Trash to treasure Bluetooth radio and tube amp build

trash-to-treasure-internet-radio

The before image doesn’t look all that bad but we were still impressed with what went into the restoration of this radio. Perhaps restoration isn’t the right word since it didn’t manage to hold on to any of the original internals. This is more resurrection of a retro radio case for use as a Bluetooth radio.

At first look we didn’t notice that the original knobs were missing. The speaker fabric is ripped and the glass on the tuning dial is broken as well. [Yaaaam] happened to have another antique radio with interesting knobs — but he didn’t just transplant them. He made a mold of one knob and cast three replacements for the radio. After refinishing the wood he replaced the fabric and things were really starting to look up.

All of the electronic components were removed and a new tube amp was built on the original metal chassis. It uses a Bluetooth module for input which facilitates using your smart phone as the playback device without involving any wires or other nonsense. Two problems popped up after the project was completed. The first replacement power supply overheated. The second replacement had a different problem, needing some additional shielding to prevent noise from creating unwanted… noise.

This looks so much better than modern injection molded plastic shelf systems. But there are some fun wireless hacks out there for those too.

Comments

  1. SnakeProof says:

    I’ve converted three antique radios to bluetooth while using the original parts, I didn’t even think of submitting it to HackaDay!

  2. mjrippe says:

    Looks fantastic! And I’m very glad [Yaaaam] built a tube amp for it. Too many folks these days would just junk the entire guts and put in some more disposable crap 8-}

  3. echodelta says:

    What do the controls do, if anything. No regeneration today.

    • Rob says:

      The controls on that particular set would have been (if my memory serves) (in order): Off/On/Volume — Tuning — (this is where I’m not complete certain) Band or Tone

      No regen to worry about that I can see. Do correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Roger Jones says:

    The problem is that these articles encourage people to butcher good, collectable radios. Most can be restored to original performance for the next half century. If you want to play “modern sound” though them use an RF modulator (100 mW AM transmitter) fed from CD, FM, MP3 or other source.

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