Introduction: Vintage Radio Turned Into a Phone Speaker

About: I'm based in London - in my day job I make digital things and at night I tinker with art, maps and electronics.

The idea behind this was to take a beautiful old (broken) radio and give it a new lease of life by combining it with modern components to make it usable again as a speaker for a phone.

After getting hold of an old Roberts radio I found a less-old pair of computer speakers to use the components from. I then took everything apart down to the component level.


  • Vintage Robert's radio
  • Pair of computer speakers
  • Some extra electronics components

Step 1: The Old Radio

The radio was a Roberts Rambler. I'm not entirely sure when it was made but I'd guess the 70s or 80s sometime. The box is made of wood and some of the components were made in England so that shows its age!

I love the old electronics inside but sadly they weren't part of the plan. I removed all the components and was left with the shell of the radio.

Step 2: The New Parts

The parts I used for the actual functionality were from a pair of computer speakers. There's really not much to them: two speakers and one PCB with on/off/volume pot, and a 3.5 headphone input.

The enclosures were a horrible cheap plastic, but at least after I totally stripped them down I hoped they could be recycled.

Step 3: ​Putting It All Together and Testing

Once I'd freed all the components I soldered together the bits from the computer speakers to make sure they worked.

Then I fitted them all inside the old radio box. There was only one PCB in the new speakers so I glued some wooden brackets inside the old radio case and then screwed/glued that in place. I'm not proud of the amount of hot glue I used, but sometimes it's exactly what you need!

The old radio only had one speaker but there were two in the newer system. So I fitted one of the new ones into that original position and then for the other I cut a round hole in the side of the old box. For the first time in its life the radio was in stereo!

I fitted the 3.5 mm audio input socket into the hole that was where the tuning knob for the radio went, and I de-soldered the volume pot from the new board, putting flying leads on that to fit it into the original position of the radio volume.

The last thing was the power input, and because I had the DC power supply from the computer speakers I just found the required female power socket with a bulkhead fitting and stuck it through a hole in the back of the box.

Step 4: Finished and Working

Once I'd replaced all the original body of the old radio that was it!

I guess a Bluetooth version could be the future, but this was an easy way to up-cycle a beautiful old radio to play music though and I'm really happy with the results.

Audio Challenge 2020

Participated in the
Audio Challenge 2020