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AR-5 refurb


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Decided to dust-off my AR-5s, which I bought ~1973, and try to repair / refurbish.  Haven't used them for many years as they seemed 'shot' last time.  The cross-over pots spin freely (damaged), and unsure if the woofer and tweeter either don't work, or are just unconnected due to the pots.  Pretty much radiating thru the mid-range.  Spoke to Voxx, who bought AR some time ago, but they are unsure if any spare parts actually exist - ie, perhaps buried in a warehouse somewhere.  I doubt they are actually going to look.

I see the 3a restore manual, and wonder if there may be AR-5 restore info somewhere  in this site (thought I'd ask before chugging thru the 167 pages of AR topics).  Also, How close are the AR-3 details to those of the AR-5?

Would appreciate your advice on replacement of the cross-over, woofer/tweeter, or suggestions on repair them


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 rup welcome to the CSP forum.  You are in the right place. I  have 4 AR5's and I can tell you they are defiantly worth restoring. You mentioned the AR3a restoration guide. Think of you AR5's this way. They are basically AR3a's with 10 in woofers instead of 12 in. and the drivers are 8 ohms instead of 4 ohm. The restoration guide can answer many questions for you. Download it and read it and any questions can be answered here. There are no stupid questions, remember that. The people here are spot on and are ready to help. 

You said that you purchased them new. They will most likely need new foams on the woofers. The pots can be cleaned or replaced. If you don't have a multimeter, get one. You don't have to spend a lot. A 10 or 15 dollar one will get you thru. You drivers may be just fine. There will be others chiming in soon.  Again welcome and I highly recommend studying The AR3a restoration guide.   

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Welcome, rup, and you should forget about Voxx, they probably don't care (or know?) about these vintage speakers - - - you have come to the right place to be among many helpful and knowledgeable people who will get you back on track with your old AR-5's. There are several members here who have extensive experience with the AR-5, and larrybody's initial advice is excellent. Each part of your speaker may require some attention, but if you have some confidence or skill with re-building tasks and also have some personal patience, your efforts will be rewarded once you get these speakers back to peak performance. This does not need to be a costly endeavor, but there will be a required investment of time, and the learning curve and satisfaction of restoring your 1973 speakers will be worth the effort. 

To find CSP threads on the AR-5, plop this exact phrase into a Google search.

site:classicspeakerpages.net "AR-5"

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Welcome rup. I only have two sets, but always looking for more. Thankfully these are not often spoken about so they don't have a huge cult following like many other AR models. Here is a link to a refurb I did on a set, you may find it helpful.    AR 5 restoration

Pics when you can, take your time and enjoy!

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And another welcome to you rup

You are very lucky to have saved your 5s, even when they seemed "shot". They are very highly regarded among classic speaker aficionados and very worth restoring. You've received good advice from ra.ra. and Geoff's (stupidhead) thread is worth reading.

A couple of other thoughts:

Re-foaming woofers is not difficult although the first time it may seem daunting. If you want to do it yourself it will cost about 20 bux or less. We can give advice on where to buy them and how to do it. If you lack the time or interest to do that, send them to Bill leGall of Millersound in PA (google it. He has a nice web site). He's THE speaker guru and will do an expert job with your woofers, probably for under $100. Another option would be CSP member RoyC. He may chime in on this subject but you should know is a co-author of the AR-3a restoration guide and he does a lot of restoration work for ebay seller Vintage-AR. He may be willing to refoam your woofers and would do an expert job.

If you have the capacitors like the ones in Geoff's speakers they may be fine for now. Electrolytic caps last about 30 years more-or-less before they start to leak and drift. Spragues are excellent and "may" still be within spec but yours are over 40 years old, so.... probably should be replaced. As an aside, I repair a lot of 50+ year old KLH tube radios. They have a 4.7uF Sprague electrolytic cap and even though the radios work with the old cap, when I measure the caps they are typically off by 50 to 100+% (measure 7.5 to 11uF and more). It's not hard to replace your crossover caps if you know how to use a soldering  iron, and new film caps will last virtually forever.

The pots in yours are an issue. Best solution IMHO (not everyone agrees) is to replace them with L-pads. They cost about $4 each from partsexpress and will work reliably. Soldering skill is helpful but if you can't solder you can use crimp connectors.

As Roy told Geoff in the linked thread, probably the only work you need to do to get the 5s up and running is re-foam the woofers (do NOT replace them) and replace the broken pots.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Let's see 'em! If the cabinets are in good shape (seems likely) a quick wipe with Howard restore-a-Finish and an application of their Feed-n-Wax will have them looking like new.

And I'll reiterate--be sure to look at the excellent AR-3a restoration guide. Most of it is applicable to your 5s.

Let the fun begin!


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