Vintage Wi-Fi Internet Radio




Introduction: Vintage Wi-Fi Internet Radio

About: Al is a wearable tech entrepreneur and creator of a line of smart phone controlled LED handbags With 22 years of experience in the IT industry, Al is currently Senior Director of Info...
An vintage radio turned into a modern Internet Wi-Fi radio

Step 1: Find a Vintage Radio

I found a local vintage radio dealer in town. He's a real purist and is only interested in preserving radios with the original electronics so he really didn't have any interest in helping me out. It took awhile, but he sold me this empty box for $30.

Step 2: Buy an Internet Wi-Fi Radio and Take It Apart

After a few Google searches, I came across this product which seemed a good fit

Its not cheap though and goes for $300. I shopped around a little and was able to get one for $260. The other one out there is this one and is slightly cheaper but I needed to be able to attach a knob to the volume control for the retro look as opposed to an iPod like volume control

Now take the radio apart

Step 3: Paint the Buttons

I wanted the buttons to match the face plate so found some matching paint at Michael's

Step 4: Drill Holes in Bezel

Face plate holes cut with Dremel Tool

Step 5: Mount the Display

Mounted face plate with the display from the Internet radio, the red dot is an old radio dial

Step 6: Radio Grille Cloth

The radio box I bought didn't have the old grille cloth anymore so I needed to buy a replacement.

It turns out there is a web site called that sells the same grille cloth patterns used in vintage radios. It costs about $10. They also include a nice guide on how to install which involes using spray on starch to make the cloth stiffer and then ironing it.

Once ironed, then spray some glue and glue it in.

Step 7: Mounting the Speakers

Now take the speakers from the Accoustic Energy Radio and mount them on a board that will fit inside the radio case

Step 8: Motherboard

Used the Dremel to re-shape the existing Acoustic Energy enclosure for the motherboard and also mounted a tube and capacitor on the top for aesthetics

Step 9: Test

Do a quick test to make sure everything works before final installation in the radio box

Step 10: Final Install

Put everything together in the case.

Now the hardest part of the whole project, negotiating with the wife for a place to put in the house. After some discussion, the radio now has a nice home. Despite the small speakers, the sound is actually pretty good. It also has an audio out so I'm later planning on hooking up to a central sound system for the house.

Acoustic Energy also released a new firmware which you update wireslessly which is pretty cool and one very nice feature is you now can configure your favorite Internet radio statics on their web site which will then automatically download to the radio. This is a very nice feature because there are over 5,000 Internet radio stations in their directory and even though its sorted by location and genre, its a big overwhelming to navigate through and is much easier to do on the web. You can also add your own radio station URLs on the web site which will then download to the radio which comes in handy if you have a local favorite radio station that is not in their directory. Recently they've also added a podcasts so you can listens to podcasts too.



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    24 Discussions

    I applaud your effort but on the other hand this can be seen as a shame? An alternative is to keep the superb tone and overall "magic" of the original radio (or restore to working) and simply add on an input connector for a wifi connected device, as shown elsewhere, as well as here:

    This would be the best of both worlds.

    1 reply

    It's a fair point and appreciate the feedback. Just so you know for this particular project, the case came from a radio dealer who sold it to me as just the shell, it didn't have any guts/tubes, etc. and was just an extra case he had just lying around. The radio dial too was an excess part lying around not in an original / functioning radio.

    I really like this. My gf and I bought an 1958 brAun radio. She allready had the same radio, so now we're going to restaurate it. I'll be doing this with the other one. But I'm gonna try to make my own internet radio cause those things are WAY over priced..

    Very nice!!! Too bad you had to destroy this beautiful radio dial. I would have kept the dial intact and somehow mounted the controls and display elsewhere (though, pretty hard on the case you used). Alternatively, you could mount pushbutton switches in drilled holes on the case, wired them to replace the control switches on the board, and then, for the display, cut a window on the radio dial plate closer to the center, thus not obliterating the frequency markings. Much more work, but it would look better. Still great work, from a long-time electronics re-caser.

    2 replies

    thanks for the tip but I bought the radio case bare so it didn't have any existing dials or buttons

    LOL you did such a good job of making the face of the new radio look old you have some freaking out about what you did with an old radio dial. As I take it the only old about the dial is the red pointer center and associated pointers.

    Great job, both on the radio and the instructable.  Like tinkernaut though, I was pained by what was done to the old dial.

    I have an idea for a similar project, but I want to hide an MP3 player inside that will constantly cycle through as many old time radio programs as can be packed into it.  Then, when someone turns it on, it will sound like it's picking up broadcasts from the time when the radio was made.

    Try flea markets.  I found a Philco 46-350 ( for $25.  It has all the original works and an unbroken leather strap.  It is missing the battery though.

    Try ebay. You can bid on radios with OK cases, but bad innards --- missing tubes, frayed wiring, blown caps. Price should be cheaper due to the extensive restoration work needed for those radios. If you don't mind plastic cases of recent-vintage radios, you can have them for a song. (I just added a bunch of competitor bidders for myself ;-)

    i did something similar but much cheaper.  if you like the vintage look: buy a set of cheap computer speakers (with wall outlet plug in and a 3.5mm input jack).  Place speakers in old stereo casing that has been gutted.  Run 3.5mm cord outside the box.  Plug in Ipod and play.  Same look at about 10% the priceof this one.

    Why is this project called 'Vintage Internet Radio'. It's actually just take a new radio, take the case off and put it into an old case! Weird!

    this is great! anyone have any tips on how to do this without buying the wifi radio, though? an arduino shield, perhaps?

    You might be able to make and amplifier out of that vacuum tube to drive the speakers; however, with only one, it would be mono instead of stereo. The speakers are right next to each other and you may not notice.