Raspberry Pi meets 1942 Crosley Radio


crosley_radio_side_webA while back, I saw a picture online of a restored antique radio that caught my attention.  The accompanying  post described the process of restoration.  I’m not into radio restorations but I think the old wood radio cases are very “cool”.  I also recently contributed to a Kickstarter project for HDMIPi, an “affordable 9 inch High-Def screen for the Raspberry Pi”.  I thought that I might place the screen and R-Pi inside an old radio case.

After looking on eBay and craigslist, I could not find a suitable enclosure for the HDMIPi and paper mockups showed the screen to be a bit small at a distance.  I used my old original iPad as a test device for measurements and viewing.  I liked the viewing and pixel size of this its screen.crosley_radio_back_web

Well, the HDMIPi was going to be slow in coming (still is) and I saw (fairly) inexpensive 1024 X 768 iPad displays and driver boards on eBay.  I also found a old 1942 Crosley radio case that had a front cut-out that was very close to the iPad screen size.  The radio portion was not fixable so the case was reasonably “priced”.  I bid on it … and won.  I then had yet another project demanding time 😉


I ordered an iPad screen and display board from China, cleaned up the radio case, grabbed a lepai amplifier and speakers from amazon, added one Raspberry Pi and created my Radio-Pi.  I currently use it for playing movies and music but may make it a bedroom device for monitoring weather, time with alarm, webcams, etc.  I plan to put up more of a how-to with lots of pictures.  Let me know if you’re interested in the comments.


 More picts in response to comments:

Created a frame for the LCD panel

Created a frame for the LCD panel

Showing the LCD panel with carrier surround and acrylic cover

LCD panel with carrier surround and acrylic cover

Power cord mess - needs work

Power cord mess – needs work!

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dan
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 18:47:24

    Mounting an LCD screen and driver board is a challenge. How did you accomplish this? Is there a clear protective cover over the LCD?

    • andy
      Jun 23, 2014 @ 20:00:31

      Will try to add more picts ASAP. I made a sandwich of: a sheet of scratch-resistant acrylic (from Tap Plastics), the LCD board and the plastic shipping “container box/board” (has custom cut-out for the screen). I attached to the radio’s front frame (from the inside) using mirror/glass plastic holders with screws. The driver board and video controls are mounted to the cabinet using velcro. You can see that in the back picture, above.

  2. jezra
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 16:04:37

    This is absolutely beautiful.
    I am curious as too how all of the components are wired for power. Are the Pi, amp,and LCD pulling from the same source?

    • andy
      Jun 27, 2014 @ 17:41:42

      Hi Jezra, you’ve asked about my least favorite components of my Radio-Pi 🙁 I currently have 3 big power adapters hanging off an extension cord, Two are 12 volts (2A and 3A for the video driver board and amplifier) and one is 5 volts (2A for the R-Pi). I’m thinking about combining the 12 volt adapters into an “internal” power supply but that might be large (12V, 5A). I’m also looking at a PC power supply that has both 12V and 5V output. We’ll see…

      • jezra
        Jun 30, 2014 @ 01:34:06

        Andy, I feel your pain. Twice I’ve connected a 5v amplifier to the 5v GPIO pin, and the result has a lot of crackle and interference. The elusive ‘single power cord’ hack is out there somewhere.

  3. Scott
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 18:55:03

    I would love a very detailed how-to on this. I’m wanting to convert an old radio for my in-laws for listening to npr and such for them. What you have come up with would be perfect. The more detailed, the better. I can adapt as needed with the parts I can find.

    • Erick
      Sep 24, 2014 @ 08:00:53

      I am also very interested especially in using the front screen to display images and I assume change as you switch channels? What software did you use to achieve this?

  4. Gordon@iqaudio.com
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 08:31:00

    Andy, looks awesome.

    What’s the driver board between pi (hdmi) and iPad screen please?


    • andy
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 00:44:39

      Gordon, the “monitor control board” model is M.NT68676.2A, part number: NT-11112749. I bought one on eBay for US$38.00 with free shipping from China. You must specify LCD panel when ordering as I believe the firmware is specific to the LCD and resolution. You can try this link:

      HDMI+VGA+DVI+Audio LCD controller board for lcd panel DIY LCD monitor

  5. Matt
    Jun 30, 2014 @ 17:36:48

    Very nice, have wanted to do something similar but using a SDR dongle, alas Pi isn’t quite strong enough to do it all, but can act as a superb client for a machine running the server. Does your stream radio from internet? What software did you use ?

    Awesome job. Can’t wait for your how-to.

  6. benjamin
    Jun 30, 2014 @ 18:08:44

    this looks great. I would also be very interested in a more detailed how-to.

    how do you control it? with an app or the buttons on the bottom? or is it actually a touch screen?


  7. Dani
    Jun 30, 2014 @ 21:00:44

    Hi Andy, looks amazing! Which distro did you used? Some link I could follow? Thanks

  8. andy
    Jul 06, 2014 @ 21:00:00

    Matt, Benjamin, Dani,

    I’ve attempted to answer some of your software questions in a related post: http://andyfelong.com/2014/07/software-for-the-crosley-radio-pi/

    – Andy