Introduction: Portable 3-way Hifi Speaker/boomcase

Welcome to my first instructable!

In this instructable I will just show you how I built my speaker and hopefully this will give you some kind of ideas how to make your own.

I wanted to build a portable hifi speaker/boombox that I could take with me anywhere. I looked at boomcases on the internet which gave me ideas of how I could build mine.

Here is a short video of the finished speaker:
http://youtu.be/zVynpa_7084

Step 1: Materials

Here is a list of the materials that I used:
Speakerbox
-1.2 cm thick plywood
-White artificial leather
-Black pvc angles
-Rubber feet
-Handle
-contact adhesive
-wood glue
-screws
-corner protectors

Electronics
Car amplifier from dealextreme. 2x20W (I recommend another one something like lepai for instance)
-10" bass speaker (80W rms max)
-5" mid speaker (70W rms)
-tweeter (10W rms)
-crossover
-mc battery
-battery charger
-cables
-panel voltmeter
-panel ac input
-audio input
-on/off button
(-resistors to dampen the tweeter)

And then I added a LED strip underneath the speaker and for that I needed:
-soldering iron
-heat shrinking tube
-50 cm LED strip (ebay)
-sound sensitive LED controller (ebay)

I did not have all of this at home when I started the project. But when I knew how I wanted the speaker to become I started buying parts.



Step 2: Building the Box - Cutting the Plywood

The recommended minimum volume for the bass speaker that I bought was 40 litres. SO I made some calculations and decided to have these measurements on the box (outer size):  52,5x42,5x22,5 cm 
This would give me about 45 litres, a few litres extra for battery, amplifier etc.

I asked my dad to help me cutting the plywood, because I'm not very familiar with a circular saw.

Step 3: Building the Box - Putting It Together

All the pieces was glued and screwed to a 2x2 cm wood which I have in all of the edges.
I did not screw the plywoods onto each other because that would risk the plywood to crack or break.

As you can see the front has a hole for the amplifier. I just sawed it out and grinded until it fit the amplifier.

Step 4: Building the Box - Cutting Holes for the Speakers and Electronics

Now it's time to make the holes for the speakers. I made some planning and drew some circles on the speaker box, and after a few changes I cut the holes with a jigsaw. The hole for the tweeter was a little bit tricky because the jigsaw couldn't turn that much so I had to saw back and forth a few times instead.

Then I checked if the speakers fit the holes and they did not so I had to make some grinding to enlarge the holes.

To make the speaker box extra steady I attached a piece of plywood in the middle, where the handle would be attached later.

Finally I sanded the whole box so nothing of the plywood edges would be visible later.

Step 5: Covering the Box

I found that it was easiest to use wood glue to glue the artificial leather to the box. So I just spread the glue with a plastic card on one of the sides and put the artificial leather on it and attached it with staples. Then I cut the excess and the holes with scissors carefully to not cut anything that would be visible later. 

As you can see I attached the leather from the amplifier hole inside the box to hide the staples because the amplifier was not really made for panel mounting.

Step 6: Screw Everything in Place

Now we need to put everything in place and I started with the amplifier. It was very tight but I wanted it to be screwed to the box so I attached a piece of wood inside the box (see picture) with screws, I did this before I glued on the artificial leather.

The speakers were attached with 4 screws each. Later on I thought the color of screws were a bit ugly so I spray painted them black.

A button and a voltmeter was placed in the holes that I made. I just cut a "X" in the leather, put some glue under the leather and pressed down the voltmeter, button and an ac input which is not shown in the picture. So I only glued the leather to the box and not the components so I could remove them later if needed.

Step 7: Electronics Etc.

After a lot of thinking I decided to buy a 12 Ah battery which is A LOT for a speaker like this. It should last about 20 hours (measured with ammeter on medium soundlevel), maybe overkill but I wanted it to last long.

I soldered the speaker cables to the crossover and attached the crossover to the output of the amplifier. I powered it up and tested the sound but I thought the tweeter was way too loud so I bought some powerful 10W resistor which I soldered to the tweeter cable.
The amplifier was connected to the battery and the battery charger was connected to the ac input and to the battery. 
Voltmeter was connected to the battery and the button as well.

I used screws and zip ties to fasten the 4.5 kg battery.

As I wrote in the beginning of this instructable I wanted to have LED lighting underneath the speaker. So I bored a hole in the box and put the LED controller wires through and soldered them back.

