Pirate Radio with Speaker pHAT - Surface mounted

this time thelittlemonkey is monkeying the famous Pirate Radio project:

1960’s Siemens radio belonged to my mother, and it was my primary source of music when I was a little kid.

Recently I built the Pirate Radio Kit with the pHAT Beat/RPi0W from Pimoroni and was so happy with the overall results; nice sound, highly functional vlc-radio, push buttons, the looks…

I had this Speaker pHAT and a RPi Zero (1.3) lying around, so I wanted to test the SD card I made for the original Pirate Radio. Duplicated the image with dd and flashed copy on a new SD card. Boom! It worked out of the box!
The vumeter is not working, but that’s not an issue, I’m not going to look at the blinking leds while working and listening to radio anyway.

Used a mini breadboard to build the button controls for Volume Up, Volume Down, Next Station and Power Off:

and soldered the few wires to Speaker pHAT header.

Little strips of Velcro was used to attach the stuff to the back and side of the radio. I wouldn’t dare to crack the beautiful insides of this classic radio! Only two wires from Speaker pHAT’s terminal going into the radio’s speaker.

Push buttons on a breadboard will do for now.

The sound of this modernized classic radio is True Retro :)


Nice build! And nice idea. I get reservations about modding existing things, since I don’t like destroying a good radio or console. I’ve preserved the guts of my Megadrive and am still in the process of attempting a no-cutting-or-drilling mod that would let me re-fit the original insides to restore the console.

1 Like

Nice build. I built a Pirate radio into and old set of PC speakers. Logitech R20. The radio is in the subwoofer box driving the two speakers. The subwoofer is gone and the VU meter is viewable through the speaker cloth. I drilled holes in the top for arcade buttons for the volume etc.

1 Like

I’ve had good results using Proto Hats and Proto Bonnets to get easy access to the Pi’s GPIO pins, It’s how I wired in my buttons.

Pimoroni have their own version, https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/protozero which I think might be better than the Adafruit one. It wasn’t available when I bought mine.
This might be a good option for your buttons, instead of the breadboard. https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/adafruit-perma-proto-multipack
Nothing wrong with your build, really cool. Just some things to think about that you might not know exist. ;)

1 Like

@gadgetoid, I’m with you that we should not break our fine classics, especially from the era when things were made to last the eternity. I love classic cameras and radios, and try to preserve every piece I get in my collection.

@alphanumeric, nice build!
Logitech = cheap Chinese plastic = Break it!

How nice to have these Pimoroni mini-amps around!

I actually like Logitech stuff. I have numerous keyboards, trackballs and speakers I had those speakers for a long time so they don’t owe me anything. The speakers still work, the amp just died. Once I get some more stickers i’ll cover up the Logitech logo with another pirate sticker. ;)

I’m with you, it is hard to cut something and possibly spoil its good looks. Especially cool locking old tech. I’d see if I could use the existing buttons , switches, etc