DIY Electronics Ideas: Radios

A list of DIY electronics projects for beginners.

Need ideas for DIY electronics? Here's a list of simple project ideas to get you started. This list is here to give you ideas and help you decide what to build. The first project is the easiest one. The second is a little more challenging. The third is easily the hardest, but much less so if you choose to use a transmitter-building kit. All of the parts and components mentioned here are available at electronics stores and over the Internet. After you decide which project to build, make sure to click the instructional links to get more detailed directions.

  • A DIY Radio Receiver: these are a good project to begin with for one reason: almost everything electrical is a radio transmitter. You can make a crude one easily with a pair of headphones, some electrical tape, and a diode. Best of all, it doesn't require a battery: the radio waves from your local AM station provide it with all the power it needs. See these instructions for building a basic transmitter for details. This kind is fairly primitive. The next step up is....
  • A DIY Crystal Radio: simple and easy to build. You can build on a budget: a homemade crystal radio can be built out of electronics-store components for less than $20. All you need are two spools (magnet wire and insulated wire), some alligator clips, and something to use as a speaker  - an old telephone headset works fine. To assemble it, just see these simple step-by-step instructions. To get a better feel for the technical aspects, here are some crystal-radio instructions that also explain how radios work. If you're ready to build some more advanced DIY audio, try your hand at....
  • A DIY Radio Transmitter: you have two options to build one of these. A build-it-yourself transmitter kit will run you about $25 at your local electronics store: it will include all the parts you need, but you'll have to buy the tools separately. The only tools you'll really need are a soldering iron and some solder. If you want to build a radio transmitter from scratch, you generally need three things: some kind of oscillator to create the radio signal, a transformer to send input to the oscillator, and an antenna for transmission. If you can't read circuit diagrams, you're better off with a kit. If you can read them, try this.

Any one of these projects will keep you busy for a while, but more importantly they'll help you learn how to go about building circuits. To learn more, try modifying and upgrading what you've already built. Experimentation is the best way to learn. Be careful, though: always check to make sure you're using the appropriate power source. Burned components and fires can easily result from careless use of inappropriate power sources.

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