Some example applications:
1. Make your robot talk and play sound effects based on some condition or trigger
2. Add sound to your models and dioramas; Provide some interactivity or history to your piece
3. Interactive art installations
4. Spice up your Pinball or other arcade machine
5. Use the module to load a script from a flash drive defining an animation, such as playing back a sound file while performing some mechanical routine as used in animatronics. The play time is output in seconds which can be used for (crude) syncing (HINT: This last one is what I have planned for a later instructable)
The documentation from FTDI describing how to use this module is not laid out very well and I had some trouble getting started with mine. While looking for information, I have seen many posts in various forums from people also having trouble getting started, so after finally getting mine running, I decided to create this instructable to help others.
This instructable will cover getting connected and controlling your VMUSIC2 module from hyperterminal. I recommend starting out this way because it will allow you to get familiar with the commands and get a feel for how it works before connecting it to your microcontroller. I will follow up with another instructable on controlling it from a microcontroller.
Step 1: Introduction to the VMUSIC2 module
This module is inexpensive and comes in an enclosure that can easily be mounted in a panel cutout to give a professional look to you project.
The main advantage to using this module is that it only requires a few pins to control it, and the software overhead is very small. This allows your microcontroller to focus on the rest of your project (monitoring switches, etc...) while the MP3 is playing. It also means you can get away with using microcontrollers with less program memory and fewer I/O. Another advantage is that you don't need to know anything about programming for FAT32, USB host, or MP3s.
While the VMUSIC2 module is designed for playing back MP3s, the USB host interface can also be used to access (both read and write) any files on the flash drive. When I get to the instructable where I connect this to a microcontroller, it will be apparent how useful this is.
You are going to need the following items to complete this instructable:
*VMUSIC2 Module from FTDI.
*RS232 to RS232-TTL-3.3v converter (if you connect this module directly to your PC serial port, you risk damaging it. See step 3 for a suggestion)
*5V power supply
*A computer with hyperterminal (included with windows) or some other terminal program
Got everything? Good let's take a look at the module: