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.
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.
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.
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.