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A long repair and a lot of editing to condense the experience down to less than an hour, but worth it. Let me show you the inside and out of the Sony DT-30 Digital Timer, a luxury piece of kit from a time when nodding off in front of the TV was a delicacy - and waking up to the TV was something new altogether. Return to the 70's in style.. and Enjoy!
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By Fran

13 thoughts on “Repairing The Sony DT-30 Television Snooze Box”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars andrew prettyquick says:

    Selling can be disheartening, especially when you remanufacture a product, eating into potential profits, just for the customer's satisfaction, and then not get positive feedback.

    Free scratches and dirt with every order! – The Management.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars dcairns61 says:

    I have one of those "clocks" as well. Sadly it stopped working. I tried the lubricant on the motor thing, which helped but eventually it would stop on cold nights. I think the motor may be failing as it all turns freely.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mike Stavola says:

    Those digital timers were a lot of fun back in the day. An old boss talked about how he used one in the early 80s to turn on and off a boombox at set hours, to piss off squatters that he couldn't kick out of one of his apartments, due to some legal loophole. He later repurposed it to turn on and off the neon signs in the front window of the pawn shop he ran, and that I worked at.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars peteb2 says:

    Trivia time Fran. Sony are famous for their "rubber latex snot" that goes conductive over time due to heating cycles. Highly likely it was leaking current across that olde green fluro neon lamp connect pins & helped cook the series 33k resistor…

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SMB says:

    As several people have already commented, this was a Sony Betamax timer from the mid to late 1970's. My father had one of these with the first VCR we ever had – the original Sony Betamax. The deck didn't have a built-in clock or anything. It had piano keys like an old tape recorder, not buttons. Still, it was amazing technology in it's day. The clock was an accessory for making unattended recordings at a later time. After setting the timer with the time of the program you wanted to record and setting the channel, you would press the "record" and "play" keys with the power off. When the timer switched the machine on it would start recording the program you selected. What was even more amazing is that since the original Betamax L-750 tapes were only 90 minutes long (not quite long enough for most movies) Sony created another accessory called an automatic tape changer. This was a completely mechanical device. It didn't plug in to the wall, it had no batteries and no electronics of any kind. It would sense the end of the tape when the keys popped up and then it would push the "eject" key, wait a few seconds for the first tape to eject, pull the ejected tape into a holding tray and then it would drop a new tape into the tape tray, push the tape into the mechanism, push the mechanism down into the machine, wait a few more seconds for the machine to thread the new tape, and finally it would press the "record" and "play" keys at the same time to continue recording on the next tape. When you loaded the fresh tape you had to pull down a lever which stored energy in a spring. It was enough for a complete tape change cycle. The whole process took about 15 seconds and it was fun to watch. It was like watching a Rube Goldberg contraption. It was clearly designed as an afterthought and it was amazing that it worked so reliably. How far we've come since those days!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Craig Hansen says:

    Cute. As a teenager, I built one of these myself out of a flip-digit clock, to turn my stereo system on and off with the timer. The SPDT microswitches inside allowed me to configure the alarm timer and sleep timer to turn the system either on or off at designated time. As I remember, the alarm was active for about two hours, plenty long enough to play an LP record, and would have been long enough to fill a SP video tape, except that consumer VCRs weren't even a thing yet.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Troy Belding says:

    Put the synchronous motor on a warming plate for a coffee cup. Warm it up. Put some light sewing machine type oil around the gear, then let it cool -it'll pull the oil inside. Repeat that a few times. That'll dilute out the more gummy fluid inside the motor.

    The 0 jewels is because this is a synchronous clock, which obtains its sync from the 60hz (or 50, depending on the motor), rather than from a balance wheel in conjunction with an escapement. The jewels were usually synthetic ruby that were used as bearings with extremely low friction. Pocket watches had between 7 and 23 jewels, with some going nuts and adding more just to add them. 7 was usually enough to make a well lasting watch or clock. Cheap 'dollar' watches had no jewels.

    When they started moving to the synchronous electric clocks, and then the quartz watches, they reverted to saying "no jewels" to make sure people understood that these were not standard wind up clocks. Some of the better quartz watches do have jewels for the bearings, as they do still have the same mechanicals inside, just a different method to keep the time.

    Most synchronous motors don't have grease in them. They were filled with oil. The oil just loses viscosity over the years. If you check the clock forums, you'll find that most of those clocks were really intended to be 'serviced' every 10 years (often replacing the motor assembly). Instead, they were left running for decades.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars jlucasound says:

    You are just like all of us Fran Fans. We don't settle. It is perfect or it is in the junk bin. (The one we have in our house. We keep almost everything. (No Styrofoam. We can get that at MacDonald's). You have mastered this 1970's ish masterpiece. (My stab is 1973-74).

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars postersm 71 says:

    I really enjoy your videos and I should watch more of them 🙂 you are awesome Fran. A wonderful lady who loves working on electronics, a lady after my own heart 🙂 i’m curious what is your background? Did you have a career in electronics or engineering? My background is a little bit of both I was just curious 🙂

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Peter Genius says:

    Hi,having watched many of you videos I know how you are obsessed with nixie tubes and displays, yes I like them too I used to build frequency counters and digital clocks, my very first clock used bridge rectifier to double the 50hz mains freq to 100hz to divide down to 1hz, now my latest have a 16mhz crystall osc.
    my home made freq counter has a 5mhz reference and has 7 segment led displays. I still have and use two venner/maldon electronics freq counters that use nixie displays, that was the company I used to work for back in 1967-1970. I also worked for REVOX repairing tape decks and amps. I am retired but still do electronics. keep up your good work, very interesting videos.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MVVblog says:

    Fran!!!! Use LEDs!! Power up some green LEDs with AC power across a full bridge rectifier, without electrolytic filter. You will get the same 120Hz shimmering light as the neon bulb do. Neon buld are shimmering at the double of the grid frequency, because they glow at the positive peak as at the negative peak, reversing the glow from one electrode to the other.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Andy Finlay says:

    Flat blade? FLAT BLADE?! Oh please! C'mon Fran! As your excellent take on plastic threads;, spinning the driver backwards before forwards (which should apply to any threads plastic or metal) surely PLEASE(!) use a JIS screwdriver! This is a Japanese unit, and has screw heads with the dot next to one of the splines. Please, pretty please, buy a set of JIS screwdrivers! Anything Japanese you repair will thank you for it! Loving your work BTW!

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TEAC Fan says:

    Fran, I've got this same exact timer…except it's branded Zenith but no doubt made by Sony probably. I had the same illumination problem. The alarm dial lights up nice but the other two green neons I put in there barely illuminate. Barely can see it in a dark room. Now your clock looked pretty bright but that probably was your camera adjusting for low light. Wish there was a way to put in LED's but with the whole thing running on 120 volts AC, that's probably not possible. I might take the good alarm dial light and put that in between the hours and tens-minutes.

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