Saving a broken 70 year old radio destined for the trash

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This was a fun project that I did as a gift for my brother’s wedding. I found this broken General Electric T-126A AM Radio off of eBay for $49. I really liked the aesthetic and having the opportunity to at least save the shell seemed like a worthy venture.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0 and 3.5mm AUX input. Total cost came to around $160.

I repurposed the radio tuner knob to attach to the rotary switch of the Bluetooth amplifier board. The knob controls volume and when turned counter clock wise fully will turn off the board. To fit the Bluetooth/speaker amp board required 3D printing a mount that would slide into the original diagonal PCB slot. The back of the new speaker had a cool orange sticker, so I printed the main portion black and made cool orange inserts to match. The Bluetooth amplifier board was mounted on 4 aluminum stand-offs.

The original pull switch for power on/off was disabled; it remains for looks.

The power barrel connector was mounted to previous hole already in the perf board back panel, and the power leads soldered to the side of the barrel connect on the Bluetooth amplifier board. I drilled a hole for the 3.5mm aux connector on the back.

In order to fit the drastically bigger speaker, I took the stock perf panel that held the original speaker and enlarged the speaker hole. Additionally, I CNC Plasma cut two matching panels out of steel, painted, and glued them on both sides of the perf board. It was necessary to support the weight of the new speaker.

The end result turned out really well and it sounds surprisingly well. It thumps for sure. I was concerned about the enclosure to speaker size.

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