Introduction: Nintendo Candy Tin Portable Guitar Amp!

Picture of Nintendo Candy Tin Portable Guitar Amp!

In this instructable I'll show you how to make a small portable guitar amp out of a nintendo candies tin and some electronics.

what you will need:
Nintendo Candy tin (I found mine at costplus but I'm sure they're everywhere)
Electronics for a simple LM386 amp
(LM386 chip, 10uf and 250uf electrolytic capacitors, 10ohm resistor and .05uf cap)
a mono right angle 1/4th inch inch jack with screws (found mine at futurlec)
SPST switch
2-3 coin cell batteries (larger 3v ~CR2032 work ok)
small speaker (under 1.7inch diameter, i think i pulled mine from one of those talking birthday cards)

wire, soldering iron, solder, perf board, tape, dremmel and/or drill or nibblers, screws (for mounting the switch) etc...

Step 1: Step One: EAT CANDY!

possibly the best step: eating the candy from the tin
(you don't have to eat it, you can put it in a baggie or somethig if you want)

you might want to clean out the inside of the tin to get rid of the candy dust in there.

make any measurements and realize you'll have to squeeze wire, perf board, electronics, a speaker, batteries and a switch all inside that little candies tin.

Step 2: Step Two: Electronics

Picture of Step Two: Electronics

it's a good idea to test the circuit first out on breadboard if you have it.

note that this circuit is quite stripped down and only makes the guitar's signal an overdriven tone (distortion)
you could add your own version ex: like the little gem amp, but keep in mind you'd have to add potentiometers and there's not much space inside the tin for that

you can use an allegator clip to a guitar wire for testing rather than soldering to the jack before you put it in the tin

cut out a piece of perf board so that it will fit inside the tin ( allow some extra room for batteries)
solder it on to the perf board but add wire so you can connect it to the switch, jack, speaker and batteries

i've added a picture of how it might look on a breadboard and perf board
the yellow wire recieves the guitar signal
the green wire goes to one side of a speaker
the blue wire goes to the switch
the 9v clip is just to signify power in and ground

you can see that there is not much there, and you'll only need one or two hole spaces surrounding your LM386 chip when soldering it onto perf board (so about an 8x8 hole board)

make sure all ground connections are well soldered together, and you may need to have a wire touching the jack's ground (sheith) for a better sound.

Step 3: Step Three: Make Holes in the Tin

Picture of Step Three: Make Holes in the Tin

In this step you will drill 3 holes in the bottom of the tin,

place the jack on the bottom and plan out how you will drill the holes
the main hole for the wire to the jack can be fairly large and should be around where the connector to the jack is
the other two holes are for the small screws for the jack
note that i'm only using the front side of the jack (it comes with a back but we won't need that)
it's a good idea to place the jack on there, then make marks through the holes where you want it and then drill

the tin is rather thin so try to be gentle when drilling
also, don't screw the jack in just yet, you've still got to solder it on and that's easier if you pull the wires through, solder it, then screw the jack on ( i would solder the jack and the switch at the same time)

again, solder it up before you really tighten it on there (the tin is thin so you don't want to keep putting it on and off)

also in this step, make a rectangular hole in the back side of the mushroom (away from it's eyes)
this is a little tricky, i used a nibbler but a dremmel may be better
try to get it so that you can get your switch in, but also have room to drill two holes on the sides so you can screw it in.
(note the picture)

Step 4: Finishing It Up

Picture of Finishing It Up

wire the speaker up and just set it against the inside lid, it will stay there just through the magnet in the speaker and doesn't change how the amp will sound

solder wires from the switch and ground for the batteries
i just had two button cell batteries, pressed the wires up against them, put tape around it and also wrapped a rubberband around it too

the batteries will last quite a long time if you don't forget to turn it off or practice with it on for hours
it's mainly meant to just allow you to play a distorted guitar anywhere without having to lug around an amp or even one of those tiny amps that still use a cord

Step 5: Test It Out!

Picture of Test It Out!

once you have everything soldered up and in place it's time to test it out!
make sure the volume knob on your guitar is up
it's not going to be incredibly loud but you'll notice your guitar will have that distorted rock sound

it fits right on your guitar with no cords, no clips  or anything, just the jack
(you may want to hold the jack when unpluging it from your guitar to ease the force off of the little screws holding it on the tin)

note that this might not work for guitars with in-set jacks (like a stratocaster)

super secret: turn the amp on, press the tip up to a piece of metal, you might hear a radio station


lj1vukoder (author)2016-05-27

Hi! Was wondering if you could help, when I turn it on, it only makes a buzzing sound, and it doesn't do anything when I plug it into my guitar. I replaced the 250 uf cap with a 220 uf cap and the .05 uf with a .047 uf, as well as the 10 ohm resistor with a 100 ohm resistor because that's what I had on hand. I'm guessing that's the problem, but I'm not sure. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!

sonicase (author)lj1vukoder2016-06-04

hmm can't really tell but, make sure all your grounds are connected

it looks like your ground to the speaker and ground to the jack are connected, but not connected to the other grounds

this could definitely result in no sound or buzz...

i would also try to stick with the same components if you can.

lj1vukoder (author)sonicase2016-06-06

Hi! Thanks, it turned out I didn't have the speaker/guitar output to ground. All fixed and working now! Thank you!

bigg022020 (author)2016-04-30

100.5 watt speaker????

racurcio (author)2014-09-21

It's a small project, even though it's really cool. I have a Strat, so I don't think I'll be able to use without a few adjustments. But I can try to use a different jack.
I always like projects that use nintendo characters, usually that means the author it's a good person to have a conversation xD

Next time if you could post more pictures will be better.

Congratulations for this instructable o/

TheShabz (author)2012-04-18

Very clever. Have you tried to plug it into a Strat? I'm curious to see whether the tin will hit the body of the guitar or if the jack is at enough of an angle on the Strat to clear it.

sonicase (author)TheShabz2012-04-19

i haven't tried (cause i don't have one)

i mention it might not work for strats

if you want to test you could go to guitar center or something and see if they have those same kind of jacks and then put something flat on the back of it to see if it fits.

Thurmond (author)sonicase2013-08-07

Got a have an adapter of some sort to use that Mario Bro's Mushroom Amp, along with a standard Stratocaster...
very very cool amp though!

rimar2000 (author)2012-04-12

Very clever and useful thing!

FrenchFrog (author)rimar20002012-04-15


SeamusDubh (author)2012-04-12

Do you happen to have an image of the board and components together prior to installation into the tin?

sonicase (author)SeamusDubh2012-04-12

i've added pictures of how it might look on breadboard and perf board, it's not exactly what's in mine (because i don't want to take it apart again) it but it should work

cryptex (author)2012-04-12

dude this is amazing

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