Turning A Tiny Router Into A Webradio


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.


17 thoughts on “Turning A Tiny Router Into A Webradio

  1. That’s pretty freaking slick.
    Not even using mpd, just wget piped to madplay.
    Some station management would be nice, but I think that could be easily added via a web interface.

    I wonder how well something like this would handle squeezeslave.

  2. I made a similar project a year ago, but I was using a X11 remote to control volume and radio station. Also, I build my own USB soundcard with PCM2900 and amplifier TPA1517NE.

    1. As seen earlier here, you can play games on one with ScummVM :P
      If you want something with a little more support (and slightly less hardwarehacking), the Raspberry Pi is probably a better choice.

      Personally, I like to use discarded Wyse thin-clients. Snagged a 1.6Ghz Sempron-based one for $25, “broken”. It fixed right up when I put a hard drive in it :)
      I use a Wyse J400 with a secondary NIC as a router, and it’s *fantastic*. The on-die crypto accel Via put in their CPU makes VPN a breeze.

  3. Guys, keen in mind that not all releases of this router are fully compatible with openwrt. The latest v1.7 is not compatible as of now(ethernet port becomes unusable after getting the firmware in). Make sure you get something prior to 1.7 if you intend to buy one.

    1. I read that differently. It says don’t flash openWRT unless you have a serial console available. So if you’re trying to do it without serial, yes, find an older one. And all that’s only if you care about Ethernet.

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