Cellphone controlled retro-radio stores and plays your digital library

[Autuin] was worried about having desirable electronics stolen while on the road with his band. He didn’t want to take a laptop along on tour, but he didn’t want to be without his music either. To solve this problem, he built a music player inside of a cheap-looking radio. His write-up covers two different portable MP3 solutions, but it’s the second rendition that catches our attention.

After hollowing out the old radio he filled the void with an Asus WL-HDD 2.5. That hardware is meant to be an easy way to add network storage; it houses a laptop hard drive and has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity. But it also has one USB port, and can be hacked to add a second. [Autuin] did just that, using the two USB connections to add a Bluetooth dongle and a USB sound card. Music is synced with the hard drive via some cat-5 cable that’s hidden in the battery compartment of the vintage box. The NAS runs Linux, and the audio playback software is controlled though a Mobile Java application running on a somewhat broken cellphone. That’s an idea that might find its way into our next project.

Comments

  1. harro says:

    Pretty cool rig.
    Remindes me of my 60s radio with a thin client hacked in it. Maybe I should also write a little artical about it.

  2. marc says:

    Camouflage is nice, once I fooled the thieves by NOT having a radio in my car, after they popped the lock and pried off the plate I was $550 poorer in damages to my car door.

  3. echodelta says:

    A hard drive, cool, plenty of room for uncompromised music files. Hollowed out (like a mummy head) no brains. These radios have good sound, without radio no storm warning etc. If you fly, (TSA) no fly, without being able to make it play.
    The wolf in sheep’s housing is a good idea though.

  4. JamieWho says:

    Yeah, I don’t think he will take this through the airport. He already had one hack (and his car) ripped apart by US Customs when he came into Washington one time.

    Although, he could make the radio play music. It does have a built-in speaker, so in theory, it is a functioning device. He just couldn’t pick up the local radio station.

  5. I *love* building things into older electronics! You get: sturdy housing, including carrying handle, battery compartment, and often speakers. I’m working now on putting a drum machine into an old boom box…. the am/fm/tape/cd is all old news, but the speakers and case are fine.

  6. CONNIE says:

    Really great article, worth the read many times over !

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