$5 Disposable Audio Annoyance




Posted in TechnologySpeakers

Introduction: $5 Disposable Audio Annoyance

Ever seen one of those electronics kits for a noise generator, or electronic cricket? How about one for $5 that takes no soldering skills, only much larger? How about if it plays 16MB worth of MP3 instead of just chirping?

I suppose the only "instruction" here is an interesting pair of parts at a good price, since you couldn't get much simpler on assembly. But hey, if it's OK for the throwies, then why not this?

I'm hoping that someone more creative than I will find a good application for this. Noise grafiti? Halloween noises?

Step 1: Buy $5 MP3 Player

I saw a link on the Make blog:
for a really cheap MP3 player. BG Micro is selling MP3 players for $5/ea, quantity 3 or more. I bought 3, I figured I might pull one apart and see what kind of parts they have. You can order this part at http://bgmicro.com/search.asp?textsearch=AUD1081. If you put in 3 or more, it should give you a $5/per total instead of the $5.95.

Incidentally, I didn't get the first order they shipped via US Priority Mail. I emailed their sales people, and they just reshipped without any hassle or suspicion, nice people.

Open your package, and extract the MP3 player holder in all its glory.

Step 2: Examine the Bits of the $5 MP3 Player

Pull all of the bits of your MP3 player out of the holder.

Step 3: Wonder About the Headphones

Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how I'm supposed to route the combination cord/lanyard thing round my head either. Fortunately, we don't need it for this project, unless you want to test the sound output. Extra parts!

Step 4: Separate Battery Holder From Drive, Put Sound on It

Pull the black and silver pieces apart. Realize that the black piece appears to just be a holder for the AAA battery, and the silver piece is a 16MB USB flash drive with buttons on it.

Insert the USB drive into the USB port of your computer. Copy one or more MP3 files onto it. For this project, I used "Wailing Paddle" by the Rudiments:

Step 5: Insert Battery

Install the (included!) AAA battery into the holder.

Step 6: Attach the Free Speakers

So I frequently shop at yet another electronics surplus site, surpluscomputers.com. On one of my orders, I noticed that they were offering free speakers, up to 50 sets. (Though, it adds onto your shipping I imagine.) You can find said speakers here:

I see that now the site seems to imply that you can get up to 100 pairs per order. Let's not get greedy, you know. So, order something else there, you know you want to, and add on a quantity of these speakers. When I first received my 5 sets that I had ordered, I was a little disappointed to see that they were unpowered, and therefore probably had few interesting parts to recover. (But hey, speakers, cables, casing, connectors, etc...) However, the unpowered aspect turns out to suit this particular project.

So I'm sitting there with my new $5 MP3 player, and vaguely recall having a box of unpowered speakers. Hah! Take that, storage space...

Finally, plug all your bits together. If you require additional detail for this step, then I feel embarrased for you.

Press play.

Appropriate duct taping, zip typing or twist tying is left as an exercise. The devices are all stereo I believe, so you could separate the speakers the length of the cord, to some effect. You might even be able to get two distinct sets of sounds out of the two speakers, I haven't experiemented with that yet.

Step 7: Enjoy

Next, I'm guessing that you put it some place where it will drive people batty. I haven't had a chance to try this yet, I just got the MP3 player tonight. Again, I'm hoping that people might find a creative use.

To pre-address some questions I'm sure people will have:

-Yes, it's pretty quiet. For people to notice it, it would have to go into a relatively quiet environment. I have not experimented with cranking the volume in the MP3 file itself. The volume control on the device was all the way up.

-I have not yet tried to figure out how long a battery lasts.

-I have not done any further disassembly on any of the parts shown, yet. I may get to that later. Though, the Make link in Step 1 shows some guts. If there is interest in that, please comment and encourage me to do so.



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    over the xmas holiday i gave out books along with CDs of the author speaking about the book, on a blog, from a radio show, etc. i want to build a little mp3 playback unit with speaker and physically attach it to the back flap of the book...wahla! press play to hear the author of this fine book you are about to read... sortof an extended play talking card, if you will....

    1 reply

    Everybody,please excuse me for starting this. If you notice, I made the original comment 3 years ago. At my age, 3 years can make a lot of difference. So, please just ignore what I said.

    i cant seem to find them on the site :8 have they stopped selling them?

    1 reply

    The battery would only last a few hours, but you could easily cross breed this with a solar charger circuit from a cheap solar powered LED landscape light. Simply wire the MP3 player in place of the LED and your "annoyance" would charge during the day then come on at night.

    1 reply

    It wouldn't be that simple.

    Why does it really matter? Christmas/Xmas was originally a pagan holiday, except it wasn't originally called Christmas as it was just a celebration of the winter solstice. so Christ was never originally in Christmas.

    1 reply

    You're right. Making his bDay (haha) in late December was to coincide with the winter solstice so that pagan religions (well, followers of said religions) could more easily be converted. If religion A wants to grab all of religion B's members, its much easier if you celebrate all the same holidays and just change the names :) The actual month of his birth is unknown. (As is the true number of years since then, though almost universally accepted to be 2007 :) Xmas is used simply because its much easier to type, spell, write, etc.. than christmas; the same as etc... is easier than et cetera :)

    Wouldn't it be awesome to replace the memory with a 1 gig chip instead of 16 megs? That might not be too hard, just copy the firmware onto the new drive before you crack them both open. Otherwise, good instructable, I've been wanting to make something like this for my own devious purposes.

    The X in Xmas represents the cross Jesus was supposedly nailed to. Xmas is as much religious connotation as Christmas. It has the advantage of being shorter to type, however.

    2 replies

    It is actually called Xmas because the Greek letter x is pronounced "Christos," meaning Christ.

    Actually, It's because the greek letter 'chi', the first letter in 'Christos' when spelled in Greek letters, looks like an 'X'.

    it would be real cool to get a female usb and wire that to a resitor then to a car battery and make an inverter for it ...plug in like 5 of those speakers and stick it up in the rafters of a bridge with an anouncement on loop. i was actually thinking about that for the past year.knowing boston id end up in jail for terrorism.

    Ah, see! Extremely obvious, and I didn't think of it. :) There must be an MP3 of farts already out there somewhere. Come to think of it, the bathroom stall is probably the perfect place to test one of these...

    somewhere with a lot of echoing.... to make it harder to locate :P I wonder if those mp3 players can be upgraded... 16megs... not much at all :P I'll have to grab a few and see if I can throw in a different flash :D

    Ladyada posted some images of it opened up. She said that she would post how to change it, but I haven't seen it yet ;-\