Step 8: Testing Before Finishing

This step was very important because when I close my speaker box I can't open it again, not easily. So I used the speaker for about a week with the backside, but without attaching it. Just to make sure that everything was working as it should. 

Last pic:
Then my plan was to cover the edges of the artificial leather with some kind of plastic angle. I wondered what color would look the best, so to see how it would look with black edges I took some black paper and made some fake angles for my speaker. This was a really good idea because now I could see how it really would look with black angles.

I thought it looked very nice and cool so I went for the black angles.

Step 9: Closing the Speaker

I had some old speakers lying around so I took some glass wool from them and glued it to the walls of my speaker. I think this will dampen the speaker box and improve the sound of the speaker. 

Finally, after a lot of waiting I could close the speaker and screw the back of it in place. I did not glue the back side of the speaker, so I would be able to remove it later if I needed to.

Artificial leather was attached to the this side exactly the same way as the other sides.

Step 10: Finishing the Look

I bought 6 metres of 1,5x1,5 cm pvc angles and attached it to all edges of the speaker with contact adhesive. To make the ends of the angles about 45° I used scissors and simply just cut it.

To cover the corners where the angles ended I bought metal corner protectors which I sanded and spray painted black.

Before I screwed the corner protectors in place I had to sand the angles because they were sticking out a little bit and the protectors couldn't sit very nicely until I sanded them.

Step 11: Enjoy the Speaker

This is the best part of the whole project, having the finished project in front of you and be proud of yourself!
I am really happy with this speaker that I built. It has a very good sound quality which was a bit a surprise because this is my first speaker I have ever built.

It is a bit too heavy to carry around (14 kg), but it is perfect as a portable hifi speaker at home or at a small party outdoors.

I hope I have given you some ideas and inspiration to make your own speaker. Please rate and feel free to comment if you have any questions or thoughts!
Good luck and have fun!

Comments

author
MuqshitaN (author)2016-03-29

https://www.comir.org/telangana-10th-class-results-2016/

author
ShaolinBee (author)2016-02-17

Hi, this is a great work!! I want to make one like that but more compact and lightweight. but difficult for me if I use a motorcycle battery. my question is, can I use a "powerbank" battery with a step up from 5V to 12V ?. it's possible? as I make the connection? Sorry for my english, greetings from argentina

author
philxter (author)ShaolinBee2016-02-18

Hi! Thank you!

I think that a power bank can't output enough current. If it is a USB powerbank it usually is limited to max 2 Amps which is pretty little. I'm not sure but maybe it's possible to use Li-ion batteries, they're much lighter than mc-batteries but the output is limited. I have seen that china has those kind of batteries but I'm not sure if it's good for this kind of project. Never been working with them.

It is possible to step up the voltage from 5V to 12V but you'll only get a few watts. If the output is 5V and 2A --> 2*5=10Watts.

Sorry for not having a good solution for your problem. Have a good one :)

author
ShaolinBee (author)philxter2016-02-18

Thank you for your answer! So, how many A i need for a amplifier lepai 2020, maybe i can get it with 18650 batteries, thank you again

author
philxter (author)ShaolinBee2016-02-23

You're welcome. Some sellers that sell Lepai 2020 says that a power supply with 12V and 2A is included. So I guess that 2A is enough.

The Lepai 2020 should though be able to output 2x20W which means that a total of 40W could be needed from the power supply. 40/12= 3,3A.

Not sure if you can calculate like that but it'll probably give an approximate amperage.

Regards,

Philip

author
buyingfoil (author)2014-09-04

Hi I have a couple questions about this. First, what amplifier should I use? I am a bit confused by your instructions because the amplifier you are showing has only 20w of power while the speakers require much more than that. In a comment you mentioned something about adding an extra car amplifier. Could you elaborate on that? How did you connect that to the original amp? Thank you

author
philxter (author)buyingfoil2014-09-06

Can't reply to your last comment on my phone so I'll reply here.

You're welcome! That amp looks fine and should have enough power. :) My battery has metal connections with holes in it (see first pic in step 7) so I soldered the wire to connectors that are like metal plates with a hole and then simply attached it with a bolt. If you don't have holes and have round cylinder shaped connections instead I think the best way to connect to it is to use battery terminal connectors like these for instance:
http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/321406118053?nav=SEARCH
I think you can find them almost anywhere so try to take a look in your lokal shop. Just make sure it is the right size.
Hope it was some kind of help to you. :)

author

I've built and sold many of these DIY boxes - here are a few tips:

1. A huge powerful amp isn't needed. A Lepai LP-2020A is plenty powerful.

2. Sensitive speakers is the key for loud music levels. I always use 4 ohm 6.5 inch drivers and 4 ohm silk dome tweeters. The drivers need to have a sensitivity rating of at least 90dB.

3. I always use 7aH SLA batteries. They are cheap, reliable and safe. With the Lepai amp, digital volt meter and a Bluetooth 4.0 receiver, the battery will provide enough power for days and days of cranking time. With a standard battery charger, you can run the unit whilst charging.

4. Sealed speaker cabinets are best if you want to keep the cabinet size to a minimum. You must provide enough volume for your speakers to produce strong bass. Sealed means sealed-panels just screwed together aren't air tight. They must be glued.

5. I have 2 internal dividers to provide a separate box for each channel. These are airtight. The centre section has a rear panel to allow access to the electronics - this centre section does not need to be airtight.

That's it. I play my personal unite outdoors mostly. I can be heard from the other end of a soccer field!!

author
buyingfoil (author)philxter2014-09-07

Thank you! Okay I just have one more question I think. So you have the charging leads connected to the battery at all times and then a plug coming out of the bottom of the box. When you want to charge the battery, you plug the charger into the plug. Correct? Can you play music and charge the battery at the same time? That would be convenient. Thanks!

author
philxter (author)buyingfoil2014-09-06

Hi! I am using a cheap amp from china which only gives 20 watts. It wasn't as much as I wanted so I bough an amplifier which can input those 20 watts and amplify it to max 150 w rms I think. It has an normal audio input aswell as a high voltage input which means that you can connect it directly from the china amp. It has a volume knob and normal right/left output where I only used one sidew. That amp is made for use in cars etc.
It is hard to find a car radio/amp which has a lot of output power so if you can't find a powerful one I would recommend adding an extra amplifier inside to get some really nice power. Which you should get is up to you but I do not recommend the cheap one from china that I have, but I think Lepai 2020 (about 20w) is good if you can't find any good ones in your home country.

Here's the extra amp I used:
http://www.jula.se/catalog/bil-och-garage/biltillbehor/billjud/slutsteg/slutsteg-610097/

I hope you understood something of what I wrote, if anything is unclear just reply and I'll do my best.

author
buyingfoil (author)philxter2014-09-06

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I just ordered most of my supplies and I ended up going with this amp from Lepai. https://www.parts-express.com/lepai-lp7498e-200w-c...

It's a little more expensive and I have to use a 12v to 36v step up from the battery but I think it'll be worth it. It also has built in Bluetooth. The last question I have is how did you make the connections to the battery? Is there some kind of distributor block I can use? Or do I just solder them on to the battery terminals? Any kind of help here would be appreciated. Thank you!

author
r55ruckus (author)buyingfoil2015-01-04

How did you Hookup that amp to the 12V battery ?

author
philxter (author)buyingfoil2014-09-07

Yes that is correct! And yes you can play music at the same time. Pretty simple :) just keep an eye on the battery voltage so you don't discharge it too much!

author
VWjwtta02 (author)2016-02-03

awesome build!!! hey i have a ? on making a portable speaker and cant find an answer on google, lol. Is it possible to use a laptop battery pack without removing the batteries. If so, besides adding a charging port to it what else would i need to be aware of as far as matching volts from bat. pack to amp and bluetooth reciever? im somewhat of a newbie so if u can explain it in 3rd grader terms id really appreciate it. thanks

author
philxter (author)VWjwtta022016-02-05

Thanks!

That's a pretty tricky question. I'm afraid that it's hard to get a current that's high enough to power the speaker just from ports that are on the laptop. USB ports are 5V and usually max 500 mA. Maybe if you open up the laptop and connect some cables directly to the battery if that is possible. Whatever way you do it you'll need to measure the voltage and see if it's enough. The amp usually, if it's a portable one as mine, needs 12V and the usb receiver probably same. If the voltage matches you should be good to go and just connect everything together, in parallell.. If it doesn't it gets much trickier, if the voltage is higher you can use voltage regulators but if it's too low I'm not sure how to do it. The problem with regulating the voltage is that the current probably is limited through the regulator so you'll need to have many of them in parallel or just make sure that it'll survive the current draw that you'll be using.

