Burndept Model 290

serial number 1571

Burndept 290 Veneered wood case with curved sides Push pull output, magic eye tuning indicator, IF 473 kHz. 6L7G 6J5G 6K7G 6Q7G 6G5G 6L6G 6L6G 5Z4G.Long medium and 2 short wavebands.I have the original Wireless and Electrical Trader Sheet 376 which indicates that the Vidor model 300 and the Burndept model 303 (a radiogram) were electrically the same. Bought new before WW2 and has been in family ever since.UK 1938

It was purchased by my father in 1938 and I believe it was the first commercial radio that he bought (the previous ones would have been home made). I have the now yellow copy of Trader sheet 376 and a hand drawn circuit dated 28 January 1939 drawn in the American manner. He subsequently made some modifications so that he could continue listening to other Ham radio enthusiasts. These included three toggle switches on the back of the chassis to switch out the AVC, disconnect the magic eye tuning indicator and switch in a headphone jack. As a young boy I remember this radio being constantly switched on and it continued being used daily until my father died in 1983.

This is the only radio in my collection with octal valves which has these wonderfully shaped screening cans and again the shielding of the mains wiring as well as the wiring in the volume and tone controls is an aspect often omitted from many radios.

When I recently tried this radio again it failed to work on the medium wave and exhibited a significant hum. I found that my father had made some repairs in the past. These included the replacement of one of the electrolytics and the screened wires to the on/off switch and one of the output valves appeared to be an unmarked 6V6. I replaced both with the only two 6L6’s in my spares box which had metal envelopes. The electrolytic smoothing capacitors in the waxed cardboard box were removed (boiling water did the trick) and replaced by a combination of 400 volt modern items mounted on a piece of “Veroboard”. Many of the Hunts capacitors were replaced as they showed signs of leakage as were the two cathode bypass electrolytics. Whilst doing this I came across something odd, there were two capacitors on the AVC line one as shown in the diagram and another at the end connected to the 500k resistor. Both appeared to have been there since the set was constructed. Some of the rubber insulated wiring had perished and was replaced. However, the radio still would not work properly on the medium wave and eventually I discovered that a 500pF mica capacitor in the oscillator section was effectively open circuit. With this replaced and a good clean the set is working well.

interior view
the two toggle switches have been added and the speaker leads replaced by my father many years ago.


one of the interior paper labels

underside of chassis after cleaning and replacement of capacitors

top view of chassis after cleaning and repair

How much is it worth?

In January 2012 one of these was sold for £ 118 on Ebay. It looked nice and was reported to be working welll though did not have the original back cover or loudspeaker.

The Burndept factory in West Street, Erith was bombed on April 19 1941