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Picture of SteamPunk Radio

Project: SteamPunk Radio

Date: May 2019 – Aug 2019


This project is without doubt the most complex I have undertaken, with sixteen IV-11 VFD tubes, two Arduino Mega cards, ten LED Neon light circuits, a servo, an electromagnet, two MAX6921AWI IC Chips, five DC power supplies, a HV power supply, two DC Volt meters, a DC Amp meter, FM stereo radio, 3W power amplifier, LCD screen, and keyboard. Apart from the above parts list, two software programs had to developed from scratch and finally the construction of the entire radio required about 200 hours of work.

I decided to include this project onto the Instructables site not expecting members to reproduce this project in its entirety but rather to cherry pick the elements that where of interest to them. Two areas of particular interest to the site members may be the control of the 16 IV-11 VDF tubes using two MAX6921AWI chips and its associated wiring, and the communications between two Mega 2650 cards.

The various components included into this project have been sourced locally, except the IV-11 tubes, and the MAX6921AWI chips both obtained on EBay. I wanted to bring back to life various items that would otherwise languish in boxes for years. All of the HF valves where sourced with the understanding that all where failed units.


Picture of PARTS LIST

1. 2 x Arduino Mega 2560 R3

2. RDA5807M FM radio

3. PAM8403 3W amplifier

4. 2 x 20W speakers

5. Di-pole FM Ariel

6. 16 X IV-11 VDF tubes

7. 2 x MAX6921AWI IC Chip

8. 2 x MT3608 2A Max DC-DC Step Up Power Module Booster Power Module

9. 2 x XL6009 400KHz Automatic Buck module

10. 1 Channel Module, 5V Low Level Trigger for Arduino ARM PIC AVR DSP

11. 2 Channel 5V 2-Channel Module Shield for Arduino ARM PIC AVR DSP

12. Electric Magnet Lifting 2.5KG/25N Solenoid Sucker Electromagnet DC 6V

13. 4 phase stepper motor can be driven by ULN2003 chip

14. 20*4 LCD 20X4 5V Blue screen LCD2004 display LCD module

15. IIC/I2C Serial Interface Module

16. 6 x Bits 7 X WS2812 5050 RGB LED Ring Lamp Light with Integrated Drivers Neo Pixel

17. 3 x LED Ring 12 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Drivers Neo Pixel

18. 2 x LED Ring 16 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Drivers Neo Pixel

19. LED Strip Flexible RGB 5m Length

20. 12 Key Membrane Switch Keypad 4 x 3 Matrix Array Matrix keyboard switch keypad

21. BMP280 Digital Barometric Pressure Altitude Sensor 3.3V or 5V for Arduino

22. DS3231 AT24C32 IIC Module Precision RTC Real Time Clock Module

23. 2 x Knurled Shaft Linear Rotary Potentiometer 50K

24. 12V 1 Amp Power Adapter

This looks phenomenal!!!! Quite a project. What were the dimensions of the box used?
GazG894 days ago
Amazing build project! I love it. Think I’ll try my own in the next couple of months. Maybe I should try some easier projects first though!
PeterD3049 days ago
It's a pretty contraption, but I really would advise you to get beyond dupont connectors and start producing your own PCB's. It's easier and cheaper than you think and the end result is much more compact and more reliable. I'd also bet you could use a single ESP32 or Teensy to replace both these Mega's and you'd be able to control your steampunk radio with your smartphone ;-)

WilkoL24 days ago
Wow, just wow! Well done!
بسیار عالی
gbowles19 days ago
Once again, WOW! I bet you had so much fun doing that.
Killawhat20 days ago
Great looking project. Must have taken a while to piece together! Do you have a photo of the gate tapes attaching to the pots? You said you used plastic tube, but how did you couple them together?
ChristineNZ (author)  Killawhat20 days ago
Hi, sorry no photo. However after removing the gate valve the handle has a spiral end which I pushed and glued a plastic tube onto. I cut the tube to length and then pushed and glued the same tube onto the knelled knob of the pot. The pot was held in place using a piece of tin, drilled to allow the pot to pass through it and secured using its nut.
Thanks, that makes sense. I'd planned to do something similar on a guitar if I can get enough depth to it.
DonnH121 days ago
I agree with WilkoL - wow. A lot of ingenuity went into that project. I won't cherry pick from that to make my own. A bit too challenging but I can apreciate.
temper22 days ago
So much potential, so little info
She gave you the schematics, the parts list, the software, the data sheets, and the inspiration. Come up with your own design and build.