Introduction: Ipod Box Speakers

Picture of Ipod Box Speakers

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

Picture of Materials

Here are the materials I used for this project:

iPod box
iPod dock adapter
1/8" Audio cable
USB Speakers
Battery holders taken from RC car
Electrical wire
Soldering iron
Box cutter
Hot glue gun

Step 2: Layout

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Final Pictures

Here are the final shots of the dock.

Here is a link to the project on my website:


zippydaspinhead (author)2010-10-02

Pretty slick looks good. Only thing i would do different is center the iPod over the switch

ben_k (author)zippydaspinhead2010-10-02

I would have, but there was absolutely no space there. The current location of the dock is the only place it could possibly fit without making the whole assembly thicker.

zippydaspinhead (author)ben_k2010-10-09

Ah ok. I had wondered if that was the case. If you maybe move the switch to the side you think?

ben_k (author)zippydaspinhead2010-10-09

I probably could have done that, but it would have required desoldering the switch from the PCB and re-soldering wires to it. I could not just move the entire PCB, because it would get in the way of the speakers.

ben_k (author)2010-10-03

Because glue is an adhesive...
Nothing says it has to be a Gorilla brand adhesive.

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