The Stella model 5B1 was manufactured for Cory-Wright & Salmon Ltd by Radio Corporation of New Zealand Ltd in 1936.

1936 5-valve broadcast band battery (farm) radio.

Roughly equivalent of a 6-valve mains radio since battery radios did not need, or have, a rectifier valve.

The 5B1 requires 2V for the heater feed while the later 1936 model 5B6 requires 6V.  Both models use 90V (2 x 45V 'B' batteries) for the HT supply.

These kinds of radios were very common in the 30's and 40's as many areas of NZ had no mains power supplied to them.  Batteries would be taken into town to be charged, or on a well provisioned property a wind generator could be used to recharge them.

Battery radios are generally easy to spot because they have no mains transformer on the chassis, and instead of a mains power cord there will be a bundle of 4, 5, 6 or more wires coming out of the back.  Ofthen these radios were converted to mains operation when an area was finally hooked to the grid, as this was cheaper than replacing a radio, so its common to find sets these days that have a battery model code, but have a mains cord and transformer (as with the photos of the set above).

Technical Information

Valves (5): 1A6 (or 1C6 ), 32, 32, 30, 19

Intermediate Frequency: 465kc/s

Frequency Bands: 1

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

Service information RCNZ_-_model_5B1_Courtenay_-_5V_BC_Battery_-_1935.pdf

Stella 5B1

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).  This suffix was used in the mid 50's when Radio Corp was changing over.

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.  It can also indicate 'self-biased' in the transition period between back-biased and self biased sets where there were models with both methods employed (53S for example)

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).

Model nicknames are often sourced from either newspaper advertising, company literature or the NZ Radio Traders Federation official trade-in price books (Particularly Courtenay models from this publication)

In 1954, model numbering changed, to begin with the number of valves (ie: 501 - 5 valves, 1006 - 10 valves, etc) although the final 2 digits don't appear to have much significance.  Middle digits of 5 (portable) or 6 (mantle, including clock radio) are used on the AWA-designed plastic-cased sets.