Intro: Simple DIY Retro Radio
This instruction will show you how to build a DIY radio into any housing, without any special tools, in one hour.
I always want to build my own custom radio, that looks the way I want it. Fortunately, now I found the time and the necessary motivation and components to do this project. My goal was to put together a radio with fix power plug, I do not want to use any batteries, I have already too many things which need to be recharged.
I do not want to assemble a radio circuit from discrete components, I found a radio module which was perfect for this application. I had an old wooden box and two speakers from another project. My goal was to have an easy to build a RETRO radio.
I want to make this project as simple as possible. I did not use any 3D printer nor CNC, I used only a few basic tools, and it took about an hour to put everything together.
This project is based on preassembled FM radio module. I picked this module because it is so simple to connect to the loudspeakers, antenna and power supply.
Step 1: BOM List
Material Name amount unit price USD total price USD
FM Radio Receiver Module 1 pc 7,59 $/pc 7,59$/total row
FM Radio Antenna 1 pc 1,78 $/pc 1,78 $/total row
230VAC/5VDC adapter 1 pc 2,24 $/pc 2,24 $/total row
micro USB cable 1 pc 0,99$/pc 0,99 $/total row
2 pcs 2 inch Speakers 1 pc 14,33 $/pc 16,10 $/total row
Speaker cover 2 pc 2,00$/pc 4,00 $/total row
Wooden housing 1 pc
CD case 1 pc
rubber seals 1 pc
battery terminal connector 1 pc
ATX PC cable 1 pc
Total material cost of the project: 32,70 $/total project
Step 2: Assembly
Every step of the assembly process can be seen in the following video.
Some additional information to the video:
The first step was to find the right housing. I chose a small wooden box in which all parts fit perfectly. When I picked this box, I was careful to choose a box without any swinging parts that can resonate when I turn on the radio. I would not recommend any metal case, because it can resonate more easily, for example at the hinges. I have no experience with plastic boxes.
It is a good idea to place all the components on the box before drilling any holes and check that there is enough space for them. Then use suitable drill bits to create the appropriate holes. Between the loudspeaker and the housing can be placed an isolation pad (from cork or rubber) which can help to avoid any vibration. I did not use this isolation because I tried the radio without isolation at maximum volume and there was no vibration. I have fixed speaker cover, I ordered from e-bay, with help of plastic spacers.
The radio module requires 3 openings on the housing. 1 for the volume control, 1 for the frequency tune and one for the display. I cut a small piece from a CD case and glued it at the front of the display.
Any phone charger (5VDC) can handle the module power supply. I cut a hole for the micro USB connector and installed the cable with a rubber ring. I used the cables from the ATX PC power supply to connect the speakers to the radio module.
I did not see any polarization sign at the radio module speaker connector. I tried different ways and I did not feel any difference, so I connect the speakers as it was the easiest. I connected the antenna with a screw and a cable to the radio module. I fixed it to the box with instant glue. The radio was immediately operational after switching on. rare phenomenon:)
Step 3: Final Words
The quality of the sound is far behind a hi-fi equipment, but I'm happy with it. After a while, I have mounted a handle to make it easier to carry. I plan to create a battery version and a switch would be also useful.
Have a nice day!