Picture of Hard Drive Speaker

In this instructable we turn a hard drive into a speaker. 

Step 1: Items Needed

Picture of Items Needed
Items needed for this project :
1. Hard Disk Drive
2. Soldering Iron
3. Wire Cutter
4. T9 Torx Screw Driver
_Scratch_4 years ago
Korn in the vid! lol
Also, can anyone give me an explanation on how this works?
There are 2 magnets (at bottom and at the top of the head), and there is a coil (winding) at the end of the head; so when you give the coil some sound it starts to move because of the magnets
rohitshetty00 made it!8 months ago

I had no amplifier lying around so used OpAmp from Expeyes (pocket oscilloscope) and worked fine! Thanks

Lunsel3 years ago
Really it works. Now i have done it with an old hard drive. Really cool!
if you could find something to do with the disks other than a turbine i'd be impressed because i have about three inches of the disks and i'm not exagarating
GASSYPOOTS3 years ago
thats annoying X_X
frostybob3 years ago
Hey guys did as per instructable and nothing happens. Tried it on two HDD and still nothing on either. HELP???? and sorry.... It is possible I broke something because the reading things on the end looked pretty munted
Ace Winget4 years ago
I just use a small flat head and you can get those torx screws to loosen. If you have a drill the you could always just drill those out. I found an image of a hard drive dis-assembly here that I found really cool and helpful. Thanks sybyabraham great info!
Jords0015 years ago
Very cool. Has anybody tried this as a microphone? Just curious what the quality would be like.
doesnt work well
ametz5 years ago
I do not have a torx screwdriver or a drill press. I have all of the outside screws off by using a wrench, but the hidden screws are impossible to get to without the screwdriver. what can I do?
cody777 ametz4 years ago
if you have a dremel you can cut a slit into the screw and use a flat-head, i do it a lot
apb2390 ametz5 years ago
I'd say it's very hard to do that, but you can get a T9 Torx screwdriver set for 8.95 USD at a large hardware store.
Pyrice44 years ago
You can follow these two all the way through the ribbon wire into the back of the main PCB so you dont have to take the arm off.
Yea, that's what I'm doing now. Seems alot easier soldering to the existing PCB (especially on this old 90's hard drive I'm using where the components are massive) than doing this delicate stuff.
sweet aw gee i wish i had a busted hard drive lying around now oh well ill find one soon nice job anyways cool setup LINKIN PARK ROCKS
its Korn. how does that sound anything like linkin park?
The cd in the second last step is linkin park...
but your comment is on the front page with korn.
wupme XZ3R04 years ago
Because all comments from all pages show up on the front page
madd0g XZ3R06 years ago
that's not my comment... maybe they posted the comment on the all steps page...
i think u can get one at a local computer repair shop cant you?
Joxson6 years ago
It´s not a speaker in there. I made one for myself today. It works great!!!! Can I make so the volume is higher? Sorry for my English!
my suggestion: make multiples, and then solder the like ends to make the proper amount, solder wires onto those ends, and plug it in. more speakers=more sound.
Sorry for so late but a fun thing.

I wanted volume so I pushed in 130 Watt in it! HAHAHA, it starded to smoke^^
But the volume was high.

The harddrive speakers can stand aboud 110 Watt:D
bioerror5 years ago
what u do is get 2 ppl, 1 person holds the HDD down and the other uses 2 pliers and grabs the metal on either side of the magnet and pulls up with all their might!
Korn (Y)
dakiller5466 years ago
mine only has three terminals :( witch do i use
 yes it will work
one is a ground and danymw just has a different hard drive
test out each terminal with test leads
youll find the two that work
 it won't work
danymw8 years ago
are you sure? i allmost smashed my fingers with it,and broked the hdd...when connecting the wires.i'll get another one
I had issues with mine also, did yours twist off, or slide off? it took me five minutes to realize that my WD drive magnet twists off, and my Seagate... doesn't
 i opened up about 10 hdd,all damaged or low memory space, but they were all different. rarely,the magnet just comes out,but usually you have to use a screw driver to remove the top magnet (after removing the screws). if you twist it, you'll hit the head or even the plates and damage the hdd,which i did once, and it's not good. 
good luck
ametz5 years ago
It wont come up... help??
Mr.Grinch ametz5 years ago
I had the same issue with the arm, I think he forgot to mention that there is another screw on top, where you removed the screw to get the cover off. Mine happened to be an hexagonal screw that had another screw in it
zack247 ametz5 years ago
you may need a flat screwdriver to unscrew it
ShotPain5 years ago
 i was hoping you could make a turntable out of a HDD :D
Helder4u5 years ago
I would not try to connect to the motor drive.. but only to the arm assembly.
That should take care of burning amplifiers and sound inconsistencies.
congratulations on making it on N4G.com!

