Vintage radios are irresistible. When you hear one spewing static, your natural response is to turn the dial and try to tune in a station. The anticipation! What will you hear? With this Haunted Radio project, you can decide for your guests or escape room attendees exactly what they'll hear, and you can even choose the frequency.
There isn't any pirate radio station involved here, either. Instead, the secret is a Feather microcontroller reading the dial position with a magnet sensor, and an attached Music Maker FeatherWing with amplifier to play back your pre-recorded message over the radio's speaker.
Here's what you'll need to make your Haunted Radio:
- Vintage radio -- search your grandparents' attic for one, or head to a flea market. You'll be looking for three things: an appealing design, a pulley-based mechanical tuning indicator, and a "regular" permanent magnet speaker. (Some old radios will have an electrodynamic speaker that uses an electromagnet. Powering that is an added step we want to avoid.)
- Feather Huzzah ESP8266 microcontroller
- Music Maker FeatherWing w/ amp to play back songs and sounds
- SD card for the Music Maker
- Terminal Block Breakout FeatherWing to simplify wiring (this is optional if you choose to wire things differently)
- 6600mAh 3.7V Lithium Ion battery to power everything (or, skip this and use a USB power plug if you don't need your Haunted Radio to be portable)
- Hall effect sensor used to sense the magnet attached to the tuning indicator
- Rare earth magnet
- Feather Stacking Headers to connect Feather to Terminal Breakout FeatherWing and still allow Music Maker FeatherWing to connect above.
- Jumper wires
- USB cable for programming the Feather
- 2-Wire splice connectors
- Stranded wire
Let's take a look at how to prepare your vintage radio to be Haunted!