1956 British “Transistorette”


It’s likely that many of the first transistor radios to show up in the British Isles were the “Transistorette,” built according to plans appearing in a four-part series of articles in Radio Constructor magazine. The April 1956 issue contained the third in the series, which completed the electronics of the set. The final article the next month provided details on constructing the cabinet for the portable set.

This issue covered most of the electrical wiring of the set, and included some precautions for those who were new to work with transistors. “Apart from the care which is normally needed when wiring up any miniaturized equipment, especial attention has to be paid in this case to the question of preventing damage to the transistors by overheating.”

The article cautioned to use sufficiently long leads on the transistors, and to install them last. In particular, it called for using “laid-on” joints for the transistors. Another piece of wire was used to the final connection. Then, the lead of the transistor was quickly tinned and laid against that conductor.  “A quick application of the soldering iron then causes the solder on the tag-spill to cover the lead-out wire and a quite satisfactory joint results. This joint should be just as good as that given by the more normal method of twisting the appropriate lead around its tag before soldering, and it has the considerable advantage of reducing any possible risk of overheating the transistor. It also enables transistors to be removed from the chassis in a similarly quick manner, should this ever be required.”

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