Introduction: The ULTIMATE Diy Boombox!

Picture of The ULTIMATE Diy Boombox!

This thing is simply a gigantic ipod boombox......just way doper!  I wanted to fully build a blasting boombox for my garage and here it is.  The enclosure is made of 3/4" mdf and then I used some rattle can truck bed liner to paint it.  Yup, truck bed liner.  It came out so cool.  All the wire work would be a waste if you couldn't see it so I added a plexiglass cut-out on top and mounted the controls and buttons to it.  Also, it has a DC jack for charging and a 3.5mm audio jack to accept any audio source.  The amp has the ability to take a mic input as well so you can possibly plug in a guitar or a microphone if you feel like it.  Might be pretty awesome to plug in a mic and amp up your didgeridoo too!

Material needed:

-MDF 3/4" x whatever you want.
-plexiglass (I used some thin stuff from home depot)
-Wood Glue
-sand paper (I bought a multi grit kit from wallyworld)
-various little wood screws that you can scrounge up
-speakers (my sub is a pyle 8" and the mids/tweets are some boss 6 1/2" components.  Both found on amazon for a STEAL)
-amp (also found on amazon which was normally 280 bucks that I scored for 70!)
-momentary push button switches if need be (I got mine from ebay on the cheap)
-good quality wire (I had a spool of 18awg black and got the 18awg red and 12awg red from home depot)
-1/8" heat shrink (whatever color you choose)
-solder
-zip ties
-truck bed liner spray paint (I found mine at home depot)
-primer spray paint

Alright....lets do this! 


Step 1: Get the Electronics

Picture of Get the Electronics

I bought a Pyle PT1100 from amazon.  Its a 1000w beast.  Pyle makes their stuff very plain jane so its perfect for ripping apart.  The components inside are just like if I were to buy some diy amp kit but way cheaper.  The transformer would've cost me like 45 bucks alone.  The sub is a dual voice coil 4 ohm 8" pyle blue wave.  Mids and tweets are a component set from boss, so it comes with the crossovers too.  These are "good" speakers from a lower quality brands.  Any type you use will sound good when you good quality wire with good quality solder joints.  The sky is the limit on the components...I chose these due to the fact this just a garage blaster not a center piece in my home.

Step 2: Build and Paint the Enclosure

Picture of Build and Paint the Enclosure

I started off building the front panel first.  Lay out your speakers to your liking.  I didn't get too many pics during this portion of the build 'cuz it was so freakin' messy.  My mdf is the pre-primed kind from home depot.  3/4"x11 1/4"x8'.

Drill nice clean pilot holes and use a router to route out the speaker holes.  I made a circle jig out of scrap plexiglass (If you want more details on making one message me and I'll hook you up).  After routing the holes out use a 45 degree chamfer bit to get that nice beveled edge.  My garage was COVERED with dust and so was I after doing this.  If you can do this outside I would recommend that because I looked like I had just got done shaping a surfboard or something after this step.

Measure out the top, back, bottom and sides to start making the actual box.  I glued and clamped the front, sides, top and bottom and left the back open for wiring and access.  This process didn't get pics like I said due to the fact that I had to work quickly and it was messy.  No screws involved...just glue.  Be liberal with the glue.  

Let it dry.

Take the router to that sucker, again with the chamfer bit, and route all the corners off the box.  I wised up and did this on my patio and once again I was COVERED in this light mdf dust.  It gets everywhere.  

Sand, sand and sand.  Use a power hand sander and just have at it!  I used 120, 220 then 400.  Be careful not to take your corners off.  Just soften 'em.  Try and get everything nice and smooth.  Dust her off.

PRIME!  I made a "paint booth"  in my garage by using plastic drop cloths duct taped to the ceiling and on the floor to keep the joint clean.  Shake up the primer cans and spray nice thin and even coats.  Don't lay it on too thick or it'll take multiple days to dry.  I found this out the hard way.  

Sand, sand and sand.  Take it back out to the already thrashed patio and have at it.  I used 220 all over.  Repetitive, I know, but its well worth the effort in the end.

PAINT!  Break out the truck bed liner cans and shake 'em up.  Apply nice thin and even coats once again.  I did three coats and I believe it took like 3 cans to complete.  

I got a little ahead of myself and installed the speakers before I got a pic of the finished product, but you get the idea.


Step 3: Explode the Amp!

