Internet Radio Using an ESP32

68,100

297

81

Introduction: Internet Radio Using an ESP32

About: I am Nick Koumaris from Sparta, Greece. I'm extremely passionate about electronics, making things and design. I love teaching what I know and sharing my experiences with you. I put out new YouTube videos eve...

Dear friends welcome to another Instructable! Today we are going to build an Internet Radio device with a big 3.5” display using an inexpensive ESP32 board. Believe it or not, we can now build an Internet Radio in less than 10 minutes and with less than 30$. There is a lot to cover so, let’s get started!

A few months ago, I completed an Arduino FM Radio project which works great and looks even better in my opinion. If you want to see how I built this project you can read the Instructable here. The problem is that, although this radio looks cool it is not practical because I live in a small town in southern Greece and the big Greek radio stations I prefer to listen to, do not have transmitters around here. So, I listen to my favorite radios online on my laptop or tablet pc which is also not so practical. So, today I am going to build an Internet radio device in order to be able to listen to my favorite radio stations from all over the world!

As you can see, a first version of the project is ready on a breadboard. Let’s power it up. As you can see the project connects to the Internet and then streams music from predefined Radio Stations.

I have tuned in to the Real FM radio station from Athens and by using these buttons we can change the Radio Station we are listening to. I have saved my favorite radio stations to the memory of the ESP32 so I can access them easily. With this potentiometer, I can change the volume of the speaker. I display the Name of the Radio Station we are listening to on a big 3.5” display with a retro User Interface. The project works fine and it is very easy to build.

You can build the same project in less than 10 minutes but you need to have some experience. If this is your first project, consider building a simpler one first, to gain some experience. Check my Instructables for simple project ideas and when you are more comfortable with the Arduino the electronics come back to build this cool project. Let’s now start building our own Internet Radio.

UPDATE 6/6/2019

The noise issue has been solved by adding an isolator transformer. Check out the updated shematic diagram. Thanks!

Step 1: Get All the Parts

We are going to need the following parts:

The total cost of the project is around 40$ but if you don’t use a display the cost of the project is around 20$. Amazing stuff. We can build our own Internet radio with just 20$!

Step 2: ESP32 Board

The heart of the project is, of course, the powerful ESP32 board. If you are not familiar with it, the ESP32 chip is the successor of the popular ESP8266 chip we have used many times in the past. The ESP32 is a beast! It offers two 32 bit processing cores which operate at 160MHz, a massive amount of memory, WiFi, Bluetooth and many other features with a cost of around 7$! Amazing stuff!

Please watch the detailed review I have prepared for this board. I have attached the video on this Instructable. It will help understand why this chip will change the way we make things forever! One of the most exciting things about the ESP32 is that even though it is so powerful, it offers a deep-sleep mode which requires only 10μΑs of current. This makes the ESP32 the ideal chip for low power applications.

In this project, the ESP32 board connects to the Internet and then it receives MP3 data from the radio station we are listening to, and it sends some commands to the display.

Step 3: MP3 Decoder

The MP3 data is then sent to the MP3 decoder module using the SPI interface. This module uses the VS1053 IC. This IC is a dedicated hardware MP3 decoder. It gets the MP3 data from the ESP32 and converts it really fast into an audio signal.

The audio signal that it outputs at this audio jack is weak and noisy, so we need to clear it from the noise and amplify it. (If you are using headphones, the signal does not need to be cleared from noise or amplified.) That’s why I am using an Isolation transformer to clear the audio from the noise and a PAM8403 audio amplifier to amplify the audio signal and then send it to a speaker. I have also connected two buttons to the ESP32 just to change the MP3 Stream we are getting data from and a Nextion display to display the Radio station we are listening to.

Step 4: Nextion Display

I chose to use a Nextion display for this project since it is very easy to use. We only need to connect one wire to control it.

The Nextion displays are new kind of displays. They have their own ARM processor at the back which is responsible for driving the display and creating the graphical user interface. So, we can use them with any microcontroller and achieve spectacular results. I have prepared a detailed review of this Nextion display which explains in depth how they work, how to use them and their drawbacks. You can read it here , or watch the attached video.

