Using an Old Cassette Tape to Enclose a Battery-powered Raspberry Pi Zero

If you’re old enough you may have a stock of old cassette tapes that may or may not work anymore. The good news is that if you have time on your hands, you could recycle those as a Raspberry Pi Zero enclosure, including even other components like a small battery, battery charging board, and display.

That’s exactly what Martin Mander did with his Cassete Pi IoT scroller project that receives notifications via IFTTT service and displays them as scrolling text on a small display connected to the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Raspberry Pi Zero Cassette Tape Enclosure

Here’s the detailed list of components used in this project:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless
  • Pimoroni LiPo SHIM LiPo/LiIon power supply shim for Raspberry Pi boards
  • Adafruit Micro Lipo charger board with micro USB port
  • Pimoroni 11×7 LED Matrix
  • 150 mAh Li-Polymer Battery
  • Cassette Tape
  • DPDT Slide Switch
  • Vibration motor

Once assembly is done, you can flash a Micro SD card with Raspberry Pi OS and install a Python script that will receive Internet of Things notifications from IFTTT (If This, Then That) service delivered to the Pi0 via an Adafruit.IO feed. Once a message is received, the cassette vibrates and the text scrolled across the LED display. You’ll find the Python script on Github, and instructions on

Martin also uploaded a video on hist “Old Tech, New Specs” YouTube channel first describing the Cassette Pi IoT scroller project, and then showing how it’s made.

Once everything is up and running you could insert the tape inside a player, but bear in mind if you’re going to rely on the battery only for power, you should expect battery life of around one hour. Some commenters also noted that replacement Raspberry Pi Zero board with a smaller ESP8266 or ESP32 board such as Wemos D1 Mini would consume less power, allow for a larger battery, and still able to run the same, or similar Python script, using MicroPython.

Via Open Electronics

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3 years ago

Very cool but a bit of a waste of a pi zero, unless it is tasked to do other things suitable for a pi. I would definitely have used a 8266 in this, but the creator may have a bunch of pi zeros laying around doing nothing, I certainly could understand using it in that case.

3 years ago

That also makes sense.

3 years ago

Lvl 2: Make it play internet radio or other audio sources endlessly, in any standard cassette player.

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