TOMORROW’S PRODUCTS are in kit-form today-with Heathkit electronics (Aug, 1974)

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EXPERTS AGREE The TV of the future is here… in the Heathkit Digital-Design GR-2000 TV

At ELEMENTARY ELECTRONICS they said: “The fact is, today’s Heathkit GR-2000 is the color TV the rest of the industry will be making tomorrow .. . there is no Other TV available at any price which incorporates what Heath has built into their latest color TV.”

The FAMILY HANDYMAN reviewer put it this way: “The picture quality of the GR-2000 is flawless, natural tints, excellent definition, and pictures are steady as a rock. It’s better than any this writer has ever seen.”

POPULAR SCIENCE pointed out “more linear IC’s, improved vertical sweep, regulators that prevent power supply shorts, and an industry first: the permanently tuned I.F. filter.”

The RADIO-ELECTRONICS editors said the Heathkit Digital TV has “features that are not to be found in any other production color TV being sold in the U.S.: “On-screen electronic digital channel readout… numbers appear each time you switch channels or touch the RECALL button … On-screen electronic digital clock . .. an optional low cost feature . .. will display in 12- or 24-hour format. . . Silent all-electronic tuning. It’s done with uhf and vhf varactor diode tuners … Touch-to-tune reprogrammable, digital channel selection … up to 16 channels, uhf or vhf… in whatever order you wish … there’s no need to ever tune to an unused channel. LC IF amplifier with fixed ten-section LC IF bandpass filter in the IF strip . . . eliminates the need for critically adjust- ed traps for eliminating adjacent-channel and in-channel carrier beats. No IF alignment is needed ever. Touch volume control. .. when the remote control is used … touch switches raise or lower the volume in small steps.”

POPULAR ELECTRONICS took a look at the 25-in. (diagonal) picture and said it “can only be described as superb. The Black (Negative) Matrix CRT, the tuner and IF strip, and the video amplifier provide a picture equal to that of many studio monitors …”

Furthermore, the Heathkit GR-2000 is an easier kit-form TV to build. POPULAR ELECTRONICS pointed out that “Each semiconductor has its own socket and there are 12 factory-fabricated interconnecting cables… The complete color adjustments can be performed in less than an hour.”

To sum up, POPULAR ELECTRONICS concluded its study by stating, “In our view, the color TV of the future is here — and Heath’s GR-2000 is it!”

Why not see what the experts have seen? The Heathkit Digital Design Color TV — without question the most remarkable TV available today.

Mail order price for chassis and tube, $659.95. Remote Control $89.95 mail order. Clock, $29.95 mail order. Cabinets start at $139.95. (Retail prices slightly higher).

TOMORROW’S PRODUCTS are in kit-form today-with Heathkit electronics

(A) New Heathkit Digital Electronic Alarm Clock. Like no other clock you’ve ever owned… with features as new as tomorrow! Wakes you with an electronic “beep” and shuts off at a touch — no fumbling for knobs or switches. And if the power goes off, you still get to work on time — the clock has its own emergency battery supply. Other features are a 24-hour alarm cycle with AM indicator light to aid in setting; 7-minute repeatable snooze cycle; 12 or 24-hour time format; automatic brightness control. Kit GC-1092A, 79.95*. Shipping weight, 5 lbs.

(B) New Heathkit Digital Electronic Calendar/Clock. In this unique timepiece, we swapped the alarm feature for the date — and held the same low kit price featured in its alarm clock twin. Reads out the time in hours, minutes & seconds, with big orange digits. Plus, it gives you the month and day, either automatically for 2 seconds out of every 10, or anytime at the touch of an electronically activated control. It also features 12 or 24-hour time format, automatic brightness control, and built-in fail-safe reserve battery supply. Kit GC-1092D, 79.95*. Shipping weight, 5 lbs.

