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Thursday
May142015

Repairing NuTone Intercom Systems - How Many Have We Completed? - How Things have Changed

The NuTone Intercom Repair Business is Booming.

In our little corner of the NuTone Universe business is very busy.  We are contacted everyday by homeowners who are looking for someone to Repair their NuTone Intercom equipment.  A common thread that runs through many peoples stories is how difficult it is finding someone that doesn't just want to sell them a new system

People tell me how they are told that "it's to old to fix", "they don't make parts for it any more", "those types of electronics are no longer made". These types of statements are simply not true.   If someone has an interest in repairing Vintage NuTone Intercoms, it can be done.

In 2014 we had 396 NuTone Intercom Master Station sent into us for repair.  Out of all of those sets, only 2 were beyond economical repair and for those customers we found replacement Master Stations and rebuilt those for them. 

While the majority of the repairs are on models made between 1984 and 2008, we do have many Master Stations sent in that date from the late 1950's through the late 1970's.

So far this year we are running about 10% ahead of last year and we are just coming into the busiest time of year.  We have created a You Tube Channel for our on-line Videos, which help our customers with the task of removing their Master Stations for repair.  We have an article on this site that shows how to package the Master Station for shipment so it doesn't get damaged.  We are constantly buying NOS and used NuTone Intercom equipment so we have the parts we need to repair the sets that are sent into us.

Thanks to Cindy, we have a reorganized our parts and electroinc modules storgae, which makes finding what I'm looking for so much easier.

While everything is constantly growing, I refuse to compromise the level and quality of work I do on my repairs.  It may be very old-school, but if my name goes on any repair, it will be done properly, period.

Thanks to everyone who has trusted use with your equipment.

Christopher  

 

Thursday
Jan082015

Video Index for Instructional Videos about Repairing NuTone Intercom Systems

As the number of Instructional Videos grows, keeping them organized and easy for visitors to find is more and more important.  I've shuffeled things around a bit and I've created a Master Index / Link page for all of the current and future Videos.

This Videos on this page will be sorted by the Model Number of each NuTone Intercom System.

I hop this will make it easier for everyone to find the information they are looking for.

Here is a LINK to the Video Index Page

I am interested in your ideas and comments on the Videos.

Use this link to email me about the Videos.

Go to our YouTube Channel

Friday
May092014

Does your NuTone Patio Speaker Station still work after all these years?

From the very beginning in the 1950's, NuTone offered outdoor Patio Speakers for their Radio Intercom Systems. The earliest Patio Stations were slightly modified Entry Door Stations with a very small 3-1/2” diameter speaker cone.

In the early 19060's NuTone began to sell larger Patio Stations which had a 5” diameter speaker cones and the Deluxe 2-piece Patio Station, included a small wall mounted Intercom Remote Control which was connect to a large, separate 8” diameter wall mounted speaker.

As new models were introduced, so were new and better designed Patio Stations. Even with the better designs, all Patio Stations have one common problem, they're located outdoors in the weather.

Sun, Rain, Snow and Wind take their toll on the paper in the Speaker Cones and sooner or later the speakers will stop working. Since NuTone Intercom Systems use speaker cones with special impedance ratings, which are matched to the system they are used in, you really can't just go out and buy any old speaker cone to replace the failed original. You need an original Genuine NuTone Part.

The problem with finding a genuine NuTone Replacement Patio Speaker Cone has always been the same, since outdoor Patio Stations are the first to wear out, any remaining stock of a discontinued model is the first to be used up. An added twist to this problem is that recently NuTone has discontinued manufacturing replacement speaker cones used in all models made between 1972 through 2008. Any remaining stock of Patio Speakers cones is already gone, so what should we do?

We will make our own Patio Speaker Cones.

The only difference between an “Inside Speaker Cone” and a “Patio Speaker Cone” is that the patio Speaker Cone has been treated to protect the paper cone in the speaker from Sun, Rain, Snow and Wind.

Protecting the paper cone is easy. We use a product called “The Wet Look” which is specifically designed to protect the paper cones from the elements and help them to last longer.

 

Here you can see a pair of standard 5” diameter NuTone inside speaker cones, these are both 25 ohm speakers, which are used in many models of NuTone Radio Intercom Systems made between 1972 and 2008. If you put one of these untreated speaker cones into a Patio Station out doors, it will likely last just 2-3 years before the weather rots the paper away.

Applying The Wet Look is easy, it's just brushed carefully onto the surface of the paper cone, making sure that all of the folds and creases are cover.

