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Thread: how can i use my existing old skool am radio controls

  1. #1
    Newbie 72chevyPickup's Avatar
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    how can i use my existing old skool am radio controls

    looking for help/affirmation on whether i can use my old radio to control my car pc. here's the story:

    72 chevy pickup, original AM radio. i have found a company who will rebuild the radio with modern components (higher power, four speakers, changer controls-not sure how that one works, and rca inputs.)

    the trick is, all of the radio's original controls will still be used (ie: volume pot., rotary channel adjust, push-button memory.)

    i plan on running the computer's audio back through the new old radio for sound, but i want to hack the controls so that they run the basic music functions of the computer (i will also be using an overhead touchscreen for more complicated functions.)

    the company rebuilding the radio won't do this:
    any suggestions?

    here's the old radio to give you an idea.
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  2. #2
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    well it is only easy if when they rebuild it they dont make the buttons do things.

    I am guessing you will want the volume to be the volume for the stereo all the time and just have the PC set to match the normal radio levels you get so you dont get blasted.

    If pressing the buttons wont do anything when it is in Aux mode then you can fit a second set of push switches to the back of the buttons that can be interfaced with a hacked number pad to use at hotkeys for things like "bring up gps, music etc or play. pause etc.

    as for the other knob...you could drill the centre out of a gear and put it round the shaft or something inside. then use another gear up to a rotory encoder off a mouse or soemthing. That way you could use the tuing knob for next track etc etc. You will of course need to switch all this so when using the radio it doesnt affect the carPC.

    that is easy using a kvm that is switched on/off when you press the aux in button.

    lot of tinkering but it could be done easily enough.

  3. #3
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    or you can hack the buttons and just have the interface switched so in radio mode they control the radio and in aux mode the PC. this would require a load of little relays or summit to do it the crude way but could be even easier unless the buttons are mounted direct to a PCB.

    you could also use a belt to the second enocder - or glue some small magnets onto the shaft and use some reed switches (or go optical) to give you a simple left and right action from the knob to change track 0- ie you only turn it a bit to the right ot a bit to the left and then back to stop scanning through tracks.

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    Newbie 72chevyPickup's Avatar
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    thanks for the thought.

    i would plan on using the pc for everything, including am/fm radio, so in effect, the original would always be in "aux" mode. i guess i could get the buttons to control functions-godd suggestion. i didn't know if it would be possible.

    the real question is whether i should even send it off to have it rebuilt, or just mod the whole thing myself, including the sound upgrades.

  5. #5
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    can you mod it yourself? you could jsut get them to not hook u the buttons and use it purely as an amp with volume control of you are going to have a PC based radio. this would make it easier. ask them how the aux in will be enabled too. ie a push button or a latching type. it it is a latching type you would be in luck.

  6. #6
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
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    You can get some phidgets and hack the radio yourself. But then it will be carputer only.

  7. #7
    Newbie 72chevyPickup's Avatar
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    i'm not familiar with a phidget, but i do plan on it being carputer only. i don't need the radio, just want to retain the original "feel" of the controls.

    i also think this would help frustrations (from the wife) so that the basic carputer functions are not complicated for her.

    btw, here's the website i've found for the company doing the conversions. i've asked the particular question, just wating on responses.

    http://www.antiqueautomobileradio.com/

    perhaps someone more savvy than me could take a look and see if it's a real possibility. maybe i could call it "analog front end."

  8. #8
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
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    http://www.phidgets.com/

    After you hook up the inputs into the radio, you make a girder script to control the frontend. Then call it a day.

  9. #9
    Newbie 72chevyPickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0l33l
    http://www.phidgets.com/

    After you hook up the inputs into the radio, you make a girder script to control the frontend. Then call it a day.
    oh yeah, i see. i actually have an iPAC that i'm using on my MAME coctail table. i think it does the same thing. a keyboard hack. that's what i'm planning on using...maybe phidgets work better?

  10. #10
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 72chevyPickup
    oh yeah, i see. i actually have an iPAC that i'm using on my MAME coctail table. i think it does the same thing. a keyboard hack. that's what i'm planning on using...maybe phidgets work better?
    Phidgets support knobs.

    One thing that would look sick: making a servo control the radio seek for the progress bar

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