(C) New Heathkit AR-1500A, 180-Watt AM/FM Stereo Receiver. Sequel to the famed “AR-1500″ — now with these important new performance & kit-building improvements: a new Phase Lock Loop (PLL) multiplex demodulator with only one simple adjustment — gives maximum separation, drift-free performance, long-term stability; improved AGC circuit for better AM performance; improved output protection for today’s wider range of speaker impedances; separate check-out meter & factory-installed cable connectors for even easier kit assembly. Precedent-setting specs are retained: 180 watts (IHF) per channel into 8 ohms, both channels driven with less than 0.25% harmonic distortion; 90 dB FM selectivity, 1.8 uV sensitivity. Kit AR-1500A, 399.95* less cabinet. Shipping weight, 53 lbs.

(D) New Heathkit Exhaust Gas Analyzer. A timely kit for the week-end mechanic and the professional alike.

Checks exhaust gas of cars for pollution level and measures air/fuel mixture to help you tune for top economy. Also a great training aid in automotive mechanics classes for demonstrating results of proper anti-pollution system adjustments. Easy to assemble, simple to use. Kit CI-1080, 59.95*. Shipping weight, 6 lbs.

(E) New Heathkit Tune-up Meter. Successor to the popular Heathkit ID-29 – now with new, extended 0-20 VDC range. Checks dwell on 4-cycle, 3,4,6 & 8 cylinder engines with conventional ignition. Two rpm ranges. Reads voltage from 0-20 VDC. Use on 6 or 12V systems, either ground. No batteries required. Kit CM-1073, 29.95*. Shipping weight, 5 lbs.

HEATHKIT ELECTRONIC CENTERS -Units of Schlumberger Products Corporation. Retail prices slightly higher.

ARIZ.: Phoenix; CALIF.: Anaheim, El Cerrito, Los Angeles, Pomona, Redwood City, San Diego (La Mesa), Woodland Hills; COLO.: Denver; CONN.: Hartford (Avon); FLA.: Miami (Hialeah), Tampa; GA.: Atlanta; ILL.: Chicago, Downers Grove; IND.: Indianapolis; KANSAS: Kansas City (Mission); KY.: Louisville; LA.: New Orleans (Kenner); MD.: Baltimore, Rockville; MASS.: Boston (Wellesley); MICH.: Detroit; MINN.: Minneapolis (Hopkins); MO.: St. Louis; NEB.: Omaha; N.J.: Fair Lawn; N.Y.: Buffalo (Amherst), New York City, Jericho, L.I., Rochester, White Plains; OHIO: Cincinnati (Woodlawn), Cleveland, Columbus; PA.: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh; R.I.: Providence (Warwick); TEXAS: Dallas, Houston; WASH.: Seattle; WIS.: Milwaukee.

Heath – Schlumberger
FREE 1975 HEATHKIT CATALOG
350 easy-to-build kits in all price ranges. Send for your free copy today!

Heath Company
Dept. 20-9
Benton Harbor. Michigan 49022

14 comments
  1. Kosher Ham says: March 8, 20128:35 am

    I still have my HW-7 (1973) and HW-101 (1975) transceivers along with a tri-output power supply for prototyping. I also used my father’s IM-11 VTVM to align both rigs.

  2. RS says: March 8, 201210:23 am

    The passing of Heathkit and indeed of the entire concept of hobbyist built electronics was a very sad event.

    My Heath and Knight kits provided both knowledge and high quality gear at a time when decent instruments were expensive and not easily purchased.

    Unfortunately, it’s just too difficult and expensive to do high quality surface mount soldering at home.

    The Museum of Radio and Television in Huntington WV has an excellent collection of Heathkits. Very nostalgic place and well worth a trip.

  3. MikeB says: March 8, 201211:04 am

    Heathkits got many a kid started in Ham radio and electronics. Had great fun with the old 75 meter Heathkit SSB rig in my 1965 Dodge Dart.

