Sony TR-63 Transistor Radio Teardown
Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.
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This teardown comes with a bit of a history lesson :)
Here's a Sony TR-63 transistor radio - I forgot I had one until reminded of it by the ifixit Sony teardown promotion. If we're going to tear down Sony consumer gadgets, why not start with one of the earliest?
The TR-63 was introduced in 1957 - it was the first "pocket-sized" transistor radio ever made and the first Sony-branded product exported to North America, by the then-named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo company (Tokyo Telecommuncatio
It seems "pocket-sized" was a bit of a marketing gimmick at the time - although smaller than any competing product, the TR-63 was a bit too big to fit into a standard shirt pocket. So story has it that company salesmen wore custom-made shirts with slightly bigger pockets to show off the TR-63's small size. But unlike desktop radios of the day which were promoted under the idea of "a radio in every home", the TR-63 was uniquely marketed as something each person could own and carry with them. A foreshadowing of the Walkman and iPod, perhaps?
The TR-63 contains a whopping . By comparison, the Cell processor chip in the PS3 contains two to three hundred million transistors. That's an indication of the progress made in the electronics industry in the past 50 years.
In Japan the TR-63 sold for 13,800 yen, and the original export price was U$39.95. It was available in 4 colours (yellow, red, green and black).
Follow along with this teardown to get a look into an important piece of consumer electronics history.
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A bit more trivia...
The huge success of the TR-63 helped Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (aka "Totsuko") decide to change its company name to Sony Corporation in 1958. For the few years prior, "Sony" had simply been a brand name attached to the company's fledgling line of transistor radios. (Check out the retro Sony logo - I like it!)
At the time, the company's co-founders felt the Japanese name was too hard to pronounce and remember by foreigners. They decided the name change would help them expand and become well known worldwide. And as they say, the rest is history.
Turn the radio over with its back facing you.
It's safe to say the warranty on this radio long ago expired -- so we're going to fearlessly open it up in the following steps...
In these photos, the gridlines on the green background are 1 cm square, so you can get an idea of the size of the radio.
Carefully pry open the case from the bottom edge.
Boy, this is a lot easier to open than an iPod! (Spudger not required.)
On the inside of the back cover, you'll find the product label. Notice the official company name, Tokyo Tsushin Kyogo Ltd. I've seen photos of later versions of the TR-63 which say "Sony Corporation" there instead.
I'm not sure what happened to the corner of the label - perhaps after all these years in the back of my closet it was likely eaten by a grue?
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