Step 5: Connecting All the Parts

All we have to do now is to connect all the parts together according to this schematic diagram. You can find the schematic diagram attached here. The connection is straightforward.

There are two things to note though. The MP3 decoder module outputs a Stereo Signal but I am using only one audio channel in this project. In order to get the audio signal, I connected an audio cable to the audio jack of the module, and cut it to reveal four wires inside. I connected two of the wires. One of them is the GND and the other one is the audio signal of one of the two audio channels. If you wish you can connect both channels to the amplifier module and drive two speakers.

Each audio channel must go through the isolation transformer to clear any noise present before connecting to the amplifier.

To send data to the display, we only need to connect one wire to the TX0 pin of the ESP32. After connecting the parts, we have to load the code to the ESP32, and we have to load the GUI to the Nextion display.

To load the GUI to the Nextion display, copy the InternetRadio.tft file I am going to share with you to an empty SD card. Put the SD card into the SD card slot at the back of the display. Then power up the display, and the GUI will be loaded. Then remove the SD card and connect the power again.

After successfully loading the code, let’s power up the project. It displays the text “Connecting…” for a few seconds on the display. After connecting to the internet the project connects to a predefined radio station. The hardware is working as expected but now let’s see the software side of the project.

Step 6: The Code of the Project

First of all, let me show you something. The code of the project is less than 140 lines of code. Think about it, we can build an Internet Radio with a 3.5” Display with 140 lines of code, this is amazing. We can achieve all this using various libraries of course which contain thousands of lines of code. This is the power of Arduino and the Open source community. It makes things easy for makers.

In this project, I am using the VS1053 library for the ESP32 board.

At first, we have to define the SSID and the Password of the Wi-Fi network. Next, we have to save some Radio Stations here. We need the host URL, the path where the stream is located and the port we need to use. We save all this info into these variables.

char ssid[] = "yourSSID";            //  your network SSID (name) <br>char pass[] = "yourWifiPassword";   // your network password</p><p>// Few Radio Stations
char *host[4] = {"149.255.59.162","radiostreaming.ert.gr","realfm.live24.gr", "secure1.live24.gr"};
char *path[4] = {"/1","/ert-kosmos","/realfm","/skai1003"};
int   port[4] = {8062,80,80,80};

I have included 4 radio stations in this example.

In the setup function we attach interrupts to the buttons, we initialize the MP3 decoder module and we connect to the Wi-Fi.

void setup () {

   Serial.begin(9600);
   delay(500);
   SPI.begin();</p><p>   pinMode(previousButton, INPUT_PULLUP);
   pinMode(nextButton, INPUT_PULLUP);</p><p>   attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(previousButton), previousButtonInterrupt, FALLING);
   attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(nextButton), nextButtonInterrupt, FALLING);
   initMP3Decoder();   
   connectToWIFI();
}

In the loop function, first of all, we check if the user has selected a different radio station than the one we are getting data from. If so, we connect to the new radio station else we get data from the stream and send them to the MP3 Decoder module.

<p>void loop() {<br>     
      if(radioStation!=previousRadioStation)
      {
           station_connect(radioStation);
           previousRadioStation = radioStation; 
      }
      
      if (client.available() > 0)
      {
        uint8_t bytesread = client.read(mp3buff, 32);
        player.playChunk(mp3buff, bytesread);
      }
}</p>

That’s all! When the user presses a button, an interrupt happens, and changes the value of a variable which tells which stream to connect to.

<p>void IRAM_ATTR previousButtonInterrupt() {</p><p>  static unsigned long last_interrupt_time = 0;
  unsigned long interrupt_time = millis();
 
 if (interrupt_time - last_interrupt_time > 200) 
 {
   if(radioStation>0)
    radioStation--;
    else
    radioStation = 3;
 }
 last_interrupt_time = interrupt_time;
}</p>

To update the display, we simply send some commands to the serial port.