sybyabraham (author)  beauwalker235 years ago
WOW!! That's amazing! :D
zack2475 years ago
i have a problem: did you connect the wires to the reader head, or the coil thing? (i know i sound stupid)
monorail5 years ago
I made one of these just now and theres sound coming out, however the read-write head itself is not moving at all as seen in the video in this instructable. I have connected it with a speaker wire to my laptop and didn't do the spindle motor hack part. Is this why the head isn't moving?
mae-kitty5 years ago
 Remember. Not all hard drives are the same. ATA and IDE and Parallel Drives can all be different. Not all that you see this person doing can be of use to you. But it gives you an idea of what to expect and look for.
pyrorower5 years ago
Damn, now I wish I hadn't maimed my old hard drive. Nice song choice btw.
I better start keeping an eye out for computers on the side of the road now :P
Trevor1146 years ago
here is my issue i don't want to hook it up to my amp because it reads 16 resistance on a meter thing and a speaker runs a 8 resistance it will blow my amp up what do i do
actually, it won't blow.  Higher resistance is better than lower.  If your amp outputs, say 50 watts, at 8 ohms, you are sending 2.5 amps to the speakers, but at 16 ohms you are sending 1.75 amps.
A lower resistance will be a problem. 
(the ideal amplifier has very high gain, very low input impedance and very high output impedance)
I think my concept is accurate, can someone confirm?
champ5235 years ago
how to run it dude
theteengeek5 years ago
dude my amp almost caught on fire. What did i do wrong?
First things first... Wattage and load... Good thing I have 2 amps with me here to work. The first one did. When I checked, it had a limit. So, prolly the HDD itself is wattage dependable. man.
champ5235 years ago
dude can you send me email on rock.yo266@gmail.com please
I'm replacing my computer's hd soon, I can't wait to try this one out. Thanks!
madd0g6 years ago
dude .... how does it work? i mean whats the logic? ... can someone please explain.. im new to all this .. thanks :)
maxpower496 years ago
wow that was weird i was listing to the same song
Noyes6546 years ago
Twisted Transistor! WOOT I got plenty of old computers kicking around, ill give this one a try
I don't have an amp, anything else I could hoop it up to? Say, cables from a headphone? Although there are only two wires there so I'm not sure.
you could just solder on a 3.5mm headphone cable to plug into, say, an iPod, but without some kind of amp you would get very quiet sound at best.
twocvbloke6 years ago
Just made one myself, the hard drive only passed away this morning, and now it's a speaker... :D Works ok, but I think I shouldn't have drilled out the screw that held the hear arm in place, but still, it works... :D
GreenD6 years ago
But where does this wire end at? You have one from the head peice to your amp, and this one goes to where?
dombeef6 years ago
yes there is a speaker in there.
Hey! i think not. the arm /neele thing vibrates as fast as a speaker, and pushes airwaves, which is what a speaker does, right? so if ur talkin about the arm/ needle thing then yeah theres a speaker, but not a real manufactured speaker/
kwong11126 years ago
what lock?? i dont see a lock
I have the same Western Digital HDD
555mst5556 years ago
hey...i have the same soldering iron/torch...... my soldering iron tip really sucked
aouate36 years ago
i would use the outer most terminals, because it is a stepper motor, i would use the outer most terminals
ReCreate6 years ago
No wonder my hardrive keeps making siren noises...its from the speaker on the inside
From a read-through of the tutorial, I gathered that we're making the hard drive act as a speaker by putting current/information through the wires, and making the needle make the sound. Can somebody clarify/explain this to me better? But my point is, there is no speaker in your hard drive. If there was, it'd most likely get screwed up by the neodymium/rare earth magnet that's a vital part of the hard disk. And finally--To the writer of this tutorial, can you please be more specific in what we're actually building, how it works, what we're accomplishing by doing a certain step.... This opens it up, so we can make variations on the tutorial and actually learn what we're doing, not just follow blindly and risk making a mistake from lack of understanding.
Err...no i meant that the hardrive uses the head as a speaker to make the siren noise
Ah. Sorry for the misunderstanding. But if your hard drive is making a siren-like noise, you should probably backup everything on it and replace it; that can't be good. At the very least back it up, just in case.
Ah yeah... Its a 20GB hardrive and its full of bad sectors I took it apart and when i connect it it makes siren sounds when i hold the disk still
liteoner6 years ago
Nice job!
the video is awesome, i love korn!
hayden9666 years ago
its twisted transister..it sounds like you have a couple of thos in your stereo...sweet project!!!
mizun0h6 years ago
Hey, i have no life, so just finished this. took about 2hours of tv/ solder time to get it working clearly. I used the hard drive from my old xbox original. Thanks man.
ak116676 years ago
omg i just did it, ITS FREAKING AMAZING quiet BUT AMAZING
aman096 years ago
