Raspberry Pi Walkie Talkie Mumbles To Friends

His kids wanted walkie talkies, so [Daniel Chote] built one. The TalkiePi is a neat project built around a Raspberry Pi running Mumble, the open-source voice chat system that his kids can share with their siblings and friends.

It’s easy enough to choose the Raspberry Pi, and Mumble is pretty well known. But what’s the easiest way you can think of to add microphone and speakers to the RPi? We applaud [Daniel’s] choice to equip it with the guts of a USB speakerphone. Mumble lets you choose voice activation or keyboard input — in this case an added button makes it push-to-talk, as you would expect in a traditional walkie talkie.

He put all of this into a nicely designed 3D case with a few LEDs, so it is easy to tell that it is ready to transmit. [Daniel] isn’t quite finished yet, though: he’s now working on a new version that is portable, battery powered and uses a Raspberry Pi Zero for the ultimate walkie talkie. We can’t wait to see someone take this to the extreme and include a cellular-modem. But then again, anywhere you can get on WiFi this rig should work, it’s not relegated to a single LAN, and that already far outperforms walkie talkies of yore.

30 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Walkie Talkie Mumbles To Friends

  1. “We can’t wait to see someone take this to the extreme and include a cellular-modem.”

    Well, you can get old Android phones for next to nothing, and they run Mumble just fine.
    As well as SIP, IAX2, Teamspeak, etc.

    1. I once tried to use something like this as an intercom for medical offices, but gave up, because it wasn’t reliable.
      With a conventional, wire based intercom, you press a button and it just works. The only thing that can go wrong is a broken wire or a broken button.

      With a VoIP intercom, there are a thousand things that can go wrong and will require educated user interaction. A mumble server is fun to use for chatting with your friends or your gaming clan, but nothing you should expect to run reliably in your house for years. And you wouldn’t expect your parents to troubleshoot it.

      I’ve become a fan of low tech, especially when it comes to things that I rely on.
      Low tech is boring, but it just works and you can repair it using an old tin can and some wire, even after the zombie apocalypse.

      That’s why I still have a wood stove, Aladdin kerosene lamps, kerosene heaters, etc.

  2. The ham in me really wishes this were analog, and used a lower frequency. As other commentators have said, this would be a pretty crumby walkie talkie. Having the option of ad-hoc 802.11 with peer-to-peer voice would improve it somewhat, but it still wouldn’t be useful for talking to someone even ½ mile away in the woods.

    1. As I mentioned upthread, a 3G-based system makes it much more useful. We found a niche market in organising bike races and other events where people wanted PTT communication across hundreds of km without LOS.

    2. That gives me an idea, how about a “thingy” that will receive HF signals, convert them into digital, send them over the interewebs to another “thingy” which transmits an HF signal, you know sort of a net connected repeater, you could talk to somebody in Australia over a Handheld rig.

    1. Sorry, no Edit on HaD comments – to qualify: I’m looking for a solution that is peer-to-peer, at least for the VoIP voice payloads and call progress handshaking. A VoIP gatekeeper is acceptable, but not desirable. The best solution would be true peer to peer. I am willing to accept all peers in a single subnet (not “in the Wild”).

      1. I know that audio broadcasting tools like liquidsoap can “broadcast” a source (which can be a soundcard or a file) to a LAN (udp to broadcast address), perhaps even to multicast addresses. I think another instance of liquidsoap could then receive from the LAN and push to the sound card.

        I think technically SIP phones can be used in a peer-to-peer fashion (my Grandstream GXP1620 has a ‘direct IP call’ entry in the menu) but most get configured to register and only accept calls from a sip proxy/server… The phone also has multicast paging functions, so ‘broadcast’ calls must be a thing.

        1. Thanks Jan for the link – interesting, but not what I’m looking for. I’d like to find something like this that is peer-to-peer (no central gateway/server for voice traffic at-least, handshaking and progress handling by a central gateway may be acceptable):


          But Open-Source. Cellular is not the preferred connection method though. But the same idea..

          Regards, Drone

  3. I think the ESP32 can operate the ADC while transmitting so that may be all you need no *Pi required. That should make it very portable and battery friendly. You can even have have a second ESP8266 module for the speaker and send and receive at the same time over two channels.

    I like the aesthetic of the 3D printed box and would keep that even if it ended up smaller using ESP modules, or you can just add more features and battery capacity stuffed into the same sized box.

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