  4. Andrew L Ayers says: March 8, 201211:33 am

    @RS: I’m not sure where you’ve been lately, but while heathkit is “no more”, hobbyist electronics is probably in as good or better shape than it ever has, thanks greatly to the wide availability of cheap microcontrollers. More recently (much to the chagrin of PIC users), the Arduino (http://arduino.cc/) and its many variants, shields, kits, etc – along with a vibrant and active community, has more or less taken the world by storm, and has encouraged young and old alike to take up the hobby of electronics. That, coupled with the Maker community, has led to a whole host of innovation and products on the scene.

    As far as surface mount is concerned: I can tell you that more than a few people do it at home, on the kitchen table or elsewhere; heck, have you seen the number of homemade SMT solder reflow-ovens (and kits!) made from toaster ovens? Several companies offer stencil making (cheap plastic stencils cut with low cost laser cutters – other companies offer low-cost steel stencils as well) for solder paste application. Then there’s the method of reflow using an electric skillet! What about homemade hot-air soldering stations (plenty of designs out there for that on instructables and elsewhere)? Even if you wanted to do it by hand, though – a cheap hot-air rework station will only set you back $100.00 or so.

    Today – it’s not too difficult (or expensive) to do just about anything DIY; we have more low-cost tools than we ever had before (sub-$10k laser cutters, for instance – as well as CNC machines just as cheap! Not too mention homebrew rapid-fabrication machines like the RepRap, or online services that can do the same!).

    If you haven’t, and you’re still interested, I encourage you or anybody else to take a look around at what’s available today for Makers; you might be amazed!

  5. Jersey Mike says: March 8, 20124:28 pm

    @Andrew: Wow, thanks for the information on what’s available for electronic hobbyists. I have a question for you and the group. Can you recommend a good starter kit? I was going to buy one of those Radio Shack “100 experiment” kits for myself but I see there is much more out there. I fascinated by tech and have decided to learn about electronics. My math background is weak, but I’m working on that.
    My apologies if this is too much information, just wanted to give some background.
    Thanks in advance.

  6. Charlie says: March 8, 20125:51 pm

    Jersey Mike » You should check out Make Magazine http://makezine.com/ and Adafruit: http://adafruit.com/

  7. Andrew L Ayers says: March 8, 20126:27 pm

    @Jersey Mike:

    First off – stay away from the Radio Shack stuff – way too pricey for what you get, ultimately. They have recently tried to “break into” the Arduino market, but if you have a Fry’s Electronics nearby, it might be better to just get your Arduino there.

    Hang out as a guest on the Arduino forums for a while (I go by cr0sh on there); read through the many questions of people essentially asking the same question as you. Most of us regulars recommend you purchase a regular Arduino Uno to start out with.

    There are several different kits available; I usually recommend looking at the parts on each, building a list of the parts, then going shopping via surplus sites like All Electronics (allelectronics.com) and Electronic Goldmine (http://www.goldmine-ele…) and trying to buy the same kit that way (usually, you can get the parts much cheaper that way than those “kits” cost). But, if you are really unsure or whatnot, then just get one of the kits.

    You should also download a copy of the book (and code) at the bottom of this link (http://www.earthshineel…) – and if you don’t mind paying the extra money, that kit which goes along with the book might be worth it too.

    Also note that at Electronic Goldmine, they sell these “grab bag super boxes” (http://www.goldmine-ele…) – which is well worth the price if you don’t mind spending hours (or days) sorting the parts; you’ll get a ton of parts for little money (not all of which will be immediately useful, though). I call ‘em “floor sweepin’s” – but really, there’s some good and interesting stuff in those boxes.

