Small and simple FM radio

[gpsKlaus] built this little FM radio (translated) based on the AR1010 IC. That chip is controlled via I2C by an ATtiny45 microcontroller. His tuning implementation relies on presetting 16 stations in the firmware and selecting them with the white potentiometer.

The FM chip came on a breakout board from SparkFun. Not bad at around $15 as it includes the crystal, some caps and a few resistors, and you don’t have to try and solder to the fine pitched pads on that minuscule package. We’re a little unsure of the features included in the part as the datasheet is lacking in detail and the reference datasheet that SparkFun includes in the description is obviously for a much more full-featured chip. Still, this would be a fun thing to play around with if you’ve grown tired of blinking LEDs.

If you don’t want to let an integrated circuit do all the heavy lifting try this post for a guide on building your own radio tuner.


  1. Nonya-Biz says:

    i planed on using one of these, and a tda1515bq to make a radio for my car clubs dragster. it would be lighter than a regular stereo. never got around to programing a micro controller, or finding a good lcd.

    these are on small boards in practically every mp3 player with a radio.

  2. toodlestech says:

    I’m confused why you would want a potentiometer as a way to toggle through digital presets for analog stations when you could skip the micro controller altogether and be able to receive and switch through all Fm stations with just a potentiometer?

  3. jeditalian says:

    how about a small AM radio, i can get a small FM radio at dollartree lol

  4. jeditalian says:

    this one does look higher quality lol i could buy 15 dollar tree radios and what would i have? like 45 coils of wire, 15 leds, 15 headphone jacks.. and in a month or so, 15 broken radios

  5. Will says:

    This is a digital radio, and requires a micro-controller to change stations.
    the programming guide is hard to find:

  6. nes says:

    @Nonya-Biz: I was going to say the same thing. Even the lowliest $5 no-brand MP3 player seems to have the exact same little green PCB inside and though its surface mount, the 10 pads are large and it’s not hard to desolder it cleanly.

    @Will: Thanks for posting the link to the programming guide. I was going to sniff the bus in an MP3 player to try and work out the commands, but this is cool.

  7. biozz says:

    why no large and complicated fm radio? D:

  8. Sanjay in Pune says:

    The AR1010 is a Taiwanese clone of the Philips (nxp) TEA5767.

    No reason why you would want to use the clone when the original is still in production.

  9. vonskippy says:

    I can’t believe people still listen to the radio (FM or AM). It went from amusing to terminally nauseating decades ago.

  10. Whatnot says:

    Is it stereo? Since I understand all those $2 FM radios are mono sound, and the reason to make one yourself might be to get a small stereo version.

  11. fluidic says:

    Never buy from Sparkfun what you can desolder for under half price.


    Radio, not just for listening to. Transmitters aren’t terribly hard to build.

  12. D_ says:

    Im the event the microcontroller would result in a receiver that had station presents, along with conventional tuninng, and digital read out, I could be tempted to duplicate the project.

  13. cde says:

    USB 2 port mini hub controller into 1) A usb sound card (either retail or a ti usb sound controller of the PCM270x or PCM290x series (freesamples!) and 2) a usb micro programmed as an serial-i2c controller (or usb-serial adapter to micro acting as serial-i2c)

    Small, relatively cheap and feature packed usb radio!

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    I love radio hacks.

    Nowadays there’s only one FM station I’d want to listen to, so a little custom receiver just for that station might be interesting to put together.

    Hmm, optimizing for one station means one could tighten the tuning up more too.


  15. urlax says:


    you want this one: sells one, it’s exactly the same design, even works with the silabs software.

    had one connected to my carputer, had perfect reception.

  16. lwatcdr says:

    You could just use a single USB micro with and a2d chip like this one
    It also use SPI so you could use SPI for both or get an USB micro that has I2c and SPI and use the i2c for the control and SPI for the data.

  17. Joel Aud says:

    …simple FM Receiver, convert it to sub-carrier and transmit data on the sub-carrier and you have a cheap point to multipoint one way distribution architecture that could replace grinding up trees smearing them with ink and throwing them at people’s houses.

  18. lwatcdr says:

    Dang it can not get NOAA weather radio! That sucks.

  19. Doc Oct says:

    I wish there was a chip like this available for outside the FM broadcast band. I’d love to find some that could cover 136-512mhz, n-fm.

  20. aaa says:

    You can find such boards with complete stereo I2C-controlled FM tuner in popular, cheap chineese MP3 players in form of pendrive. Sensitivity isn’t very good, but it is small, low power and convenient to control (with uC)

  21. I did a project with this part some time ago. Incidentally I opened the source, and it can be found on my website if anyone is interested.

  22. manish says:

    i need source code for my laptop

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