[Dominic Buchstaller] found this German Greatz tube radio at a flea market. It only cost him about €35 and was in a bit more rough condition than the finished product you see above. He also found that a portion of the original circuitry was missing, making it completely non-function. He cleaned up the case to improve the wife-acceptance-factor, and outfitted it with hardware to make it a web radio.
Adding modern speakers was pretty easy as he was already replacing the original cloth bezel which has several holes and tears in it. A set of elements from some Logitech computer speakers served as the organ donors for this step in the process. As he was trying to keep a stock look he came up with a really neat hack to use the original knobs. The station select happens to have a large metal wheel on the inside which is about a centimeter wide. [Dominic] used the optical sensor from a mouse to monitor the turning of the dial by aiming the sensor at this wheel. Internet connectivity was provided by a wireless router he had on hand. This way he can stream music or play from an SD card he also used in the retrofit.
Among great British traditions, there’s tea, knowing how to lose an empire, tea, Parliament, big ben, tea, incalculable wit, Parliament, big ben, tea, and BBC radio. While Britons in foreign lands may not be able receive BBC radio over the airwaves, there is the remarkable BBC iPlayer that allows online streaming of all those awesome BBC radio stations. Unfortunately, moving away from the Prime Meridian means the BBC radio schedule deviates from the schedule ordained by divine right. In Seattle, for example, a Friday evening comedy would be broadcast in the middle of the afternoon. Basically, it’s like listening to Prairie Home Companion on Saturday morning. It just feels wrong.
[Adam] came up with a clever solution to this problem. Yes, it’s really just a Raspberry Pi-powered web radio, but there’s a twist to this build: everything from BBC radio is buffered and time shifted. A program that airs at noon in London will now play on [Adam]’s radio at noon in Seattle.
The hardware portion of the build is an exceedingly British radio which [Adam] deftly modified to include an auxiliary input. The software portion of the build uses ffmpeg, mplayer, and a PHP script to stream the iPlayer audio to a file, wait 8 hours (or whatever the offset from GMT is), and start playing the audio.
In the end, the time shifted BBC radio works perfectly, and even caught the attention of a few people at BBC Radio 4. [Adam] was interviewed about his project, and was even able to listen to his interview several hours later.
While the hacking zeitgeist is focused nearly entirely on all those new ARM dev boards that include the Raspberry Pi, some people out there are still doing it old school by modifying existing electronics to suit their needs. [Peter] picked up one of those very inexpensive TP-Link 703n wireless routers we’ve seen before and modified it into a standalone web radio, complete with volume and tuner knobs.
The TP-Link 703n is a wireless router smaller than a credit card available from the usual Chinese resellers for about $20. Able to run OpenWRT, this very inexpensive piece of hardware can be transformed into a device comparable to the Raspberry Pi; a complete Linux system with a few GPIO pins.
[Peter] took his 703n router and added an ATtiny85 connected to two pots and the internal UART. This, along with a script to read the values from the pots, tells the router what station to tune into and what volume to play it. The audio is handled by a USB soundcard with an internal speaker, making [Peter]’s build one of the smallest purpose-built Internet radios we’ve seen.
You can see [Peter]’s radio in action after the break.
Continue reading “Turning a tiny router into a webradio”