I posted this in the "MOre Asthetic Hard Drive Speaker" instructable too, but if you tape a pop can (cut the top off) to the arm the bass tones actually come out and you get a decent sounding speaker.
psyfertech6 years ago
I have the same harddrive as you used and i did this and it works very nice, i mean i dont expect loud sound and it didnt make loud sound, even on my 80 watt, it actually went into speaker protection mode and went to standby rite away when i jacked up the volume, lol
highvoltage6 years ago
Amazing! Is there any way to just solder to the pins though instead of disassembling the whole thing?
intlklr6 years ago
Thanks man, it really worked, I can't wait to see my grade at the science fair. thanks alot.
beff507 years ago
sweet, linkin park.
Nabil beff506 years ago
beff50 Nabil6 years ago
ummmmmm. yeah.
Rotten7 years ago
i did this and every few secs i run it, my hard drive starts to smoke any ideas why? i tried to see if i amped them wrong, nope no wires are crossed it plays music fine but it smokes and i can see parts melting through it
justinpow7 years ago
do you need a dead hdd or can you use a working one? because ive got a 2.4 gb hdd i dont need anymore.
sybyabraham (author)  justinpow7 years ago
lol, you can use any HD doesn't matter if its dead or not
it does matter if it is dropped onto concrete
if it works, it's probably not going to after this, though. lol.
pighair477 years ago
this is freakin amazing i was skeptical at first, but now i am convinced. the only problem i had was on some songs the head gets of the platter any fix you know off. nice ineluctable
Tailslvr7_77 years ago
Good thing I retrieved my old hard drive.
trumpkin7 years ago
where do you connect the wires to the armature?
trumpkin7 years ago
which part is the magnet?
Ducky Boy8 years ago
I don't have an amp, and because I'm personally not *amazing* at rewiring and eletronics, I'm wondering if its possible to hook this up to a headphone jack and plug it directly from my iPod?
If anyone could help me I'd love it :D
yea, i tried that but i dont think a headphone jack has enough power, maybe with some capacitors, not sure
llamafur7 years ago
dude i'm gona do this but with a 300 watt amp i'll post a video of it to.
yay, down with western digital!
could you say what kind of hard drive you used because its kinda a blurry picture. and i tried to do this and my hard drive was diffrent
sybyabraham (author)  iwantacuracy8 years ago
You can use any Hard drive.The one i used was a Western Digital WD400
Amadeos8 years ago
Do you need the circutry under the HDD?
sybyabraham (author)  Amadeos8 years ago
Did you mean the control Board which has the IDE and Power Inputs?You don't Need That.
Thanks. I've Noticed that All you need for the Speaker to work is the reader arm sandwiched between the two HDD Magnets. Its Very Quiet, sound quality crappy, I was going to set it on a gutair to amplify it but the reader arm broke.
danymw8 years ago
i done it.it works,but i can't hear all kinds of music.i used one from a game and it shoke like i don't know what,but very cool. it worked until my friend walked on it 'accidently'.brain too far from his feets to evitate it
Jake Turner8 years ago
Just did this today, on an old 6 GB harddisk. i got it working after i swapped wires around to get the best sound. pretty awesome, just wish i could stop that god-awful clacking noise on the baseline. im thinking of doing this to another drive too, and making a junk bin stereo! i'll post a vid of it running some music off my DS later.
whit_wolf18 years ago
Thanks for using my video for the instructable :)
Andrew5468 years ago
Well, I finally made one and its all much clearer now. One thing I found that vastly improved the baseline was to use a piece of mono filament tied in a noose to hold the heads steady against one of the locks. I know this seems counterproductive, but if you do it right, the head can vibrate just enough to have clear mid and high tones, but you don't get that awful clacking sound from the heads trying to keep up with the large movements of the baseline. The way I tied it was to put the loop around the little tab on the coil end of the heads and then around the magnet anchors.
matthijs8 years ago
i'd suggest to use 2 harddrives, connect them to left & rigth speakers and add a small mirror to both of them. With a laser pointer and some smart alignment, you'll have a x-y oscilloscope. Hook it up to a PC, write some code , build a D/A converter and you have a cool laser projector that will display anything. I built something similar in '96, using a HeNe laser. It displayed an analog clock on the wall...
Pictures/video? sounds cool!
shouldnt the disks b spinning???
Do you get how it works?????? My perspective of how this works is it taps the head along the platters of the hd theres no need to spin the platters
sybyabraham (author)  binnie8 years ago
Its not gonna tap the head along the platters but vibrate the head alone at a high speed.
someguy8 years ago
That's amazing. But... How does it do that? I've read about it on other sites but I'm still clueless.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Comments Please.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
And also i will be updating the whole instructable.So i want feedback from you all.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
I will be soon writing an instructable on a Hard Drive Oscilloscope
abbtech8 years ago
Nice job,

