Single Chip AM Radio Circuit

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The ZN414 IC contains an entire automatic gain controlled AM receiver in a small three pin package. With only a few external components, a simple radio with excellent selection and reception can be constructed. Since the chip also uses a low supply voltage of only 1.3V, 3V coin cell battery can make for a physically small circuit with many covert uses. The chip has a wide bandwidth of between 150KHz and 3MHz, so by playing with values in the tuning circuit you can pick up a wide variety of signals.


Schematic of the Single Chip AM Radio


Total Qty.
R11100K 1/4W Resistor
R21470 Ohm 1/4W Resistor
R311K 1/4W Resistor
C110.04uF Ceramic Disc Capacitor
C21365pF Variable Tuning Capacitor
C310.01uF Ceramic Disc Capacitor
D1, D221N4148 Signal Diode
U11ZN414 Radio ICMK484
L11See Notes
MISC1Board, Holder For Batteries, Wire, Coil Form For L1


  1. The ZN414 is obsolete. The MK484 is it's replacement, but like all special purpose ICs, it can be hard to find. At the time of this writing, there are many suppliers online that carry the IC. The ZN416 is functionally the same but with the additiion of a built in headphone amplifier.
  2. L1 is made by winding 40 turns of 28 AWG magnet wire around a 4" non-magnetic coil form. Cardboard tubes or paper cups are ideal forms.
  3. The audio output of the circuit is about 0.1V peak to peak, which will drive a set of crystal earphones or other very high impedance phones. A small audio amplifier made with an LM386 will allow you to use modern dynamic headphones or a small speaker.
  4. L1, C1 and C2 are the tuning circuit. By changing them around, you can change the range of frequencies the radio is capable of. Easiest to change is L1. Simply by altering the number of coils or moving the windings farther apart, you can shift the circuit to different frequency ranges.

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Samuel Konger
Single Chip AM Radio
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 9:46:29 AM
Thank you so much for reminding m,e of my College Days of 80s! I had a China Made WristWatch-cum-AMRadio in Kohima of Nagaland, running on One AG13 Alkaline Cell Which had a circuit built around some smd components viz., 1.One FerriteAntenna, 2. One ZN414, 3.Two NPN Transistors, and few resistors and Capacitors . One Trimer Capacitor connected in parallel to tune the Stations
Nigel Kendrick
Single Chip AM Radio
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 8:09:24 PM
Another alternative/equivalent to the ZN414/MK484 is the TA7642, but check the pinout as it's different from the other two.
Single Chip AM Radio
Friday, June 24, 2011 4:35:57 PM
Very nice little radio circuit. I am glad to have an original ZN414 and paperwork to it from 1973! A Quaker Oats can works for the coil.
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