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Updating a BMC radio- any advice?

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Updating a BMC radio- any advice?
#1
  This topic is about my 1965 MG MGB
miatadon Avatar
miatadon Silver Member Don Scott
Calistoga, CA, USA   USA
I have made a few calls to find a firm that does the conversion of old radios to add FM and a auxiliary input. Looks like it's $400 and up! Ouch. Anyone out there have their old radio updated recently that can comment?

My present radio is the AM type fitted to early MGBs that has British Motor Corporation written on the face, but is actually not British at all, and was installed by US dealers in the cars when sold new.

Another alternative would be to find an AM-FM radio from the '60s that is appropriate for my car, but not sure if those are also expensive. I think there were Radiomobile and Blaupunkt radios fitted to these cars also.

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dohc281 Avatar
dohc281 Gold Member Ira Eckstein
Laurel Springs, NJ, USA   USA
Don, my 67 B doesn’t have a radio and it’s not hard being without one. That being said it depends if your car is positive ground or negative ground. You aren’t going to find many am/fm positive ground radios. That’s a big reason I have a negative ground radio in the trunk, I’m not in a hurry to convert the car to negative ground.



If you hit your pony over the nose at the outset of your acquaintance, he may not love you, but he will take a deep interest in your movements ever afterwards.



Rudyard Kipling

miatadon Avatar
miatadon Silver Member Don Scott
Calistoga, CA, USA   USA
My car was converted to negative ground by a former owner. That should give me more radio options I would think.

Or, is this a reasonable compromise with originality?

shoppingsleepysrese1sleepyretrosound&gclid=CjwKCAjwk9HWBRApEiwA6mKWaeYGi5m0yAk5We-O47rLsnvi3yD_RUrvb0nEhgD95X21M_q_-sPUixoCr-IQAvD_BwE" target="_blank" >https://www.summitracing.com/parts/res-lac4023696?seid=srese1&cm_mmc=pla-googlesleepyshoppingsleepysrese1sleepyretrosound&gclid=CjwKCAjwk9HWBRApEiwA6mKWaeYGi5m0yAk5We-O47rLsnvi3yD_RUrvb0nEhgD95X21M_q_-sPUixoCr-IQAvD_BwE

It's a lot less money!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-04-16 06:19 PM by miatadon.

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dohc281 Avatar
dohc281 Gold Member Ira Eckstein
Laurel Springs, NJ, USA   USA
The fact it’s been converted to negative ground solves one issue. The next is your price limit. I would go to eBay and search what is available that is period correct if that’s the way you want to go.



If you hit your pony over the nose at the outset of your acquaintance, he may not love you, but he will take a deep interest in your movements ever afterwards.



Rudyard Kipling

chris Avatar
chris Platinum Member Chris Roop
Pendleton, OR, USA   USA
Don, are all of the BMC am radios pos ground?


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Idasix Avatar
Idasix Gold Member David Smailes
Mount Vernon, WA, USA   USA
1975 MG MGB "Red Rider"
I contacted Crutchfield and talked to one of their techs. I simply moved to a newer style (Single DIN) (Thickness) with thumb drive etc. Went in super easy. Upgraded the speakers also. Just food for thought.
Dave



The brave don't live forever...
The cautious don't live at all.

carbus Avatar
carbus Carl Bussler
Havertown, PA, USA   USA
The modern DIN radio I had didn't work in my '67, so I'm currently in the process of replacing all the capacitors and transistors in my original Pianola radio.

So far, making good progress, but the work requires patience and a steady hand. I can see why they charge $375 to restore one of these. I had zero sound, now I have static filled stations. Once I get the new transistors in, things should be good again.

Another option I may also pursue is to put a Bluetooth amplifier in the car, and connect that to speakers. It removes the radio from the equation entirely. Just use your phone or iPod instead.

Car Amplifiers]Crutchfield Bluetooth Car Amplifiers



1967 MGB GT (Tartan Red)
1972 Yamaha XS650 (Red and White)
2005 Scion XA RS 1.0 #959 of 1550 (Absolutely Red)

miatadon Avatar
miatadon Silver Member Don Scott
Calistoga, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 3718330 by chris Don, are all of the BMC am radios pos ground?

Chris, I think so. I have a box of 'em from many years of MGB ownership. Some look awful, and I don't know if any work or not.

I bought a '67 B a year ago that has had an original BMC radio redone to modern standards, and it's pretty cool. It cost the PO over $300, and that same company now charges a bit over $400 to do this work.

