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Reader's Digest Model 800-XR AM/FM Radio + 8-Track Tape Player

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR AM/FM Radio + 8-Track Tape Player - RF CafeWhile photographing the General Electric 7-4305c clock radio that I posted last week, it occurred to me that I had never posted anything on my Reader's Digest 800-XR stereo system. It is another of my had-since-a-teenager electronic items that still works as well as the day I bought mine in fall of 1975. Self-respecting audiophiles would never admit to having ever owned such a low-end system, but at least at the time it was the best I could afford. The price escapes me, but it was somewhere in the $100 neighborhood. A turntable came with it, but that is long gone now. Since I much prefer listening to over-the-air broadcasts rather than on the Internet, both the AM and FM tuners get a daily workout. A whopping 10 watts per channel stressed the limits of what my parents would tolerate, and it was loud enough to get some good booming bass - something my previous weenie radios could never do.

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR Stereo System - RF Cafe

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR Stereo System. AM/FM radio, 8-track tape recorder/player, auxiliary input and phonograph input.

There are no preset buttons, so the dial gets twisted just like it did 40 years ago. The front panel volume potentiometer had gotten a bit scratchy during adjustments (static through the speakers), so just yesterday I squirted some CRC QD™ Contact Cleaner into a small hole in the pot body and rotated the shaft back and forth along its full travel a couple dozen times et voila, no more scratching.

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR chassis bottom -  RF Cafe

Chassis bottom.

If memory serves me correctly, there was also a cassette tape deck version available, but I was already deeply invested in 8-track tapes (maybe a dozen - Beach Boys, Boston, Jim Croce, Heart, to name a few), so that's what I got. We 8-track adopters were routinely chided by the haughty cassette deck owners, but I always liked the ability to move between songs simply by punching the track change button rather than having to fast forward or reverse sometimes for the entire length of the cassette just to get to a different song. This stereo system followed me into the barracks in at Robins AFB. Some scurvy dog broke into my Camaro one night and stole all my 8-tracks. Of course the aforementioned jolly jokers told me it was the best thing that could have happened to me, but I confounded them all by going out and reconstituting my 8-track library.

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR rear panel -  RF Cafe

Rear panel.

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR Component Side -  RF Cafe

Circuit board component side. The sight of dial cord gives me goose bumps ;-)

Reader's Digest Model 800-XR Circuit Side -  RF Cafe

Circuit board trace side.

Thank you for your indulgence. Now, stick around because later tonight I'll be showing slides of last year's vacation at the ocean ;-)



Posted December 14, 2014

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