Re-purposing an Antique Portable Radio Into a Hip Bluetooth Speaker

Picture of Re-purposing an Antique Portable Radio Into a Hip Bluetooth Speaker
**this instructable will walk you through the process of turning a portable antique radio into a cool looking Hi-Fi bluetooth speaker. it takes into account that you have experience in soldering, working with basic electronics, and enough mechanical dexterity to be able to take things apart and put them back together successfully.**

what's bluetooth?!?!?
i realize not every builder is tech savvy so here's a quickie on bluetooth. bluetooth is a wireless data transfer protocol that uses the same radio frequencies used by 2.4ghz wireless internet (wi-fi) connections. it doesn't work on a network, it connects devices directly to each other and is short range only. 10 feet is about average coverage for bluetooth devices. a bluetooth speaker must be "paired" to a device in order to work. it can be a bluetooth capable cellphone, ipod, computer, or other music playing device. for pairing instructions see the manual to your device.

while normally i prefer to restore most antique radios that come my way, there's a significant under-appreciation for antique tube portables. with few exceptions, most don't bring much in the collector market and their isnt much love for them. i think they look quite cool. some, like the Delco model i used, are wrapped in tweed. what jazz lover doesn't dig tweed?!?!?

my goal was to take this cool tweed covered AM radio, and re-purpose it into something that would look right amongst my other vintage gear yet serve a modern day purpose. i had been wanting a portable bluetooth sound box of some sort for a while and those panzy little extendo speakers didn't suit my taste. i wanted something a bit cooler looking. that's what led to this project!

so, onto the build out!
jferngeek8 months ago

In my project, I installed a replacement speaker and connected the bluetooth board while still connected to the original battery and it worked for a day, but now it only plays sound barely audible. Still pairs with my phone no problem. Did I blow it cause I didn't wire a bigger battery? I think maybe the problem is the power difference between the 3v bluetooth amp and the speaker. I did test it on a known good external speaker and had the same result. I'm not sure what blew it and I'd like to figure it out before I try to swap another bluetooth board back in. I also want it to run off battery so I'd really like to figure this out. Also, I'm nervous about fooling with batteries. Do you solder wires to the contacts?

hamsammy1 year ago

Great job! I've done some like this as well. Question: Did you end up leaving the bulky power supply, tuner/antenna in the unit as in the picture for Step 8? Did you like the weight I mean "vintage feel" it gave the would-be lightweight internals?

ke4mcl (author)  hamsammy1 year ago
I kept the chassis intact and robbed the tubes for other radios. I prefer the heft of the vintage radios.
tom2991 year ago
Destroyed monument ! Defeat!
jhawkins142 years ago
This is very nice. Looks challenging, but I want to try it.
very nice! great work!
ke4mcl (author) 2 years ago
thanks for the positive comments guys!
ivanjacob2 years ago
This is awesome!
impressive project!!
M3G2 years ago
Awesome. I love vintage stuff being repurposed for modern times.