  8. Andrew L Ayers says: March 8, 20126:36 pm

    @Jersey Mike: Something I didn’t make clear – neither one of those sites I mentioned sells the Arduino (they are both -surplus- electronics vendors); to buy an Arduino, you need to either find a local retailer (Radio Shack – maybe – and Fry’s Electronics are two national retailers I know of), or an online retailer (already mentioned has been AdaFruit – but the one a lot of people know about is SparkFun – http://www.sparkfun.com…); there are many, many online retailers. There is also the possibility of getting so-called “clone” Arduino’s from Chinese suppliers, and there are also a few companies that make compatible Arduino-based designs (SeeedStudios for instance has some really nice products: http://www.seeedstudio….). Some of the clones and derivatives offer features and such not available in the “standard” designs. Once again – hang around in the forums, look around, and if you have questions, let me know.

  9. G. L. Tyrebyter says: March 8, 20129:07 pm

    I built many Heathkit devices in the 70′s and 80′s. TVs. Radios, Test Equipment etc. The design and quality of all of them were well above anything you could get elsewhere for the price. The instructions were well written and easy to follow. You really learned about how all the circuits worked. (BTW Heath still sells electronic training courses)
    While today’s kits are OK, an Arduino or PIC kit is all like putting blocks together. The main function is determined in the programming. Loading code is just not that exciting. I have no trouble installing, and even removing, SMT components. Today’s electronics are just not as exciting as the old single component electronics. Today a circuit board IS the component. I still have all my old Heatkit equipment and every single item still works great. Today nothing is designed to be repaired. It’s cheaper to toss it. Not good. If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.
    http://www.ifixit.com/G…

  10. frank says: March 9, 20125:47 am

    I remember when my father bought and built the GR-2000 TV circa ’75. This was our second color TV, and replaced an completely unreliable model from Sears that he’d purchased in ’71 or so. The Heathkit project was rather exciting at the time, what with its big screen, the digital readout and all. Dad was never much of a home hobbyist, but he was (and is!) awfully thrifty, so I suspect he bought the thing because it was noticeably less expensive than comparable sets. As proof, he never did buy or build a cabinet, but the old Heathkit still gave reliable service for several years; its guts, transformer, and capacitors open to the air and touch of little hands, with the set tucked loosely underneath a counter in the kid’s playroom. Great memories.

    Thanks for the post!

  11. Richard says: March 9, 20127:51 am

    I, too, fondly remember Heathkit. My dad built an earlier model color TV in the late 1960s, and I remember “helping” him find resistors by color code for many long evenings. I clearly remember staying up late one night in July of 1969 to watch the first moon walk on that set. The astronauts’ TV camera was black and white, but at least the network commentators on earth were using color cameras.

    Regarding today’s state vs. the Heathkit heyday, a big difference is that, these days, it’s very hard for company to come out with a kit that will compete economically with the preassembled mass market for common everyday things like TV sets, clock radios, stereo amplifiers, etc. If it’s common enough to be available off-the-shelf, it’s cheaper to buy it premade than to build your own. Nevertheless, I think it’s a lot easier today for an individual to custom design a gadget to do a customized or unusual function, especially if the gadget involves digital electronics. In the 1960s, there was no digi-key style online distributors, no online datasheets, no CAD software for DIY’ers to design circuit boards, etc. On balance, I think I like today’s environment, but I still miss Heathkit.

  12. Christian Berger says: March 9, 20127:42 pm

    Well modern kits do have the SMD parts soldered on. That still saves a _lot_ of the cost, as SMD soldering is a largely automated process. What I actually find more distressing that the production of electronic equipment now ceases to exist in some countries, despite of it not being to hard. I mean for the money Apple spends on public relations claiming that it’s OK to manufacture in China, they could _easily_ get their own production lines.

    Anyhow there are still some companies making “classical” kits. For example ELV in Germany. Again they typically solder on the SMD parts.

  13. [...] TOMORROW’S PRODUCTS are in kit-form today-with Heathkit electronics (Aug, 1974) (modernmechanix.com) [...]

  14. Jersey Mike says: March 22, 20123:16 pm

    Hi, I want to thank everyone for their very helpful followup comments. I’m checking out Make magazine and pricing Arduino kits. Cheers!

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