Introduction: Radio Redux - Easy Listening Radio

Picture of Radio Redux - Easy Listening Radio

I am a second year product design student from the University of Dundee. This year, our task was to hack into an existing radio, select a new target market and build a radio accordingly. The character I chose suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis so I knew it had to be something easy to use and something fun to interact with. 

Materials/equipment List:

Sony ICF-S22 portable radio

Single core wire for extending components
Soldering Iron and solder remover
Solder wire
AA battery pack and battery pack connector
Potentiometer to replace existing one

1 metre of wooden dowel
10mm plywood/wood (enough to make circles discussed in step 3)
40mm diameter 210mm long tubing(any plastic tube)
Drill and various drill bits 
Sandpaper
Belt sander 
band saw/saw 
Screws for fastening
Wood glue and a strong multi purpose glue
Wheels for pulley (I used lego wheels)
Any type of thin cord for pulley

Step 1: Exploded View

Picture of Exploded View

Here is an exploded view of the final product. I have left out the top piece of wood to show the inside. 

Step 2: Dismantling the Radio

Picture of Dismantling the Radio

The radio we were given for the project was the Sony ICF-S22 Portable radio which is available for £12 on the Sony website. The first thing I did with the radio was to take out all visible screws and prise apart the sides with a small screwdriver. At this point, the speaker will still be attached to the other side of the radio so be careful that the wires don't all snap. To revove the speaker, I used a soldering iron to melt some of the glue and again prised it off with a screwdriver. At this point, you don't have to worry about the battery wires so just pull them out of the battery casing and it will make it a lot easier. In the next step, I'll go through the wires that need to be extended on the circuit board.

You can remove the dials from the tuner and volume by using a screwdriver, then it will become clear how the radio is tuned. 

Step 3: Extending the Wires

This is one of the fiddliest bits but it works in the end. 
There is two lengths of wire that are required for this part. I will list the long ones first then the short ones second. 

All of these de-solders and solders should be carried out while being careful not to get the wires mixed up. First, you have to de-solder the component from the circuit board and attach a wire to extend from the board.

Wires to be extended approx. 230mm
-AM/FM switch
-Speaker
-Headphone Socket

Wires to extend approx 100mm 
-Volume switch
-Aerial Wire(Remove metal aerial)

For the battery wires you can now attach your new battery pack, there is no need to extend the wires, just use the wire length that is supplied with the battery pack attachment, 

For the volume switch, you can now decide whether you want a push button for on and off orif you want it to click on and off from the dial. If you would like to attach a push button, remove the wires from the volume tuner and in place of where they attached to the board, add a push button on wires(approx. 230mm). 

The existing potentiometer should be replaced by a bigger one with a long stalk to make it easier for using later.

In the final model, I chose to leave out the headphone socket as it is meant to be a household radio only but you can add a hole for it later if you wish. 

Step 4: Making the Base of the Radio

Picture of Making the Base of the Radio

For the base and the top part of the radio, I was mostly in the workshop. In this section i'll discuss how to make both these parts. 
The top part uses 90mm radius circles and the bottom uses 100mm radius circles so I will describe how i made both and how many of each.

If using 10mm thick wood, you will need 5x100mm radius circles and 7x90mm radius circles.

First I measured the circles out using a compass and scored it heavily so I can see it clearly to cut. 
I then cut around the circle roughly on the band saw but this could be done with a hand saw.
To get the perfect circle I had to:
-Drill holes in the middle of the circle drawn
-Screw it to to another board of wood
-Clamp the board to the plinth of a circular belt sander
-Used a mallet to gradually hit the wood into the sandpaper while stopping at intervals to rotate the circle. I've shown this process in one of my pictures. 

In each set of circles, two have to remain whole but the rest are to be hollowed out. This can be done by marking out a 15mm ring away from the edges of the circles,drilling a 9mm hole and using a jigsaw to cut out the circle. 

To attach the circles together glue each surface, pile the rings of wood together and clamp them so that they have now gaps between them. At this point, glue the bottom of the base on with the rings.

Step 5: Adding the Middle Tube

Picture of Adding the Middle Tube

For this stage, you can decide what you want to do with the middle tube. You can either hollow out wood or use a plastic tube, i opted for the plastic tube as it makes life easier and it can be painted. To finish the tube I used a coarse sandpaper to get rid of the glossiness and then a smoother sandpaper to give it a better finish. It required only 2 coats of red spray paint but with a bit of sanding in between coats as I scratched it a little during making. 

The first step in this stage is to make holes for the tube and for the components. 
-Drill a hole in the top of the base and in the bottom circle of the top of the radio. The circles should be just be slightly bigger than 40mm to make a friction fit. I made one hole too big while drilling so I had to reinforce the tube by adding a wooden centre and drilling them together. 

On the top circle, now drill 4 holes equally spaced in a square for the pulleys to go through.

This is the point where you should add the holes for the speaker and for the components. It's really up to you what speaker grill pattern you want, just make sure they don't clash with the inner lip of the base. As for the push button and the AM/FM switch, i'll give the measurements required but again it's up to you where they go. 

Push button- I drilled a 12mm diameter hole
AM/FM switch- I drilled 15mm halfway down and then 25mm in at the back to half way up.

Hope all this is making sense!





Step 6: Getting Everything Together

Picture of Getting Everything Together

The last stage and the most tricky stage is getting everything together, it requires a lot of patience!

First you have to put all components that have long wires through the hole in the bottom circle of the top and through the tube, this requires you to de-solder and re-solder the speaker but this takes no time at all. 

Next  is to secure all components into the top of the base. 
-Glue the speaker underneath the your speaker grill
-Glue the inside of the push button hole with a strong adhesive and push the component through
-Glue the AM/FM switch to the big opening so the switch pokes through the other side. 

At this point, you should have the bottom bit completed, you can fasten it with the screws now or leave that til later. Push the tube into the hole so it is sitting upright with the small circle on top with the circuit board on top of that. 

Step 7: Getting Everything Together Part 2

Now it is time to get the pulley mechanism sorted. 

To start, cut 2 125mm rods of dowel and sand an angle on both sides of the dowel. These are to be stuck onto the inside of the top part of the radio for the pulleys. At the same time, cut a piece of dowel the same length as the stalk of the potentiometer. Drill a hole big enough to make a friction fit on top of the tuner through about a quarter of the dowel. 

To make the volume tuner sturdy use a strong glue and attach it to the to circle between the dowels (as seen in the picture in step5)
Attach the dowel you have drilled onto the tuner and then add the wheels you have collected. Any wheels can be used that have a channel in the middle for the cord. I used lego wheels from a mechanical kit so I had to drill holes accordingly through them for the dowel and the stalk. 
 
The next step is to glue the ring you have made with the dowels inside onto the circle(you may want to clamp this to give it more rigidity) Also, glue the back end of the tuner to the circle of wood. 

To make the pulleys work, you simply tie the cord around the wheel twice and wrap around each dowel twice, feed the cord through the holes and out the bottom. If you wish to add handles on the end of the cord you can, I chose to add T bar shapes as it is to help arthritic hands control the radio. 

Finally, secure the radio by pushing the tube firmly into the holes and using screws in the top and bottom of the structure. 

I had a few problems, mostly with the pullley mechanism but this can easily be avoided with wheels with a wider channel to allow the cord to wrap more easily. 

Step 8: Finished

I hope you enjoyed reading about the building of my radio, It was a big challenge but I made it! In hindsight, maybe I should choose an easier concept!

Thanks  =] 

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Bio: I'm currently a student of Product Design at Dundee University.
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