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Old 12th September 2014, 11:09 PM   #1
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Default Vintage Bluetooth Radio Easy Conversion - Noob

Hi there everyone . totally new to all this electronics world. I recently purchased a vintage radio that is the exact one that I grew up with when I lived with my grandparents, so it has a tremendous nostalgic value to it. I want to add it to my newborns room so that he too grows up with it. With that said, it's an AM radio and besides the white noise, really wouldn't have the broadcast that would be suitable for the baby. So, I want to in a 99.9% non destructive way apply bluetooth capabilities to it. And I found the below 6w amp that seems like a snap to add to the radio. All I have to do is tuck away the current AC cord, add left/right speaker wires to this guy, wire up the potentiometer, which I hope turns it on too and not just applies volume, and plug the little guy up.

the amp is made by thingylabs and its the bluetooth one. It says the below
Features:
Powered from 5VDC USB supply
Screw terminals for connecting speaker and external volume adjustment potentiometer
High quality (44.1KHz/16 bit) stereo output
Optional external play control buttons. (Play, Stop, Forward, Reverse & Volume)
Requires:
5VDC Power USB Supply
Up to 2 Speakers

here's my 3 questions. What are my limitations with this amp? Can the two 4OHM speakers on the radio handle this amp? And if the speakers are mehh sounding, what are my limitations in upgrading them to function with this amp. And finally, can I reroute the current lightbulb to this amp to light up when turned on or should I get an LED with what I assume is a resistor to get it all right. Again, I'm all new to this and I just want to have a DIY I can tell my son later I worked on. Thanks

I also found on amazon a GOgroove Universal Retro Radio that I can buy for 40 dollars that someone posted a video with the what the inside looks like. It seems to have everything I need, Bluetooth, NFC, LED Lights, a potentiometer and a microphone for calls as a plus. Only problem is that it's battery operated. I can take all of the insides out and put it into the vintage radio on a corner. 40 dollars seems cheap and safe, but the battery kills it and if I can safely convert it to a AC / DC power than I would go for that.

What would you guys do?
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Old 14th September 2014, 02:35 AM   #2
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Did I put this on the wrong thread? Should I have posted it on another category?
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Old 19th September 2014, 04:36 PM   #3
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javy
What would you guys do?
I would use a very very low power AM transmitter, fed from whatever music source I wanted to use.

Quote:
Did I put this on the wrong thread? Should I have posted it on another category?
'Construction tips' is almost certainly the wrong place. 'Everything else' might be the right place.

You can ask one of the Mods to move it by self-reporting - click the red triangle at the bottom left of each post. It will say that you should only do this for forum violations, but it is OK to contact the Mods for other purposes too.
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Old 22nd September 2014, 03:10 PM   #4
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Thanks a million DF96
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Old 22nd September 2014, 03:29 PM   #5
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I'll move it.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 02:47 AM   #6
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As DF96 says, if the radio works OK (may need attention by a restoration specialist), you may be best to use a miniature AM radio transmitter. They used to be commonly available 20 to 30 years ago, but I suspect you'll struggle to find one. Otherwise, the Thingylabs amp looks suitable. They don't specify speaker impedance but because of the low voltage it runs on it is almost certainly designed for 4 ohm speakers.

They specify a 5v supply with 2.1mm power plug, but the picture shows a mini/micro USB jack. Buy the amp first, then buy a separate supply to suit what they deliver. Don't buy their $5.50 USB cube supply, it is likely to be unsafe. Spend a bit more and buy a name brand. For example, a genuine Apple one from an Apple store will be fine. Can't be too careful when kids are concerned.

If you want the volume control to switch the unit on and off, you'll need to buy a potentiometer with a switch on the back, and cut into the lead from the plug pack so that you can wire the switch to it. Probably safer to switch it at the wall socket.

How do you plan to mount the potentiomenter to the case? You won't want to destroy its value by drilling an extra hole, though you could probably get away with mounting it on the rear panel (inconvenient to adjust though).

For the dial light, most dial lamps are 6.3 volts. If it is, you can wire it to the 5v supply. You'll need at least a 1 amp supply instead of the suggested 500mA supply if you do that.

For more advice, we really need pictures - outside and inside of the radio.

Last edited by Don Hills; 23rd September 2014 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 11:05 AM   #7
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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I understand several AM transmitters are still available, some as kits and some as ready-made. Look on valve wireless websites for recommendations (e.g. UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum).
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Old 24th September 2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your help guys! We decided to utilize the amp from Thingylabs for now until I feel totally comfortable with electronics. I have ZERO experience with this stuff. The Thingylabs was a plug and play sort of device with some limitations. The radio is totally barely has volume, I guess in 1952 it was ample, but with so much normal house noise, its only good at the moment if you're reading a book and want some background music. So I'm not sure if it's the speakers or just something else. I'll keep digging around. Thanks you guys!
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