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Thread: Craig W460 "hands-free" hidden bluetooth project

  1. #1
    Member Rhye's Avatar
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    Craig W460 "hands-free" hidden bluetooth project

    Hi everybody,

    I'd like to share a project I've been working on for the last year. The idea was proposed by Alan and it's a further development of my hidden aux input (http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?16338). A bluetooth receiver and a microphone were added along with some custom electronics that allows to use Craig's buttons/knobs to control the receiver's functions. No external switches required so there's no impact on car's interior look (as long as you hide a microphone somewhere) while you can play/pause/navigate soundtracks and receive calls without touching the phone. A frequency tuning knob is used to set a bluetooth volume level. Forward LED is lit whenever any sound is played via bluetooth. LED display was forced to read "AUX" letters (this is optional feature). And there's still a wired aux input, in case one wants to play from a bluetoothless device (it's activated by MTL button).
    Here's a short video (~35MB) showing how it all works:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jPn...ew?usp=sharing

    The prototype seen on the video was tested successfully and there's a plan to build second one for Alan (early next year, I guess). I'm just wondering if there would be any broader interest in such an upgrade (I'm aware that there are at least 2 other bluetooth options available around).

    Thanks for reading/watching - any feedback is strongly welcomed.

  2. #2
    Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech RamblinDMC's Avatar
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    Well done!

  3. #3
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    This is really impressive - I love that we're able to squeeze more new life out of these 40 year old radios. They are limited in terms of audio quality compared to a modern digital unit. I would be really interested in moving the guts out of a retrosound head unit into the shell of a Craig, with the original buttons as input interface for the retrosound unit. Perhaps a bigger project than what anyone would do. In the meantime, what you have done is nothing short of awesome!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gregadeth's Avatar
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    This might be the coolest mod to the Craig yet, nice work. You mentioned adding in the receiver and other electronics - does your setup still use the Craig's amps/preamps to output the audio, or are you bypassing the audio output altogether and just using the head unit's buttons for controls?

  5. #5
    Member Rhye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregadeth View Post
    does your setup still use the Craig's amps/preamps to output the audio, or are you bypassing the audio output altogether and just using the head unit's buttons for controls?
    Preamp and amp are still Craig's, but I'm preparing an option to bypass the power amp by connecting an external one (there'll be a selector switch and input/output connectors at the back of the chassis).

  6. #6
    Member Rhye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmcnc View Post
    I would be really interested in moving the guts out of a retrosound head unit into the shell of a Craig, with the original buttons as input interface for the retrosound unit.
    I took a brief look at that RetroSound Hermosa M2. Merging it with Craig would be quite a challenge, especially in keeping the stock display without loosing the additional info like station memory (and probably more) - this likely calls for a design of a new Craig-style screen. And there would have to be be some obvious compromises in buttons' functionality (some of the original ones would be inactive). Seems doable, but means a lot more development work compared to my upgrade.
    Last edited by Rhye; 12-16-2020 at 06:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Member Rhye's Avatar
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    Final PCB's of the first version assembled (except a few components of a display driver) and ready to be integrated in my test radio - just around 60 wires to be soldered .

    pcbs_front.jpgpcbs_back.jpg

    I'm also designing a next generation microcontroller-based version - just 1 PCB instead of 3 and much less components on it. Functionality will be the same, except there'll be more options for a display (like BLU for bluetooth and AUX for wired input, or whatever one wants).

    AUX_3.0.jpg

  8. #8
    Member Rhye's Avatar
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    I decided to try to add a little bit more magic to the project - a bluetooth receiver status icon. The contrast is poor but just because it's a quick and dirty prototype.


  9. #9
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    So happy to see this effort progressing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Amazing project, congrats!

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