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tritiuum 31st October 2008 07:26 PM

T-amp with a radio in a nice looking box

I have a cabin in the mountains with no power except for a 12V solar panel. I recently tried a T-amp and I am very enthusiatic about the sound quality and low power consumption. So now, I have a viable hi-fi solution for my cabin.

However, I really enjoy listening to the radio- so I wondered if anyone knows where I can get a good FM-tuner module that I could potentially put into the same cabinet as the T-AMP.

On the same note, I would be very grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction on how to gp about building a cabinet.

thanks. T.

rjb 31st October 2008 07:47 PM

Just a word of caution.Any switching device like a T-amp or switch mode power supply can potentially cause radio interference. This can be solved by good shielding or by separation.

That said I run a T-amp in an aluminium case with an unshielded tuner sitting on top with no problems.

Buckapound 31st October 2008 09:23 PM


Most electronic distributors sell metal cabinets for electronics projects in various sizes and levels of quality and there are some very high end ones that have been reported elsewhere on this discussion site, so see what's available in your region. You can use these stock or dress them up with wood, glass...well there are many possibilities.

Since you have a cabin in the woods, you might want a greener solution. Since the t-amps are small, they lend themselves to being put in almost any kind of container, from old boom boxes or broken hi-fi gear, to storage containers, old tins or cooking vessels like cake pans. Look around, there are case parts everywhere. It's sort of a scaled up idea like the headpone amps in the mint tins.

My own portable music maker is fabricated from scratch using fiberglas/carbon fiber/nomex aerospace honeycomb board, custom-welded stainless steel frame and many other extreme and ridiculous parts and pieces. But the possibilities are limitless, really.

Whatever you do, metal is probably a good idea for the shielding that was mentioned in the last post.


jives11 1st November 2008 04:48 PM

an alternative approach is
Not really in the spirit of DIY but what you describe is basically a Tivoli Model 1 radio.

A good FM radio, in a nice wooden box, good sound (only one speaker but still good) and has an AUX input to plug a CD/MP3 player in. They also have a 12v dc power input in addition to a full mains input, so you should be able to run it off a battery charged from solar/wind. The amp section is not class-D, not sure what it is actually but ...

I have one in my kitchen, and I use this as a second system. Sound fills a large room, and I'm quite fussy. Works well via the AUX input too.

tritiuum 3rd November 2008 10:48 AM

Yeah - I know that I am in effect describing something close to a Tivoli. However, I am looking do make it myself AND the power consumption from a tivoli is quite big. And power efficiency is of the essence...

hybridfiat 5th November 2008 01:32 PM

Would an mp3 player like a Creative Zen that has an FM tuner built in work for you?

Buckapound 5th November 2008 01:56 PM

Many portable CD players have tuners and portable "walkman" style tuners are available as well. Using such an external device means you won't have to implement the fairly complex interface a radio requires, although the antenna may be an issue that might need to be worked out.

You could put two sets of inputs and have a switch to go back and forth between an MP3 player and a CD player/tuner.

If you want to get fancy, you could build in a regulator (or two) and provide charging power out the back for those devices.


tritiuum 5th November 2008 02:40 PM

An MP3- player with a radio would absolutely work - but I need to find something with fairly good radio reception. Any ideas?

danielwritesbac 8th November 2008 03:29 AM

Good reception on 12v? No problem. ;)
Um, Crosleyradio Solo or Traveler have nice output from the headphone jack, and Solo's antenna unscrews to reveal an "F" connector for external antennas. These sound great only at longer range because close stations can run together.

On these two models (and "companion") the manufacturing variance makes one of three varieties: decent, defunct, or hifi.

Anyway, "Traveler" is quite inexpensive, and could possibly be "re-boxed" into a prettier enclosure. ;)

P.S. If you have the Sure Electronics T-amp board, then you might want to perform the "gain mod" so you can use the radio's volume control and source selector to good effect. :D

speaker 9th November 2008 02:36 PM

tritiuum, one thing you might consider is using an automotive headunit either aftermarket or OEM. An aftermarket unit will be available as a tuner/preamp only without an amplifier stage. Some have an iPod interface too so and you can use the provided remote for full access and control of it.

An OEM headunit would have an amplifier stage in it that you would want to bypass for efficiency and use line-level to drive your T-amp. Both types will have good tuner stages in them and will accept an automotive antenna that you could mast mount for better reception. Also, they should all have a CD transport, a convenience if you have not ripped everything to your hard-drive yet.

(Could you provide more detail on your solar system at your cabin as far as how many watts, charging array for the batteries, battery types, etc.?)

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