<p>void drawRadioStationName(int id)<br>{
  String command;
  switch (id)  
  {
    case 0:  command = "p1.pic=2"; Serial.print(command); endNextionCommand(); break; //1940 UK Radio
    case 1:  command = "p1.pic=3"; Serial.print(command); endNextionCommand(); break; //KOSMOS     GREEK
    case 2:  command = "p1.pic=4"; Serial.print(command); endNextionCommand(); break; //REAL FM    GREEK
    case 3:  command = "p1.pic=5"; Serial.print(command); endNextionCommand(); break; //SKAI 100.3 GREEK
  }
}</p>

Now let’s take a look at the Nextion Display GUI. The Nextion GUI consists of a background picture and a picture which displays the name of the Radio Station. The ESP32 board sends commands to change the name of the radio station from the embedded images. It is very easy. Please watch the Nextion display tutorial I have prepared some time ago for more information. You can quickly design your own GUI if you wish and display more things on it.

As always you can find the code of the project attached in this Instructable.

Step 7: Final Thoughts & Improvements

This project is very simple. I wanted a simple Internet Radio project skeleton to work with. Now that a first version of the project is ready we can add many features to it to improve it. First of all, I need to design an enclosure to house all the electronics.

In this book about the Most Beautiful Radios ever made there are very cool radios to choose from as an enclosure for this project. I think I am going to build an enclosure around this spectacular Art Deco radio. What do you think, do you like the looks of this radio or do you prefer something more modern? Do you have any other enclosure ideas? Also, do you like this Internet Radio project and what features do think we need to add to it to make it more useful? I would love to read your thoughts and Ideas so, please post them in the comments section below.

4 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Puzzles Speed Challenge

    Puzzles Speed Challenge
  • "Can't Touch This" Family Contest

    "Can't Touch This" Family Contest
  • CNC Contest 2020

    CNC Contest 2020

81 Discussions

0
flammini.marco
flammini.marco

3 months ago

Thanks for sharing this project!
I uploaded the file on the esp32 but the it doesn't work...the display keeps showing "connecting" and the program doesn't seem to run. Any help??

2
4711engel1
4711engel1

Question 7 months ago

Great Project. Want to built it too!
But I have some problems.
Compiling is ok, upload is ok. But on display always is "Conneting ..." and no radio station.
I checked wiring, ok.
I post a screenshot. Maybe you can help me fixing the problem.

Second question: How can I change the GUI using othe radio stations?

Thanks for help

Bild2.jpg
0
AlexanderZ32
AlexanderZ32

Reply 4 months ago

Hi
I found the problem that caused the crash in the code.
Replace the variabel stations
char *host[4] =
char *path[4] =
int port[4] =
and change the code so that only one station is hardcoded. Then the error was gone for me.
The brownout error also looks like an additional problem, may check the voltage supply and measure it with a multimeter while starting the esp. maybe you have a short voltage drop.
Greetings!

0
stefano.capuzzi79
stefano.capuzzi79

Reply 4 months ago

Really Thank you Alexander!
I've turned into another radio project, similar to this, but who's working.
I'm happy you fixed the problem.
Thank you

0
PolimerasD
PolimerasD

Reply 3 months ago

hi Stefano
which project?
thanks

1
stefano.capuzzi79
stefano.capuzzi79

5 months ago

Hi!
Thank you for the great job!
I can't make it work. Excuse me if I'm not an experienced user. I'm used to program arduino, and this is my first experience with ESP32.
So...
I'm not connecting the Nextion (I don't need it).
When I flash the chip by Arduino IDE it seems to work, but leaving connected the serial monitor it likes to reboot continuosly, as follow:

Rebooting...
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.WiFi connected
Guru Meditation Error: Core 1 panic'ed (LoadProhibited). Exception was unhandled.
Core 1 register dump:
PC : 0x400014dc PS : 0x00060030 A0 : 0x800d405d A1 : 0x3ffb1f20
A2 : 0x00000081 A3 : 0x0000007d A4 : 0x000000ff A5 : 0x0000ff00
A6 : 0x00ff0000 A7 : 0xff000000 A8 : 0x800d3f9a A9 : 0x3ffb1ef0
A10 : 0x3ffb1f60 A11 : 0x3ffb1f54 A12 : 0x00000004 A13 : 0x0000ff00
A14 : 0x00000000 A15 : 0x00000000 SAR : 0x0000000a EXCCAUSE: 0x0000001c
EXCVADDR: 0x00000081 LBEG : 0x400014fd LEND : 0x4000150d LCOUNT : 0xfffffffe
Backtrace: 0x400014dc:0x3ffb1f20 0x400d405a:0x3ffb1f30 0x400d0f21:0x3ffb1f50 0x400d112a:0x3ffb1f90 0x400d40c9:0x3ffb1fb0 0x4008b329:0x3ffb1fd0



