Cassette deck in an old Ferrari, Pi-fied

Here’s one for the classic car enthusiasts and audiophiles in the room. Matthew Leigh (Managing Director of Infomagnet by day, skilled maker by night) took the aged cassette deck from an old Ferrari, and brought it into 2017 with the help of a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Ferarri

He used a HiFiBerry DAC alongside a Raspberry Pi 3 to allow the playback of digital music through the sound system of the car. The best part? It all fits neatly into the existing tape deck.

Raspberry Pi FerarriMatthew was also able to integrate the tech with the existing function buttons, allowing him to use the original fast-forward, rewind, pause and play controls.

Raspberry Pi Ferrari

The USB ports are accessible via the cassette door, allowing users to insert flash drives loaded with music. As always, the Raspberry Pi 3 is also accessible via WiFi, providing further connectivity and functionality. A network-connected tablet acts as a media centre screen.

Raspberry Pi Ferarri

The build could be taken further. The Amazon Alexa Voice Service, connected to a 4G dongle or phone, could update the driver with traffic issues, breaking news, or weather reports. In fact, we’ve seen so many ‘carputer’ builds, we’re convinced that there’s no end to the vehicular uses for a hidden Raspberry Pi.

Have you built a carputer? Or maybe hidden a Raspberry Pi in an old piece of tech, or an unexpected location? Let us know in the comments below.


Rich avatar

You should check out Sandy’s Pi radio.

Danny avatar

Awesome! I’ve been thinking of doing this with my 2004 Toyota’s tape deck!

Joel Zeller avatar

Take a look at my carputer project using the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen! Completely open source so be sure to try it out :)

Mr. Widget avatar

The biggest problem is the lack of accessible low power states and the time it takes to start. Leaving the Pi running at full power could drain the battery and shutting down, then starting back up will take too long. I had an OmniFi (anybody remember those?), and the startup time was much shorter, but still too long. Maybe a hybrid solution that leaves the Pi on over short periods when the car is off (an hour or two?), but shuts it down after that could be workable. We really need to find a way to actually make the Pi sleep though.

Anthony Mills avatar

I built a Raspberry Pi based entertainment system for my 80 series Landcruiser:

Original blog post on its construction:

UI Codebase on Github:

Brett Reinhard avatar

I currently have a software setup for the latest Raspbian Jessie version, with very simple installation directions. You can view the readme to see what is included. It works well with car installations as it creates an Access Point to allow for the use of AirPlay via shairport-sync.

The completed project is located here:

I have used it in my car and it works fabulously with use of an external sound card. If you are not an audiophile, the BCM sound card may work to your liking as well.

Enjoy! Please let me know if there are any ideas you would like to see added, or if there are any issues please let me know and create an issue there or comment here.

Brett Reinhard avatar

The repo has now been moved to here :

It allows for more customization, but still allows for the same install from the previous project if desired.

flo avatar

I have not yet made a carputer, but I use an old TV decoder to make a nice box for my Pi and its RetroPie setup.

I even use the original buttons and the display of the front panel.

Have a look:

James Carroll avatar

Is there a more detailed write up of this project anywhere? This is a great looking idea.

jamnopapa avatar

The car company changed the operating temperature of the radio from -50 ° C to -40 ° C and gained several billion yen of profit. Conversely, the CPU of the car navigator is required to operate at 125 ° C.
It is not only in adventure stories that the morning will come in the midwinter of the Siberian land or the cars will be stalled in the Sahara desert in the middle of the summer.
Nonetheless, I love hifiberry that I have in my kitchen.

Niall Saunders avatar

A colleague and I have toyed with the idea of fitting a Zero into the guts of an old “8-track” tape housing – which would pick up power using the same wireless technology used to recharge toothbrushes, etc. The power would then keep a small Li-Po battery topped up, perhaps even enough to let the Pi Zero run ‘idle’ between engine starts.
Audio out would be via a 3.5mm stereo socket on the tape housing, mating with a plug within the housing of the player itself. Control I/P to the Zero would be via IR leds from the head unit, into the housing.
Discreet Micro USB connectors would allw the housing to be connected to a ‘mother ship’ for overall control, maintenance and setup.
But – it is (was) only a pipe-dream, and will probably remain as such (we are actually busy enough repairing ‘real’ 8-track players, of which there seems to be a never-ending supply!!!)


Brett Reinhard avatar

What I really want to know about this system though, is how the owner manages proper shutdown and current draw while in the shutdown state.

Rich avatar

Would be nice to read the specifics of the project. Your best bet is to get on the forums. :) I know there are some bits of kit around that could do what you are asking about.

Brett Reinhard avatar

Thanks Rich, I will definitely do that. I actually found a solution that is relatively cheap using an Arduino Pro Mini. Using a LowPower library it allows for the Arduino to go into an extreme power saving state (only using several µA) until an external interrupt (attached a Pin to the ignition pin) is set high then it comes out of the power saving state and flips a relay to start the Pi. It will also monitor the ignition until it goes low and sets the Pi to shutdown then waits until it completes then goes back into a power saving state.

Don avatar

Do you happen to have a link?

Phil Atkin avatar

ICYMI this is a huge and very significant announcement – – and this video shows the system in action.

I worked with this toolchain for many years to bring Audi’s virtual cockpit technology to market – all the proofs of concept were done on this, and the system could have gone to production based on this software. This is a game changer, relaly, and once the Qt integration is complete it will be available for the Pi. In-car Pi systems are about to get even more amazing.

Phil Atkin avatar

Here are more videos of the toolchain previously known as ‘NVIDIA UI Composer’ that is now announced to be folded into Qt –


The Pi 3 has quite enough GPU for these examples, at least at 720p, and with the Qt ‘no fee for freeware’ licensing model this should be available at no cost for experimenters and tinkerers.

Zbigniew Mroczkowski avatar

I revamped a 50+ years old radio using Pi and HiFiBerry AMP+ :D

Steve H-C avatar

I’ve had a CarPi for a while now.

This is a PiZero with a wifi adapter.
It’s set up as a wireless access point running a Samba server for a directory that contains a sync of my iTunes music folder.
I connect to the CarPi with my iPhone, and use the MusicStreamer app to access the music offered by the share.
(Any app that’ll play from a Samba share will do — I just happen to have an iPhone and like MusicStreamer’s UI.)
This is then played via Bluetooth to a bluetooth to FM adapter, and I listen to the music on the radio.

Works in any car.

Steve H-C avatar

… and of course, on long journeys the whole family can be antisocial and listen with headphones to whatever music they like…

No problem serving at least 3 people’s music. :)

Karin avatar

Looking for a detailed explanation of this project. I’d love to do this for my partner’s ’82 Ferrari Mondial as a gift.

specifically power management and pin outs for leveraging the tape deck’s buttons.

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