Since I have been selling my service data CD-ROMs, several people have contacted me to ask about similar CD-ROMs containing information about equipment manufactured or sold in other countries.
I have recently received a copy of the "Australian Official Radio Service Manual On CD Vol 1 - 14".
Unlike most service data CD-ROMs which use the Adobe Acrobat format to present the data, this CD-ROM has a proprietary interface written in Visual Basic. The advantage of this is that it is quicker than Adobe Acrobat, especially on slower systems.
When the CD is started, the program is loaded with the first service data sheet loaded. It would perhaps have been more helpful if an introduction and instruction page was displayed, but it doesn't take long to work out what to do.
Using buttons on the main screen you can step forward and backwards through the pages, or jump forwards or backwards through manufacturers. The currently displayed manufacture, model and year are displayed on the screen.
When a page is displayed you can zoom in or out and rotate it in 90 degree steps. This is helpful for pages where the diagram is shown sideways. Normally you will probably want to print out the data, and this can be done easily from the main screen.
The "Search" button brings up the search dialogue. From here you can select a manufacturer and optionally type a model number or choose a year. The program will list all data that matches the search, then you can choose one to display. This works very well, although it may take a couple of goes to get used to using it.
The data is scanned as TIF files at good resolution. The displayed and printed data is clear and legible.
The type of data on this CD-ROM appears to be similar to that provided in the "Newnes Radio and Television Servicing" manuals in the UK.
As I do not know the Australian vintage radio market I cannot comment on how comprehensive the range of data is. However it does contain 14 complete volumes of the Australian Official Radio Service Manual, so I assume it is a comprehensive range. There are a total of about 4400 pages of data covering years 1939 to 1954.
The software works with Windows 95 and later. The CD-ROM version I received apparently has a printing problem with Windows XP. I am using Windows 2000 so did not experience any such problems. I received my CD-ROM a few months ago and understand that the publishers have now resolved this problem (an additional patch and instructions are included).
The Visual Basic source code is included on the CD-ROM (I don't know whether this is by accident or intent), which would allow any Visual Basic programmers to refine the interface if they felt so inclined.
The price of the CD-ROM is 110 Australian Dollars within Australia and 120 Australian Dollars international. This is about £50 international (based on exchange rate on 22nd September 2003) which does seem rather expensive for a single data CD-ROM. However, if you regularly repair Australian radios it will probably soom pay for itself compared to obtaining printed/photocopied data.
For ordering details please email Ray Pedri: vk6ti (at) iinet.net.au.
Mike Izycky also has this CD-ROM and said:
I've had that CD myself for some time now. It covers the 30s to the early 50s, I seem to recall. An Australian collector very kindly sent me this disc when I enquired about an Australian Pye that I own. At the time my Windows 98 machine didn't have Windows Imaging installed as I did a custom install, so I had to install it as the program seemed to require it - but the "you'll have everything and that's that" approach of Windows 2000 meant I had to do no such thing. I found the interface a little odd at first, but I soon got used to it. It's certainly very useful for the number of sets I have from "Down Under"!
If you produce a CD-ROM containing service data for radios from other countries, please contact me. If you would care to send me a copy I will be happy to review it here.