The Amazing Tube Internet Radio

Introduction: The Amazing Tube Internet Radio

About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla, …

I found an empty radio case from the 30th made from bakelite.

The whole electric was gone and the speaker was totally damaged but the speakers cloth was originally from the 30th as well.

I am still building Volumio based MP3 players and i decided to build a MP3 players with tube amplifier.

Volumio is a very clever fork of a MP3 player project. Other forks are RuneAudio or Moode Player.

Each has its advantages. Volumio and Moode have pre configured radio stations. Moode is able to browse trough multiple USB - Devices. So its up to you to find the playe that fits to your needs.

The players are also able to connect to NAS based music sources. On the first picture you can see the "Wingman" connected to my Raspberry NAS system.

So here are the parts:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • 2 Gbyte SD - Card for Volumio image (
  • USB DAC (KLICK) or similar
  • USB to CF adapter (KLICK) or similar
  • 32 GByte CF-card
  • Tube amplifier kit (KLICK) 4 Watt output
  • Audio transformer (KLICK) or similar
  • TPLINK mini router (KLICK)
  • 5V / 2A Power supply
  • Wide range speaker
  • Power Switch
  • Cables and wires
  • Some deco material

A lot of parts I had on hand. You can use an USB-stick for the music as well instead of the CF-card.

BE CAREFULL if you are operationg more the 48V DC this can be very, very dangerous!

So lets go step by step trough the parts....

Step 1: The Raspberry and Amplifier Part

I used an old Raspberry Pi from the 1. generation. It is still powefull enough to run Volumio.

The USB DAC has an stereo output but the amplifier is mono, so I used a resistor network to convert the stereo signal to mono.

The stereo signal goes from the DAC output to the converter and than via the poti to the amplifiers input and from the audio transformer to the speaker.

The TP-Link is connecting the Raspi to world.

Please mention that the Raspi has its own power supply.

Step 2: The Power Supply

This is the dangerous part and a bit tricky.

The circuit is from Elektronik Walter as well.

The mains will be converted to 12V, this voltage ist used for the heating of the tube as well.

The 12V from the primary transformer goes to the secondary wich produces enough voltage to drive the anode current.

The output from the secondary transformer was rectified and filtered. The output voltage is around 200V DC with the amplifier tube connected. The output voltage is nearly ripple free.

The sound is amazing!

Step 3: The Case and the Speaker

After cleaning the case and speaker cloth I used the originally speaker holder to mount the new wide range speaker.

I used a nearly dry sponge to clean the cloth very carefully.

Step 4: First Try

I put everyting together and booted the Raspberry, fired up the amp and there was a sound humming from the speaker. I powered everything down an replaced the shunt by a primary coil of a small transformer.

Power on again and no ripples, no humming!

Step 5: Finishing

This radio has no scale for tuning. So I closed the hole by an ornament made from some brass gears and steel wings. This gives the name for the radio:

The Wingman

The sound is amazing and im using the radio day by day.

Have fun,

Horatius Steam

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    You know it's the current that kills you, not voltage. That's why many of those super high voltage mad science projects won't kill you, even with massively high voltages. Mains voltage and tube voltages won't kill you either, if there's not much current draw. I've been hit with mains and tube voltages more times than I can remember since I was too young to know better, and it's been fine. But the current - it doesn't take much to stop your heart, if it happens to go across it. It'll just hurt, and some of the high voltage tube circuits can hurt a LOT. Still, a little caution is always good.


    Reply 6 months ago

    @PortlandGirl Sorry that is not true. The
    voltage is driving the current. 200 V DC can kill you not only by
    stopping your heart. At can kill you by an emboli as well due to
    chemical reactions in your body.
    Beside this the sinus knot that is
    driving your heart is extremely sensitive to current. There are cases
    that people fall to death days ago due to the damage of the sinus knot.
    The DC is 200V and the transformer is able to drive up to 500mA.
    The average resistance of the body hand to hand is about (dry) 1000 - 1500 Ohms.
    gives you a current of 200V / 1500 = 0,133 Amps. This will destroy the
    sinus knot if you are unlucky. More than 0,04A are lethal! Even on DC!
    So be careful working with high DC votage.
    mad science project you mentioned can not deliver more than 0,03 A due
    to the high inner resistance. This limits the current! The inner
    resistance has to be added to the resistance of the human body.
    Power supply that I build has a lower inner resistance (approx. 100Ohm)
    so the voltage will be able to drive a much higher current.




    3 years ago

    And BTW this is a really cool project. If I can part with parting out one of my little tube radios, I'd like to convert it into an internet radio. But they're all functional, so I can't bring myself to do it. Maybe I'll find one with a broken radio, and reuse its amplification circuitry and speaker(s).


    4 years ago

    That looks amazing!