Adding RDS decoding to a vintage radio

c_670_rds4_sm2 (Custom)

[Edo] wrote in to show us how he added RDS decoding to a radio made in 1957. RDS or Radio Data System is a protocol for data transmission. This allows date, time, artist info, and more to be broadcast along with the music. Its a nice feature that many new cars come with from the factory. [Edo] wanted to add it to his old radio though. He kept the radio stock looking, choosing to use an external LCD to display the data. He has posted the information on where to splice in to add this unit to pretty much any FM radio as well as posting the schematics and source code for the unit itself. Look at the very bottom of the page for the download link, its a bit hidden with the advertisements.

18 thoughts on “Adding RDS decoding to a vintage radio

  1. Nice hack! Its a shame the UK government are planning to scrap FM radio broadcasts in favour of an as yet crappier digital setup! We must stand and fight for FM radio broadcast before it is to late!

    On the other hand if they do scrap it then theres a large portion of unused bandwidth to play with.

  2. Though very cool, I do think this would have looked better being integrated to the radio rather than having a vintage system with some dorky LCD box sitting on it, as it makes the whole thing clash hardcore.

    Cool hack none the less.

  3. Very cool hack. I’ve been wanting to do something with RDS for a while, just haven’t gotten around to it.

  4. I wonder how well it would work to have the RDS information floating over the tuner’s frequency bar? Might integrate well in an old car…or not.

  5. alright, time for a rant…

    (This is where you modern things run off.
    why the f do you rely on things that can die instantly from static electricity? Grow some high-voltage valves)

    Stop using those ugly circuit boards. Too modern; try point-to-point with a chassis.
    ‘But it has an IC!’ your transistors squeal.
    ‘Get some valves’ my obsessed mind responds.
    yeah – that IC just doesn’t look right next to that valve radio. With IC’s, they age, and you think:
    ‘Aged transistors and miniturised components? Not in my house!’, and you chuck it in the bin.
    But with old valve radios, dimly glowing in the corner, with heavy metal chassis, radium-coated dials, leaky capacitors, I (not you) think:
    An old radio? Yay! Time to get ripped off, shocked, stressed, time and spaced used up, and an extremely unefficient device that works well as a heater.

    Yes – I do collect and fix valve radios. Its obsessive. I gave up on circuit boards years ago.

    But just so this isn’t deleted for irrelivness, I’d just like to say how useless this is.
    Who’s gonna squint at that midget, flickering LED to find out the name of a song? Seriously!

  6. Yep, very cool hack me thinks. Just the thing for the old valve radio I got last week for less than the price of a pint. Agree with Luke that it is perhaps a bit small to view, but with a bigger display (or nixies), awesome.
    This idea has real potential.

  7. “…its a bit hidden with the advertisements” – nothing like hackaday though, yep, no advertisments here :-)
    btw nixie tubes would REALLY rock here!

  8. It’s such a shame that this hack uses an obsolete part. TDS7330 is not even listed on ST’s own website anymore. Or am I missing something?

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