Any suggestion?
In every case, thank you

IMG_20200315_155550_3.jpgIMG_20200315_155554_6.jpgIMG_20200315_155629_5.jpgIMG_20200315_160904_7.jpg
0
AlexanderZ32
AlexanderZ32

Reply 4 months ago

Hi there!
I got the exact same result. I think that maybe an update changed something in the libraries and is now resulting in a crash. Maybe someone could test that? I will do my best to roll back to an earlier version of the arduino system and the libraries and try to check if that was the problem.

0
AlexanderZ32
AlexanderZ32

Reply 4 months ago

Hi
I found the problem that caused the crash in the code.
Replace the variabel stations
char *host[4] =
char *path[4] =
int port[4] =
and change the code so that only one station is hardcoded. Then the error was gone for me.
Greetings

0
PolimerasD
PolimerasD

Reply 3 months ago

hi Alex
what do you mean by ´´Replace the variabel stations´´?
thanks

0
davetelling
davetelling

Question 1 year ago

Where do you find the URL (host, path,port) information? I tried adding a couple of local internet stations, but was unable to find any combination that would stream the audio. Apparently the port information is critical, but I could find no port info when I was looking through the station information.
Ther onlt

0
PolimerasD
PolimerasD

Answer 3 months ago

Web-browsers use the URL protocol prefix (http://) to determine the port number (http = 80, https = 443, ftp = 21, etc.)
unless the port number is specifically typed in the URL (for example "http://www.simpledns.com:5000" = port 5000).

0
davetelling
davetelling

Answer 1 year ago

I'll answer my own question! I found that there are a number of methods for finding the URL info for online stations, and in this case google is your friend. I visited probably a dozen different websites (including YouTube videos) to find different ways of finding the URL's, as not all streams use the same formats. I finally was able to add the stations I wanted, and the second part was figuring out how to use the Nextion editor to change the station labels. It was a pain, and not very intuitive, but basically when you bring up the editor and load the .hmi file (internetradio.hmi) you have to replace the station ID graphics (seen in the lower left of the editing desktop) with your own, sized the same as the originals. You compile with the new graphics, then upload to SD card and then load into the display as mentioned above.

0
ChrisD547
ChrisD547

Reply 1 year ago

Hi... you say "not all streams use the same formats". So... which format do we need to search for? Can you recommend specific websites where you can choose stations in the right format? Or is it trial and error? Thanks.

0
mathein2050
mathein2050

3 months ago

Great project ! I really made in in 10 minutes (without display). Thanks for the instructions. Matthias.

0
radioguyusa
radioguyusa

Question 6 months ago

Great project, thanks for sharing. Excellent aesthetics for the interface!

I am trying to build a 'browse-able' internet radio using the radio.garden website. I have tried a Raspberry Pi 3 and found that it simply doesn't have enough processor power to allow good navigation of the world map of radio stations. I am in the process of upgrading to a Pi 4 to see if that will improve the user experience. If you have any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again..

0
lila14
lila14

Question 7 months ago on Step 6

Nice project, so I thought I would build it. I could not get it to work. Audio and dev board
draw 80ma for 1 second and 110ma for 1 second which keeps alternating. Seems pretty low. All wave forms going to the audio board look like a 1 second oscillation and 1 second of no waveform.Could this be a revision problem with the libraries?
I loaded the dev board with another web radio program, which uses the same VS 1053 library and that other web radio project works fine. Has anyone experienced this with this
project? Any ideas?

0
Klaus-JürgenE
Klaus-JürgenE

1 year ago on Step 7

Great project! It made so much fun. ...and worked. Made some modifications:
- used a cheap OLED I2C Display
- changed to stereo
Please find attached some pictures of my 3D printed enclosure.

IMG_4125.jpegIMG_4124.jpegGeh&auml;use_WebRadioBottom.jpgGeh&auml;use_WebRadioTop.jpgWebRadioSch_modified.jpg