Philco Radio PC
Found this old Philco Radio in an indoor thrift store (owned by the hardware store located next store) called the Serendipity Room a year or so back and said to myself if I run across a used computer small enough I would purchase the Radio if it’s still available and do the build. So almost a year later I found this Hewlett Packard Pavilion Slim line S3200n PC, perfect for this build.
Went back to the thrift store and the Radio was still there!!!
Went into the hardware store and asked for a price, they said the thrift store was closed, due to Hurricane Sandy here in NJ flooded the entire building and contents was water damaged.
I still wanted the radio which survived by sitting up on a chair; they said $10.00 it’s yours.
Goals: refinish the case to hopefully make it look like the original radio would have looked, make the radio dial scale glow as original, and use the original knobs.
After the Computer was complete I took it to a local Radio Museum and proudly displayed it for them, who promptly thought of this as blasphemy to destroy this old radio, but then said “Where is the rest of the radio?” I asked what do you mean, they said the left half of the radio was missing. It seems the original radio was much larger and someone cut it down and just attached a panel on the left to cover the opening. So this radio has been thru 2 transformations.
Step 1: This Is How the Radio Looked When Purchased
Pictures of Philco Radio when it was purchased
Step 2: Take Apart and Sanding
Carefully removed the original Philco Radio (label inside said Philco) sanded everything by hand.
Step 3: Prep Case for Computer
Empty radio case. While testing how the empty computer chassis fit in the empty radio case, realized a more solid mount was required for the computer chassis to mount to and for the radio bottom to mount on, so I glued a piece of wood into the radio case to mount the computer to and keep it stable. The original computer metal was cover was cut down to be used to create the switch and light panel. See how the computer chassis had a solid mounting area to screw to after the wood piece was glued it.
Step 4: Refinish Case
Refinishing the wood case using polyurethane stain. But after putting on the second coat of polyurethane stain wasn't content with the finish so I lightly sanded the case again and reapplyied polyurethane stain again. Next step was to cut the back so the computer air vents and ports were accessible, using masking tape on the edges of the wood where it was cut keeps the wood from splintering. After removing the original radio speaker and replaced it with a 120 MM fan. There was not much space in the case for the fan and the light and switch panel wires were getting stuck in the back of the fan so I placed a fan grill on the inside of the fan to keep the wires from getting cought. The computer CD-ROM drive was permanently removed for lack of front access in favor of aesthetics and room for the radio light and switch panel.
Step 5: Adding New Wiring and Front Panel
Light and switch panel installed in the case, the inside view (faces the computer inside) of the light and switch panel. Outside view of the light and switch panel (this side faces the front radio dial). Notice the red power button switch and original radio dial plastic and tuner bar. The original computer metal cover was repurposed to create the light and switch panel which is located just inside the front radio dial glass. To get the new radio dial lights to shine thru from behind the original radio dial plastic to produce the same glow, the original radio dial plastic was repurposed by cutting a square hole in the light and switch panel slightly smaller than the original radio dial plastic then hot glued it in. The momentary SPST push button power switch was mounded in the light and switch panel so the top radio dial button can be pressed to turn the computer on, which required rewiring the original computer front panel switch to the new switch. Hot glued was used to mount the plastic tubes to the light and switch panel to isolate the bulbs from the metal frame. The new 6 volt incandescent lights slid in the tubes and wired in series to dim the brightness, run cooler and support the voltage tapped off the 12 volt power supply along with the fan. Bolts were inserted from behind to hold the knob in place and not fall out the front. A sleeve was required in each of the original wood holes for the knobs to hold strait. Brass hardware was used to fill the unused original radio mounting holes and install the fan on the right side of the case. The light and switch panel was mounted in the case using the existing holes from the original radio mounting. Notice the green and white wires going to back of the power switch.
Step 6: Final Assembly
The original radio dial glass was used along with the original knobs. The knob hole was half round because there was a metal tab inside it, I took needle nose pliers to remove the metal tab in the knob hole, the hardware store found a screw that would fit in the knob hole and not be too long as to hit the light and switch panel once installed, 1 inch screws were used. Used 2 plummer grommets on each screw to keep the screw centered in the holes in the front of the wood case. One close up picture of the motherboard shows a connector in the front right corner, with a red and black wire cut, and the green and white wire, the green and white wire connect to the front light and switch panel power button. The picture with the white and black connectors disconnected, the computer power supply did not have a white Molex connector so I had to spliced one off the black power connector. They had the same wire color code, don't forget to verify the wires are soldered well and taped up to prevent shorting. The new white connector has a splitter on it that can be purchased in any computer store, the splitter connects to the power for the radio lights on the light and switch panel and the side 120 MM fan. I decided to use a Cool Drive hard drive cooler placed in the CD-ROM slot to keep the hard drive cool. The wood bottom of the case holds the computer chassis firmly in the case only one screw was required going thru the chassis to the wood to prevent the computer from sliding front to back. The bottom cover uses 4 screws to hold it on as seen in the picture.The hole in the bottom was there from the radio, I use that hole for access for the light and switch panel connectors.
Step 7: Final Pictures
Completed pictures. One goal was to keep some of the original nicks and scratches to make the case look old radio. I created this Instructable to assist other Makers to not be afraid to attempt something like this. It was a lot of work, but remember to create what you want to create and have your goals of what you want before you start the project.