Instructables

Mp3 Player Modifications

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These are some different modifications you can do an mp3 player. Some of them can only be done on hard drive based mp3 player, however im not sure if this can be done to a micro drive. The instructions are going to be pretty general because of the different types of mp3 players out there.

I started doing most of these because I crave being different. Not only was I not going to be one of the mindless millions who bought ipods (I am the anti pod) but I was going to have a mp3 player completely different from anyone else's.

The mp3 player I modified was a Creative Zen Nomad 20 gig.
 
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Step 1: Duct tape sleeve

The first mod (this is more of an accessory, but whatever) I ever did was make a duct tape sleeve for my mp3 player. I wanted a sleeve that I could slip my mp3 player in and out of. I probably could have just duct taped directly on to the shell, but wheres the fun in that

All you need is a roll of duct tape, scissors, a razor, and some parchment / wax paper. I started by making a sheet of duct tape that was slightly more then twice as tall as my mp3 player and about 2 and a half times as wide. The basic idea is to have a sheet that if folded around your mp3 player would be able to cover all of its faces.

To make the sheets you will cut strips of duct tape as long as the double height length. So if your mp3 player is 3 in. tall you will want strips 7 or 8 in. tall. Place one strip face up on the wax paper, then place the next strip face down on the first one, so that half of it is on the first strip and half of it is on the wax paper (look at the picture if your confused). Flip the piece over and then place a third strip down half on the exposed sticky tape, and half on the paper. Repeat this process until you have a sheet wide enough to use.

This method of making duct tape sheets can be applied to anything that you want covered in duct tape, but that you dont want to get sticky or that you want to be able to remove it.

When you are done making the sheet fold over the remaining sticky edges. Place your mp3 player in the middle of the duct tape and try to figure out the best way to fold it on. You will probably need to cut at least 2 sides to get the right folds. I cant really give instructions for every mp3 player, so just do it to the best of your abilitys. If you have a somewhat rectangularish mp3 player like mine, you can cut out the corners of the duct tape sheet, so you are left with a piece somewhat resembling a cross, and then fold up each face, to cover each side of the player. Then use extra pieces of duct tape to seal the different faces together around your mp3 player.
Use the razor to cut out any buttons and the screen through the duct tape. Make sure you take your mp3 player out first, so you dont scratch it with the razor.

Step 2: SKIN IT ALIVE

Many people after owning a certain electronic device for a number of years, get bored of it and go out and buy a newer model even though there is nothing wrong with their current one. However, instead of abondoning my mp3 player I decided to give it a makeover. I SKINNED IT ALIVE.

Ive had much experience in skinning living things, just ask one of my many victims, however that is an instructable for another day. When doing electronics, though, the first thing you want to check is if it is possible. (everythings possible, its just would skinning it be too much effort to be worth it? Is some vital component incorporated into the case, in the ipods case the click wheel, that you dont want to bother messing with, if so then you probably wouldent want to do this) For my player the only thing in the case was the battery which I could easily move.

The first step in skinning is to find the main screws that are holding the thing together, and remove them. Be careful though, cause many times manufactures like to hide their screws like underneath batteries or warranty void stickers, so dont actually pry apart the case until you are sure you got every single screw. Many can also be held together with snaps which you can unhook by pushing a small screwdriver at. Because the people reading this probably eat reverse engineering for breakfast I dont think I need to describe removing the case too much.

Replace any vital components that you may have removed by taking off the case. In my case the only thing was the battery which I simply glued to the circuitry and against the leads. I already had all the buttons memorized, so I didnt need to label them or anything. If you want to waterproof it you could probably use shrink wrap or something to cover the entire thing, if not you are done.

Step 3: I would like the number 7, please. Yes, the hard drive platter with extra ketchup.

WARNING: In doing this step you risk killing your mp3 player, so before you continue you have to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky... well do ya, punk?

