Pandora's Box - An Internet Radio player made with a Raspberry Pi!

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Plug in this internet radio player and listen to your favorite stations on Pandora Radio. Six pushbuttons control the music, while an LCD gives feedback on the song, artist, and other useful information. All of this is housed in a custom acrylic case with access to the Raspberry Pi's ports.

Special thanks to LVL1 Hackerspace (www.lvl1.org) for use of their laser cutter!

Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Step 1: Parts List

In order to build the system, you will need several things. The main piece is a Raspberry Pi Model B with a 5V, 1A power supply. This Instructable is based on a Revision 2 board, but will work on earlier boards with minimal changes. 

Next, you will need an SD card with a Raspbian Wheezy image. Instructions for this process found at: http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup

Electrical hardware needed:
1) Solderless breadboard (and wire)
2) Serial LCD module (3.3V module from Sparkfun was used: www.sparkfun.com/products/9067)
3) Ethernet Cable
4) USB Keyboard and mouse (necessary for setup, not the final product)
5) Pushbuttons (6) -  "Normally Open" type with threaded mounts
6) 3.3V Regulator (LM1117T-3.3 from Texas Instruments in the TO-220 package type used here)
7) Resistors: (7) ~10kOhm, (6) 1 kOhm
8) Capacitors: (2) 10 uF tantalum (as recommended by TI for 3.3V regulator
9) Pi T-Cobbler from Adafruit (not necessary, but makes GPIO access much easier)
10) Auxiliary audio cable

Other equipment needed:
1) Soldering Iron and solder (for the T-Cobbler breakout board)
2) 1-Minute Epoxy (for the acrylic case)
3) Acrylic (and a means of cutting it)
4) Nylon Standoffs and Screws
5) Velcro strips (with sticky sides)

The acrylic used in this project was 0.08" thick and can be found at Lowe's in 8"x10" sheets. This was great for cutting with a laser-cutter. Other thicknesses can probably be used - this will be left up to your discretion (and experience).

The standoffs used were a combination of (3/8"  - hex -  1.25" -  4-40 thread) and (3/8" - hex - 0.375" - 4-40 thread) nylon male/female standoffs. 4-40 fillister flat head nylon screws were used with these standoffs.

Although this Instructable includes directions for the custom case, this is probably the trickiest part of the design. Familiarity with a laser-cutter is necessary, since every laser cutter and design software package is different.
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jgroner2 months ago

This doesn't seem to have been updated in a long time... As it will hopefully help anyone else attempting this build, here is a link to the Adafruit Tutorial for their Raspberry Pi Pandora Radio build. The old Pianobar install instructions here, and elsewhere, don't work! Follow the Adafruit Tutorial's section on installing Pianobar and you'll be all set! Here is the link: https://learn.adafruit.com/pi-wifi-radio/raspberry-pi-setup-1-of-3

Ayy (author)  jgroner2 months ago

Thanks for the updated link - I have not touched this instructable in nearly 2 years, so it's bound to be pretty outdated. Unfortunately I have not spent much time with the RPI lately.

I've stickied your comment for visibility. Hope the project went well for you!

jgroner Ayy2 months ago

Thanks! It did go very well. I made a PCB version of your breadboard setup and had all the parts on order but they took so long to get here that I went with the Adafruit kit as a part of my project.(Hint: It's not JUST a radio.) I'll still have to make another using your setup since I basically have all the wiring done... My project will be up on Instructables in a week or two. It's a bit of a different approach but I think you'll enjoy it! I've linked back here in it and gave you a bunch of credit for the inspiration!

gbovee2 years ago
Can someone explain to me the point of using 5v and a regulator to get to 3.3v when there is a 3.3v supply from the pi. I am fairly new to this stuff and am just trying to learn. Thanks.
NickD4 gbovee5 months ago


Ayy (author)  gbovee2 years ago
That's a really good question. The answer has to do with the current limit on the Raspberry Pi's 3.3V line. According to the link below, the 3.3V line can output up to 50 milliamps current. Meanwhile, the 3.3V LCD module I used can draw up to 60 mA.

While LCD may never draw that full 60 mA, it has the potential to cause issues. Since the 5V supply can supply over 300 mA (when using a 1A power supply), I chose to add the 3.3V regulator.  

RPi electrical specs: http://elinux.org/RPi_Low-level_peripherals
gl0rious2 years ago
Could i get an estimate of the cost? i really would like to do this project, and i am a beginner..
Ayy (author)  gl0rious2 years ago
This depends on what equipment you already have. For example, I already had soldering equipment, drill and tap set, standoffs, SD card, and resistors. I'll give some prices for the bigger items:

Raspberry Pi: $35 + shipping
Power Supply: $8 + shipping
T-Cobbler: $8 + shipping
Serial LCD Monitor: $25 + shipping
Buttons: $7
Acrylic Sheets: $8
Epoxy: $5
Capacitors: $2
Velcro: $5

The small things tended to add up quickly - like the bits I had to get from Radioshack and Lowes (buttons, capacitors, velcro, etc). I probably could have gotten some things much cheaper online, but I didn't have the patience to wait for the velcro to ship. All the parts were around $110 with shipping - but since I plan on reusing most of the stuff for future projects, the cost felt reasonable.

Hope that helps.
akcook Ayy2 years ago
gl0rious Ayy2 years ago
thats very helpful thanks
Ayy (author) 2 years ago
Note: On the box plans, the center piece has an issue with the spacing of the raspberry pi's holes. If you are making the same box, double check the holes (I don't have the original files to correct the images...)

Its useful :)

Would anybody be interested in my version? I made it using Python only (no Bash) it works using only 3 buttons and 2 LEDs and a motion sensor (no screen). Total cost is around $45 US including the Raspberry, a pack of LEDs, a pack of resistors, female to female jumper wires and an empty Tea Box.

Ayy (author)  jayreyezs.barrios2 months ago

Hey Jay - I'd be really interested to see your software! Do you have it on a repo?

jgroner2 months ago

If anyone is interested I did a PCB layout for the buttons and attachment to the LCD screen. A lot more work than using a breadboard but it saves space and doesn't tie up your breadboard in the process. Send me a message if you want the file!

R1-R7 are 10K

R8-R13 are 1K

I'm going to try etching it with the toner transfer method. We'll see if it takes...

thermallyme3 months ago

Thats awesome

cdsboy20004 months ago

This looks really cool, but I don't have access to a place to get the housing. Could it be, say, 3D printed? Then a company like Shapeways (or a friend with a 3D printer) could make the model. What would be involved in making that into a model?

Peter Roca6 months ago

The apt-get version of pianobar is out of date I believe, which is the reason it doesn't work. You'll have to install from github

neodnoc made it!8 months ago

Pretty neat project. I added an Adafruit 20W stereo amp and a couple scavenged speakers from an old iHome iPod dock that died. Now I just need a case.


yieldlymph9 months ago


amerigoh1 year ago

Question for a beginner :

Can someone tell me if this lcd module could work instead of the Sparkfun :


Its magnificent

Its sweet

Its cooler

mousepaper1 year ago

Extremely good

Its splendid :)




fastbobble1 year ago

Thats impressive

gorgeddamp1 year ago

Very good

Its awe-inspiring :)

illrings1 year ago

Its stunning :)

airbugger1 year ago

Could i get an estimate of the cost?

Thats trendy...

headlymph1 year ago


could you connect this to iheartradio or spotify?

tealrink1 year ago


Its cooler

harechubby1 year ago


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