Radio Project Report – Part II

My final project involved design and building a car radio. I did this because I wanted a radio with modern features that did not look out of place in a vintage dashboard. Looking through my design notebook it can be observed that my radio design has evolved a bit, but not by much. This is partially due to my use of a 16 by 2 character LCD display. The display itself does not take up a huge amount of real estate, but it is mounted on a breakout board, which expands its dimensions by about 7mm in any direction. The area the breakout board limits the radio faceplate real estate that could otherwise be used for buttons. I choose to position the LCD off to one side and group all my buttons on the other side. A comment on my design review presentation suggested using a different display that would fit better in a 1970s theme. However, nothing comes to mind. My senior design project had metal pushbuttons and I liked their look and tactile feel, so the ones used in my radio are similar.

The project took much longer than I thought it would, largely because I underestimated the electronics involved and had to learn a lot of new things.

I think that my product achieves my goal. It certainly does not look like a factory radio, or even an aftermarket radio of the era. My goal was not to make a radio that looks like it came with the car originally, but to make a radio that does not look particularly out of place in the old dashboard and I think I have successfully done this.

If I make a second version I would like to make the sheet metal face pieces more precise, or perhaps make them out of acrylic and bond them together. I also would make a PCB for the electronics, rather than having to solder all of the wires and components in place and having to mount many components in the case.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Clare Bork
    May 7, 2019 9:49 pm

    Conrad, I liked being able to see this radio in person. I am jealous that you were able to do this and it sounds like you learned a lot about electronics along the way. I also liked that this project was functional.

  • Rachel Bork
    May 4, 2019 7:45 pm

    The acrylic on the front face of the clock really gives it that clean look without being too modern. Do you plan on remodeling it before it goes in your car or using one similar to the design you originally had?

  • Jared Campbell
    May 4, 2019 1:30 pm

    The starwars theme radio was a good design aesthetic. What was the most challenging part of your design? You should post a picture of it in your vehicle.


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