Introduction: Brand New Old Radio

I am happy to present you this instructable to build an old-looking wifi radio.

Usually, makers change the inside of an old radio to put a Raspberry Pi or other things in order to modernize the sound but I was not able to find a broken cheap one that suited me. So I decided to design an old radio by myself. I was mainly inspired by this example for the electronic part and the script.

What to expect! This webradio plays radio flow from the internet with a very limited interface. A 5-position selector, a volume nob and a little switch to double the radio selection. To make it more fun, each position of the selector lights up a LED.

It's time to make it! :)

Step 1: Part List

You need:

  • A raspberry Pi Zero
  • A Phat DAC
  • A 5v regulator
  • An old selector button (5 positions)
  • A 2-positions switch
  • An audio amplifier (12v)
  • A power switch
  • 2 reclaimed loudspeakers
  • Some LEDs and their resistors
  • clear PMMA
  • 3mm mdf
  • 5mm plywood
  • A piece of burlap
  • A 12v power adaptor
  • A power jack plug (that connect your power adaptor)
  • Paint if you want

Step 2: Electronic Part

The electronic part is not revolutionary. For the audio part, the pHAT DAC is plugged in on the raspberry pi zero, the output of the DAC goes inside the audio amplifier and the loudspeakers are connected to the amplifier.

For power part, the power plug is connected to the 5v adaptor through the power switch. Depending on each part, you need to connect them to the 5v or the 12v.

For the control and the LEDs, the most important is to know which GPIO is available. I put a picture that shows which GPIO is used and what for.

The control principle is easy, the selector connects the 3.3v to the corresponding GPIO to activate a radio station. A LED with its resistor is connected in parallel in order to light up depending on the station. A 2-position switch is connected on the GPIO 26 in order to double the number of available stations (5 in a position "0v" and 5 in the other one "3.3v").

Step 3: The Software

The software is minimalist. The selector points at one of the ten stations available in the "station.txt" file using VLC. The 2-position switch completes the selector switch.

I used the standard raspian on the raspberry Pi and configured the WIFI. I followed the tutorial of the pHAT DAC and installed VLC. The custom part is the script "radio_ctrl" that we need to install with these commands:

#sudo cp radio_ctl /etc/init.d/. && sudo chmod a+x /etc/init.d/radio_ctl
#sudo update-rc.d radio_ctl defaults

And you need to put the file "station.txt" in the folder "/home/pi/webradio_station/station.txt".

You can deactivate the graphical interface of the Pi in order to gain reactivity.

Step 4: The Box

The box is the real interest of this instructable. I decided to propose a retro-looking radio using a laser cutter. I designed the whole radio based on photos using Inkscape. All the files are available.

There are 3 types of materials. The radio list uses clear PMMA in order to see the LEDs behind. The speaker case and speaker stand are in 3mm MDF. The case is in 5mm Plywood because it is nicer than MDF.

Depending on all your parts, you will need to adapt the design.

Step 5: Put Everything Together

There is no difficulty in assembling the radio. You just need to be patient because you can't assemble it all at once easily. If you want to paint it, do it before putting it all together.

Now it's time to listen to some old radio. :)

I hope that this instructable will inspire you to do something similar or better. It is not perfect but it works well and I loved the final outcome.

Don't hesitate to ask questions if you need details and to visit my french blog.

Good tinker !

Epilog Contest 8

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