In this mod you will pry off the hard drive's solid exoskeloten, exposing the raw pink flesh inside (im making myself hungry). The photos for this kind of suck due to the reflection comming off the platter, oh well.


Before you start have a sealable plastic freezer bag near by to shove it in once you remove the cover. If one single piece of dust gets on the platter it could kill your drive, at least thats what I read, although once I finished this I saw some particles had gotten in, but it still worked fine. To make the window you will need a plastic cd case, I decided to go with clear because it would give me the best visibility, but you can use one of the colored jewel cases too. Oh and make sure the plastic does not have scratches on it, thats something I overlooked and now regret.
Measure out the size of the hard drive onto the plastic case. To cut it I used a razor and scratched each line deep into the plastic, and when I felt it was deep enough I snapped the piece out (the first one I tried cracked from this method, so make sure that you cut really deep with the razor). Once you have the window you are ready to unscrew the hard drive cover.
Unscrew the screws from the hard drive cover, put the entire hard drive in the freezer bag, and remove the cover. You can attatch the window in a number of different ways. The first thing I tried, and failed, was drilling the screw holes through the plastic and trying to screw it on. The reason this didnt work was because the metal cover I removed wasnt flush with where it was screwed on, it actually had an raised surface where the spindle was (like most hard drives do). So to fix this problem I put the screws into the hard drive, but did not screw them in all the way, this way they acted as risers, and lifted the plastic far enough off so that it wasnt touching anything inside. However, this didnt hold the plastic on, and there was a big gap between the plastic and the hard drive case. To solve that problem I filled the gap with Devcon multi purpose glue.

When putting the glue on, you have to be absolutely certain that none drips down inside of the hard drive, to do this I suggest you use only a small amount at first, and after you apply it flip the case over so it is resting on the plastic, this will prevent the glue from dripping towards the inner workings. Once the first amount dries, you can apply more glue to make it air tight, also let this glue dry when the harddrive is resting on the plastic side.

