Radio Raspberry


18 posts
by Gerrelt » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:02 pm
I use my Raspberry Pi as a squeezebox player, using squeezelite (see topic). I've got one Raspberry, and ordered two more. With these two I want to set up a multi room system (living room, kitchen), and the third one I want to use as a portable player.
I have it all up and running and lying on my desk like this (click on the pictures for a bigger version):
Image
Which is a bit cluttered and not very save. So I decided to allready start on creating a casing for the portable raspberry.

I am going to use this as the casing:
Image
I asked my mother in law to look for an old eighties radio on flee markets. It didn't have to work, but it had to look good. She did very good buying me this for 2 euros!! :D
I like the old cassette buttons, and it has some nice "patina" on it.

So, I opened it up and gutted the inside:
Image

That gave me a nice space for the raspberry + peripherals.
Image
I left part of the cassette mechanism in place so I could keep the cassette buttons. They can also be pushed, but of course, nothing will happen.
After I took the picture I also removed the backside of the battery compartment.

After test fitting the components in different places I finally decided on this setup:
Image
I tore apart the PC speakers of my original setup and used the speakers and amplifier of it. I placed the speakers behind the original (mono) speaker grill. The amplifier is placed on the top, I drilled holes through the case for the volume button, power led and lineout.

And here it is, the Raspberry Radio:
Image
The picture is a bit dark, but you can just see the volume button on the right of the red power led.
To the left of the red led is the lineout (headphone output).

The Raspberry Pi is still accessable through the battery door:
Image

Until the other Pi's arrive I am using this as the living room player. I can connect it through the lineout with the Sony network speaker:
Image
It looks like I am using a cheap old radio cassette player as sound input for my Sony network speaker. :lol:

I allready took it out into my barn to do some work while listening to internet radio. It works excellent. I am very happy with it.
Reliving the eighties with a modern twist. :mrgreen:
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by canibalimao » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:03 pm
What an excellent idea! Really really nice case :D
Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:48 pm
Location: Portugal
by Gerrelt » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:47 pm
Thanx! :)
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by Tobiii112 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:12 am
Such a good idea!! Well done! :-)

PS: You should build lots of those and sell them ;)
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:19 am
by Gerrelt » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:16 pm
:D I am gonna be rich!! ;)

I've now got a video of it in action: Youtube video
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by sej7278 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:37 am
I'm in the "thinking about it" stage of doing something similar but am being put off by the miriad of problems with the hardware, so maybe someone could have a go at my questions?

1. do you really need to use a USB soundcard (if so which ones work?) is the 3.5mm output really not even good enough when driven by powered PC speakers?

2. how well does the nano wifi dongle work when plugged into a hub rather than the pi directly? i'm thinking i could use a model-a if it works ok via a hub.

3. how are you powering this - it looks like the speaker power and hub power lines are spliced? what kind of sound did you get from the usb powered speakers with the usb soundcard?
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:43 pm
by Gerrelt » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:16 pm
sej7278 wrote:1. do you really need to use a USB soundcard (if so which ones work?) is the 3.5mm output really not even good enough when driven by powered PC speakers?


No and Yes. The onboard 3.5mm output will work, the sound quality will be a bit less, but it's acceptable for a portable radio. Especially considering the PC speakers aren't exaclty HiFi quality.
BUT, I've had problems using the 3.5 mm output. On my other (non-portable) raspberries, the sound could turn into a white noise ( buzzing) after a while without any reason. Resetting the raspberry fixed it.
Considering the price of the USB soundcard (6 euros), I would use the USB soundcard.

sej7278 wrote:2. how well does the nano wifi dongle work when plugged into a hub rather than the pi directly? i'm thinking i could use a model-a if it works ok via a hub.

I've got the wifi dongle plugged into the hub. Plugging it directly into the raspberry is not advisable, according to numerous messaged in this forum.
The WiFi dongle works, but, currently I am having intermittent problems. Sometimes it doesn't work (can't get an IP address) and when it works it's got a lot of dropped packets.
This might be problem with my Wifi router or the wifi dongle brand/type I am using (logilink nano).

sej7278 wrote:3. how are you powering this - it looks like the speaker power and hub power lines are spliced?

