Techromancy – Bringing A Vintage Radio To Life With A Robot Brain

I love the look of old radios and old radio cabinets. Sadly, most of them are non-functional. And while I love antiques, I only like them if they’re still functional. So, while looking at a display of non-functioning radios at the Maumee Antique Mall, I got an idea. What if you could repurpose a beautiful exterior by giving it a modern interior?

As a tech writer, I’m familiar with the many Bluetooth devices on the market that can stream music from your phone, PC or tablet. Could I give a beautiful old body a new brain?

Victor Frankenstein may have been willing to settle for any old body parts, but I wanted something pretty and I settled on this beauty from 1950. Hello, Gorgeous!

The brand is Regal, and this lady certainly is. Look at her beautiful top! At $20, I felt like I got a great deal.

I’d like to point out that she was definitely dead. The power cord had even been cut away. I could never take the guts out of a working beauty like this. So I flipped her around and took off the back screws.

Then I gradually began to remove the electronic insides.

This all came out in one piece after loosening a couple of screws.

It was a little dusty in there.

When I detached the inside screws, the knobs came off. So I had to glue those back on.

 I was also pleased find the little red dial pointer inside the radio where it had fallen. I slipped it back on the original guide wire.

And replaced inside the radio.

For the interior speaker, I chose the rehargeable Eachine Vivid Jar speaker. It’s very small and light. It functions as a Bluetooth speaker or you can plug a device into it. It also allows you to load a microSD card with music and slip it into the speaker to play.  As a bonus, is also lights up. The lights move in time to the beat of the music.  It was a great deal at only $20.

 Up, next, I’d like to introduce you to sticky-backed Velcro. I affixed some to the floor of the radio and another piece to the speaker.

 Here’s the speaker inside the radio.

 I wanted the back to be easily removable in case I needed to access the speaker. So I affixed the Velcro to cover the screw holes on the radio.  Since the original cardboard cover was somewhat damaged, my husband traced an outline of it on a piece of cardboard.

 We cut out our new back and added Velcro the back. We lined it up with the Velcro on the screw holes.

 Then I affixed the remnants of the original back to the cardboard with glue.

After giving everything time to dry – On went the back.

I ran the charging cord for the speaker out the original hole for the electric cord. I also made sure to turn the on/off button for the speaker towards that space for easy access. 

And this is the result.

Up next, I think I’d like to take a crack at installing an Amazon Echo virtual assistant inside an old radio cabinet.

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