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Entries in IW6 (1)

Saturday
Jan052013

NuTone Model IM4006 Radio Cassette Intercom

Exciting news for the music lover and those with discriminating audio tastes! The finest audio you can imagine in a home-communication system is yours. . . from NuTone.

The IM4006 was introduced in 1986 and quickly became the most popular music intercom system that NuTone had ever made. The IM4006 was based on a new platform that began with the IM3003 in 1984 and that platform design was used through the end of 2006.

The IM4006 featured a cassette tape recorder that doubled as a family message center, allowing any user to leave a voice message for family members to listen to.

The IM4006 was the very first model of music intercom to feature a true digital radio tuner with electronic scan tuning, 10 programmable radio station presets and a digital clock and radio frequency readout.

Since the IM4006 is a 6-wire system, it features “hands-free” reply intercom functions and remote stations including a “Privacy” button to block unwanted listening into that room.

The standard IM4006 was designed to accommodate up to 9 remote stations, but with the IA410 Expansion Kit, the maximum number of remotes increased to 20.

The IM4006 was a very reliable system right from the beginning with the exception of a new type of wire that NuTone introduced for the IM4006. The new wire was NuTone's IW6R, the “R” stands for ribbon.

This ribbon wire was a attempt to make the installation of the IM4006 easier and quicker, the exact opposite is what really happened.

The original IW6R was a flat, 6-wire ribbon cable that had solid wire inside the ribbon. The insulation that made up the ribbon was thin and it could be easily damaged during the pre-wire of a new home.

Installers were accustomed to IW6 cable, which is strong and pulls easily through pre-drilled holes in construction framing. IW6R ribbon wire is almost 1 inch wide and unless the pre-drilled holes are extra large, the edges of the cable will be damaged when the cable is pulled through the holes. It was not uncommon to have several cable runs in a single house have damaged wires.

The IW6R used crimp-on connectors that were included with each remote speaker. These connectors were to be crimped on to the ends of the IW6R cable when the system was trimmed out.

Installing the connectors required reading the directions (not a popular thing for installers to do) and some amount of finesse in preparing the cable and crimping the cable (also not a popular skill with installers).

A well-done intercom trim-out could be completed in half the time compared to using cable with indivisible wires.

Another feature that made the IM4006 so popular was starting in 1986, NuTone offered a “Life-Time” Warranty on all of their intercom systems. This warranty included Parts, Labor and In-Home Service for any problem with the systems. I personally performed many hundreds of warranty calls which were just to replace crimp-on connectors.

The IW6R cable was modified to use stranded wire in the cable which eliminated the potential of the crimp-on connector not making a good connection to the wire. It did not solve the “installer skill” issue. Around 1991 NuTone abandoned IW6R cable and the newly revised IMA4006 went back to standard IW6 cable with its individual wires fastened to screw terminals.

While NuTone choose to only label this model as the IM4006 and later the updated version became the IMA4006, there are actually 3 different variations if you look at the circuit board changes from 1986 through 1996.

The breakdown for the 3 variations is roughly:

1986 – 1987 Original Version Boards

1988 – 1991 1st revision of amplifier/power supply, intercom control and master control boards.

1992 – 1996 2nd revision of amplifier/power supply, intercom control, master control, terminal board and function selector boards.

There is not a lot of interchangeability between the 3 variations listed above. Intercom control boards can be used on all 3 variations, but amplifier/power supplies and master control boards cannot, and should be considered as “sets”.

The boards and assemblies that remained mostly unchanged throughout its production were the radio tuner, memory/display, cassette player & pre amp boards. These parts are interchangeable on all versions made from 1986 through 1996.

(The IM4006 is a complicated unit with many circuit boards and interconnection cables)

See all of the IM4006 pictures

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