No. The USB powered speakers are plugged into the USB hub.
However, I did splice the powerline. I addes a wire to the raspberry, so it is directly wired from the power adapter instead of through the USB hub.

sej7278 wrote:what kind of sound did you get from the usb powered speakers with the usb soundcard?

Good acceptable sound. The limitation here is the tiny PC speakers.
Last edited by Gerrelt on Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by sej7278 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:50 pm
ah right that's interesting about the wifi dongle on the hub. i'm waiting for my wifi dongle to arrive.

i'll go for the usb soundcard - have you considered that that's causing the problems with the wifi dongle though (i.e. soundcard using the bandwidth up)? is there a list of compatible "cards"?

i'm going to have a hunt around the loft in a bit and see if i can find some pc speakers to test with and maybe see if they're 5v inside so i could splice the speaker power and hub power together, rather than going straight for usb speakers. i'd kind of like to be able to put all of the pi/hub inside the speaker case rather than take the speakers/amp apart and fit into another case of some sort (this isn't portable).

now a pair of mains powered speakers with a usb hub built-in would be ideal, but i doubt such a thing exists.
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:43 pm
by Gerrelt » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:51 pm
I've changed some things on the Raspberry Radio.

The biggest changes is switching from Raspbian Wheezy linux to Tinycore linux. Tinycore is a linux system that can be unplugged from the power at any time. There is no need for a shutdown command.
So, it's perfect for this portable radio.
I've got squeezelite running on it again, and with the latest Tinycore release the radio is working excellent! 8-)

Raspberry forum user "sbp" developed a Tinycore Squeezelite image that can be easily installed on the Raspberry, called the PiCo player. Check out this thread: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=29539
And the PiCo player website: https://sites.google.com/site/picoreplayer/home

I am not using PiCo player, but did the install myself. I am a stubborn DIY guy, I guess... :D

I also added two USB ports and an ethernet port on the outside of the radio. One USB port is for the Wifi adapter. Puting the Wifi adapter on the outside of the case improved reception.
The other USB port is for when I want to plug in a keyboard, and the ethernet port is for easy connecting the Raspberry without having to take the raspberry out of the radio.

Version 2 of the radio in action, showing the USB and ethernet ports: YOUTUBE VIDEO

The Raspberry radio also starred in a video where I demonstrate LMS server multi room synchronisation, see: another YOUTUBE VIDEO


sej7278 wrote:is there a list of compatible "cards"?

This page of the PiCo player website has one: List of USB-DACs
There's also a list of compatible WiFi adapters: List of WiFi Dongles

sej7278 wrote:i'll go for the usb soundcard - have you considered that that's causing the problems with the wifi dongle though (i.e. soundcard using the bandwidth up)?

The WiFi problems are solved now!! The latest release of TinyCore is working wonders for it. 8-)
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by Gerrelt » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:27 pm
I created a webpage for this radio. It mainly contains the contents of this topic, plus some extras.
The link:http://www.gerrelt.nl/RaspberryPi/wordpress/portable-retro-squeezelite-player/

Please post the questions in this topic, and not in the comment section on the site.
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by sej7278 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:14 am
i've moved on a lot with my radio project too (blog). i figured out the hum was a ground loop from the usb hub, so i've removed the hub and added an amplifier which can power the speakers directly (removed from their usb-powered casing).

i've noticed that the wifi dongle seems to be using up a lot of its bandwidth fetching the music from the fileserver, so when you try to send mpd a command, it sometimes doesn't get through, so i may just use a 32gb sdcard to store the os and music, and just use wifi for commands. either than or its a cpu hog or something odd.

i might look into tinycore as it would be nice to just turn it off at the wall, although i'm not convinced a different distro would solve that - even if you mount the ext3 partition readonly, its the fat boot partition that tends to get corrupted. the alternative is to switch to my beagleboneblack and use its onboard storage, but then i'll have 5v issues with the lcd.
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:43 pm
by Gerrelt » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:28 pm
sej7278 wrote:i've noticed that the wifi dongle seems to be using up a lot of its bandwidth fetching the music from the fileserver, so when you try to send mpd a command, it sometimes doesn't get through, so i may just use a 32gb sdcard to store the os and music, and just use wifi for commands. either than or its a cpu hog or something odd.

