How To Unjam An Old Radio

If you’re old enough to remember the early days of radio broadcasting, here’s a great tip for getting ahold of old gear quickly. This recipe uses a <\(bulk\).> tag instead of because that’s what tags are, so the radio isn’t attached to your house. Of course, these same techniques can be used for any vintage equipment and the chances are much greater of getting the equipment to working order.

Once upon a time, radio was a pretty common medium for playing music. That has changed tremendously through the past three decades. From the radio’s heyday in the 50s through the 60s, oldies radio had a large and devoted following of radio enthusiasts. Nowadays, oldies radio stands alone, a digital audio pioneer that seems to have lost some of its appeal to the masses.

There are a lot of good things that come with these old radios. Some may have no sound, some may need repairs, some may need to be tuned or tuned again, some may need cleaning and tuning, some may need repairs, and some may even need cleaning after a show or a game. However, there is one critical feature lacking in a lot of old radios: a battery. 

The idea is still as prevalent as it was for the past several decades thanks to a few manufacturers that make battery packs for these vintage radios. One thing about batteries is that they are not always cheap, although the prices have dropped quite a bit. Some of the newer batteries are actually more expensive than their old-school counterparts. In addition to the costs of buying new batteries, there are other issues that must be addressed in the installation of a new battery pack. The easiest method in this instance is to do it yourself, which is what this tutorial will cover. Here’s another great blog post about the different types of batteries and how to choose the correct one for your radio. 

For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll be using this brand of the  Norelco  model, called the  Bolt. This makes me wonder, will the old models still work? Well that depends on the batteries you use. 


Batteries: 9 volt, alkaline (AA), NiMH (A), nickel-cyanide (NiCd).   12 volt, lead acid (Li-Ion), NiCd.

Cable – about 1.25 meters

Power strip – you can use a 12 V outlet or something more than the typical 1.8 volts. I recommend the Powermatic power strip for its convenience and the fact that it has a LED on the back, so you’re always aware of power levels.  


1. Use an adapter cable to connect the car battery into the radio.

2. Hook the adapter cable up to the car battery

3. Hook the radio into the powerstrip

4. Press the button on the radio, and wait to read back the warning

5. Use a 12 V outlet to power the amp or speakers

6. Use the adapter cable to install the new battery pack

7. Hook the radio into the amp

So this is a really basic trick for getting these things working. 

This is my radio, the Radio 3 (also called FM-2 for short). I can’t say it’s a super-high quality radio but it works great and plays music perfectly. When I hooked it back up, I couldn’t believe how smooth and quick it was. I got it working right in under five minutes.

I’m definitely still hooked on radio and the good ol’ days aren’t too far off. I’d go so far as to say I’m more of a music lover than a hockey fan. However, I am a big sports fan and I was excited about the World Junior Championships just happened this week.

I’ll leave you with one of the first songs that was ever recorded on a radio.