Old Radio Amplifier for IPod




Introduction: Old Radio Amplifier for IPod

Ever work in the backyard and not want to use those pesky headphones that always get in the way.

Well I wanted to use my iPod in the backyard using WiFi internet radio. Are you too cheap to buy one of those fancy expensive ipod amplifiers. Well what better way is to use a amplifier powered by those incredible little Eneloop batteries for dirt cheap.

I used a old beat up radio that I got at a thrift store for $1.50 gutted it and used the shell, including the battery compartment, speaker, amplifier and of course my iPod and bang, portable loud internet rechargeable radio that you can use for years to come.

Step 1: List of Items Needed


*Old radio; $1.50 at thrift store non-working

*Amplifier (from the original radio it self or from something else like portable speakers); $5.00

*Eneloop batteries (my radio needed 4 "C" size batteries); About $20.00 check on Google

*"C" size adapters (or "D" size adapters whatever your radio needs); $5.00 for four

*male to male 3.5mm connector; already had one laying around

*and a ipod or media player; already had mine


*Electrical tape

*Hooks and Loops (Velcro)

*Wire cutters

*Screw drivers

*Multimeter (it helps)

*Spare wires for testing

Step 2: Gut the Old Radio

Take out all the unnecessary parts of the radio.

I used the screw driver to take out most of the guts.

What I left was the tuner dial, all he swiches and knobs to glue on later, the speaker, and the head phone jack to use to plug the ipod into and the AC/DC switch to use for on/off.
The point being is to leave the radio looking normal from the outside.

This part is optional:
I still wanted the tuner dial with the station numbers to work.
The dial moves by a string and pulley system.
I cut the string short and then tied it so it can move the dial on the radio, purely aesthetics.
I then placed back the dial into the radio compartment and it moves as if it works. Great!

Next putting in the amplifier.

Step 3: Amplifier Installation

The most important part in choosing the amplifier is to match the same number of batteries. I was lucky this amplifier used 4 AAA batteries the Eneloop batteries I already had was 4 AA Eneloop batteries. Its about the same voltage 1.5V for each AAA and AA batteries. It ended up being about 6 volts total used.

After opening up the amplifier I found the positive and negative points on the circuit board. I attached two wires. One wire to the positive and one to the negative. I found this out by the multimeter and trial and error using the batteries.

After closing up the amplifier I applied Velcro to the back of the amplifier and the radio so it wouldn't rattle around inside the radio after I closed it up.

Next wiring it all up.

Step 4: The Wiring

The yellow and white speaker wires from the radio should be hooked up to the red and black of the amplifier. YELLOW to RED, WHITE to BLACK worked for me. Trial and error worked for me.

Next hooking up the head phone jack on the side of the radio. Originally this would be where you would hook up your head phones so you could listen privately. I made this the jack you plug your ipod into. I found out the leads by, you guessed it, trial and error to find out which connectors to use.

See the black and white wires out of that tan box on the side of the radio. I hooked these connections up to the amplifier's male jack and used electrical tape to connect it all together.

Next the power hook ups.

Like I said before the amp uses about 6 volts to operate and the old radio originally used the same voltage to power the speaker. So I found the leads the amp uses and hooked up the radio like this: BLACK to BLACK but before hooking up the the RED to RED I found a switch that was origanaly used to switch between AC and DC power. So now AC is now off and DC is now ON.

The LED on the amp came on and magic is just around the corner.

Closing shop next.

Step 5: Batteries Hook Ups and Closure

I placed the Eneloop batteries inside the "C" size adapters so they could fit since Eneloop doesn't make a C battery yet.

Then placed the batteries in the radio.

Then closed the radio up.

Next pure rechargeable bliss!

Step 6: Finally Enjoy.

Finally use the male to male 3.5mm cable to plug the ipod into the radio's head phone jack and to quote Emril "BAM" instant loudness.

The volume is excellent it goes quite high much higher than the ipod could do by itself.

The total cost: about $32.00 much cheaper than one you would buy and that includes the Amazing Eneloop rechargeable batteries.

Now kickback in the back yard with your favorite beer (or soda minors) and listen to famous sounds of internets' radio. Enjoy!

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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 6

    great instructible. i just made the same thing basically although i left everything iintact. all you have to do is take a headphone cable- leave the plug end, and cut the other end. solder the leads to the pins on the volume potentiometer and you can still have am fm radio and as soon as you turn on the ipod the radio can be turned down and your ipod will control the volume instead. great idea using the amp though!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Excuse me, so you are saying that when the "play" button is pressed on my phone, the AM/FM transmitter will stop playing letting the music from the phone play and when the phone is stopped, AM/FM transmission will resume?

    My Question is: If the radio has an "alarm" button and a "radio" and "on" buttons, can you guide me in how to make any of those 3 buttons to select the aux cable when pressed?



    11 years ago on Introduction

    I used to have one of those amplifiers, too bad they didn't put a volume knob on it.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    12 years ago on Introduction

    I was hoping you would show us where you cut into the old radio circuit board to utilize its amplifier.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, i've done it very easyly. I conected the earphone out to the volume potentiometer, without changing anything on the radio. Whenever i push play the station i'm listening changes for the ipod song. (sorry for my english!)

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I know the trick is to find the first amplifier stage in the radio's circuitry and tap in there. Probably the best way to do it is to connect or couple it with a couple of 1 microfarad electrolytic capacitors to avoid problems with voltage imbalances. The place to make the coupling is probably easier to find in an older radio because the circuit is made from individual components instead of whole sections encased in one chip.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Some older radios have an INPUT jack to plug in accessories. This way, all you do is plug the ipod straight to that, with a resistor in series so as not to overload the old amp.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    >Ever work in the backyard and not want to use those pesky headphones that always get in the way. .Yes but the stereo speakers in the window usually suffice quite well.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Yes you can use your stereo, but if you don't have a stereo you can use your ipod and this contraption.