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USB powered FM Radio

Posted on 2008-10-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-11
One of my friends is planning to make a USB powered FM Radio as his final year project.
Could someone help with how to proceed on this?
Suppose he has the FM radio circuitry to start with.
What would be the next steps?
Will he have to write a device driver from scratch for this device?
Or something similar is already available?
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Question by:dtivmk
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by:Callandor
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>Or something similar is already available?
Yes: http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-DSB-R100-USB-Radio-Software/dp/B0000488VF
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by:dtivmk
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Actually I meant,
is a similar device driver is available?
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by:Callandor
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Device drivers are very specific as to the hardware they support.  As far as I know, there is no generic USB radio driver.
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by:dtivmk
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ok, but will a device driver be required for sure?
or is there a way to make the above device without a driver?
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by:Callandor
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No, all USB devices require a device driver, unless they are just using the USB for power.  Think of USB as a serial communications port (which it is) - how do you communicate with it, unless there is a driver?
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by:dtivmk
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Ok, so I can make a fm radio device which only takes power from USB.
In that case, there would be no device driver needed, right?
Will a USB port be able to provide enough power to a FM radio with
a small speaker?
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by:Callandor
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Yes, just like a cell phone can be charged using a pc, you can power a device.  The ports are designed to provide 5v at 500 milliamps max, so if the circuit can operate on that, you may be successful.  However, manufacturers are not consistent at making sure this standard is adhered to - in that case, the safe route would be to put a powered USB hub in between.  Warning: drawing too much current from a USB port can damage the port!
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muttley3141 earned 500 total points
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What do you mean "USB-powered" ? Do you just plan to use the USB port for taking 5v off and powering the radio from that ?

If you mean something more than that, then there are several things you could do:

Implement the FM Radio as having its own audio output, but having the volume / tuning / display provided as a HID to the PC (See the Jan Axelson book)

Get something like LibUsb and bring all the driver stuff to the application layer and do similar to the above, but provide your own unique application-specific host PC program.

If you want, you could replace the radio's on-board speaker with one of the many USB audio chips which will need minimal programming but present as an audio source to the PC.

Richard [in SG1]


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by:dtivmk
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I have not looked at the solution yet, but am in a hurry since too many of my questions
are open and the account would be suspended if I don't take an action.
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by:muttley3141
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OK. Let me know if you want additional help in designing "small" USB stuff like this. I have some (limited) experience.
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