Retro Radio

Updated a 1930's cabinet style radio to play blue tooth and music of its era. The music tunes in using the tuning dial.

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Instead of restoring this radio, I decided it would be better to make it more modern and keep the retro style. Looks old, performs like new.

I started collecting vintage radios at one time. Mainly because I think they are cool and they usually go for pretty cheap. I got this one for free from a family member. It was in pretty bad shape. I had plans to restore it back to original but then I realized that it only tunes in AM station and would be of little use. But I love the way it looks with the tubes, soft lighting, big dial, and wood cabinet. 

So! I decided to make it play music of its era. But, I wanted it to tune in a radio station (mp3) using the dial and keep the original parts.

The Raspberry Pi is playing two MP3s at the same time to create the "tuning" effect. The tone knob now selects between 1930, 1940s, 1930s Christmas, and War of the Worlds radio broadcast by Orson Welles.

The video has more detail on exactly how it works. I think you will enjoy the video. Please let me know of any questions or comments. These old radios are a work of art! This one will have many more years of life in it as long as that Raspberry Pi keeps going.

The code that makes this go.

plain - 6.60 kB - 07/02/2019 at 04:25



Wire Diagram

Adobe Portable Document Format - 172.99 kB - 07/02/2019 at 04:25


  • 1 × 1937 Philco 37-11 Radio
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Any flavor
  • 1 × Pyle Amp Pyle PFA330BT - 90 Watt Bluetooth Wireless Streaming Stereo
  • 1 × 2 8" speakers 4Ohm Goldwood Sound GW-208/4 OEM 8" Woofer 200 Watts 4ohm
  • 1 × Quad relay DZS Elec 12V 4 Channel High / Low Level Trigger with Optical Isolation Relay Module

View all 6 components

  • Part 2 of 2

    W. Jason Altice07/07/2019 at 03:19 0 comments

    Project done!

    Just finished the 2nd part of this build. I think it turned out really well and I'm happy with the results. The radio has been used almost every day since I finished it. 

    Here is the link to the radio knobs.

    And here is the link to the 2nd video. Please like, comment, subscribe to the video. It keeps the motivation going.

  • Part 1 of 2

    W. Jason Altice07/02/2019 at 04:31 0 comments

    I split this project into 2 videos. The first one covers me doing most of the restore and testing of the radio. The second video will show it working with the new cabinet. The first one is here:

    I'm working on the second video and it should be posted....soon?

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    Instructions lost

    I spend hours writing these instructions only for the web site so say "Something went wrong" when I tried to save changes. I can not bring myself to write these all out again. Sorry, there was an attempt but too much time was lost.

View all instructions

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Tom Nardi wrote 07/03/2019 at 03:06 point

Really love the way you are approaching the conversion, it's easy to just gut it and replace it with modern gear, but grafting the old and new is a more respectful approach I think. Can't wait to see part two.

I've actually been looking for an old radio to do a conversion like this on for years, but I've never found a good donor. This project inspiring me to start looking a little harder.

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W. Jason Altice wrote 07/04/2019 at 03:24 point

Part 2 should be up in a couple weeks. I'm really happy you liked what I did and inspired you a little. Old Radios are everywhere, one will fall in your lap soon enough. Thank You!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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