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My favorite homebrew project ever I think.... and it's not even ham radio!!

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by W7UUU, Feb 6, 2014.

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  1. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    So back in November my XYL Anne said she wanted to redo our "parlor" (front room) and
    as part of the overhaul, she wanted an iPod dock "radio" so she could listen to mellow classical
    or ambient tunes while she did her knitting or reading or whatever.

    For about $20-$30 on the web there are THOUSANDS of options for this. But why buy something
    when you could BUILD something, right?

    So for about $100 I just tonight completed what I could have easily found on Amazon for around $20,
    with free shipping no less....

    What is it?

    iPod dock - charges iPod Classic or iPhone (there's actually a trick to it!! PM me if you're curious - it's
    not just 'give it 5v power' - more to it!). But also offers Bluetooth integration as well, along with a
    Bass, Treble, Balance, and Volume control on the front panel and also calibrated VU meters (cuz the
    XYL cares about her VU!!!! - and of course IR remote control of the iPod!!).

    All the modules were kits - none of which sold by the same vendor in China. None were directly
    compatible with each other - all the switching, power supply levels, regulation, etc. were not part of
    the "kits" that I brought in from China - surface mount components were involved, horrible manuals
    were involved... this was NOT an "easy project" by any stretch. Even getting all this stuff to fit in
    the box was a CHALLENGE.

    Boxes are wooden, all from Artco Stores.... speakers were from Parts Express.

    This thing is a MONSTER!!!! Mrs. W7UUU simply loves it...

    Cute as a bug (in our opinions) and 100% meets the need... for 10 times the price of some
    Chinese "off the shelf" dock + bluetooth solution... and no, I do NOT recommend this project
    for beginners - this was a pretty advanced project despite most of the modules being "kits".

    Be sure to watch the video:


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    US7IGN likes this.
  2. KJ6LFD

    KJ6LFD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You do nice work. I appreciate the 'classic electronics' motif. Does the term 'steampunk' apply here?
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Thank you.... and 'yes' it does :)

  4. N0FN

    N0FN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the lid you can lift to see the mess of wires is the crowning touch!

    -Neil KD0UKC
  5. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's beautiful Dave! I love the meters and the Radioactivity symbol!

    I have a project to build a small AM BC transmitter (100mw legal limit, FCC Part 15) with a long loop antenna around the edges of the house, and then a couple of high-quality "portable receivers" so that we can Internet-stream our favorite world radio stations around the house. You've given me some ideas....

    I've already rigged up a "test" installation using an old RF signal generator and a longwire antenna and it works nicely, but the quality of the modulator in the sig-gen is crap so I need to build a dedicated, high-quality AM transmitter. The web source will be one of the now-obsolete, old, junky PCs we still have in the house.

    Of course we could achieve exactly the same effect with a WiFi installation but I'd rather mess around with a tube/AM configuration, for fun.
  6. W0RIO

    W0RIO Ham Member QRZ Page


    I find that building proper enclosures for electronic projects often takes as much time as doing the
    design work and electronics construction.

    It's not ham radio, but it *could* be, maybe you need a bluetooth transmitter to link the audio from a ham receiver.
  7. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Reminds me of a wood box I made once to house a set of speakers, a battery, and an in-dash AM/FM/8 track unit. It was my 'boom box' for at work.
  8. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I actually have that already - I use it to "broadcast" around my whole house to all my old
    1930s / 40s era radios - we have 6 of them all able to pick up the broadcast. I use an
    old MP3 player on a USB supply and a playlist of 40s music and the transmitter runs 24/7
    around 1605 in a "dead spot". Works very well! Can't recall what brand it is... was a kit for $99
    I like it because it's PLL based so is rock stable.

  10. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    You need to discover lacing cord -- much better looking than tie-wraps.

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