Sharp Boombox Repair
Tom Petty - Freefallin'
A couple of weeks ago, Natalie brought home a Sharp GF-4646 that she had found in an antique store, un-tested since it had no cable. We found a cord for it and plugged it in, and oddly it had power and would visibly tune to stations, but no sound at all. Aside from a few minor scuffs, this thing is in really good physical shape. At that point, Natalie's plan was to maybe just stick a Raspberry Pi in there and use it as a big speaker, but I wanted to see if we could get it back at least as a radio.
So we had to crack it open and see what's happening, and...I think I see the problem:
If I can suggest a series of events here: Someone had headphones plugged in and they took a hard lateral tug. That broke the board where the headphone jack is and headphones stopped working. Then some enterprising person went in to fix the headphone jack, and when they took the front cover off they didn't do it in a methodical way, and so they ripped the spade connector pole for the Left speaker (the white wire) right through the board, effectively ending this thing's usefulness as a radio.
Until we showed up years later. So the power and headphone board looks pretty bad for sure, but we were able to cut off the spade connectors for the L & R signal wire (Ground was still good somehow), and just solder them to another site on the trace. Problem solved and now we have a working radio.
I have no doubt these are going to fall off again sometime, but I think at that point what we'll do is just bypass that 5-pin cable between the main board and the power board and just extend them a bit and solder them into the through-holes on the main board. I don't care if headphones never work again on this thing after all, and that's all any of this circuitry is for. The tape mechanism doesn't work either. It's got two problems, the motor doesn't spin, probably because its power is on the wrong side of a broken trace on the power board, but it'd also need a new belt as the one in there was pretty crispy. I think it might work as a Bluetooth to Tape adapter though, which really is more than good enough for us.
It's going to work great for Xrayspx Pirate Radio, which we've been using more and more recently as we get more cool radios around the house. It's actually quite loud and sounds really pretty great.
With other '80s things and the Atari 2600 we fixed last year: