Raspberry Pi Turns a Novelty Radio Into a Real Computer

picomp

[Strider19] remembers the 90’s, and a great little novelty radio he had back then. Shaped like a computer, the radio was a typical AM/FM affair, with the monitor serving as a speaker. His original radio was long gone, but [Strider19] was able to find a replacement on everyone’s favorite auction site. With the replacement radio in hand, he set his plan in motion: Turning it into an epic Raspberry Pi Case.

The Raspberry Pi fit great, but [Strider19's] 3.5″ composite monitor didn’t quite make it. Following in [Ben Heck's] footsteps, [Strider19] cut the LCD’s control PCB down to fit the case. A piece of clear polycarbonate protects the fragile LCD from poking fingers. The monitor’s button board, two USB ports, and an external composite input mounted nicely inside the former battery compartment at the rear of the CRT. There’s even enough room back there to hide a USB WiFi adapter.

The Raspi itself fit perfectly into the base of the radio, along with a DC to DC converter, USB hub, real-time clock module, and a whole bunch of wires used to extend the connectors.

The final result is awesome! Thanks to a request on [Strider19's] Reddit thread, we have pictures of Doom running on a (former) radio.  Even Windows 3.1 runs under DosBox, though it took a bit of tweaking to get the display settings just right. Now [Strider19] just needs to figure out how to turn that tiny keyboard into a working model. We think some old school cell phone keyboard hacking may be in order!

 

Comments

  1. krazer says:

    This is entirely and completely ridiculous, when I saw the picture of the computer sitting next to a real keyboard I almost fell off my chair laughing at the sheer awesomeness of this hack.

  2. zuul says:

    What is this, a computer for ants?!

  3. Micro SD card fit for that floppy slot.

  4. foolishdane says:

    That’s the cutest computer I have ever seen. Properly also the only computer I ever have described as cute. Thumps Up.

  5. DainBramage1991 says:

    Truly an amazing hack!

    Please stop this, you’re making a lot of us look bad.

  6. Rob says:

    I’ve been waiting to see something like this for years… well done!

  7. Greg Kennedy says:

    This is adorable.

  8. the gambler says:

    very nicely done, now he just needs to make the kb functional :)

  9. Eric says:

    Damn, that’s awesome!

    I have a hate for stupid little novelties that pointlessly look like some other device and are also crappy and I really admire seeing this computer looking radio actually being turned into a useable computer.

    A tiny computer like this is probably a novelty in itself, but hey! It’s functional and really freakin’ cool!

  10. Hirudinea says:

    First happy customer!

  11. jean80it says:

    Idea for a working little (serial) keyboard:

    http://www.stareat.it/sp.aspx?g=cb14cef71da94e398f5b983ca31d7c30

  12. Gryd3 says:

    The size of this thing was unimpressive at first glance. Click the link and see it next to a real keyboard. It will blow you out of your seat!

  13. Genki says:

    Suggestion for keyboard: use bluetooth keyboard and hide it somewhere. While using one finger to “type” on the fake keyboard, use other hand to type on the real keyboard.

  14. Galane says:

    Hack up a few old calculator watches to make the keyboard functional.

  15. ERROR_user_unknown says:

    wow fing awesome slow clap.

  16. Bobby K says:

    I WANT to buy this now!!!!

  17. Jumping Jeremy says:

    Sweet! :-)

  18. frankie says:

    This is one of the coolest hacks I have seen on here in a while.
    Good Job!

  19. Thomas White says:

    I just found the computer-shaped radio I have, it’s a bit bigger. It’s big enough to take a 2.8″ Adafruit Pi TFT and board in the screen section (though the connector might have to be changed to a right-angle or forgone entirely). It also has a cute little mouse with two buttons to control the radio –Scan and Reset– that isn’t in scale with the rest (too big) but ends up with probably just enough space for the optics of an optical mouse (maybe have the main portion in the base, unless there’s a single-chip solution that could be crammed in).

    I probably won’t be trying to imitate this with my radio or Raspberry Pi computer board, as I would try too hard to get the keyboard working and that part is still very tiny. The only useful suggestion so far for getting it working is use the buttons and matrices from a couple calculator watches (X360 chat pad is almost as big as the base). Still something to look out for if you’re thinking of imitating the build.

    • Greenaum says:

      For the keyboard, you could always make your own PCB, bridged with rubber with carbon contacts. Maybe you’d need to rip off a couple of calculator watches for the rubber. Or if you’re clever, mould your own latex, and maybe colour the key bottoms in with a pencil. Or little slices of graphite. Or maybe mix some carbon powder in with the rubber. Not simple, but all within the sort of technology you can use at home.

      There’s drivers on the Raspi that can run a keyboard from the GPIOs, you just need to use them to make a grid.

  20. Someone says:

    Hey dude, can I use your comp- OH SHIT!

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