Introduction: How to Repair a "Big Mack AAC Device" and Upgrade It the Same Time.

So if you don't know what this, I will try to explain.  The Big Mack is augmentative alternative communication device used by individuals who need it to communicate and interact with their environment.  The big red button can be pushed or one can extend the "switch" to a separate switch if pushing the red button is more difficult..  This one is the older  models.  They will record messages and are then  played back, some have levels, with multiple recording or "Banks" think digital voice recorder.  Anyway these older ones are usually found in boxes or bins in obscure closets at schools and or institutions, with writing on the boxes saying Broken!  anyway this one had a bad speaker and a broken or just cheapo mic.  This instructable will walk you through those steps to replace both and do it with junk lying around specifically old broken laptops= really good Mic and a small speaker harvested from a broken musical toy or like, in this case speaker was out of a broken Leap Frog toy.  This model currently sells for about $260 and originally cost more then that!

Step 1:


Material List:
Drill
clear tape
wire strippers
solder
solder Iron
wire connectors or similar wire shrinky covers
scrap speakers harvested from something good that broke
a Mic I used one from a internal Mic from laptop
screwdriver
some misc. Foam from scraps of electronic shipment packaging

Alternate materials is buying a Mic and buying a speaker at your typical retail chains: Radio shack, or online at mouser, adafruit or the maker shed, they are cheap and are definitely better then what is currently in the device, just on age alone.

Step 2: Remove the Screws and Pop the Top

Step 3: Speakers

Decide which one to use, try to keep them within the similar ohm range an wattage as the original.  Scope out the height and diameter being sure to make the necessary accommodations, luckily the one on the right is the one I picked and it still fit, the one on the left is the original.

Step 4: Connect Your New Speaker

Here I connect the new speaker and plug in the battery, to test its sound, it was much better but the recording  Mic is terrible comes next.

Step 5: Mic Removal and Replacement

Here are the old and the newer, the newer is the mic with the long black wire.  So desolder the old mic.  Make sure to mark or label rights and lefts so the new mike can be reconnected properly.  these wires will be attached to the back of the mic, take the same process to solder the new mic to the wires making sure you keep the same label.  re-install the mic in its housing and pack some foam around it t keep it snug

Step 6: Final Fitment and Put Together

I then removed my newer speaker extended the wires longer and attached the yellow wire connectors.  I used a little thicker gauge scrap laying around.  I did this as I wanted and thought I needed more room for the speaker, turned out that I didn't but depending on the speaker you have you may want to. So with the wires re soldered to the speaker,  insert speaker into the speaker house and reconnect, being careful first that you are not overly stressing or pressing the speaker.  Reconnect the three top screws on the housing and your done!

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Bio: I am a Assistive Technology Coordinator of the TRAID/Project Adapt Library, a place where people can borrow A.T. and Donate A.T. I ... More »
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