ASTOR MODEL 525 (CIRCA 1958)

The Astor model 525 was manufactured for Columbus Radio Centre Ltd by Radio Corporation of New Zealand Ltd in about 1958.

The Astor model 525 is similar to the Columbus model 515 (and uses the same cabinet).  It has tuning direct via the large dial on the front and the tone control on the front (as opposed to the tone switch on the rear of the 515).  Circuitry is very similar.

The model 525 was also manufactured as an Astor model FEU by Pye after they took over RCNZ.  See that page for more information on this model.

Who made it?

This model (and all New Zealand Astors) were said to have been made by Pye after they took over RCNZ (and some models were made in the former RCNZ factory), although this model probably began during the transition which happened in 1958, hence the two different-but-same models.  The 525 appears to have started with a Columbus model number (525) and construction, and then switched to an Astor Australia code (FEU) and Pye construction (and parts).  Interestingly (although no link has been documented to Radio Corporation of New Zealand) Astor was a brand owned by Radio Corporation of Australia.

Its possible that some Columbus model 525's exist as well, although none have been sighted to date. 

Chassis info below is for the model FEU - it should be correct (or close) for the 525 as well.  Also see the model 525 schematic as that model is also quite similar.525's and FEU's appear to have different tuning gangs - the 525 dial has the low end of the band on the left, while the FEU has the high end (1.6Mc/s) on the left.  Also the FEU has a Pye manufactured speaker while the 525 has a similar speaker to the one used in the 515 (Most likely a late model Columbus speaker).

If disassembling, be careful when removing the tuning dial - they are pressed on (not screwed) and they break easily.  Also don't try removing the gold spat in the middle, its purely decorative and won't provide any extra access.  Simply leave it in place while removing everything from the cabinet then if needed some pressure can be applied to the back of the sleeve over the tuning shaft to help push it off.

Valves (5): 6BE6, 6BA6, 6AV6, 6AQ5, 6X4

Frequency Bands: 1

Chassis Notes(most schematics can be clicked to download a full size version)

1959 Astor FEU / Columbus and Astor 525 Schematic

General Construction Notes for Radio Corporation of New Zealand Ltd:

The first digit of the serial number typically indicates the year of manufacture of RCNZ chassis' (although not the decade - that requires a little knowledge of the valves, construction, etc). Sets from around 1934 onwards were often (but not always) constructed in a distinctive pressed 'baking pan' style chassis, seemingly unique to RCNZ.

Model codes beginning with a 0, for example the model 051, are Osram valve versions of the model without the leading 0. Technically the 0 should be an O (for Osram), however the digit 0 was used throughout the site before this fact was discovered.

The E suffix indicates a magic eye option is fitted (in models which were available with or without, such as the model 25).

A and B suffixes appear to be simply updates to the current model, R also appears to be simply an updated model ('R'edesign, perhaps?)

P indicates either a permanent magnet speaker version of a model which also came with an electromagnet speaker (the model 26 for example), or a portable model (like the model 694P).

N and M indicated miniature valve versions of a model which started with all (or a mix, ie: model 5) of larger valves. One of these two codes may indicate a transitional mixture of octal and miniature - clarification is required.

S often indicates a stereo model.

Finally, other suffixes and prefixes make occasional appearances in the RCNZ lineup - like the 66W (a variant of the long-running model 66) and the 75XA (a 10-valve version of the model 75 with a separate amplifier chassis).

All documented models using this chassis (2 in total)

YEARMODEL NAME
1958Astor model 525 - this set
1959Astor FEU