Introduction: Transistor Radio LED Torch

Picture of Transistor Radio LED Torch

I happened upon a stack of vintage transistor radios at the car boot this week and had to buy this one, something about the style and feel of it really grabbed me.

It feels great dangling from the strap, so I decided I needed to make it into something portable and battery powered, keeping the case as untouched as possible.

Step 1: Guts Out

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The radio guts weren't functional so they had to go. I kept the on/off/volume switch intact though as I wanted to re-use it for the torch.

Step 2: Shiny New Innards

Picture of Shiny New Innards

I had a 24 LED lamp lying around and as the LED cluster was roughly the same diameter as the radio's speaker grille this was the ideal modification.

The lamp came apart easily with my leatherman 'warranty voider' and happily the on/off switch had quite long flying leads making it easier to connect to the radio switch. The LED board was also serendipitously sized to fit in the case.

Step 3: Switching and Testing

Picture of Switching and Testing

With both parts stripped down it was time to test the switch. I wanted to use the existing switch to keep things clean, but which of the four switch wire combinations would make on/off?

Through process of elimination I realised I could either use the on/off or potentiometer parts of the switch - having a dimmer effect was tempting but I went for the straight on/off in the end.

Step 4: Closing Up

Picture of Closing Up

With the innards glued in place, and the LED cluster lined up as closely as possible to the speaker grille it was time to close up the case. the battery enclosure was trimmed to make it a snug fit, and the gap packed with a piece of foam.

Step 5: Shiny!

Picture of Shiny!

It works really well and looks brilliant (if hard to photograph) - the light output is only slightly less than with the original LED lamp, and the light that doesn't escape directly out front contributes to the overall glowing effect, so it's all good.

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Bio: I love the design and ambition of vintage technology, and the usability and potential of new - my passion is bringing the two together.
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