Thursday, June 01, 2006

The warm glow of the AA5

The AA5 (All American 5) was possibly the longest lived electronic consumer marketed products of the 20th century. The product design was a simple, stable five tube "AC/DC" AM radio. Some images Here.

Virtually every household in America has had at least a few since it's "invention" in 1934. They were cheap And it's simple design eliminated the power transformer which made them also very light compared to prior models.

Early versions of the five tube radio used the same small signal tubes like 6A7, 6D6, 75, 6F7 and a "tuning eye" 6E5 tube in some models. American manufacture of the AA5 radio petered out in the early 1970's, as stocks of tubes and related parts were depleted. After that, solid state radios and "hot chassis" models gained dominance. More here.

Early versions of the five tube radio used the same small signal tubes across the circuit. Later versions that were developed to use less power and take up less space required the development of smaller and more specialized tubes. Previous to them the Armstrong designed super-heterodyne was only available in the most expensive radios. This was the device that made radio explode into the golden era. More details here.
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