Old Radio Android PC Case

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Introduction: Old Radio Android PC Case

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

I made this about 18 months ago, just as the first APC (Android PC) boards hit the market. The original APC was an android-powered board with standard PC motherboard connectors, designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse. It had a tiny form factor (neo-ITX) and was ideal for building into a small repurposed case.

I looked out for old radios at sales after the board arrived, and picked up this Roberts one for £5. Although I'm not 100% impressed with the version of Android and the firmware upgrades and support offered, this is still in daily use as a radio and media player in the bedroom.

Step 1: Raw and Dirty Materials

The radio needed a serious cleanup, and the non-working innards were discarded.

Being canvas-covered plywood it was easy to work with, and I soon had the board fixed in place, mounted on domed tap washers to raise it above the floor of the case.

Step 2: Tidying and Tuning

The APC came with a backplate, which finished off the rear neatly. I'd left the front of the radio intact, but wired its on/off switch to the motherboard - it's great to use the original switch to power it up!

I also wired an LED cluster to one of the USB ports, to give a nice radio-like glow to the tuning dial.

Step 3: Finishing Off

I wanted to keep the footprint as small as possible, so added a small rubber zx spectrum-like USB keyboard and a wireless mouse. It's a perfect fit in the corner of the bedroom and has the retro-modern look I hoped for.

It's fairly limited being on Android 2.3, and even with Google Play "added" there are very few compatible apps around, but with ES File Explorer, TuneIn and MX Player it has enough to stream videos from the network drive and play internet radio, which is its purpose.

In retrospect I would have waited for a later version of the board with a better OS and support, but this was still a fun project to make and a practical re-use of old technology!

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    12 Discussions

    you could also try making one with a RasPi running whatever you wanted theres a guide somewhere on programming it into a media machine

    An interesting one, though on a side note I wonder if instead of a mouse it would be possible to use the two radio knobs to move the cursor (etch-a-sketch style) using rotary encoders from an old roller-ball mouse?

    3 replies

    That's an awesome idea, thanks! My current project includes using joypad buttons in a repurposed enclosure to fire autohotkey scripts for PC, so very similar. Wish I'd kept more than the balls when I threw out my roller mice now!

    That VU meter screensaver just ties the whole thing together so nicely....lovely build, sir.

    Awsome idea, maybe I will build something similar, but I don't really know where to get these apc cheap.

    Very nice build. I love the aesthetics of it. Maybe you could look for a custom ROM for your motherboard, then root it and install the custom ROM. Likely you could at least get it up to ICS version.

    1 reply

    An ICS build would be excellent - initially there was some talk on the APC forums about custom ROMs, but the topics ended up a bit clogged with disgruntled comments and are currently showing as "under construction". Shame as this is a great board for tinkering.

    The man-cave does look like the steptoes' front room - just with more cables.

    Amigo, muito bacana, onde compro a motheboard android? Será que entregam no Brazil?