For all of the two and a half years I have owned my iPod, I have kept the original box with all its contents save the headphones on a shelf in my closet. I decided to finally do something useful with it, so I built this pair of battery powered speakers using the box and a pair of USB powered desktop speakers.
Step 1: Materials
Here are the materials I used for this project:
iPod dock adapter
1/8" Audio cable
Battery holders taken from RC car
Hot glue gun
Step 2: Layout
The speakers and PCB just happened to fit in the box almost exactly in both height and width, so I organized them in a way that left as much space as possible for batteries. The box had a inner lining of cardboard which I removed. I drilled a hole for the volume knob, and poked a small hole for the blue LED power indicator to shine through. The speakers would not quite lie flush with the bottom of the box, so I cut away some of the excess PCB to make them fit.
Step 3: Adding Batteries, and Wiring It Up
I wanted the batteries to be easily replaceable, so I cut some battery holders out of an old RC car and wired them in a series. As I am sure you know, USB ports output 5 volts at up to 500 mA. Four AA batteries in a series equals 6 volts, but it works fine with a little extra voltage. According to the Wikipedia entry on AA batteries, standard Alkaline batteries have a capacity of 1700 to 3000 mA hours, meaning that if the speakers draw a full 500 mA, the batteries would be able to power them from between 3.4 and 6 hours before they need replacing. After I checked that everything still worked, I wired up all the connections, and glued all the components in place in the box.
Step 4: Adding a Docking Spot and Letting Sound Escape
When I started this project, I wanted to be able to dock my iPod directly to the box. The downside of this is that it greatly reduces the number of devices that work with the speakers, which I did not want. To solve this problem, I made an extendable docking connector. If I want to dock my iPod, I simply plug it in normally. If I want to use another device, I can pull out around 6 inches of extra cable. I cut a hole for the docking port, and glued it into the top of the box.
One of the last important steps was making a way for sound to escape the box without destroying the clean look. I did this by cutting out a U shape around the iPod image on the box, and gluing some metal mesh to cover the hole.
Finally, I drilled a hole on the box top for the power/volume knob, and poked another hole for the LED. To replace the battery, one simply removes the nut holding the box top on, and pulls the top upwards from the back.
Step 5: Final Pictures
Here are the final shots of the dock.
Here is a link to the project on my website: