This Raspberry Pi Spotify Boombox Tells Time With Nixie Tubes

(Image credit: TheJBW)

Boomboxes are outdated, and even alarm clocks are facing heavy competition from smartphones. But this alarm clock, better known as the Ultimate Nixie Internet Alarm Clock (opens in new tab)(UNIAC), puts a modern tech twist on more classic technology. Recently shared online by a maker who goes by TheJBW (opens in new tab), it's a Raspberry Pi-powered boombox and working alarm clock that can stream music over Wi-Fi from Spotify. Keeping things retro, Nixie tubes also display the current time. 

In an effort to give the music a visual component, the maker included two IN-13 VU meters that fluctuate to the track's left and right channels. According to TheJBW, UNIAC also uses a robot voice to announce information that can't be displayed on the Nixie tubes.

The UNIAC features a motherboard small enough to meet the form factor of a boombox. The main brain of the operation is a Raspberry Pi Zero. The Pi Zero provides wireless support, making it possible to stream music from Spotify using Mopidy (opens in new tab), a Python-based media player.

(Image credit: TheJBW)

The Raspberry Pi project also called for a few additional components, including an Adafruit Class D Amplifier board for sound and a Teensy 3.2 as a CPU for the Nixie display module.

You can follow TheJBW (opens in new tab) on Reddit for more project updates. There are a couple of changes already planned, including a new battery/power solution. You can find a full write-up with more project details on his website, EequalSpi (opens in new tab).

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • mathextremist
    It uses robotic voice announcements but they didn't call it the Ultimate Nixie Internet Voice Alarm Clock?