Sorry, I'm not really good at doing stuff like you've mentioned but hopefully this will get you some kind of ideas:)

author
VWjwtta02 (author)philxter2016-02-05

thanks for your response. yeah im more confused now than before lol, ive been reading alot online trying to come up with a battery idea but its getting more n more complicated. will have to keep researching i guess.

author
philxter (author)VWjwtta022016-02-05

Thanks!

That's a pretty tricky question. I'm afraid that it's hard to get a current that's high enough to power the speaker just from ports that are on the laptop. USB ports are 5V and usually max 500 mA. Maybe if you open up the laptop and connect some cables directly to the battery if that is possible. Whatever way you do it you'll need to measure the voltage and see if it's enough. The amp usually, if it's a portable one as mine, needs 12V and the usb receiver probably same. If the voltage matches you should be good to go and just connect everything together, in parallell.. If it doesn't it gets much trickier, if the voltage is higher you can use voltage regulators but if it's too low I'm not sure how to do it. The problem with regulating the voltage is that the current probably is limited through the regulator so you'll need to have many of them in parallel or just make sure that it'll survive the current draw that you'll be using. Then don't forget to check the voltage of the battery so that you don't accitentally discharge it too far.

Sorry, I'm not really good at doing stuff like you've mentioned but hopefully this will get you some kind of ideas:)

author
Jan Haverkamp made it! (author)2015-06-04

my Version

temp_-628858363.jpg
author
philxter (author)Jan Haverkamp2015-07-08

Thanks for the picture! Really nice one you've made! I'm really happy that so many of u have used my instructable :)

author
juhopeuraniemi (author)2014-11-25

Are you finnish??

author
magnuswf (author)juhopeuraniemi 2015-07-07

No, he's swedish :)

author
JérémyB5 made it! (author)2015-04-25

Hey, thanks for the tutorial.

Here is what I used:

Subwoofer: Clarion WG2520

Speakers: JBL GTO 6508

Amplifier: 2x JBL GT5 A402

I have an amplifier for the subwoofer (bridged) and the other one for the speakers.

I'll give more details if someone asks, or even a tutorial?

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author
philxter (author)JérémyB52015-05-09

Wow! Thanks for the pictures! I'm really happy to see that other people have made speakers too! Really really good looking speaker you have made! Impressive! Does it sound good aswell? :)

author
JérémyB5 (author)philxter2015-05-09

It sounds really well. I'll make a second version of it, lighter (this one weights 20kg...) and smaller in a few months/years.

With the two amplifiers, the total power output was about 450Watts, it was way too much. So I removed one amp and got a car battery (60Ah), which I can wire from the outside (via a connector) or put inside the box. The problem is : it weights 10kg, this is way too heavy, my bad :( but it will do for some time.

With the last version (2 amps, small battery 7Ah) it lasted for maybe 1h30 and 30 minutes at high volume.

I'll test the new version (1 amp, big battery) tonight, we'll see...

Anyway, thanks a lot for your explanations, the only flaws I can tell of are the lack of precisions when you talk about electronics. I'm a total amateur with electricity, and this project allowed me to learn some things, I made a lot of research before buying everything, but didn't think of calculating the needed power.

author
ltownsoccer13 (author)JérémyB52015-06-22

Hey I want to build a speaker system similar to yours. What changes would you make to it to cut down on the power output and eliminate the need for a car battery?

author
JérémyB5 (author)ltownsoccer132015-06-23

Hi,

I recommend using an amplifier like this one:

http://www.ebay.fr/itm/TPA3116D2-50W-50W-100W-2-1-...

Type "amplifier 2.1" on ebay. The amplifier I used on the photos of this message is not powerful enough (2x20w), or the speakers are not powerful enough (70W rms?), I don't know where is the problem yet, but my Bose soundlink mini is way louder. Someone has an idea?

And the battery used on the tutorial (12v 7A). With these materials, plus a pair of 13cm speakers, you will be able to do a 16*16*30cm box.

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author
FallofAdrian (author)JérémyB52015-05-04

What are the demensions of your box?

author
JérémyB5 (author)FallofAdrian2015-05-04

70x30x30

author
NoahWarnell (author)2015-02-09

Hi I was wondering what type of crossover you used

author
philxter (author)NoahWarnell2015-02-13

It is a crossover with 6dB cut, or whatever it is called, at 1000Hz and 6000 Hz

author
LazyH (author)2015-02-11

Hello, I was wondering, on the bass driver you're using, is 80 watts rms or is it max? What brand is it?

author
philxter (author)LazyH2015-02-13

Hi! I'm pretty sure it is 80 watts rms. I bought it from a website called hifikit.se, speaker name: RESPONSE TW 1051

author
phil_breg (author)2015-01-14

Hi guys,

That a cool boomcase!

