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Picture of Remodeled 80s Boombox

I first had the idea for this project when I came across a similar build on which is now also published here as an instructable. In this project they remodeled a broken 80s boombox using a Raspberry Pi and replaced all electronics except for the speakers. I am also in possession of an old 80s boombox where only one of the tape decks was broken so I planned to remodel it with the following features.

  • Keep original speakers and amplifier
  • Keep the working tape deck (because I still have some awesome old mixtapes)
  • Replace broken tape deck with Raspberry Pi and touchscreen
  • Add LEDs with spectrum analyzer feature
  • Add a high capacity rechargeable battery

Step 1: Gather Components

Picture of Gather Components

Here is a list of all the components I used

  • Sanyo M W200L boombox
  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (
  • 3.5" TFT touchscreen (
  • 20000 mAh powerbank (
  • 1 m WS2812b LED strip
  • Arduino Nano
  • Panel Mount Extension USB Cable (
  • Ground Loop Isolator (
  • DC - DC Boost Converter (
  • 2x 1.8 kOhm, 1x 4.7 kOhm resistors
  • push button switch
  • 1000 µF, ~16 V capacitor

I was lucky enough to find this beautiful boombox in the trash a while ago. It was fully working except for one of the tape decks which keeps eating the tape. The plan was to remove the broken tape deck an replace it with a Raspberry Pi and a 3.5" touchscreen which fits almost exactly in the same space. For powering everything, I first thought about using several 18650 batteries wired in parallel but then decided to just use a powerbank since it was cheaper and has the charging circuit and 3.7 V to 5 V boost converter already build-in. Make sure though that you get a power bank which can provide enough output current. My powerbank can supply 3.4 A on two separate outputs but the total output cannot be larger than 3.4 A, i.e. I have about 17 W. The boombox is rated at 12 W which is fine but the RasPi and display can draw more than 1 A. So in total I am running a bit short of battery power and noticed some voltage drops when there are current spikes, e.g. when the tape deck motor is switched on. In addition, most powerbanks have a sleep function when the drawn current is below a certain threshold. This was not a problem for me since the RasPi does always draw enough current but it is also something to take into account. Next time I will probably use 18650 batteries which can provide more current. Since the boombox is running on 7.5 V, I still needed another boost converter. A panel mount USB cable was used to have a micro USB socket on the housing for charging the power bank. The LED strip, Arduino Nano and resistors were used to build a spectrum analyzer. The capacitor is recommended to avoid current spikes when powering the LED strip and can also help to reduce humming noise in your speakers. Since I still ended up with a lot of humming noise, I also added a ground loop isolator. In addition, to the components above, I also used a lot of wire, hot glue and some 3D printed components.

ElectroG92 months ago
I need a motor and a fast forward gear to restore mine. Please, let me know if you could be of any help to me? I am ready to pay for the help.
ElectroG92 months ago
Excellent Work ! Can you please send me the broken tape deck mechanism along with the motor? I need it to restore the mine (Sanyo MW200) ? My email id anupamchauhan888 at the Rate gmaiiiil dooooot cooooom.
chuco6110 months ago
how could the code be adjusted so that each strip corresponds to a low, mid and high band?
Im thinking 3 arduino pins could control an individual strip. FFT is a little beyond my skill set.

I absolutely love this build!

mosivers (author)  chuco6110 months ago
Thank you, I am glad that you like the build.
In my code each strip already corresponds to a different frequency band but the strips are controlled by a single data pin. The function "calcAmp()" first calculates the amplitude for each frequency band, then "lightPixels()" lights up the corresponding LEDs. If the number of LEDs per strip or number of strips is different in your design you just need to change the variables "NUM_LEDS" (total number of LEDs), "NDOTS" (LEDs per strip) and "BANDS" (number of strips). Also the order of the LEDs for each strip may need to be changed in the function "lightPixels()".
Funky Koval11 months ago
aha, and don't care about led flasher or sth, I think this is too difficult, I want only connect ZEN to the SANYO structure via his amp, and listening music and radio from CreativeZEN by SANYO speakers
farna Funky Koval10 months ago
You should be able to remove the tape deck or radio and input the headphone jack from the MP3 player in its place. Exactly how I can't say, would have to have a schematic. The headphone output signal might not match either, but it wouldn't hurt to try.
Funky Koval farna10 months ago
Thank You very much for answer, I will try! Best regards!
Funky Koval11 months ago
Hi, very nice project!!! I have almost identically sanyo--->!!841115.jpg just like you, but mine is not working. I have a question about tuning them with my mp3 player creative zen----> , this is possible to connect this one to the speakers sanyo circuit? and how to do it?
mosivers (author)  Funky Koval11 months ago
Hi there, your Sanyo also looks very cool. It is certainly possible to connect it to your mp3 player. If the amp of your Sanyo is still working you can connect the mp3 player to the radio input as I did. Otherwise you could just reuse the speakers and add another amp, e.g. a TPA2012 (
Hello. Thank you very much for your suggestions and advice !! I will try!
Advice with a new amplifier very valuable. My SAYO, after switching on, only lightly hums, nothing more, with lighting red led. The use of such a small amplifier, would also allow me to put in SANYO, a new power supply Thank you once again and best regards!
Leomiracle10 months ago
Great project, hope to see it in action soon!
EricN1911 months ago
Nice build. Also nice Bruce Cockburn playing there.
mosivers (author)  EricN1911 months ago
Thanks. If you are referring to the song in the video, this is actually a track by Pomplamoose.
EricN19 mosivers10 months ago
I was referring to the cover art like this

iamchrismoran11 months ago
Oh man this is such a great idea! My old box has a cassette and micro cassette. The belt for the regular cassette has long ago stopped working (I've owned this since 1983). I could NOT just trash it and now I have a great idea for repurposing it.
The buttons you glued to the top. I wonder about having them be active buttons for controlling playback on the RPi... at least a pause/play/stop option.
mosivers (author)  iamchrismoran11 months ago
I agree, it would be a shame to trash an old boombox. It is certainly possible to connect some buttons to the GPIO pins of the RPi and configure them accordingly. The buttons in my boombox were directly attached to the tape deck so unfortunately, I had to remove them.
MarcelS911 months ago
I like this - a lot. For quite a while I've been planing to do something similar using the awesome Onion Omega2 WiFi module with Bluetooth support to allow streaming from e.g. a mobile device:
However, where I live those 80's boom boxes are considered "vintage" and collectors are ready to shelve out top dollars. Haven't found one yet that is both decent and reasonably priced.
ChrisS48711 months ago
Dude! This is so sweet. Specially for a Generation X'er like me. Need to try to build this.
Love this! Preserved original function while adding function and some awesome aesthetic appeal.
jessyratfink11 months ago
I love this! The LEDs and touchscreen blend in so seamlessly. :D
ed.darby11 months ago
Great project and well written up! Voted :)