Easiest Vintage Radio Bluetooth Conversion

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Introduction: Easiest Vintage Radio Bluetooth Conversion

About: Idea Man, Jack of all trades, Master of none. Have gun will travel. Sometimes nothing is a real cool hand. Shoot the three and play no D.

This is a vintage 1951 Admiral radio that I've had for years on display. I cleaned and polished and converted to a bluetooth speaker. The entire project took about 3 hours.

Step 1: 1951 Admiral Model 69C60 Vintage Radio Converted to a Bluetooth Player

With the evolution of technology, I realized I no longer had to have electronics knowledge to convert this to a bluetooth player. I decided to not re-paint it as its 67 years of war wounds added character to it (and overall it was'nt bad looking at all).

Step 2: Opening the Radio and Removing the Carriage.

I removed the back by removing two screws. The back had the antenna on the back so I snipped the wire to separate it from the carriage. I easily removed the 3 knobs and tuning diaI from the front of the radio.. Next, I unscrewed the two screws holding the carriage in the radio housing and removed it. Next, I pulled 3 tubes out to access the speaker. I unscrewed two more screws and removed the speaker after snipping the two wires to the speaker. This left me a clear platform for the bluetooth speaker unit. I found this nifty little bluetooth speaker from ihome for $18 on Amazon. It measures a compact 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 2 3/4", a perfect cube. It has great sound and holds a charge for a good amount of hours. The next step is to be able to insert it in the radio and be able to access the on / off switch and charging port without the unit moving loosely around inside the reassembled radio.

Step 3: Inserting the Bluetooth Speaker

As can be seen in picture one, the cube fits nicely on the speaker side of the carriage. In this case I used some scrap wood to build a box to fit the speaker into and to hold it securely. On the bottom of the carriage there was an existing hole which I put a wood screw through to secure the wooden box holder tightly to the carriage. I set it so that the ihome speaker unit will be close to the back of the radio to eventually enable easy access to the controls on the speaker.

Step 4: Making a Replacement Back Board

On most old radios, the back is usually in poor condition, warped, faded or banged up. For my radio I picked up a 1/8 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Project Panel Tempered Hardboard. I templated the back using the radio housing. I cut it using a jigsaw and dry fitted it to make sure it fit within the sides of the radio. I used the old back to figure out where the two screw holes should go to attach the new back for a perfect fit. After I was assured it fit correctly I measured where the rectangle cutout would be needed to access the speaker controls. I was conservative and cut it to a minimum opening needed. I marked it off and used a forstner bit to drill two hole through the hardboard (using a scrap piece of wood behind the hardboard to avoid tearout). I then cut the rectangle using the jigsaw.

Step 5: The Completed Project

Above is a picture and video with sound of the completed project. As you can see this is an easy and great way to convert a radio with minimal effort and a great result. As you can hear in the video, the inserted ihome bluetooth speaker puts out a great sound and the overall result is a great functional conversation piece!

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    A far better job would have been to attach a Bluetooth audio receiver to the radio and made use of the radio's valve/tube amplifier. If the radio has a line in then an MP3 player attached to the line in is an alternative or connected to the volume control with the addition of a radio/MP3 selector switch.

    I hope you look after the valves/tubes and original speaker so your conversion can be reversed.