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Basic instructions for building a Radiodan

This is our second pass at a set of instructions. We're still testing it.

In general: the case is designed (by Victor Johannsen) to be something that can be changed and adapted to the size of different components.

Here we use a USB amp and a 5cm diameter speaker, but we've also experimented with versions with cheap miniature speakers instead, though in that case you may need to increase the number of corner pieces and make the side pieces wider (and the sound won't be as good).

It's also designed to be laser cut in 3mm acrylic or MDF, but we have made versions successfully in cardboard, although the button press movements mean that the top piece and supporting side bar need to be quite stiff. You could even cut the pieces out yourself with a craft knife, though we're working on a simpler, squarer version for that.

We have struggled with finding an effective and simple way to connect rotary encoders (for volume for example) to the Pi's GPIO, because the encoders' connectors are very close together and they use up most of the ports on the GPIO.

The version below is a simpler version with two buttons (on / off and a configurable 'magic' button) and an RGB status LED.

For getting the software working, see getting started

Step 1: Kit of parts

Here's what you need.

Kit of parts

The case (pdf) is designed for a 5cm speaker powered by a USB-powered amplifier, such as this one.

The complete list is this:

  • a case pdf
  • a USB wifi card, RT5370 chipset
  • a USB-powered amp soldered to a 5cm diameter speaker, and a short male to male 3.5mm audio jack
  • two buttons and an RGB LED, all soldered or connected to wire with a female socket at the other end to fit the Raspberry Pi's GPIO. The LED needs a 10k resistor connected to its negative leg
  • a Raspberry Pi, any model
  • a power supply for the Pi
  • 4 3mm diameter bolts, 4cm or more in length, and 4 wingnuts or similar
  • 2 5mm diameter nuts to fit 2 short 2mm diameter screws to hold in the Pi

Step 2: Add the four bolts and the two internal mounts

Play particular attention to the placement of the arrows - they should point to the circular hole.

four bolts and the two internal mounts

Step 3: Glue the nuts to the internal mount

Glue the nuts into the mount first. The mount fits both the model B and the new B+, but you need to glue the nuts into different holes depending on your model. The B+ holes are identified with a plus sign. It's easier to apply the glue to the holes, situate the screws in rough position on a flat surface and then manouver the internal mount piece over the top.

the nuts glued to the internal mount

Step 4: Add three of the edge pieces, the corner pieces, and the internal mount

When the glue is set, fit the mount into the box, slotting it into the side pieces.

There are 8 corner pieces on each corner.

The three edge pieces just slot in.

three edge pieces and corners and mount

Step 5: Wire up the buttons and led and attach them to the top

Make sure the top piece is the right way up and the correct way round (text faces outwards and the power button is on the left as you face it).

For the wiring you need to consult this fritzing diagram.

The RGB LED has a 10k resistor attached to its negative leg.

Fit the top piece into the box.

attach the buttons and led

attach the wires to the buttons and led

attach the top to the case

Step 6: Add the wifi card, SD card and power supply to the Pi

Don't plug the Pi in yet.

Put the wifi card in the bottom USB slot.

attach the wifi, SD card and power to the Pi

Step 7: Put the Pi in the box

Secure it with the screws and the rubber washers.

If you have a model B+, the USB ports will be on the other side.

put the Pi in the box

Step 8: Attach the Wires to the Pi's GPIO

Use this wiringpi pin naming scheme

The power button attaches to pin 7, the magic button to pin 2, and the status RGB led to pins 12, 13 and 14.

power button

magic button

status LED


Step 9: Add the speaker

The speaker should sit tightly in the hole.

add the speaker

Step 10: Add the speaker mount

It fits tightly into the gap between the internal mount and the side pieces, and holds the speaker in.

add the speaker mount

Step 11: Add the USB Amp

Connect the amp to the top USB port, fitting loops of wire in where you can.

add the USB amp

Step 12: Connect the Amp to the 3.5mm audio connector

Again fit the loops of wire in where you can.

add the 3.5mm jack

Step 13: Add the back of the case

Using the butterfly screws, and feeding the power cable through the hole in the back of the case.

add the back of the case

Step 14: Enjoy your Radiodan

Plug in the Radiodan and wait a minute. Click the power button or use the web interface to turn on the radio.

enjoy your radiodan