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Description: This is an evaluation board for the Silicon Laboratories Si4703 FM tuner chip. Beyond being a simple FM radio, the Si4703 is also capable of detecting and processing both Radio Data Service (RDS) and Radio Broadcast Data Service (RBDS) information. The Si4703 even does a very good job of filtering and carrier detection. It also enables data such as the station ID and song name to be displayed to the user.

Using this board we are able to pick up multiple stations just as well as with a standard FM radio. The board breaks out all major pins and makes it easy to incorporate this great chip into your next radio project. Also, by plugging headphones into the 3.5mm audio jack, you effectively use the cable in your headphones as an antenna! Therefore, this board does not require an external antenna if using headphones or a 3.5mm audio cable longer than 3 feet.

Documents:

Replaces: BOB-10344

Comments 33 comments

  • I purchased an old radio, replaced the worn-out radio with a arduino, LCD, and this radio.
    I managed to get RSD working to some extent and placed my code, a revision of the examples here, in the public space here: https://github.com/alohawild/Radio_2

    Please enjoy.

  • What drives the requirement for powering this eval board at 3.3v? The datasheets for both the Si4703 and TPA6111A2 indicate support for 5v power. The Si4703 datasheet says “2.7 to 5.5 V supply voltage - Integrated LDO regulator allows direct connection to battery” and the TPA6111A2 says “Fully Specified for 3.3-V and 5-V Operation”. So why the multiple warnings to only use 3.3 volts to power this board?

    • Vio is specified for only 3.6V. On the breakout board, it’s tied to Vcc with Vd and Va so all three are limited by the lowest permitted voltage, ie 3.6V for Vio. We’ll have to wait for the correct schematic to see if they did the same thing on this eval board.

  • This thing sounds good, with earphones its pretty loud.

  • Does this come with an amplifier?

    • no, it will drive earphones (in ear type) headphones would probably be very underpowered. you need an amp for anything bigger than earphones.

  • I’ve got another use for this: weather radar.

  • Need help: Having problem with receiver sensitivity - I programmed this device to 103.5 MHz and am running an RF Signal Generator at 0dB, 1kHz tone, 50kHz deviation within 2 feet of the headphones/antenna. The signal is barely getting through but I can faintly hear the 1 kHz tone. Anyone elese have this problem and did you solve it? I may not have a bit flipped properly in the registers. New to this IC, otherwise it responds as predicted.

  • Just got one of these a couple of days ago, have been having some fun with it. Reception in my area using the headphone cord as antenna is rather poor though, and unfortunately it seems there is no obvious way to hook it up to an external antenna.

  • hello , i want to design auto tuned car radio controller using arduino pro mini and this board as fm tuner . but seems i cant hear any output from my headphone when connecting to the board . maybe because of an any error in the coding . some one can help me ?

    • I have been playing around with it using python on a raspberry pi, it took a while to get working. A few things that stumped me, although I don’t know how relevant they are using the arduino:

      First, make sure you’re putting the chip into 2-wire communication mode (I assume). For me, once that is done and I activate the external oscillator (XOSCEN), there is a small crackling sound from the unit, try listening for it first. Also, I’ve had some problems with the headphones when they’re not getting a proper connection, so wiggling them around a bit in the connector might help. If you turn off both the DMUTE and DSMUTE and with VOLUME set to 1 or higher (I find about 9-10 is maximum comfortable volume for me) you should be getting radio static in the headphones regardless of whether you’re tuned to a station or not.

      Lastly, the i2c read/write operations didn’t work as expected, rather than choose the register, the first byte was written to register 0x02, so if the same thing occurs with the arduino, you might unwittingly mute the radio by reading the registers.

  • Hi, How can I wire an antenna to the board ?

    • “Also, by plugging headphones into the 3.5mm audio jack, you effectively use the cable in your headphones as an antenna! Therefore, this board does not require an external antenna if using headphones or a 3.5mm audio cable longer than 3 feet.” just use an audio cable that’s 3ft in length.

      • Hi,

        Thanks for your reponse, what I would like to achieve is having a short audio cable (speaker in a little enclosure with the board) and having an external antenna connected to the board.

        Thanks

        • Unfortunately there’s not really a way to do this easily. But if you look at the schematic, you can see pin 2, coming off the Si4703 is for the antenna. It connects to the ground through a 1nF cap. You could tie in an antenna there most likely.

  • Hi,

    Try it on an Arduino Nano and it ork fine but can’t get it to work on MSP430 launchpad (2553). Change the pin assignment and try to add pull up resistor to no avail. Edit It was a problem in the wire library defining the I2C buffer to 16bits Regards,

  • There are no mounting holes, so there are few ways to mount it in an enclosure in a professional looking way.

  • Has anybody figured out how to get the long (64 char) RDS text field out of this? It looks like the hardware is capable of receiving it, but none of the code I have found receives anything further than the 8 char station name (and the datasheet is not clear on this).

  • Hey, anyone else having issues with this? I’ve started a (now fairly long) issue thread at GitHub: https://github.com/sparkfun/Si4703_FM_Tuner_Evaluation_Board/issues/5

    Would love get some guidance!

    S

  • I’ve downloaded that AN230 datasheet mentioned in the header file in the library from http://wenku.baidu.com/view/d6f0e6ee5ef7ba0d4a733b61.html. Do you guys still want it?

  • Here is a very basic article on how to connect and operate this device using Raspberry Pi

    http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=28920

    I guess this info would be a decision maker for Pi owners.

    LE+

  • Does this unit absolutely need an Arduino after the station is set in the register? I’d like to set the station and then have just the board output the audio without the Arduino needing to be still attached.

    EDIT: it will not remember the station after powering down. You do need an Arduino to set the station each time it is powered.

  • Is there any way to control the setting of the Si4703’s GPIO3 (or leave it set high)? Basically, I would like to use Busmode 2 to select the appropriate interface control method.

  • This is a cool little board. I got it working with my Raspberry Pi using the 2-Wire (i2c) interface. Then wrote a python program to control it. Nice board and fun to tinker with.

  • Do you think this would receive RDS-TMC (Traffic) data?

  • Curious on this, is there any way to hook this up to say, a car antenna? I’ve always thought about making a carputer, and with the advent of the raspberry pi with a cheap display link monitor (with touch screen) to boot, it’s seeming that being able to make a carputer is more viable, but I want to be able to still have regular radio as well. I also know that most fm radio receivers don’t like working on the move.

  • Arduino Example Code - Nathan Seidle is looking for Silicon Labs AN243. I just downloaded a copy from the SiLabs web site. When will an up-to-date schematic for the Evaluation Board be available?

  • Anyone know how hard/possible it would be to record the FM signal to an SD card on my arduino? I’d like to then play the recordings from the SD card on my PC. Timeshift some of my favorite radio programs, possible with arduino and this chip?

  • From what I can tell looking at the various datasheets, it seems it should be possible to read other RDS/RDBS data besides just the station name and the song name. For example, getting the radio text (description of radio station)?

  • Wrong schematic. Schematic is for the breakout board not the evaluation board!


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