Here are some more ideas when you have some more drives handy:

Keep up the great work!
I LOVE that O-scope.... I need to find a dead drive now....
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Thank you abbtech for the link. i have visited there before.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Yes the disk will be spinnig somtimes but not at high RPMs,it ill just spin a little.It works like this : When you pump music through the coil on the head it vibrates back and forth faast at high frequency sounds that u can't even see the heads move.
foobear8 years ago
in awe. why does it work?
leevonk8 years ago
I wanted to try this after reading about it on hjacked gadgets but I don't have a torx wrench.
Not having torx either i just drill the screws, works nice and quick
good idea, thanks. I've kinda wanted to get torx wrenches for a while anyway, seems that a lot of things use them, including subways.
admanrocks8 years ago
ya, i saw this on hacked gadgets a while ago, i tried it, its prety cool. you can use practically any motor though
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Congratulate me, I m just a 14 yr old guy.
You didn't happen to stumble across this site by any chance before this instructable, did you?

-> http://www.afrotechmods.com/cheap/hdspeakers/hdspeakers.htm

I remember trying this out about 4-5 years ago :-P
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Ya the head locks are necessary but ill try removing the magnet on the head lock, So tht it wont stick there when the head moves.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
anyway I hav put a video at the start.
In that video, is all the audio coming directly from the Hard drive speaker? if so, it sounds way better than i'd expect!
what a fitting song :P
Beelzebub8 years ago
...so the hard drive plays the music...? not very clear on the purpose of this hack
I think so, but im not sure uber awsome though
Maybe the purpose is to record music directly on the drive? That wouldnt make much sense, but what other purspose does this serve?
"Items Needed for this project : 1.A Dead Hard Disc Drive" LMFAO
when you pump music through the coil on the head it vibrates back and forth, the platter acts as a diaphram.
Beelzebub8 years ago
Completely awsome, next time i come across an old hard drive..... I will definately do this.
sybyabraham (author) 8 years ago
Try Doing it.Itz nice
Andrew5468 years ago
Generally its a good idea to say what it does!!!
Generally, that's what the title is for... iono, Hard Drive speaker was pretty clear to me :P
xfusion8 years ago
Best bet would be that the write head would start writing to the platters and the motor would spin and create a sound? I'd like to know what happens to, it'd give me an excuse to crack open a HD.