Anybody have a electronic drawing for me to understand the concept?

Many thanks,

Phil

author
dezfoote (author)2015-01-05

can u answer my question. how should I earth my amp out

author
dezfoote (author)2015-01-03

what did u do about an earth for the amp

author
paracordD (author)2014-07-21

How long will the batteries last

author
philxter (author)paracordD2014-07-25

Depends on how loud you play. My battery last for like a day if I just play it in a normal background volume. But it really depends on the speakers and amplifiers current draw

author
Freshtrax (author)2014-06-19

Hey, Nice Job! I Want to do this and am wondering the best type of battery to use. I want it to last long and to power maybe 2 8 inch subs or maybe 1 10 inch + 2 mids and 2 tweeters. Obviously, I will be using a bigger box to house these. Doing this myself but plan to have a good budget for quality electronic components. I will def share when I am done. Thanks!

author
philxter (author)Freshtrax2014-06-22

Hi! Thanks for your comment. I'm using a motorcycle mattery which is pretty heavy. I think that Lithium-ion batteries could work. They are very small and light and can probably output the power that you need, but you should read about the a little bit first. I havent't used them anything so I'm not sure how they work :)

author
stVentje (author)philxter2014-07-15

Very cool, planning on making a portable speaker myself. Also with a amp like yours, But i dont know how large a battery i need. I wanna use a lith ion battery, for easier use.. but im kind of lost. could you help?

author
philxter (author)stVentje2014-07-18

Hi, thanks! I think lithium ion might be better, they're much smaller and lighter. My battery is 12 Ah so if you're making a big one I would go with about that many Amphours. Otherwise the wiring should be same.

author
larsje390 (author)2014-06-07

Hey, nice build. I was wondering if you used both channels from the amplifier? I need to know this for my own boombox :)

author
philxter (author)larsje3902014-06-07

Thanks!
I used only one channel. I didn't want to mix them because it might destroy the amplifier.
To get more power I added an extra car stereo amplifier inside which gives about 150watts. I recommend using a better amplifier from the beginning than the one that I bought so you get enough power.

author
nlopez11 (author)2014-05-18

Can you help me out with your wiring? do you have a diagram i could follow ?

author
ecarbajal (author)2013-06-04

Very cool project!

How does the bass sound?

You should put a video of it in action.

author
philxter (author)ecarbajal2014-04-14

http://youtu.be/zVynpa_7084

author
philxter (author)ecarbajal2013-06-05

Thanks mate! The bass is very good actually, it is like it should be. Just like a hifi speaker. Not too deep but not too thin either. It is perfect right now I think, and you can adjust the bass a little bit on the amplifier.
Yeah, I'll try to make a video in a few days, thanks!!

author
CB-meticulous (author)2014-03-30

PLEASE READ!!! Wonderful idea and good construction. In your next project or in this one however, i strongly recommend you completely separate your bass speaker from the others.. the tweeter and mid range should be fine together as they don't produce a lot of pressure. the reason for this is your bass speaker, and especially your mid-range and tweet, can, and probably are being strongly distorted by the back pressure of the woofer. the mid range and tweet have unneeded pressure on there cone which is not good for high frequency, fragile, sound quality. The small back pressure of the mid and tweet, are also causing the bass speaker to have unneeded small cone movement. The will prevent you from achieving a solid, clear, bass punch. the crossover set up is definitely good but, the 40-1000 hertz of back pressure of bass is certainly going to mess up your pure 1000hertz< quality.. Awesome project, good luck in the future

author
philxter (author)CB-meticulous2014-03-31

Hi! thanks for your comment. I did have that in mind when I built my speaker. To prevent pressure from the bass speaker affect the other speakers I bought a sealed mid range and tweeter speaker. That's why I didn't need to separate the speakers in this build. But you are right that in case of using normal speakers that aren't sealed on the backside you should totally build a separate box for the speakers.

author

when i say "separate" they can certainly be in the same enclosure, but within the enclosure, have a solid sealed wood wall to block the bass speaker from your tweets and mid ranges

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