Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:48 pm

So I'm kinda new to this but I want to refurbish on old style radio with the dial tuner for the radio.
Question is there a way to connect it to a pi? I mean with volumio and have the original tuner used to choose the station?

Like I said I'm new to using a pi. So what I'm asking might sound right out to lunch.

Right now I have a rpi4 4gb and a hifiberry dac+pro

Basically I want to rebuild an old radio cassette player and keep everything functioning as it normally would but make it possible to play digital files and bluetooth.

Thanks in advance

Heater
Posts: 14262
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:04 pm

How old is this thing? Is it working on medium wave or FM band or what?

One way people do this kind of thing is to build a low power transmitter that transmits an analog signal from a computer which the radio can receive and play as normal. No changes to the radio itself required.

Heck, you can just but such a transmitter for few dollars: https://www.amazon.com/ARKON-SF150C-Com ... B0002471NS
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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rpiMike
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Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm

You could use an encoder in place of the tuner dial to recognise clockwise/anti clockwise turns.

https://thepihut.com/products/keyes-rot ... der-module

Haven't used volumio, not sure what that can accept.

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:23 pm

rpiMike wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm
You could use an encoder in place of the tuner dial to recognise clockwise/anti clockwise turns.

https://thepihut.com/products/keyes-rot ... der-module

Haven't used volumio, not sure what that can accept.
I like the encoder idea. But would the station I'm tuning correspond with the one shown on the original dial display.
Like if dial display shows 88.7 would tuner be playing 88.7? Or would that just take some tuning to make them match up?

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:50 pm

Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:23 pm
rpiMike wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm
You could use an encoder in place of the tuner dial to recognise clockwise/anti clockwise turns.

https://thepihut.com/products/keyes-rot ... der-module

Haven't used volumio, not sure what that can accept.
I like the encoder idea. But would the station I'm tuning correspond with the one shown on the original dial display.
Like if dial display shows 88.7 would tuner be playing 88.7? Or would that just take some tuning to make them match up?
I don't know what you mean. You said you wanted to play "digital files and Bluetooth". How do you want to relate FM frequencies on an old radio dial to "digital files and Bluetooth"?

If you have digital files that are recordings from particular radio stations from back in the day then you could use the dial encoder to select the appropriate file to play.

For example, Radio Caroline was initially on 197.3 metres/1520 kHz and you can download mp3s of the stations broadcasts here
http://www.dxarchive.com/downloads_offshore.html

So you could set it so that turning the dial to 1520kHz plays a playlist of Radio Caroline mp3s.

Alternatively you could connect a radio tuner or software defined radio (SDR) USB dongle and actually switch it to the frequency set on the dial so it plays whatever modern station might be broadcasting now on that channel.

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:54 pm

To read the dial position you need an absolute position sensing device. You could use a potentiometer and an analogue to digital converter (ADC) or some sort of absolute optical encoder.
Maybe something like this
https://uk.farnell.com/bourns/eaw0j-b24 ... NG-9358234

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:15 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:50 pm
Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:23 pm
rpiMike wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm
You could use an encoder in place of the tuner dial to recognise clockwise/anti clockwise turns.

https://thepihut.com/products/keyes-rot ... der-module

Haven't used volumio, not sure what that can accept.
I like the encoder idea. But would the station I'm tuning correspond with the one shown on the original dial display.
Like if dial display shows 88.7 would tuner be playing 88.7? Or would that just take some tuning to make them match up?
I don't know what you mean. You said you wanted to play "digital files and Bluetooth". How do you want to relate FM frequencies on an old radio dial to "digital files and Bluetooth"?

If you have digital files that are recordings from particular radio stations from back in the day then you could use the dial encoder to select the appropriate file to play.

For example, Radio Caroline was initially on 197.3 metres/1520 kHz and you can download mp3s of the stations broadcasts here
http://www.dxarchive.com/downloads_offshore.html

So you could set it so that turning the dial to 1520kHz plays a playlist of Radio Caroline mp3s.

Alternatively you could connect a radio tuner or software defined radio (SDR) USB dongle and actually switch it to the frequency set on the dial so it plays whatever modern station might be broadcasting now on that channel.
Like my original post said. I want to try and keep all other parts functioning.

Ie. Still have a radio and cassette player usable, But add a mp3/flac player and add bluetooth.

drgeoff
Posts: 10088
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:29 pm

Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:15 pm
Like my original post said. I want to try and keep all other parts functioning.

Ie. Still have a radio and cassette player usable, But add a mp3/flac player and add bluetooth.
I think you are out of your depth. Sounds like you need step by step instructions tailored to the specific radio/cassette player you have.

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:18 pm

Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:48 pm
So I'm kinda new to this but I want to refurbish on old style radio with the dial tuner for the radio.
Question is there a way to connect it to a pi? I mean with volumio and have the original tuner used to choose the station?

Basically I want to rebuild an old radio cassette player and keep everything functioning as it normally would but make it possible to play digital files and bluetooth.

Thanks in advance
So we still don't know what you mean by "have the original tuner choose the station.

If you have a line in or a mic in you could add BT and mp3 that way.

There are lots of super cheap boards for that sort of thing.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bluetooth-4- ... 4332322736

You could use the same input with the Pi.

Another option could be to transmit your audio from digital as short range FM radio. You can do that with a Pi. See PIFM.

You can also get dedicated devices for that, many aimed at use in cars where you tune a radio station to the BT/MP3/DAB device.

