04/17/2014