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Preamp/Faceplate for Table Radio/Boombox WISH LIST...

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    I saw this remote on another site and just had to post a pic of it. I have never used a remote like this, but I imagine it would be very satisfying to turn the dial with your thumb in either hand to roll the volume up or down. I REALLY like the way (I think) this would operate.

    Click image for larger version

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    I don't think it would be hard to implement this into a remote control, would it? I do think it would be far more costly than just a simple board with click buttons soldered to it for sure, but rotary encoders and the associated resistors are fairly cheap on the grand scheme of things right? It might add $2 - $3 to the cost of the product? I just like how it looks like it would work, the dial being towards the top seems like it would make it easy to turn the dial, heck... fun even!

    Once at a hotel, I used a remote for the TV that had two short paddle-type switches for the volume up/down and channel up/down. They were a kind of knurled version of a car power window switch from the 80's when they were just that one vertical piece of plastic that you either pushed forward or backwards. Not sure if that's a good explanation, but that was a pretty nice tactile feeling movement too.

    The details like this are a big part of what make a piece of electronic equipment enjoyable to use regularly, which is one of the reasons why I dislike those little card remotes so much, they get lost in my hand and I feel like I'm going to break them... too thin I think. Think of all the 'vintage' equipment you've owned and messed with... I suspect some of that beefy 'switchgear feel' may be part of what we liked about it.

    Anyway, just wanted to mention this and see if anyone else things this type of remote would be handy and enjoyable to use regularly?

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • 3rutu5
    commented on 's reply
    lol, yeah thats the biggest one, he has much much smaller ones as well and others inbetween

  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Originally posted by Millstonemike View Post

    Nice try
    What?
    I've pretty much been a beta tester for Microsoft for years!

    Leave a comment:


  • Millstonemike
    replied
    Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
    .... I volunteer to be a Beta tester! ...
    TomZ
    Nice try

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Yeah, that's Kind of big. Loud though for sure. Nice looking, those cases are pretty.

    Looks like some all day fun for a party or something similar.

    I could nearly fit all my Bluetooth projects in that one case!

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • 3rutu5
    replied
    I'll back that claim Tom PE let tom be your tester with these

    THere is a guy on youtube who makes ammo case, small form factor builds which have a bit of thought put into them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWQyo9_w68

    bit of fun carting that around

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Just wanted to bump this as I added a few 'wish list' items.

    With the proliferation of so many bluetooth and ammo-case/table radio/boom box builds, it seems like it would be a good seller.

    Come on Parts Express.... I volunteer to be a Beta tester!

    Wishing and Hoping...

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Thanks Mike and Neil for the great finds and info.

    Mike, that looks pretty nice and seems to have a level of functionality that everything else I've seen doesn't have, namely Don's request for internet radio stations. I don't see a USB input for MP3's and the like on that one, but for many, that wouldn't matter I guess. I see the description says "Digital" radio, assuming that's just digits on the display and not 'HD Radio' but it would be nice if it was. Might be a bit big for a table radio, but I think it could be made to fit if the box size was re-jigged a bit to a more vertical orientation.
    Nice find there.

    Neil, is the slot at the top of the first unit for a CD? Looks like it.
    EDIT: just checked it out, it's not, just a 'design feature' I guess.

    Thanks for all the digging into the bowels of what chips make this stuff work. I may have added the word "Rotary"... the text in most of these descriptions says "Master Volume Encoder Interface" to which I probably added the word 'rotary' The term 'encoder' does seem to suggest more than just a potentiometer would be in play, but given the state of Chinese-to-English translation quality.... who the heck knows.

    I think I may just have to get over my love of knobs and learn to embrace the button press. Thanks Neil for all the work and explanations. You guys are amazing.

    TomZ

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  • donradick
    replied
    Blast from the past: Pournelle's Law "If you don't know what you are doing, find an expert"

    Thanks Neil - you never cease to amaze.

    Leave a comment:


  • neildavis
    replied
    Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
    I just wanted to bump this to see if anyone had any additional ideas or input.
    The only other product that I've seen that would be of interest is the Aiyima product that also includes Mic and guitar inputs:

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    It had advertised three leads listed three contacts as being for 'rotary encoder master volume control' which may have just been marketing 'untruth' or bad translation.
    Hmmm... I looked at a lot of different vendors for that product, but what I always saw was "Master volume encoder interface", without the word "rotary" in the description. I assumed that the interface could be used for volume control, but that the volume information could be encoded in one of many different ways, and that it wasn't necessarily designed for a rotary encoder.

    I found a lot more information about that JL chip at this link: https://cloud.whitequark.org/s/WPMSZM7CrbT6Gde/download . That link is for a 166Mb download that has information on all of the variants of the AC690n chip, along with the software and reference circuits. It also has Codeblocks, which is an open source IDE needed to run the JL development tools. I tried installing the software, and yes, you can compile the code. However, I think there are some other tools and a development board required to program the devices with your own code--that toolset is here. The complete toolkit costs around $130.

    The AC690n series has about 10 variants, from a 16-bit chip for small Bluetooth speakers to a 64 pin version that supports a large LCD display. These chips are used in a lot of commercial devices--for example, the Sansui T18 Bluetooth speaker uses the AC6905, which is a 24-pin version of the chip. JL says there is just one code base for all of these chips. The 48-pin version used in the product that Tom referenced in the other thread is the AC6901. Interestingly, none of the reference drawings for any of the chips in this series show a rotary encoder, and if you do a word-search on "rotary" in the code, you will come up empty. Maybe it is a new feature that will show up in a future version of the code, but it isn't supported in the code that I was able to find.

