Old School FM Converter - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 17, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Old School FM Converter

You older folks will remember these but the younger generation probably will not. A few weeks ago I visited the local ReStore Store and found this Audiovox FM converter with bracket, antenna wire and original instructions for $4.00. My Camaro has a restored AM radio and a pair of speakers in the center dash location. Since the few local AM stations typically play stuff I don't want to listen to I usually leave it turned off.


Back then most cars came with AM radio if they had a radio at all. These converters became available to add FM and a lot of people used them. I remember I installed one for my Grandmother in her '74 Chevelle, probably the mid to late 70's. Why revert to this old technology? I think it will be kind of cool to have a 2nd day upgrade in the car.


I found the bulb is burned out and it isn't a design I recognize. Maybe one of you can help me locate one.


I don't know when I will have time to install this but I will let you know how it turns out.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 17, 07:06 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

LOL my dad had one of them in his 69 C-10....1970something I think ?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 17, 07:14 PM
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 17, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Wow! That's the bulb sure enough. I'll wait to make sure this thing works before I double the cost of my investment. Stay tuned.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 17, 07:33 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Yeah one of my first retail jobs was in a record store selling car stereo. We sold tons of these, along with 8 track to cassette convertors LOL.
I have a FM converter in the garage that I used in my 72 Impala. Worked great when AM turned over to mainly talk-radio in these parts.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 10:13 AM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Good find. I still have the one I bought years ago and it's good to know there is a replacement bulb out there.

The original one looks like it was dipped into a paint to color it's output and I did the same thing years ago with dunking bulbs into some candy paint (tinted/colored clear) and could dunk it one time and let it dry for a particular shade or dunk it once, let it dry, then dunk it again to darken it a little more. I also remember some small bulbs like that out of aftermarket radio's that had slip on covers to change the color output.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 11:06 AM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

lol...I went to a swap meet yesterday and a guy there must of had a dozen of them he was selling.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 11:39 AM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

That was the first 'mod' I did to my mother's '73 Duster after I got my license. It definitely increased the cool factor until the cassette player came along...
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Old School FM Converter

What were the swap meet units selling for?

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 12:49 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Never used a regular fm converter. Did use a 47 mhz converter to monitor the police. For a while you could get a raio shack cb dual band that monitored police frequencies... then crystal based scanners showed up... whoo hooo
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 12:52 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Sorry, I didn't ask for a price. It was at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce Ga. The next one will be the first Saturday in October. I wouldn't be surprised if he was there again next month.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Well today I tested it and found it works so I did the install. I found under the dash carrier were holes that matched the bracket hole pattern that tells me this dash carrier possibly hosted a FM converter in a previous life.

To tuck it up tight and set back I used a piece of 1/16" plate to make a bracket utilizing the two holes. I gotta say this tunes in really well but through the AM radio and dual center mounted speaker the sound quality is reminiscent of the era.

Now I need to order a new bulb. I think I have some of the colored bulb covers from some gauges. I would rather have an orange color instead of the green to match the other gauges in the cabin but will see what I may have. I do wonder if I painted a bulb would the paint hold.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 05:50 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew69 View Post
Well today I tested it and found it works so I did the install. I found under the dash carrier were holes that matched the bracket hole pattern that tells me this dash carrier possibly hosted a FM converter in a previous life.

To tuck it up tight and set back I used a piece of 1/16" plate to make a bracket utilizing the two holes. I gotta say this tunes in really well but through the AM radio and dual center mounted speaker the sound quality is reminiscent of the era.

Now I need to order a new bulb. I think I have some of the colored bulb covers from some gauges. I would rather have an orange color instead of the green to match the other gauges in the cabin but will see what I may have. I do wonder if I painted a bulb would the paint hold.
Here is my bulb trick. Head to the CVS, or bigbox and buy a green Sharpie magic-marker. Have at the bulb glass one or two coats. Instant green tint, thin enough not to burn off.

Brian


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 07:33 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

I think FM converters were just a few years before my time (started driving in '74) so I have to ask the dumb question. What's the difference between an FM converter and an FM radio? Was it just an add-on for an AM only radio? My first car ('72 Malibu) had a cassette player and AM/FM radio.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 17, 08:33 PM
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Re: Old School FM Converter

FM wasnt in common use in the late 60's though it was available. Once broadcasting in stereo became more common it drove the market. Even then i dont think fm overtook am until the late 70's. Gosh...old audio....hitting potholes with a pontiac reverb system installed......

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