Monday, March 7, 2011

DIY Internet Radio

Background: Being an electrical engineer who tries to dabble around with electronics and computers, this particular build or rather mod is one which has seen light of the day as a functioning device. As most of my builds get re-utilized for some other projects.

I was faced with a situation on my job front where I was required to refresh the music collection of a PA system at frequent intervals. The system runs 24x7 and is closely monitored for its content and repetition of tracks. Earlier a World Space radio receiver used to do the job of feeding a continuous stream of songs. Why, coz it was happening Tech then and eliminated frequent refreshing of songs. However with the closure of the service in India, the receiver became defunct and its place was taken by an uMP3 CD Player. However the system required frequent human intervention to change the CDs.. Finally a stage came after some time that people started predicting the next song and obviously got bored of it. Since I was managing the stuff, my ears were acting a suggestion/complaint box.
I decided to take matters in hand and buy a internet radio receiver as ample internet bandwidth was available and it gave us all a wider choice over music with no recurring cost to purchase content.
Since here in India, internet radio receivers are not available off the shelf, I scourged ebay and Amazon. But the pricing left me speechless. The whole idea looked to be a no go.
I knew that the technology did not demand such a premium pricing. So, price becoming an excuse I decided to build my own internet radio.
Searching DIY forums I came across Jeff's blog at His blog has beautifully described method to mod a Asus router with openwrt to make your own Diy Radio. However since his blog is 2 years out of date and the recommended sound card hard to source in India, hence this blog post.

Ok now lets get down to the basic of building your own box.

Essential Hardware: 

  1. Asus Wifi Router WL-520 GU
  2. USB Sound Card
  3. FTDI-232-3V3 USB to serial adapter 
  4. A soldering iron, flux and solder wire
  5. Few wires 
  6. Male berg connectors, only 4 required.
  7. Functional computer preferably running Ubuntu.
  8. Working internet connection
Asus Wifi Router WL-520 GU
Following are the snapshots for a curious eye
From Reverse Biased
From Reverse Biased
From Reverse Biased

FTDI-232-3V3 USB to serial adapter 
I bought this stuff from Nex Robotics. The guys there sell good stuff  at a reasonable price and is well packaged too.
To be Continued.....

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