Classic VW Bug Stereo Gets Bluetooth

If any of you deal with older car fanatics, you’ll know that the original dash stereo is a coveted piece of equipment. If they haven’t been removed and replaced with something more modern over the years, they’re usually non functional. [Hadrien] has gone through some trouble to retain his original stereo in his 69 Volkswagen Beetle. First, he did a common hack we see even in modern cars. He added an auxiliary input.

This satiated his desire for modern audio for a while, but he really found the necessity for a cable attachment annoying. He decided he was going to add bluetooth (google translated from french).  To do this, he took a pair of bluetooth headphones and tore them apart. Using an old cassette tape as the case, he rebuilt them as something that could be wired directly to his dash stereo. He even kept the mic just in case he wanted to use this as a hands free device.

Being build in 1969, his car stereo doesn’t use a cassette, so he just keeps it in the glove box. This isn’t optimal, but as he says, at least he doesn’t have to plug in his phone.

23 thoughts on “Classic VW Bug Stereo Gets Bluetooth

  1. what if.. instead of power wires coming out of this… generator utilizing the movement of the tape drive wheel? how much power does this sort of Bluetooth circuit need?

  2. Looking a bit more closely, those aren’t power connectors, that’s the audio output from the bluetooth device!

    I wonder what the point of using a cassette body for a enclosure is, aside from asthetics… It almost certainly wouldnt play nicely with a car stereo if inserted into the tape deck…

  3. Stupid hack is stupid:

    Ebay Bluetooth headset from ebay: 18euros
    Ebay Bluetooth receiver with jack plugh: 13 USD

    Just because some monkey crack open some electronic case don’t make it a good idea… Sometimes… tinkering is really stupid… this is one of those times… It’s not a hack from “lying around stuff, not even the usual scam “making a precise CNC machine from scraps” where hackaday forgot to say that the “scraps” are in fact a former CNC machine with a broken knob. Here it’s a case of ignorance from a guy who purposefully order the wrong device to slaughter because he don’t know any better… Yay for mediocrity…

    1. Maybe my comments are bitter because after good starts, hackaday, like lifehacker became a “push anything to the frontpage to get hits” junkyard…

      Or I’m a troll… But re-check the whole process of this hack… and tell me with a straight face that ordering a more expensive unsuited part and stuffing it randomly in the wrong form factor casing instead of the readily available adapter is a good idea…

      That’s redneck’ing with an iron flux…

      It’s like all the RC hacks that start with a random chinese RC junktoy… repeatability: 0 plateform quality: -infinity, even finding the same toy don’t guarantee having the same internals… Meanwhile RC chassis radios and controls have standards form factors and protocols since decades…

    1. I like the tape case. Even more because you don’t have a tape player in your car. For the casual user that must look very odd :)
      “Let me plug-in my cassette tape.”

      Awesome, keep on hacking!

  4. Aside from further loss of audio and hearing (bluetooth) and constant radiation inside the car this IS a true hack. The battery in the phone will have a shorter life than with that all important simple cost effective piece of wire. And I see a battery in the cassette, how is it charged? There is abundant 12v on board. How elegant is that. Please just hook up the wire to a clip-holder on the dash or below. Better to mount the phone out of sight, as nothing in a car in motion should have by design a need to see or look at to operate! Touch yes turn push etc. Just keep your eyes off gadgets in the car period.

  5. That’s interesting and all but has nothing to do with maintaining the period correct stereo. Cassette players for cars weren’t available in 1969 so it’s doubtful that the stereo in question is the original. Furthermore Beetles of that vintage had a single speaker above the radio which was typically an AM radio.

    Cassette adapters usually have poor dynamic range. I think a better way to get audio into the system would be to build a bluetooth circuit that detects the bluetooth device and then switches the inputs from the radio/cassette to the signal from the bluetooth device. It would need a little buffer amp too but it would be clean and the best sound possible.

    1. You are correct, the stereo did not have a cassette player. He left the cassette in the glovebox as an interesting enclosure to hold his bluetooth. As per the speaker… I’m a vw bus fanatic. if you look at the ads for buses, they’ll brag about the “uncut dash” or original stereo. often, another more functional one is installed elsewhere. I just thought this was cute.

        1. Fantastic! That is exactly what I was thinking would be the solution to making the system as stealth as possible.

          * This is a Hack that I’ve thought about for a while for my car… Not because it is a classic but because it would be so convenient with mobile music from smart phones and other Bluetooth enabled sources.

  6. Unrelated, but I sometimes drive a very old car of a type that gets a lot of attention from thieves. I got tired of replacing glass.

    My hack is pretty lo tech – I have a stuffed dummy that looks like a sleeping wino in the back seat. It works really well, although meter maids (parking cops) are sometimes a little too intrigued for my taste.

    Caution: Do not use empty wine bottle for enhanced realism, as you will get pulled over.

  7. What would be a cooler hack than this is to add AD2P Bluetooth to one of those cassette adapters that goes into a cassette player and has a wire to plug into a headphone jack.

    Pop it in, leave it in and your phone or music player or PDA connects up when you get in the car. No having to plug in a wire or forgetting to unplug.

    Do one in an 8-Track tape shell too for all those 1960’s and 1970’s cars with original radios. There were three or four different cassette to 8-Track adapters.

    Make a fancy label for it, “BlueTrack” or something like that.

    The simplest used the 8-Track’s drive capstan and I assume all passive electronics, or possibly had a little generator to power the electronics to create a magnetic field for the play head to read. One of the designs used batteries or may have plugged into a lighter socket but was quite bulky with a flip up tape door. The others weren’t much bigger than an 8-Track tape. I had one that needed no external power or batteries and it had a three position lever for play, fast forward and rewind.

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