Introduction: DIY Crosswalk Boom Box

Picture of DIY Crosswalk Boom Box

I need a charging station or shelf with USB ports for all our electronics, and I want a new speaker for my phone..... well DUH, it's pretty obvious what needs to happen, then! I'll just build a simple DIY boom box with 4 USB ports for charging with car speakers powered by a DIY amplifier and transformer and a color organ that plays crosswalk lights to the music -- of course! Simple! This isn't rocket surgery, after all!*

(Disclaimer: the above statement was meant to be ironic and I know it's not rocket "surgery".)

I had literally all of these parts in my garage except the transformer and amplifier. The traffic lights I had for years never knowing their calling until now...

Required Parts:

Lumber: 2 2x6x8 boards, 1/2"x6x8 board, 1x2x2 board

beadboard panel: Big box store (Lowe's) on clearance from years ago.

brown hardboard panel:$8 (protect from electric shock).

amplifier: ebay: $11 stereo amplifier board 2 channel 2.0 15W audio TDA2030A hifi DIY kit

Amplifier was difficult, because I ordered it and then discovered it's 12V AC! not DC??!!!. It made a transformer necessary and the cheapest one I found was twice the cost of this amplifier. Lesson learned....

rocker switch: ebay: $7 for 20 pieces - led DOT light 12V car auto boat round rocker ON/OFF toggle SPST switch

car speakers: $20 big box store

USB receptacle: $20 big box store

3.5mm audio cable: $6 walmart

LED color organ: $15 120VAC 3 channel color organ kit from www.goldmine-elec-products.com.

As far as color organs go, this is the old of design and I only used it because I had it in my possession from years ago. NOT a great color organ, but it makes lights flash at 120V which is what my traffic lights needed....

transformer: $20 12V Transformer 12v-0-12v CT 3amp, 3000mA 110VAC to 12VAC

traffic lights: $15 each $45 - ebay sells them from time to time. Mine were from www.goldmine-elec-products.com though they are unavailable there currently.

paint: I used spray paint on hand from previous projects

romex (12-2 electric cable) $11, and speaker wire $13

extension cord: big box store, $8

electric box: big box store, $3

Plexiglass: $3 big box store (Lowes)

cable sheath: $5 help toseparate power from signals

and of course, finally:

5 kids with their tablets and for the boogie down when it's done.

Preferably your kids -- and preferably cute kids.

(ideal when both of these statements are true at the same time.... okay it's still fun without this last required part)

Step 1: Wood Cutting, Routing, Imagination Needed

Picture of Wood Cutting,  Routing, Imagination Needed

This is a huge bummer. I had all these awesome pictures of the whole process, and my computer crashed big time and I lost them all! I normally store this stuff on the cloud in some form but I just missed the age of being called part of the "millennial" generation so no such luck. SO the cutting, drilling, finger joints, routing ALL lost. There is enough in pictures to see what I did though :(

1. cut out beadboard pieces for top inserts and crosswalk lights. Put masking tape on the top to minimize tearout of such thin material. I used a jigsaw for this step, and a dremel tool to notch out spaces where needed to fit the lights (only the front of the traffic signs were square). I used a speaker face down to trace the circle needed to mount the speakers later and cut them out with a jigsaw also.

2. 2x6's cut and laid out with a miter saw.

3. cut out the joints with a hand saw I won from the woodworking contest on my Monster Truck Bed, and used a chisel to clear out the material.

4. Miter saw for the top pieces and angles to give it my boom box shape.

5. Spacer blocks with square dowel piece to put in corners and middle, for the backer board mounting.

6. Hardboard panel I cut out afterwards to final dimensions.

Step 2: Painting, Slots for Electronics

Picture of Painting, Slots for Electronics

1. After I glued and assembled it all, I used black spray paint for the frame, and white spray paint for the bead board. I taped off the front bead board to protect from overspray.

2. I then used a razor knife to cut out the layers of bead board from the back to make it thin enough to fit my amplifier. Not wanting the thin wood to support the whole amplifier board, I got a piece of plexiglass and mounted it to the board for support.

3. The color organ I mounted to plexiglass also. I did this so it would be elevated off the wood to allow for wiring to route where needed, and because I didn't want potential heat and a 120V source to be sitting against the wood.

4. When I was happy with the location of my electronics, I added the traffic lights. The left and right lights took forever to mount because every time I saw them they told me to stop.

ha. ha.

Step 3: Electronics and Power and Speakers Oh My!

Picture of Electronics and Power and Speakers Oh My!

1. AC power to the transformer, and then power to the amplifier.

2. AC power to the color organ, and then input signal from the amplifier to the color organ.

3. Mounted up the speakers, then wired from the amplifier to the speakers, one channel per speaker. Ran these wires on their own paths away from AC signal wherever I could avoid it.

4. AC hum on the audio! This was torture to fix! I first tried a cheap digital transformer that was 120VAC to 12VAC for a halogen light. The amplifier heat up and distorted audio was all I got! Then the transformer itself gave in. I think I let the magic smoke out of it. You know, the magic smoke they put in the capacitors and resistors in the factory? If you let that magic smoke out you gotta get a new one. When I finally gave in and got the transformer I ended up using, I no longer had problems -- Other than global warming and holes in the ozone layer.

Once more, I found it necessary to keep the audio wires away from any 120V or the 60 Hz hum would appear on the speakers.

5. I got an "old work" blue receptacle box and mounted it into the wood, and ran romex to it for powering the USB ports. Again, I tried to keep the romex away from my audio, and it got its own path to accomplish this.

6. I used a simple double gang metal box for making my 120V splices.

7. Fished power cord through the hole and 3 wooden dowels before entering splice box.

Step 4: Heavy Beast to Hang on the Wall, Jam It.

Picture of Heavy Beast to Hang on the Wall, Jam It.

This was heavy! My 9-year-old giant Hercules son helped me put it on the wall.

It charges stuff.

It plays music.

It flashes lights that are ridiculously bright.

It's a conversation piece to say the least!

It's currently in our dining room where we play classical music whilst enjoying candlelit dinners and rousing conversation with our 5 children (the oldest of which is 9) about the degradation of society and the joys of do-it-yourself projects. High class!

Thanks for looking! Next instructable I'm backing up my photos the whole time!

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Bio: There's nothing better than making something yourself. It's one of the pleasures of life to say I made that! That's worth any ... More »
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