1 - Is it Safe to plug it in?

I have an old tube radio, TV set, hi-fi component, electric instrument, or vintage electronic test set, and I want to know if it is safe to plug it in?

Short answer:

No, we do not recommend you plug it in before it has been checked out electrically by an expert. There are possible dangers of electrocution or fire if you are not careful.

Longer answer:

True, if it is from the 1950's or later it stands a fair chance of working as is. A bad hum usually just means that certain components called filter capacitors need to be replaced. Beware, sets made in the 1950's and earlier were not made with such safety devices as three-prong grounded or polarized plugs. In fact, polarized plugs were rare even into the 1970's. Some are even wired so that the chassis is electrically "hot". Be careful not to touch the metal chassis inside the cabinet or the knob shafts without the knobs when these radios are plugged in, even after they have been checked by an expert. Older radios than that often develop more extensive problems as old parts age. Sometimes they might work for a short time but most likely nothing at all will happen if they are plugged in, including no sound. You might get static, or the aforementioned humming. Worst case, you might get smoke, yes, there is a remote chance you could cause a fire. In any case, you risk damaging other components of the radio, such as the power transformer, for which it may be difficult to find a replacement. Be especially careful of the dusty, dirty, and beat up old sets found in attics, basements, garages, and sheds. No matter where they are found, if they are missing any tubes they will not work and there is really no point in plugging them in. If you want to investigate getting it fixed up, click here.