Another possibility is a cassette adaptor like this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/IOMAX-Car-Cass ... B001AZKRQ6

And then you could open up your radio cassette to find a way to tap your extra audio into the amplifier. That could be hard to work out though. If you can read a schematic diagram start be searching for service manuals for the radio. That is probably easer with Older models. Equipment repair used to be a real thing once upon a time. Modern devices are more disposable so manufacturers don't bother with detailed service manuals.

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:25 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:18 pm

So we still don't know what you mean by "have the original tuner choose the station.
So if I had an fm radio on my rpi and I used the dial to tune in the channels. Instead of a digital display to choose the station

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 pm

Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:25 pm
PiGraham wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:18 pm

So we still don't know what you mean by "have the original tuner choose the station.
So if I had an fm radio on my rpi and I used the dial to tune in the channels. Instead of a digital display to choose the station
But you have an fm radio with a dial to tune in the stations, right? And you want to keep all the body and functions of the radio and cassette intact.

Why do you want an fm radio on your Pi?
Surely you want the Pi to pipe digital sources into the radio, not radio into your Pi.

Are you actually describing several different projects?

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Imperf3kt
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Location: Australia

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:25 pm

It sounds to me like the OP wants the radio pretty much unmodified, but also to accept Bluetooth and connect to the Pi.

Take the speaker and amplifier (if any) out and feed the signals directly to a Bluetooth enabled speaker that also accepts line in?

To connect your Pi, just connect to the Bluetooth speaker. To listen to the radio, just use the radio as normal.
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PhatFil
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Location: Oxford UK

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:45 pm

the cheap 28BYJ-48 with ULN2003 stepper motor/driver combo and an elastic band drive belt should be able to turn a radio tuning dial consistently to known positions assuming it can be mounted suitably.

https://tutorials-raspberrypi.com/how-t ... -uln2003a/

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:08 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:25 pm
It sounds to me like the OP wants the radio pretty much unmodified, but also to accept Bluetooth and connect to the Pi.

Take the speaker and amplifier (if any) out and feed the signals directly to a Bluetooth enabled speaker that also accepts line in?

To connect your Pi, just connect to the Bluetooth speaker. To listen to the radio, just use the radio as normal.
Basically yes. But I was hoping that there might be a way that I could see the radio on the pi as well.

Is there any kind of fm radio module you can buy for the pi?

wren
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 9:06 pm

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:23 am

You would need an analog to digital converter to use potentiometers. You could access FM stations with a RTL-SDR, and optical audio with a gutted external DVD drive with a pop open top. Not sure about audio cassette. Perhaps you could gut an old portable cassette player and connect audio output to I2C audio input board or USB audio adapter. It seems like a lot of work when you could simply connect your audio output on the hifiberry to an input on most older boomboxes.

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:27 am

wren wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:23 am
You would need an analog to digital converter to use potentiometers. You could access FM stations with a RTL-SDR, and optical audio with a gutted external DVD drive with a pop open top. Not sure about audio cassette. Perhaps you could gut an old portable cassette player and connect audio output to I2C audio input board or USB audio adapter. It seems like a lot of work when you could simply connect your audio output on the hifiberry to an input on most older boomboxes.
I was looking at hifiberry they make a dac+ adc as it has an input. Was thinking about sending the radio and cassette audio into it using a switch to choose cassette or radio. And listing to it thru volumio. I think I read somewhere on a forum that it might be doable.

Thoughts?

PiGraham
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Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:06 am

So there are some multiple projects here:

1 add Bluetooth and MP3 functions to an old radio cassette (Pi or BT board audio out. Maybe mod radio for line in )
2. Add some sort of digital remote controllable tuning mechanism to turn the analog dial of an old radio cassette (stepper motor drive)
3. Add FM radio tuner to a Pi (USB SDR, DAB)
4. Adapt an analog fm tuning dial as a control for an FM tuner on a Pi (position encoder)
5. Use a Pi to transmit analog audio from a radio cassette to volumio devices (audio ADC)
6. Pi as volumio player (audio DAC?)

Is one of these the primary sound output? The radio cassette, a BT speaker, an amp connected to the HiFi Berry?

Or all at once with everything sending and receiving, controlling and controlled?

You could at least think through and research each of these separately. That would make it more manageable and Then you could see which parts you might want to combine and how it could be done.
Last edited by PiGraham on Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mayday
Posts: 9
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Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:18 pm

Only 1 project.

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:02 pm

Mayday wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:18 pm
Only 1 project.
That's not a constructive attitude.
Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:48 pm

Like I said I'm new to using a pi. So what I'm asking might sound right out to lunch.
You are intimidated by the task probably because you can't break it down into manageable chunks. That's sound engineering practice and good advice you don't seem to want to hear.

None of the parts are "out to lunch" and you can easily find lots of help on all of them. You have been offered lots of help on various different aspects in this thread.
Break it down into simper tasks.

Mayday
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Vintage radio tuner

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:30 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:02 pm
Mayday wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:18 pm
Only 1 project.
That's not a constructive attitude.
Mayday wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:48 pm

Like I said I'm new to using a pi. So what I'm asking might sound right out to lunch.
You are intimidated by the task probably because you can't break it down into manageable chunks. That's sound engineering practice and good advice you don't seem to want to hear.

None of the parts are "out to lunch" and you can easily find lots of help on all of them. You have been offered lots of help on various different aspects in this thread.
Break it down into simper tasks.
Oh no lol I'm not gonna give up. I know the resources and help are out there. I just meant. The whole thing is 1 project. But I get you know. Your just breaking it down into multiple projects.

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