Make Your Own Ghetto Blaster

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Project by Grumpy posted 12-19-2013 12:10 AM 3333 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I got sick of the quality of my small cheap AM/FM radio in the workshop and decided to do something about doing my own thing.
I could have went down town a bought a wiz bang blaster but I wanted something different.

I knew that the quality of car radios was generally very good (they have to be otherwise nobody would buy that car.
So that was the starting point.
A friend actually donated a radio he had in is barber shop, a 1994 Mazda 626 Phillips (thanks Frank, a bottle of scotch coming your way). Just what I needed. It had a cassette player which was good because I have heaps of old cassettes.
Next I needed a power supply. This really led me down the wrong garden path. You will see youtube blogs about using a computer power supply to run your 12volt AM/FM tuner. No question you can do this as there is a 12v DC supply (among others) from a PC’s power supply. This seems fine for running CD’s or DVD’s but when it comes to radios there is a different issue. There is a heap of interference to deal with because of the wave pattern produced by the 12v ‘switch mode’ from this source. After much frustration I asked the experts and was told I needed a linear power supply which is what I used and this solved the problem.
I needed some speakers so I grabbed a couple off my wife’s stereo system while she was not looking (LOL). They were just fine for the job.
All I needed now was a casing to put it all together. I used some old shiplap paneling that I would never throw away for the basic structure with some 2×1 supports in the right places to hold the components.
I had an old PC that should have been thrown out. This came in handy for making the front and rear panels. A bit of snipping, filing and drilling and it turned out very satisfactorily.
The wiring was easy enough but had an issue with the aerial connection, that’s now solved and she’s up and running, great sound quality and heaps of stations to choose from
Just a couple of issues if you are thinking of making one!
Make sure you put a fuse between the power source and the radio as many car radios aren’t fused (they rely on a fuse banked in the car)
You will need to connect the ignition wire on the radio to the power cable on the radio and join to the power supply as one connection.
You will also need to leave the power supply on when you turn the radio off to keep the memory of your station settings. That is if you don’t have a 12v battery backup. Sounds more complicated than it is.
Your power supply needs to be a ‘linear’ supply
You may need an outside aerial connection if your reception is weak inside your shop.
Thanks for looking and Merry Christmas to all my LJ friends.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

10 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26990 posts in 4385 days

#1 posted 12-19-2013 12:17 AM

Good combo, Tony. that should give you some high quality sound. I need one too! My radios sound like crap and drift off the station a lot!!
............ Merry Christmas!!...........................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14192 posts in 5263 days

#2 posted 12-19-2013 12:21 AM

Grumpman you ROCK

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3104 days

#3 posted 12-19-2013 01:10 AM

What a great idea, solved your problem….thanks for sharing

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4588 days

#4 posted 12-19-2013 01:44 AM

Looks like you are ready to Blast your Ghetto now Grumpy. Looks nice and looks portable.

I had a nice Bose radio/CD in my shop but always had problems with dust and reception because of my metal roof. I tried external antennas without much luck.

I ended up running some wires and extra speakers from my stereo system/CD player that hooks up to my cable TV and amplifier upstairs above my shop. There are a lot of music channels I like on cable TV and I can even tune it to the football games when work. Only drawback is that I have to go upstairs to change channels.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5131 days

#5 posted 12-19-2013 03:16 AM

Sounds like you need a long range remote control Greg. I wonder has that been invented yet?. You never know the smart phone do have apps that control devices.
Thanks for your comments Jim, Danny Boy & Dave.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4469 days

#6 posted 12-19-2013 10:44 AM

Interesting build and journey through a minor problem on the power supply…. Bet it sounds great,,,,

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View harry1's profile


538 posts in 3565 days

#7 posted 12-19-2013 12:31 PM

Well done Tony, that’s certainly a one off, the only way you can improve on it is with a pair of small Bose speakers, they made a HUGE difference to my computer sound.

-- Harry, Western Australia

View Kaa162's profile


75 posts in 2930 days

#8 posted 12-19-2013 01:17 PM

Haha…I love this!

-- Blessed to have a wife who supports my addiction...Hobbies!

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5131 days

#9 posted 12-19-2013 09:42 PM

Harry, I have a couple of those small speakers on my laptop. You are right, they are great.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View trainrunner's profile


125 posts in 3178 days

#10 posted 12-23-2013 09:45 PM

Nice job what a great idea.

-- Work- helping fill out my workshop but giving me no time to use my toys.

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