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Neallew Avatar
Neallew Gold Member Neal Lewis
swansea, wales, UK   GBR
I have fitted something like the retro sound to mine and the company also had a dual channel speaker so i replaced the central one for that - the pcd mounting fitted too - bonus. It looks period correct when off and has usb input etc - newest model has Bluetooth connectivity..... I think it works well at low speed not at high I'd need some more speakers for higher speeds. It wasn't cheap but it looks good.

lgorg Avatar
lgorg Larry Gorg
Renton, WA, USA   USA
1966 MG MGB "Robbie"
In reply to a post by miatadon I have made a few calls to find a firm that does the conversion of old radios to add FM and a auxiliary input. Looks like it's $400 and up! Ouch. Anyone out there have their old radio updated recently that can comment?

My present radio is the AM type fitted to early MGBs that has British Motor Corporation written on the face, but is actually not British at all, and was installed by US dealers in the cars when sold new.

Another alternative would be to find an AM-FM radio from the '60s that is appropriate for my car, but not sure if those are also expensive. I think there were Radiomobile and Blaupunkt radios fitted to these cars also.

This topic comes up periodically, maybe every six months or so. There were no factory installed radios in the MGBs as they were all dealer installed. Mine is manufactured by Motorola, and is AM only. When I converted my car to negative earth, I discovered that someone prior to my ownership was investigating that conversion, and broke off the knob that changes the radio from positive to negative earth. The left side should have what looks like a knob, but to convert from positive to negative ground, you pull it out, turn, and re-insert the knob. My radio had a big hole where the knob should have been, and the wire was soldered inside. So, I shelved it as it was a low priority item. I put in a modern radio by Pyle that looked period correct. Unfortunately, it only lasted about six months before it died. The second radio is one by SSL and is not period correct. I got it from Frye Electronics on sale for $29. Almost all modern radios include a bracket that works with older cars, so I would not worry about it if you really want to go this route.

Can you use a negative earth radio in a positive earth car? Yes, you can, and there are numerous ways to do it. The easiest way is to isolate the radio, then run power wire to the ground, and the ground to the brown circuit that comes off the ignition. Most modern radios also have a hot wire that saves your stations which you can either use or not use. You may want to swap out your antenna while you are at it. The old style that you can extend, is good for AM only. FM reception is lousy with those antennas. I simply don't listen to the radio, just music that is on my thumb drive.

Go with the advice given earlier and check Ebay or craigslist as period AM/FM radios come up for sale. Unfortunately, they are also pricey. The best article on radios is over on the Original MG forum and is titled Early 1969 MKII MGB Motorola AM-FM Radio and Installation

There are other suggestions if you do a search on radios. In time, I may send my radio out for a modern rebuild or I may not. All you really need is an amp with bluetooth and simply use your cell phone or Ipad. You can download the FM radio app and you would be good to go.

Many also state that you don't need a radio. I found that if I put my speakers under the dash and point them back at me, I can actually hear the music with the top down. But not at freeway speeds. If I have to go on the freeway, I will do a bit of research as there are lots of two lane roads that also are going my way.

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ozieagle Avatar
ozieagle Gold Member Herb Adler
Geelong Victoria, Australia   AUS
1958 Wolseley 1500 "Wooly"
1966 MG MGB "Bl**dy B"
In reply to # 3718426 by lgorg Can you use a negative earth radio in a positive earth car? Yes, you can, and there are numerous ways to do it. The easiest way is to isolate the radio, then run power wire to the ground, and the ground to the brown circuit that comes off the ignition.

It can be done this way, BUT the case of the radio is live with respect to the rest of the car. One false move and you will release heaps of smoke, particularly when you connect the aerial, since its shield is connected to the body of the car and the earth in the radio..

Most modern radios also have a hot wire that saves your stations which you can either use or not use.

This yellow keep alive wire is essential, not only for keeping settings but to provide power to the rest of the radio. The switched red wire is only a control wire.

Have a read of this thread.

https://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?1,3714691

Herb



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chris Avatar
chris Platinum Member Chris Roop
Pendleton, OR, USA   USA
In reply to # 3718426 by lgorg




There are other suggestions if you do a search on radios. In time, I may send my radio out for a modern rebuild or I may not. All you really need is an amp with bluetooth and simply use your cell phone or Ipad. You can download the FM radio app and you would be good to go.


Yeah but then you have to get a smart phone or an Ipad.


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