Picture of Explode the Amp!

Here's the fun part.  Fully take the amp apart.  Label all ribbon cables with a small permanent marker number on the boards themselves.  1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and so on.  This may seem daunting if you know nothing about electronics, but it's literally as simple as making sure to mark where all the connections go so that you don't get confused later.  Take pics of EVERYTHING.  You will most likely have to refer back to the pics later.  

Desolder all ribbon cables and the pots that you'll be mounting on the plexiglass later.  I like to use a solder sucker then use some desolder braid to get the rest of the solder off.  Do not be too rough with this process and take your time.  If you're too rough you could possibly damage the solder points on the board and then you'll have to go into repair mode....and we don't want that.  We're removing the ribbon cable and replacing it with our own wire because most likely the ribbons won't be long enough to accommodate a new lay out that differs from the original amp enclosure.

Step 4: Lay Out the Plexiglass and Amp Board

Picture of Lay Out the Plexiglass and Amp Board

Lay out your back panel.  I chose to keep the crossovers close to the amp's speaker inputs.  The other boards are not shown due to the fact that uh, well, er I forgot to take a pic of that.  OOps.  You'll see in upcoming pics what's what.  

Plexi lay out, is by your preference.  I found middle, then spaced everything out at 1.5" apart.  Additional switches are for selecting inputs which I placed in between the first row.  To drill the plexi use a little pilot bit and then use a step bit to to increase the hole size to the appropriate size for your components.  

I opted to use a dc jack for charging because it seemed like it was going to be difficult to try and cut a little bitty rectangle for the usb.  To wire a dc jack from a usb cable, just cut the end off and strip it back 'till you see the four wires.  Use only the red for the center of the jack and black for the casing.  Cut the rest off.  Yeah, its that simple.  

Wiring the 3.5mm  audio jack is also very simple as well.  Take any rca jack cable and cut one end off.  Split into 2 pieces and strip the casing off.  You'll be left with a conductor and a ground for each side.  Twist the grounds together and solder to the center casing.  Left tab (typically square) gets the white wire.  Obviously, the red goes to the right.  Easy too, huh.   

Step 5: Wire the Lid

Picture of Wire the Lid

Up next is wiring the plexi panel and running the wires to the back panel.  Label or number your wires.  You can buy some wire labels from home depot.  I personally got all the components mounted and then went from left to right and numbered each termination 1, 2, 3 for pot one 4, 5, 6 for pot two and so on.  WRITE THIS DOWN.  If you forget what's what....well that would just suck.  

You can also get adhesive cable tie mounts from home depot too.  These are perfect to zip tie to.  

Solder and all wires by tinning the termination point and the wire then together.  Use your 1/8" heat shrink on all terminations.  A "third hand" is wonderful for doing this.  Solder all wires BEFORE mounting to the panel.  Then mount them.  

Do your best and routing the wire.  Crossed up wires look ugly and unprofessional, but are sometimes hard to avoid.  Try and keep the neatness on the visible side.  Nothing in electronics is more impressive than perfect wiring.  Its cool to waste zip ties.  Sometimes I'll use one just to hold the wires and cut when I'm done.  

Once you've got your fat bundle of wires looking tasty, run them along the corners of the box and to the back panel where we'll terminate later.  

Split that python of wires!  

Step 6: Wire All the Back Panel

Picture of Wire All the Back Panel

I'm going to keep this step nice and simple.....

Looking at the pics explains it all.  Seriously, split your wires up to where they need to go (cuz you labeled them and took pics remember).   

Solder some short little "break out" wires to the boards.  I used some nice stiff 22awg wires.  Strip the end and stick it in the hold.  Solder to the pads and trim them as short and the other solder joints.  Dip you friends tooth brush in some rubbing alcohol and clean the new joints up.

Now, strip the break out wire and the terminating wire and tin both ends.  Don't forget the heatshrink.  Bend the stiff break out wire so its in a good position to solder them together.  Yeah yeah this is easy, right.

Finally use a heat gun to shrink up the heat shrink.

Step 7: Finish!

Picture of Finish!

Connect the remaining power wires from the transformer in the same manner as the previous step AND THEN.......

Take a good look at all wiring to make sure all is legit.  If you deem them good to go, look at them one time just to be sure.

FLIP THE TOGGLE!!!  

