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Phoniebox: the RPi-Jukebox-RFID

A contactless jukebox for the Raspberry Pi, playing audio files, playlists, podcasts, web streams and spotify triggered by RFID cards. All plug and play via USB, no soldering iron needed. Update: if you must, it now also features a howto for adding GPIO buttons controls.

The 2020 Phoniebox Calendar

Important updates / news

The 2.0 release was pushed through the doors with countless additions and great oversight from @s-martin and substantial input by @ZyanKLee together alongside many other contributors (some of which in alphabetical order): @andreasbrett @BerniPi @ctietze @danielhammer @fredg02 @Groovylein @MalteHST @patrickweigelt @Piehti @SimonChelkowski @veloxidSchweiz @xn--nding-jua and starring @splitti as the great hotfix. List of all contributors

What's new in version 2.0?

  • WiFi management
    • RFID cards to toggle Wifi (or switch it on/off)
    • Read out the Wifi IP address (if you are connecting to a new network and don't know where to point your browser)
    • Hotspot Phoniebox: ad-hoc hotspot if no known network found (IP: SSID: phoniebox Password: PlayItLoud)
  • Touchscreen LCD display Player (file: index-lcd.phpin web app)
  • GPIO control for improved hadling of GPIO devices (buttons, rotary control, ...)
  • Improved PN532 RFID reader support
  • Improved one-line install script featuring non-interactive installs based on a config file
  • Updated all python code to 3.5 and consistent use of packages via requirements.txt files
  • Migration to mopidy3 for Spotify and Google Music integration
  • Improved development life cycle (unit tests, checkers, continous integration, ...)
  • ... and many bug fixes (as well as new bugs, we don't know yet)

What's still hot?

Quick install

One line install script for Raspbian buster available.

  • MUST READ for users of Phoniebox +Spotify Edition
  • This install script combines the two versions Classic and + Spotify.
  • Phoniebox Classic supports local audio, web radio, podcasts, YouTube (download and convert), GPIO and/or RFID

Documentation can be found in the GitHub wiki for Phoniebox. Please try to add content in the wiki regarding special hardware, software tweaks and the like.

The 2020 Phoniebox Calendar is out!

Celebrating all the great designs of 2019, I put together a calendar for 2020, see picture above. If you want to be featured on next years calendar, please make sure to add your Phoniebox pics to the design thread here on github.

The PDF is about 6MB and will print well on A2 paper size, but it should also look good on larger poster sizes. Thanks to all the contributors, designers and makers. Have a good start into 2020 and keep up the good work! The 2020 Phoniebox Calendar

If you like your Phoniebox, consider to buy me a coffee or donate via PayPal to using the friends option.

Prototype of the RFID jukebox

See the Phoniebox code in action, watch this video and read the blog post from

We love Tech published a video screencast on how to build your Phoniebox (in German), you can find all the steps and see the final product here:

Installation und Hardware

Web App and Audio / Spotify

The finished Phoniebox in action

A new video screencast about

What makes this Phoniebox easy to install and use:

  • Runs on all Raspberry Pi models (1, 2 and 3) and Raspberry Zero. (jump to the install instructions)
  • Just plug and play using USB, no soldering iron needed.
  • Once the Phoniebox is up and running, add music from any computer on your home network.
  • Register new RFID cards easily without having to connect to the RPi.
  • Play single or multiple files, podcasts or web streams.
  • Volume control is also done with RFID cards or key fobs.
  • Connect to your Phoniebox via your wifi network or run the Phoniebox like an access point and connect directly without a router.
  • Bonus: control the Phoniebox from your phone or computer via a web app.

The web app allows you to change the volume level, list and play audio files and folders, stop the player and shut down the RPi gracefully.

The web app runs on any device and is mobile optimised. It provides:

  • An audio player to pause, resume, shuffle, loop, stop and skip to previous and next track.
  • Sub folder support: manage your collection in sub folders. Phoniebox has two play buttons: only this folder and eeeeverything in this folder.
  • Manage files and folders via the web app.
  • Register new RFID cards, manage Phoniebox settings, display system info and edit the wifi connection.
  • Covers displayed in the web app (files called cover.jpg).

Phoniebox Gallery

Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption

See more innovation, upcycling and creativity in the Phoniebox Gallery or visit and share the project's homepage at There is also an english Phoniebox page.


Adding push buttons to control volume, skipping tracks, pause, play: read the GPIO buttons installation guide.


Special hardware is now organised in the folder components. If you have new hardware attached to your Phoniebox, please add to this library! It currently contains soundcards, displays, GPIO controls, RFID reader, smarthome integration.


In the Manual you will learn:

Contributing improvements

Read the file for more infos on how to contribute code.

Reporting bugs

To make maintenance easier for everyone, please run the following script and post the results when reporting a bug. (Note: the results contain some personal information like IP or SSID. You might want to erase some of it before sharing with the bug report.)


Just copy this line and paste it into your terminal on the pi.

If you find something that doesn't work. And you tried and tried again, but it still doesn't work, please report your issue in the "issues" section. Make sure to include information about the system and hardware you are using, like:

Raspberry ZERO, OS Jessie, Card reader lists as (insert here) when running scripts/, installed Phoniebox version 0.9.3 (or: using latest master branch).


There is a growing section of troubleshooting including:

  • I want to improve the onboard audio quality
  • I am moving, how do I get the Phoniebox into my new WiFi network?
  • The RFID Reader doesn't seem to work.
  • Changing the volume does not work, but the playout works.
  • Script only works via SSH not by RFID cards.
  • Script daemon is closing down unexpectedly.
  • Everything seems to work, but I hear nothing when swiping a card.
  • I would like to use two cards / IDs to do the same thing.


There are many, many, many inspiring suggestions and solutions on the web to bring together the idea of a jukebox with RFID cards. I want to mention a few of these that have inspired me.

I also want to link to two proprietary and commercial projects, because they were an inspiration in the early days of the Phoniebox. Since the first release, the Phoniebox code has shown the power of open source development. Today, Phoniebox might be the most versatile project of its kind.

If you like your Phoniebox, consider to buy me a coffee

Shopping list

Here is a list of equipment needed. You can find a lot second hand online (save money and the planet). The links below lead to amazon, not at all because I want to support them, but because their PartnerNet program helps to support the Phoniebox maintenance (a little bit...). Note: depending on individual projects, the hardware requirements vary.

Raspberry Pi

RFID Reader and cards / fobs

  • RFID Card Reader (USB): Neuftech USB RFID Reader ID using 125 kHz - make sure to buy compatible cards, RFID stickers or key fobs working with the same frequency as the reader. Important notice: the hardware of the reader that I had linked here for a long times seems to have changed and suddenly created problems with the Phoniebox installation. The reader listed now has worked and was recommended by two Phoniebox makers (2018 Oct 4). I can not guarantee that this will not change and invite you to give RFID Reader feedback in this thread.

  • RFID Kit RC522: [RC522 Reader, Chip, Card for Raspberry Pi 13.56MHz] (

    • RFID sticker / tags: MIFARE RFID NFC Tags untested by me personally, but reported to work with work with RC522 and PN532 card readers.

Speakers / amps

Arcade Buttons

Special hardware

These are links to additional items, which will add an individual flavour to your Phoniebox setup. Consult the issue threads to see if your idea has been realised already.

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