Let application dry over night and then apply a second coat. After it is thoroughly dried, install the treated speaker cone into your Patio Station.

If your NuTone Radio Intercom System has a deluxe 2-piece Patio Station, you will need a replacement 8” diameter Speaker Cone.

 

Here is a new 8” diameter NuTone 25 ohm Speaker Cone ready to be treated with The Wet Look.

Red Arrow is the treat side - Blue Arrow is the untreated side

You can see the difference once one-half of the speaker cones has been treated.

 

If you look carefully, you can see that with just one coat of The Wet Look, the coating looks blotchy in some areas. This is why 2 coats is needed to really protect the paper cone.

The Wet Look is commonly available to buy from many sources on-line and it's inexpensive. However a 4 oz. Jar is enough to coat between 25 and 30 speaker cones, many more than the average homeowner will ever have to do.

Since there is a real need for treated NuTone Patio Speaker Cones, we keep them in stock. Not just for our customers who send in equipment for repair, but for anyone who needs one. We don't charge any extra for the treatment of The Wet Look, we just charge for the Speaker Cone.

If you need a treated Genuine NuTone Patio Speaker Cone, contact us and we will send one to you.

 

NEXT UP: How to turn an “Inside Remote Station” into a “Patio Remote Station” . . . it's quite easy. . . really

 

 

Monday
May052014

Are You Living with a Discolored and Yellowed NuTone Master Station?

Has Your NuTone Radio Intercom Master Station Discolored and Turned Yellow?

A big problem with many models of NuTone Radio Intercom Master Stations are that over time the Master Stations discolor and turn from their original White or Bright White to a sickly yellow.

This happens due to a complex chemical reaction in the plastic after it has been exposed to Ultra-Violet light from the sun.

Many types of plastics used in consumer products are made from a formula that includes the chemical compound Bromide. Bromide is added to the plastic to help make it more fire-retardant.

When the plastic is exposed to UV light for a long period of time, the bromide (which is a naturally brownish color) reacts and slowly turns the plastic into a yellowish color. The yellowing effects only the surface of the plastic, keeps the original color just below the surface

This yellowing of plastics is very common, especially with consumer products made in the early 1980's through the mid 2000's.

Many of the NuTone Master Stations we receive in the shop for repair are severely discolored. Even after the electronics are repaired and the faceplates have been cleaned, the yellowed faceplate makes the Master Station look unsightly.

As it turns out, there is a process that can reverse the chemical reaction in the plastic and restore the face plate almost to it's original color.

By using a mixture of concentrated Hydrogen-Peroxide, Oxy-Clean, Water, Sun Light and Time, the yellowing process can be reversed.

I have started some trials on the face plate from a NuTone IMA3303WH, which originally was NuTone's “Bright White” finish. My test face plate had discolored to a sickly yellow that no one would want in their kitchen.

As a control for the test, I removed one of the lower doors from the IMA3303's face plate and put it aside. The face plate (with all of the electronics removed), the second door and the push button assembly were place is a transparent plastic tub and the de-yellowing solution was added. A tight fitting lid was placed on the tub and everything was placed outside in direct sunlight. The test began on Saturday, May 3rd at 6 PM.

Red Arrow is untreated door - Blue Arrow is treated door

The pictures which shows the outcome of the test were taken on Sunday, May 4th around 4 PM, which is slightly less than 24 hours of soak time in the solution.

Red Arrow untreated door - Blue Arrow treated door

You can clearly see a dramatic difference in the color between the treated door and the original door.

The pictures were taken under my normal work bench lights and there has been no Photo-Shopping of the images.

After I took the pictures, the door was placed back in the solution with the face place and button assembly. The test will continue until Saturday, May 10th giving the items a total of 168 hours of soak time.

For this to be a viable process, the exact formula of the solution will have to be standardized and a proper method of testing the solution to determine if it's been depleted must be made.

It will also be necessary to test the process on every model of NuTone Master Station that was available in White or Bright White, to make sure that the process will work on all of the different plastics used.

These Models include: IM3003WH, IM4006WH, IMA4006WH, IM5006, IM3303WH, IMA3303WH, IM3204, IMA3204, IM4406, IMA4406.

It may also be possible to use this process on discolored and yellowed remote speakers, but I will leave that until I have the Master Station testing completed.

I think that this process will allow more homeowners to keep their original NuTone Radio Intercom Systems and not have to live with an unsightly Master Station

 

I will post more pictures after the ongoing test is completed. The next Master Station that will be tested is a IM5006.

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr192014

A Picture is Truly worth a Thousand Words

NuTone Press Photograph September 17, 1960