Radical Radio

2018
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In light of opposing sides and accusations of radical fake news I decided to make a radio to reflect it. I went for a utilitarian enclosure for a raspberry pi radio that streams either Fox News or CNN.

Materials:

  • 1 PI Zero W
  • 4” Electrical Box
  • 4” Electrical cover
  • 3” Speaker
  • 3” LED’s
  • 1 2-Toggle Switch
  • 1 Found Mesh Cover
  • Spray paint

Tools:

  • Cordless Drill
  • Various C Clamps
  • Metal Hack Saw
  • Metal File

Software:

  • Raspian Stretch Lite
  • Code

Throughout the semester I collected old computer speakers for new projects. I had a few ones not used yet and have been talking about pirate radios with the Pi lately so I wanted to try to make a radio. I used mostly materials that I had previously or could scrounge around me. I went with a metal enclosure for a post industrial wasteland aesthetic.

I opted to use Pi Zero W’s wifi capabilities to streamtunein.com.

To switch stations I wanted to use a toggle switch for the tactile feeling. It is pretty satisfying to flip the switch. I used a red LED to indicate Fox News and a blue LED to indicate CNN.

I soldered the electrical components for security but used a breadboard for the wiring. Using a testing circuit would prove to be shortsighted. However everything was working great at this point.

image of finished components

For the enclosure I was inspired by Ben Light’s electrical box example so I went to Home depot and opted for the deepest and biggest electrical box they had on hand (4”x4”x2 1/4”) since I had a lot of electronics going in there. I used black spray paint to try to hide the origins of the enclosure, leaving a nice black metal box for my enclosure.

image of painted box

I wanted to have a speaker enclosed with a nice speaker grill.

image of positioning speaker grill To cut a hole for the speaker I drilled holes first into the cover panel. I made sure to drill small holes first and incrementally go up to the largest drill bit I had. However the thick steel took out 2 of my smaller bit sizes. RIP 3/16” and 1/4” bits.

Afterwards the holes were large enough to thread a metal hacksaw. I cut out the section and filed down the edges smooth.

image of cutting the section out

Next I drilled holes into the top and front panel to mount the toggle switch and placement of the LEDs. I used a label maker for the radio station names. I enlarge an existing hole in the back of the electrical box to access the battery pack to the PI.

image of mounted switch

And with that I was ready to close it.

image of components layedout for enclosing

When I was closing it,my nest of wires kept getting in the way. I poked and prodded until I could shut the box, but in the process I knocked some of the wires loose.

I was able to fix the wiring, but whenever trying to force the cover on, exposed wires would contact and short, or would fall out. However I was able to close it with most of the wires intact.

Introducing the Radical Radio.

completed radio

It was getting pretty late and I still had to blog about it so I called it a night. Cleaning up the wiring seemed like an unnecessary task since I will solder the circuit to a perfboard for a more secure and compact solution. However that will have to wait for now.

Until next time.

Acknowledgments:

  • https://www.instructables.com/id/One-Transistor-Audio-for-Pi-Zero-W/
  • tunein.com