Your boombox should fire up perfectly if you labeled everything correctly.  Mine did of course.  Plug in your ipod, throw on some Rebelution and kick back with a few beers as you enjoy your new one-of-a-kind-super-sick boombox!!

ENJOY

Comments

saribsk (author)2017-06-19

That is frikin beautiful

CharlieR2 (author)2015-04-08

so i am brand new at this diy audio, so is there a way to do it without "exploding" the amp?i have a 750watt amp (i think) and an extra car deck (this way it would be bluetooth as well). is there a way to have a chargeable one? and how would i make it be able to plug into a wall?

ThangN12 (author)CharlieR22015-12-16

Yes, you are right. It distort the mid frequency. Very unpleasant to listen.

TimL8 (author)2015-04-13

Should you not separate the mids and highs so they don't share the same airspace as the bass? Otherwise the pressure from the woofer will make the cones of the mid-drivers dance if you turn it up.

Ozii99 (author)2015-03-22

Looks awesome! How much did you spend on this project?

garygary39 (author)2015-03-05

I know this is an old forum but your box is top notch! It might be a stupid question but the push buttons on plexi what do they do I'd love to build one.

SDgeek (author)garygary392015-03-05

All the buttons do exactly as the they did before on the amp. I really just basically added an 'extension' cord to 'em, I guess you could say.

Thanks for the comment. I was truly happy with the way it came out.

A year after having it and blasting it, to the point of hearing it 9 houses down, i did develop a short or something in it. It still works. Its just that every now and then it gets kinda fuzzy sounding and the fix is a slap to the side of it and all is well. Even my 7 year old knows the drill...gets fuzzy...smack it. Lolz

Toastalicious (author)2012-12-22

I've sourced out all the parts i need, but i need to know how much wire you used haha if you used a whole spool, wire could easily be the most expensive part!

SDgeek (author)Toastalicious2012-12-22

Lol...i wish I could give you a good idea, but I have NO clue on the footage!!! I work at a industrial wiring/mod shop and i scored my wire from there.

The best way to determine footage is to figure out your longest run andthen start adding it all up if wire is gonna be tight. I personally would buy a few small spools instead of a big spool so that you can return anything you dont use or buy it as need be. The only down fall to small spools is the slinky effect. Due to the wire sitting on a spool for a while it starts to take its shape and then you have to straighten it. The best way to straighten coiled wire is to grip it...apply pressure with your thumb/thumb nail to the back of the coil and stroke it. Seems tedious but you WILL get straight wiring that way.

garygary39 (author)SDgeek2015-03-05

I know this is an old forum but your box is top notch! It might be a stupid question but the push buttons on plexi what do they do I'd love to build one.

Toastalicious (author)SDgeek2012-12-24

thanks for the tip! one other thing, i notice you have crossovers for the mid as well as the tweets, but none for the sub?

SmashedWord (author)2014-12-21

sick set up. looking at doing something like this for camping running on 12v any tips?

money bags (author)2014-11-14

Now that is an ultimate speaker great job!!

jayeshshinai (author)2014-08-03

Figured we needed this when i went camping with friends this weekend.
Wondering how would i make it run off a rechargeable battery. And what calculation id have to make.

jtrdfw (author)2013-12-03

That looks incredibly sweet. However, have you thought about making internal enclosures to match the speakers (in particular, the sub). The sound difference is likely to blow you away.

EastWarez (author)jtrdfw2014-05-02

He should have made some enclosures for the smaller speakers so the sub can use the rest of the area, how bigger the area for the sub how better.

EastWarez (author)2014-05-02

Ehhh... question, shouldn't the ports be mounted the other way?... but nice build very clear wiring nice :)

iwanttoolearn (author)2013-08-25

hello i want to put some leds to my boombox and they have to be syncd with the sound. how am i doing?

EastWarez (author)iwanttoolearn2014-05-02

I don't know if you still bother since it's 8 months ago when you posted this comment but get yourself some disco lights who react on bass, you should be able to get those at a store near your house, if not search the Internet you should open it up and use the mainboard of it to hook it up to your led's with some converters to let your leds run of the output voltage of the disco lights

viluuu (author)2013-08-21

Do you have kik or something? Can you help me, with project like this?

EKfkn4 (author)2013-08-01

Awesome write-up! I'll definitely be jumping into this one head first. Quick question, you have a DC jack for charging up top. Does the amp hold a charge? I assumed it had to be plugged in to a 110 outlet.

