Built-in Radio Systems

Radio has come a long way since the large “boom box” of the 1980’s. Current trends include built-in FM radio units that can be installed as stand-alone units in rooms throughout the home. A built-in unit that is hard-wired has a more appealing look than units that plug into outlets with power cords. Built-in radios do not require battery changes like cordless systems that operate on battery power.

Built-in radio units consist of two or more parts, and always include a radio unit and a speaker. Modern systems have a sleek design, and are flush-mounted to the wall at an existing power outlet. In addition to the radio and speakers, many systems have an auxilliary connector for external audio sources. Most systems also have the ability to act as an mp3 player, and some offer special slots for an iPod or iPhone connection. Other features of the systems include an automatic “sleep” mode, built-in clock and alarm, and system memory.

The installation of a single unit is relatively simple, requiring only a single power box or outlet. The system by Peha, shown in the figure, is connected to power through a normal power box. Controls, including on/off, are available on the front panel. A third connection on the panel back allows for an external device to act as the on/off switch. This can be wired to an external switch, button, or motion detector, enabling the user to control the power to the device from another location.

Because radio reception can vary even within a small room, before installing the system it is a good idea to check various locations in the room to determine where reception is best. Devices like computers and wireless modems can interfere with radio reception, so it is best to avoid installing the radio near such devices. It’s also a good idea not to have a built in radio on the same electric circuit as devices like refrigerators or electric heaters, since they tend to cycle on and off fairly often and this can introduce static into the audio signal.

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