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ESP32 Internet Radio Player

Shanghai, China
Jan 4, 2019

You can now build an Internet radio player in less than 10 minutes, with approximately $30. Nick Koumaris from educ8s explains how.

This Internet Radio player is equipped with a big 3.5” display  and Espressif’s flagship chip, ESP32. It allows users to listen to their favorite radio stations online, without the restrictions that local transmitters pose. The board gets connected to the Internet and then streams music, news and chat shows from predefined radio stations. Users can save their favorite radio stations to the memory of ESP32, so they can access them easily. With a potentiometer, they can change the volume of the speaker. Additionally, the name of the radio station that is being listened to is shown on a 3.5” display with a retro user interface.

The heart of the project is, of course,  ESP32 . According to the creator of this project, Nick Koumaris, “ESP32 is a beast! It offers two 32-bit processing cores which operate at 160MHz, a massive amount of memory, WiFi, Bluetooth and many other features! Amazing stuff!”

Nick has also prepared a detailed review of ESP32, where he explains “why this chip will change the way we make things forever! One of the most exciting things about ESP32”, Nick says, “is that even though it is so powerful, it offers a deep-sleep mode which requires only 10μΑ of current. This makes the ESP32 the ideal chip for low-power applications”.

In the Internet Radio Player project, the ESP32 board connects to the Internet and, then, it receives MP3 data from the radio station that listeners choose to tune in. Subsequently, the MP3 data is sent to an MP3 decoder module using an SPI interface. This module uses the VS1053 IC. This IC is a dedicated hardware MP3 decoder. It gets the MP3 data from ESP32 and converts it really fast into an audio signal. The audio signal that it outputs is rather weak, so a PAM8403 audio amplifier is necessary here. This amplifies the audio signal and, then, sends it to a speaker.

Readers who are interested in this project, can find all the information they need and the relevant code here, as well as a video explaining all the necessary steps here. Nick Koumaris’s educ8s.tv is a platform mainly intended for makers, providing valuable information and inspiration. Everyone interested in creating electronic projects should definitely check it out!