    On the other hand, the advertisement for the Aiyima product shown above says it uses an AC690n chip for the Bluetooth, and it's got knobs!. So are those potentiometers or rotary encoders, and in either event, how do those controls interface to the AC690n chip? Plus, there is a cell phone app that makes this product even more interesting. But at 12" by 8", this is not an ideal product for a table radio...it's too big. It would be nice if this product had a smaller sibling without the guitar and mic circuitry..

    There is a Karaoke control board that is a lot smaller, but it doesn't appear to have line-level outputs (???)

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    Last edited by neildavis; 01-10-2020, 05:51 PM.

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  • Millstonemike
    replied
    Originally posted by donradick View Post
    Tom,
    ...
    Frankly, I can just go to Amazon and buy any number of "Internet Radios" for about $100, so sinking
    30-40 hours of development and building could be a "labor of love", or it could be a rathole of things
    not quite working the way I want ....
    That was my first thought. Is there a mass produced (i.e., cheap) unit I could "hack" into my own project.

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    I just wanted to bump this to see if anyone had any additional ideas or input.

    And thanks Don, for the new way of looking at this. As a teacher I've become a 'list' guy, so....

    SilverD has been investigating another little preamp player that I've also messed with a bit to see if a rotary volume knob could be added to it, I think Neil has one coming as well...

    Here is the thread for that one: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...coder-question

    The idea for that one is to at least just get a volume knob going via a rotary encoder. It had advertised three leads listed three contacts as being for 'rotary encoder master volume control' which may have just been marketing 'untruth' or bad translation. That one is around $10, so if a remote volume encoder could be added to that one, it would do the job for me pretty much... but I'd sure rather deal with the known quality of PE and Dayton rather than going through Aliexpress and the unknown manufacturing process/parts 'randomness' and other issues that exist with many Ali purchases.

    Anyway, just wanted to bring this to the 'forefront' for a little longer to see if there was any additional thoughts or features you would like to see.

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • donradick
    replied
    Tom,

    So it's helpful (in product development or IT) to think in terms of "use cases". How will the user use this gizmo.

    I need to:

    Connect over wifi to an internet URL that streams audio, whether talk (NPR/Free Speech) or music
    I want an LCD screen to show me status and what's playing
    Frankly, I can just go to Amazon and buy any number of "Internet Radios" for about $100, so sinking
    30-40 hours of development and building could be a "labor of love", or it could be a rathole of things
    not quite working the way I want.
    But yeah, you can make a number of devices like this with Arduinos

    Like you, I am fond of devices where I don't have to worry about any connectivity, just stick in a USB drive and play
    just what you put on it. Very simple. I may just get something like that for my shop.

    The new little (Sure) amp with DSP could also be a monster solution for this kind of device with the wonderful
    cheap little drivers we can get from PE. But every additional integration takes time and money.

    A recent DIY electronics mag had a project like this, a box with internet, usb, bluetooth and a cd player.
    The guy said that he spent about $400 plus a number of custom 3d printed parts. Lots of effort..

    Leave a comment:


  • djg
    replied
    And some product support and how to for stupid people like me.

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Originally posted by donradick View Post
    Great ideas, Tom!
    Besides building a number of these devices and discovering strengths and weaknesses of various components, your
    professional experience as an educator really shines. I agree with many of your observations - the typical membrane
    remote with the little "clicker" buttons not only feels cheap, it feels like it's just waiting to die, then you are out of business,
    since they aren't available separately.

    If I can jump into your thread here -
    I'd like to build an internet radio type box - I'd like to have maybe 4-5 preset internet streaming "stations" that
    would connect over wifi. I don't need or want to stream bluetooth (or airplay) audio from my phone, but it's possible
    that a simple BLE app would offer remote control of the "radio".
    Are the components available, or would this require a lot of integration?

    Thanks in advance..
    Thanks Don,

    It's really fun messing with this stuff, lots to be learned -- thankfully the folks here are willing to teach.

    What you propose sounds pretty nice, and is probably the way things are headed from the looks of it.
    I can't comment as I don't know anything about 'streaming' as you're describing it. I know PE has devices that do that, possibly they could be integrated into a faceplate type of device that could be made into a radio.

    There are a few guys on here that have a pretty good handle on Arduino-type stuff and it seems that has the capability to do amazing things if you know how to do it. In a few years from now once I get my existing speaker backlog cleared out, I may dig into that aspect of the hobby.

    Regarding Bluetooth, MOST young people use it all the time -- I think they never turn it off -- and it's probably just a dollar, maybe less -- to add to a device -- retail, and the FM radio is probably pennies... not that they work all that well (at least compared to an average car radio) but they provide some added functionality and options for folks aside from a jumpdrive or direct 3.5mm connection. Personally, I tend to use USB flash drives with most of my music collection on it, and a few dozen videos of youtube vids, mostly of live concerts and such -- assuming the unit has a video player.

    Also, I asked the question awhile back on how to add a computer CD ROM drive to a preamp faceplate... they are so cheap and small these days, I thought it would be cool to add CD to a table radio. Turns out it can be done, but it's not easy. Again, Arduino may provide a solution to that as well.

    Let me add your item to the list...

    (8) Internet music streaming with the ability to create station 'presets'
    ……. and I'll include since I referenced it...
    (9) CD ROM connectivity for audio output through USB with a cheap computer CD ROM... heck, might as well add that since we're dreaming, right?

    I'm thinking there may be two options for this device, one basic one as I've outlined and one with more features such as the wi-fi connectivity. Adding all features into one device may price it out of affordability for it's intended use.

    Anyway, I'm babbling, but thanks for the input and for adding to the list.

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:

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