World’s thinnest boombox

Grand Ideas Studio chief Joe Grand has combined his love for 1980s music and tech with a retro aesthetic to create a Raspberry Pi Zero-powered boombox. And the weirdest thing? It’s only 0.45 inches thick.

Stay tuned until the end to witness the World’s Thinnest Boombox soundtrack a fabulous breakdance battle

Tiny tech

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W was a suitably slimline choice to mount on the back of the board and quietly power everything. Joe also needed some ultra-thin speakers to mount alongside the Zero. TDK PiezoListen may be teeny tiny but they can blast at over 90dB. And a sleek 5000mAh rechargeable battery keeps everything running.

Thinnest boombox hardware mounted on back
Joe is pointing at the Raspberry Pi Zero and the battery is mounted above it. The connectors are ready for the speakers to the left and right of the board

Joe’s project is basically a masterclass in proving that monumental things sometimes come in small packages.

Selection of software

Mopidy is responsible for music playback. Touch pHAT controls capacitive touch for the Microchip CAP1166 capacitive touch sensor. Pirate Audio has DAC integration covered, and pivumeter makes the VU (volume unit) meter react to the sound. The VU meter is also furnished with a couple of dozen LEDs for extra flair, and rpi_ws281x controls their twinkles and shimmers.

The cassette tape mounted to the front of the Boombox is an aesthetic flourish which can be used instead of the on/off switch. And the incredible retro-inspired artwork was created by Mar Williams.

Joe showcased his slimline creation at 2022’s Hackaday Supercon

Open source fun for everyone

Joe is a gem and has stashed everything you need to create your own lean listening machine on his Grand Ideas Studio. You’ll find hardware and software block diagrams, assembly and PCB drill drawings, and a quick-start guide explaining how to get Wi-Fi working, load new music, and take care of the battery. We think we’re going to have a go at making one ourselves.


Kevin McAleer avatar

This just made my Tuesday so much more awesome! I freaking love this. Joe did a great job, both in creating this and then the storytelling youtube video.
Also – great article Ash, a pleasure to read.

Liz Upton avatar

Keeeeeeeeeeeev! <3

Ashley Whittaker avatar

Did you watch Joe’s project video to the end? Boombox passed the breakdance battle test 👌

Sean O'Steen avatar

What a spectacular build! Way to go Joe!

AndrewS avatar

Did he grow the 80s ‘tash just for the video? That’s dedication!

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