[James Bellafaire] wanted a good looking old radio with a modern sound. Granted, you could hollow the case out and replace it with an iPod. Or you could convert the thing to an Internet radio. But where’s the fun in that?
[James] took a different approach. Part woodworking project, part Raspberry Pi project, and part microcontroller project, he wound up with a hard drive-based music player in a 1930’s case with knobs that control the playback.
Since the Pi isn’t great at reading potentiometers, [James] took at ATTiny85 and used it for that purpose. Coupled with a few hundred old jazz songs from the Internet archive that the Pi can read from a hard drive, and the old radio cranks out period-appropriate tunes again.
This isn’t a new idea, of course, but we love to see new life given to old cases. We’ve seen Internet radios in similar cases. If you’d rather restore them authentic, we’ve had advice for that, too.
14 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Plays All That Jazz”
I quite fancy the idea of a hybrid. Old valve chassis, fed by pi or some other wifi/ip feed. I’m thinking AM/Shortwave/Longwave/WiFi
Still would need actual valves though. ;)
Some of the old radios have a phono input – I have an old Etronic RA640 valve radio and it’s got one, works well with an MP3 player
I don’t think that’s a good idea. The valve bits and the silicon bits might start arguing…
Lol, the phonograph parts and the MP3 parts just can’t seem to find a proper ground.
The valves would win.
Take that anode voltage you wussie little Vcc.
Just find an old radio with an AUX jack, I have one in the basement.
Why use a microcontroller only for its ADC when you could just use an ADC chip to read the pot?
Really good point. Probably just had it on hand, but even I as a newbie have several scavenged ADC chips on hand.
Super customizable through software I would suppose.
Only need a slow ADC to read a pot, so cobbling up a quick one with a 741 should work also.
I love that people pay a bit of homage to retro tech and it’s a great build and design.
Except for one thing lol. Metal staples over mains cable is in the “you should never never do this” category. You can even see at least two places where the cable has been damaged and in one location the staple is still sitting in the hole it carved into the side of the cable. Now what’s the “non-rated” insulation voltage to the staple at that point?
Mains cable should loop around a binding post of it there is not going to be any movement of the cable then drill a hole in a panel and knot the cable so that it can’t fit through the hole.
There are plenty of pre-made modules or plug-packs (wall warts) out there for people that don’t feel to confident with mains wiring.
Admittedly though, it would be hard to find a suitable supply given the higher current and voltage requirement of the audio amp.
So yeah, great build but please do something about that cable.
Mp3’s? Archive has only flac files on board AFAIK. Even cassettes of old 78’s need flac handling. It’s too much when you have to hear artifacts of artifacts over the music. Rhythm Sweet and Hot on WESA will add to your collection of the greatest music of the 20th’. Young people complain of noise but are deaf to all the noise in Mp3’s, modern production standards etc.
I can’t stand compression artifacts, especially when I hear it on a radio station.
My MP3 collection is at 192 Kbps, but I almost always play the original CD instead.
Most of the ‘iphone generation’ likes to play their music over mono Bluetooth speakers too!
you can solder an AUX cable on two of the three posts on the back of any radios volume knob, and then your ipod or any device can take advantage of the radios original amplifier which is nice if its an old tube or ‘valve’ amplifier. New speakers help too. Im sure you could put usb charging in an old radio as well to power an ipod
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