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  1. #1
    Rookie Member mbeer98's Avatar
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    Default Transistor Radio Bluetooth Conversion

    Hey everyone!
    So, many of us have come across original radios that don't work, or if they do they are AM only. Now I'll admit I do enjoy my talk radio from time to time, but when I'm cruising in the ol' Riv the last thing I wanna struggle to hear is AM radio! I for one, wasn't about to spend $200+ on a new "old" looking radio! They are nice, I get it, to each their own, but I am too cheap to blow that kinda cash. Especially since the Riv has other priorities I have to take care of first. So my solution, after getting sucked into the internet wormhole at work one day (so no, I am not taking credit as if it were my own idea haha), was to take and old '60's transistor radio and add bluetooth so I can rock out while driving or parked at a show. Utilizing bluetooth I can connect using a smartphone, mp3 player, ipod, ect. And with a little creative troubleshooting I was able to use some of the original functions and keep the radio 99% original looking from the outside!

    Now, before some radio diehards unleash on me for destroying a vintage radio, I assure you, I started with a broken radio I got off ebay that the guy was selling for parts. And frankly, I don't care! If anything, I brought this old radio back to life and rescued it from being cannibalized or shoved in a box in someones basement!

    This is a general guideline, as all radios and bluetooth speakers will vary a little. But the concepts are the same. What you'll need is an old transistor radio, a bluetooth speaker device, and some basic electrical supplies and know how.

    *Disclaimer* I take no responsibility for injury or loss of life or property, do at your own risk! (for any sue happy people out there).

    So here we go!!

    To start, I picked up this old radio and this bluetooth speaker from ebay. There are tons of different bluetooth speakers out there. This was the one I happened to use, and I picked it because it had an actual on/off switch instead of a button and a larger battery. And it was cheap!

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    I carefully chopped up the cheap bluetooth speaker and had to figure out how to fit it inside the transistor radio. With a couple screws and a little hot glue I got everything in. Pretty easy actually, as these new electronics are quite compact. As you can see below, some of the wires had to be extended. The "new" circuitry on the right was the touch control board for the bluetooth. It didn't need to be exposed because I could control volume and song selection from my phone, I believe most these speakers operate this way.

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    Most of these old radios used the volume knob to also turn the unit on and off. This particular one used the "tone" knob as an on/off switch too. I extended the wires to the lithium battery and one of the leads I split with the "tone" potentiometer (or pot).

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    This allowed me to turn the unit on and off using the original knob

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    I had to think about it for a little bit, but I was able to come up with a way of mounting the new guts to allow me to expose the charging port so I wouldn't have to open the radio every time I needed to charge it. The only trick for charging now, because the hot lead to the battery was split by the pot, I have to turn the unit "on" while I'm charging to complete the circuit.

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    Below is a very crude schematic for what I did. I used a multi meter to help figure things out too. Over all took me about two hours to complete. And that was taking my time because I have some pretty basic electronic skills.

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    When all was said and done this is what I ended up with. Think I got about $25-30 total invested. Hope it helps, any questions lemme know and hopefully I can clarify. Thanks, and ROCK ON!!

    -mbeer98

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    Last edited by mbeer98; 11-12-2016 at 01:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    That's a great job. I wasn't able to view the attachments. Maybe Bruce can help.

  3. #3
    Rookie Member mbeer98's Avatar
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    Figured it out! haha, motors im good with, computers not so much!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeer98 View Post
    Figured it out! haha, motors im good with, computers not so much!
    Thanks again for sharing. That's great.

  5. #5
    CRO Senior Moderator Justa6's Avatar
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    Nice job Mike. Now whatsa bluetooth?
    Always keep em smokin,,,,then let er drift!

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member 26HotRod's Avatar
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    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
    Just recently I had a teenager look inside my car at a show, ask me, where's the stereo?? I pointed to the exhaust and said that's all the sound I need, makes great noise!

  7. #7
    CRO Senior Moderator Justa6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 26HotRod View Post
    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
    Just recently I had a teenager look inside my car at a show, ask me, where's the stereo?? I pointed to the exhaust and said that's all the sound I need, makes great noise!
    My radio's take up the holes in the dash. Motor music for me too. I can even understand what they are sayin.
    Always keep em smokin,,,,then let er drift!


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