Hmm...strange. I don't have that experience with my Squeezebox setup.
Of course, the big difference is that in with the squeezebox you don't send the commands to the player, but to the Squeezebox server. And the squeezebox server then streams something else to the player.
But, that being said, I have no problem connecting to the Raspberry with SSH whil playing music on the player. Also executing output commands don't affect it, it works fine.

sej7278 wrote:i might look into tinycore as it would be nice to just turn it off at the wall, although i'm not convinced a different distro would solve that - even if you mount the ext3 partition readonly, its the fat boot partition that tends to get corrupted. the alternative is to switch to my beagleboneblack and use its onboard storage, but then i'll have 5v issues with the lcd.


How can the partition get corrupted when you only read from it? I've used the TinyCore radio for a couple of months now, always turning it off by pulling the plug. It almost feels wrong doing it. :)
I have not yet had a corrupt SD card.

If you want to try TinyCore, I've written a tutorial on how to install squeezelite on tinycore. If you don't want to use Squeezelite, it is still usefull, it explains how to setup piCore (the Raspberry port of TinyCore). You can find it here:
http://www.gerrelt.nl/RaspberryPi/wordpress/tutorial-unpluggable-squeezelite-player-on-tinycore/
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by dozencrows » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:26 am
Inspired by you guys and the success of others with Squeezelite, I've created my own Squeezebox Boom/Radio clone - the SqueezePi!

Image

Hardware:
* Raspberry Pi Model B revision 2 (512Mb)
* Adafruit 2.8" TFT touchscreen kit
* Adafruit TS2012 class D amplifier kit
* Custom control panel
* Edimax USB WiFi adapter
* Unbranded USB soundcard
* Speakers & surrounds scavenged from unbranded USB powered speaker set
* 5v 3A PSU, 2.5mm DC jack plug - supply split between Pi and amplifier
* Samsung 4GB class 6 SDHC card
* Sundry small components, Veroboard, cabling and connectors

Software:
* Raspbian O/S: customised to auto-boot software, add TFT screen drivers and be read only
* Squeezelite: Squeezebox player emulator https://code.google.com/p/squeezelite/
* Pikeyd: daemon to map custom controller input to keystrokes, customised to handle rotary controls - https://github.com/dozencrows/pikeyd/tree/rotary
* Jive Lite: Squeezebox control application, customised with bug fixes, small screen support, touchscreen and GPIO control - https://code.google.com/r/dozencrows-ji ... rce/browse

Case:
* Custom design using Sketchup and Inkscape
* Laser-cut acrylic carried out by Razorlab: http://www.razorlab.co.uk/

Image

Image
User avatar
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 pm
by Gerrelt » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:50 am
Very nice! It's even got a touch screen! 8-)
my Raspberry Pi page: http://raspberry.gerrelt.nl
User avatar
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am
by Ottie » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:26 pm
@dozencrows

Do you have a build log of how you build the SqueezePi, looks pretty nice.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:50 am
by dozencrows » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:41 pm
Thanks, Ottie! I'll put one together gradually over the next week, and post links back here - probably do it in installments.
User avatar
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 pm
by dozencrows » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:28 pm
User avatar
Posts: 130
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 pm
by sav25 » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:30 pm
Wow these are really nice, inspires me to get on with making a 'proper' case for my Raspberry Pi Radio.

Thanks for sharing
Visit my Raspberry Pi blog at AverageManVsRaspberryPi.com
NEW Camera Module Prototyping Board - now on Kickstarter - http://goo.gl/1RPFWY
User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:18 pm
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK