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DIY car radio?

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Greetings, all

We live in an amazing time. Forums such as this one provide information freely and readily, 3D printing allows for the rapid development of new and interesting devices, one flash disk can hold hours' worth of high definition music, mobile phones can download or stream music on the go...

And yet, we are cursed with the ugliest-looking car radios ever.

I have been looking for a neat radio that fits with my car, that doesn't look garish or aftermarket, that can play music from a USB flash disc or from the radio waves.

My car currently has a nice-looking but old Becker, which could play CD's from a shuttle but dates from before USB. I doubt that I would be able to add USB playback and control to this radio (yes, I know there are cassettes that allow USB playback on older radios; no, they sound crap and don't offer control over the playlist; yes, I know there are USB/BT/iPod devices that plug into your CD shuttle connection; yes, I bought one; no, it doesn't work.)

Then a crazy idea struck me: there are circuits available for radios, there are circuits available for mp3/wma/flac players, and there's Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the like. Surely somebody somewhere must have built a radio with a 3D printed face and buttons to use in their car? Or, perhaps, somebody has bought a good-sounding but crappy-looking radio and designed a new face for it?

Do you know of someone who might have, or could?



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The general style for car head unit replacements is to use a touchscreen for the "face", so it's as versatile as possible.

There are various designs online, using either a raspberry pi or just a basic android tablet.

You can also now get ready built ones in custom cases very cheaply, eg.

If it's a single height radio slot you could use a smaller screen in a moulded or printed panel that includes controls and connectors to give a more conventional "car radio" appearance, if you preferred that. Small screens to suit a Pi are now very cheap.
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