View Full Version : Realistic STA-820


theclerk74
04-02-2013, 10:34 PM
I got what I think was a pretty good deal on a Realistic STA-820... $15

Aside from needing new lamps and a little contact cleaner, it seems to maybe have an issue with the tuner. It pulls in stations ok, but it seems staticy - like a bad pot sounds when turning the dial.

Is it my imagination, or is it not supposed to do that?

Other than that, I love it. I've been wanting a cool vintage receiver, and for sentimental reasons it's a bonus that it's a Realistic. It seems to put out quite a bit more than the 40 watts it's rated at.

R-2-R
04-03-2013, 10:33 AM
You know a couple of weeks ago my neighbor gave me a vintage Realistic STA-820 receiver that, at first, I was reluctant to have and even turned it down just because of the name 'Realistic' from Tandy Corp. of Rat Shack (a.k.a. Radio Shack). I never like'd anything having to do with audio equipment or video from Radio Shack (stereo's, headphones, etc.) just parts such as resistors, switches, etc.
It was filty and dirty and needed new bulbs but was told that it worked. My neighbor tells me that he just had it sitting in storage and didn't need it anymore and what he remembers, that it turned on and worked but no lights would work.
Then my brother-in-law calls me and ask if I knew of any good/cheap receivers that he wanted to use as an extra outside by his pool/patio area.
I remember the Realistic STA-820 that was offered for "free" and agree to take it.
Clean it up, made the appearance more appealling, made several checks, turn it on and it indeed works, ordered new bulbs for it (had to order bulbs for it twice since the first ones did not work, incorrect voltage and amperage values, my fault!) and presto! It lights up beautifully and the receiver's tuning works quite well and overall the receiver is quite heavy as well. I noticed that when you switch over from AM to FM the FM Tuning Meter will light up...or if you are using FM and switch over to AM the FM Tuning Meter will turn off. Also both meters, Signal Strength and FM Tuning, will both turn off when switching over to Phone, Tape or Aux. I found this to be very interesting since I have never heard or had seen this before?!
I was kind of 'impressed' to say the least! I really wasn't expecting what I was hearing and seeing from a 'Realistic' receiver. Overall if my brother-in-law does not want it I'll keep it for sure.
Here is my original post on it: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=510844

I will post pictures of it later this afternoon! :D

djwhy60
04-03-2013, 10:41 AM
You know a couple of weeks ago my neighbor gave me a vintage Realistic STA-820 receiver that, at first, I was reluctant to have and even turned it down even just because of the name 'Realistic' from Tandy Corp. of Rat Shack (a.k.a. Radio Shack). I never like'd anything from Radio Shack (stereo's, headphones, etc.) just parts such as resistors, switches, etc.
It was filty and dirty, need new bulbs but was told that it worked.
Then my brother-in-law calls me and ask if I knew of any good/cheap receivers that he wanted to use as an extra outside by his pool/patio area.
I remember the Realistic STA-820 that was offered for "free" and agree to take it.
Clean it up, made the appearance more appealling, made several checks, turn it on and it indeed works, ordered new bulbs for it (had to order bulbs for it twice since the first ones did not work, incorrect voltage and amperage values!) and presto! It lights up beautifully and the receiver's tuning works quite well. I noticed that when you switch over from AM to FM the FM Tuning Meter will light up...or when if you are using FM and switch over to AM the FM Tuning Meter will turn off. Also both meters, Signal Strength and FM Tuning, will both turn off when switching over to Phone, Tape or Aux. I found this to be very interesting since I have never heard or had seen this before?!
I was kind of 'impressed' to say the least! I really wasn't expecting what I was hearing and seeing from a 'Realistic' receiver. Overall if my brother-in-law does not want it I'll keep it for sure.
Here is my original post on it: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=510844

I will post pictures of it later this afternoon! :D

Look at my sig....I LOVE RS stuff. I think you can get the most bang for your buck with some of their items. I have a STA-2000D on the way in a few to add to my collection. Nice grab!

mhardy6647
04-03-2013, 11:27 AM
Some of that 'static' we hear nowadays (especially at the low end of the dial) seems to be related to the "HD" (hybrid digital) radio format used by many stations today. Sometimes it is related to the air-variable tuning capacitor (poor contact due to dust and oxidation). One may blow the dust out of the vanes with a fairly gentle stream of air; it is possible to clean the contact points, but one cannot glibly use contact cleaner as we would with pots and switches; the risk of de-tuning the capacitor with cleaner residue on the vanes is (to me) frighteningly high. You can probably find more info on cleaning the air-variable tuning capacitor in a sticky here at AK or elsewhere. I take no responsibility, though :-)

theclerk74
04-03-2013, 03:59 PM
I should be cracking the cover soon... I will be doing some spring cleaning inside there. It's got a few sticky buttons. I'm also going to try LED's instead of the fuse bulbs. I appreciate the advice on the tuning capacitor. I'll definitely be looking into that.

The one thing I wish it had was a preamp output, but this thing seems to make good use of it's 40 watts. I'm also enjoying the way it sounds... Kind of a warm sound, and definitely different that my newer Pioneer A/V receiver.

R-2-R
04-03-2013, 04:47 PM
Here are the pictures! Notice on two of them, showing what I had mentioned earlier about the FM Tune meter light is out when switched to AM and then both FM Tune Meter and Signal Strength Meter being out when switched to Phone 1 or 2 and/or Aux. :scratch2:

R-2-R
04-03-2013, 04:52 PM
Apologies for the crappy pictures, here they are:

theclerk74
04-03-2013, 05:55 PM
Nice... I noticed that too, at least on the tuning which has the only working light right now. Ha ha ha

I'm thinking about trying blue LED's just for fun.

R-2-R
04-03-2013, 07:49 PM
Well theclerk74, believe it or not (at least on this one that I have) the 'fuse style'd lamps' that came with the receiver had a faint tint of blue. (Now I don't know if these are original lamps or not? :scratch2:) Which of course gave it a slightly different appearance. Now when I ordered the first pair of lamps the seller (fellow AK'er dgwojo by the way) also sent me a small piece of light blue transparent sheet. I guess to cut and past around each lamp but I decided against that and just went ahead and placed each lamp in. I didn't :no: want to take the time and hassel of cutting and pasting, etc. on each fuse lamp. The pictures that I posted may not show it but it does give the dial scale and meters a 'floating' type of effect in appearance. :yes:
Overall, again, I am impressed by this Realistic receiver! :music: :tresbon:



P.S. Just one last thing I forgot to mention. It can be a bit of a challenge when trying to replace the fuse lamps for the Signal Strength Meter as well as the FM Tune Meter, so proceed with caution and care so as not to break the wires leading to both meters.