When it dries go show it off to your friends, they will be able to see the platter spinning and the arm moving back an fourth picking up your 0's and 1's and turning them into music.
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junits154 years ago
Is that Mp3 using a full 3.5'' ATA hard drive?
Ammosmoke4 years ago
YES! I hate ipods too!
zack2474 years ago
how is it supposed to read the hard drive? it looks like all you did was attach the mp3 player to the back, and you didn't mention anything about connecting extra cables. and the hard drive needs somewhere around at least 9V to spin at a decent speed, much more than the mp3 player's battery can put out. please explain how this works
mimesis78036 years ago
you do realize on your notebook you have someone's phone # wrote down don't you?
just figured i'd tell you, it might make someone upset if they started getting prank callers. XD
I dare you to call it.
if you give me a dollar =D
hmmm call it, or dont call it......
*dial* beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
it almost seems too convenient tho, like he wants us to call it
And who is Joanne?
kallisti55 years ago
A cheap sheet of acrylic from the hardware store is 100x's better. cd case plastic cracks easily. also using a can of duster air is a good idea before you seal it up.
mikesty8 years ago
I like the hard drive one the best. That's pretty weird. Must be kinda heavy.
Tetranitrate (author)  mikesty8 years ago
Actually that was one of the reasons I decided to skin it, because it was somewhat heavy. So I took off the case and it slimmed down somewhat.
who's # on the note pad??
Put it on Jenny Craig!
why would it be heavy? all he does is remove the back of the mp3 player and put a clear cover on it.
mazeka.145 years ago
I love ZEN :)
fkuk5 years ago
i dont see what you have done here have u modded the mp3 player to accept the hard drive or what if it is ment to be that where are the instruction
ahh. I like the duct tape. mindless millions?? iPod's are the gold standard. it's because they're so awesome people have them, not because everyone else has one, effectively disarming "mindless". GEEEZ. it's not like their cigarettes, or something.
Tetranitrate (author)  manimawesome8 years ago
Yeah I know Im unfairly harsh on the iPod, they have improved it a lot. Its just that it used to be extremely expensive crap, now its just extremely expensive. The only reason that people would buy them was because they were what was popular, despite there being better cheaper products on the market.
My ipod recently broke (a tragic collission with a conch shell). Now, I'm curious. What product of the same size (physically and storage) plays music and video, and is cheaper or better quality?
kjrviking CanDo6 years ago
new creative zen 8gb (same as 4gb)$150
New creative zen 4gb (mp3, photo, video, sd slot) $130
i have to agree, there's much better products on the market and upwards of 85% of people buy the ipod because of its "name" and the fact that everyone else has one. i also agree they've gotten better, but still not worth it. if you want video and music get a gp2x or something, or i don't know, use your cell phone. quality is about the same. of course i own an ipod(mini....HA), but my gf won it so i don't feel so bad. and i haven't used it in months. i got a sirius radio.when the two mix, yeah, maybe i'll buy a stinkin' ipod, but only because ipod has the clout to get the deal with sirius, not because it's the best product. did i just rant? i think i did...uhhh....i am the night...(whoosh)
You might be right about some people, but I like my Shuffle because it's inexpensive and tiny. But yea, sat radio is rad.
Its still okay to be harsh on the iPod... and especially iTunes... Even if the sole reason is the DRM not allowing you to play your bought iTunes music ONLY on an iPod unless you burn and rip (which the RIAA has clasified as illegal)... At least France has the right idea -- they recently made this type of DRM illegal in their country. But really, do I fear social interaction during my walk/ride to work? Or while walking to a class? Nope... So set down your ear bud shackle weights and (oh my gosh) say hello to your fellow beings :P Apple was simply the first to market for a simple to use interface... but more importantly, a well marketed simple to use interface. So just like AOL sucks in its unknowng users into their own software (which makes switching off more difficult for many), Apple has done the same with digital music players. BUT, I do find it hilarious that the US president had certain artists (like The Beatles) on his iPod -- artists that do not have contracts with iTunes... Which means the music was illegally ripped (according to the RIAA).
Are you saying that it's illegal to put any music on your iPod if you didn't buy it through iTunes? :O
JordanZed Ian016 years ago
No, he's saying it's illegal to remove the DRM on iTunes purchases.
Amen!
I had my iPod long before it was a household name :)
ipods are the gold standard because they have the best marketing campaign...not because they are mechanically/physically/or in any other way better than the other MP3 players...it's not like they're the first people to make the things...IMO they're pretty crappy...they break alot...and itunes is the biggest peice of junk ever forced upon the world (since windows ME that is)...but enough about that i like the HD window deal...but...that's EXTREMELY dangerous to the health of the drive...but...if done correctly can be really nifty
cotton6 years ago
the hdd is dead becuse it is scratched and someone toughed it killing it and the music
hey man ur things are amazing i have a zen creative 30 gbs but im not sure i wanna modified it yet skill thanks u gave me a great idea
benhudson7 years ago
Haha, I love it :) I'll try it in a few years when all my stuff is obsolete. Well written instructable by the way.
oryx7 years ago
yes! great idea. so tired of not having cool accessories for my creative vision:m... i'm going to make this for mine. i was going to sew a case, but i like this idea better. you rock.
zachninme7 years ago
Someone should make a "Non-Ipod Mods" group or something.
hivoltage7 years ago
thats pretty cool. i've been wondering what to do with my old zen jukebox NX. those old players actually used a laptop sized HD
hivoltage7 years ago
i had that mp3 in the instructable! i recently upgraded to a zen vision M, and would highly recommend it over the iPod. i mostly got it because transferring music from my old one to an iPod with itunes would have sucked, but it took like five minutes with the zen vision.
Tetranitrate (author)  hivoltage7 years ago
Im going to get a vision m, as soon as I get the cash. Creative, it seems, has finally got their act together with advertising,and because of it their players keep getting more and more popular. Im sure if creative had been the advertising whore that apple has always been, their players would be 10x more popular.
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