DustySeven7 (author)2013-05-26

Nice wiring. Just an idea to spice it up and possibly look a bit more clean is to sleeve the cable bundle

millstonemike (author)2012-12-02

This "box" is a thing of beauty. The workmanship is outstaning.

SDgeek (author)millstonemike2012-12-03

Thanks buddy....once I get my wife's crap off my workbench, ive got an inside the house one I've been cooking up

RockinIra (author)2012-09-09

For folks with less electrical skill, that want a loud boom box, just mount the entire assembled amp (an old 1970's stereo receiver), inside a speaker enclosure.

For the solder friendly, relocate the pots for volume, balance and tone, to completely hide the receiver inside the boombox case.

Thunder6322 (author)2012-03-26

If i have a 600 watt subwoofer and to 250 watt tweeters(which is 1100 watts) do i need a 1000 watt amp or 2000 watt amp?

SDgeek (author)Thunder63222012-05-31

Typically the total watts on an amp is split between the channels....simple as that. If you have a 1000 watt 4channel amp each channel will be about 250 watts. Peak that is. You dont, for the most part, run an amp at full power....so peak wattage is kinda bullshit. RMS is the real deal and is what youre actually getting/paying for. The equation is,from what i remember, .7xpeak=rms. Soooooooooooo .7xmy 1100 watt amp=770rms. 770/2=385. My bottom shelf, in a plastic bottle, amp 'should' provide you with about 385 watts of decent dubstep enjoyment.

Thunder6322 (author)SDgeek2012-06-02

Thanks for the equation! Now, I can finally get somewhere.

ASCAS (author)Thunder63222012-05-27

Not necessarily, all you need is to add is the minimum recommended amplifier power.

Thunder6322 (author)2012-05-29

Where would I find that?

ASCAS (author)Thunder63222012-05-31

You can easily find one in "Amazon.com" simply type the amplifier your looking for (ex. 2x50w car amplifier)

gucci113 (author)2012-02-17

you can make a video? would like to hear how it sounds.

antoon (author)2012-02-04

nice !!! i want one of those but i have to little monney so ... :(

mhartnett (author)2012-01-30

any other cheaper ams that you could suggest, i really love the project but i live in ireland and the equivlent amp will cost me about 5 times as much!

SDgeek (author)mhartnett2012-01-30

Any amp will do. Car audio amps would be an excellent choice! You would just need to feed it the right power.

Thunder6322 (author)2012-01-24

I have damaged the solder points on another project. Could you tell me how to repair those?

SDgeek (author)Thunder63222012-01-25

Scratch the varnish off the associated trace as best you can and then bend your terminating wire at a 90 degree angle, then surface solder to the exposed trace. Difficult, yes. Doable, yes.

Google, lifted solder pad repair or something similar and u should have examples galore.

Don't hesitate to ask me for additional help....

Thunder6322 (author)SDgeek2012-01-25

Oh yeah and by the way, I am dealing with surface mount components. I am not having problems with this instructable ( haven't enough knowledge of diy audio yet), so is there any more information that you can give me?

SDgeek (author)Thunder63222012-01-25

You have to be more specific....sorry man

Thunder6322 (author)SDgeek2012-01-26

I might have hit the wrong button on the post comment thing so this might be a repeat. I am replacing smd 0603 LEDs onto an xbox 360 RF module(power button). I was wondering how the LED would work with the wire connected to the copper trace considering the LED has to sit on it's side.

SDgeek (author)Thunder63222012-01-26

I would say who cares....just as long as its connected

Thunder6322 (author)SDgeek2012-01-26

OK. Thanks for your help.

Thunder6322 (author)SDgeek2012-01-25

Thanks, this saved me a little money.

bowmaster (author)2011-10-14

Dang man, I thought I was the king of wiring, but you have me beat. I really like this, now I can make the boombox of my dreams. (dual 8" woofers [one each side], 3" midrange [one each side], and triple 2" tweeters [meaning three each side], for those of you wondering)

SDgeek (author)bowmaster2011-10-17

I fully wanna see it!!

bowmaster (author)SDgeek2011-10-17

Me too, it'll be a while. I have a few projects with higher priority.

SDgeek (author)2011-07-31

Thanks guys...This amp came out very quiet too. As in, noise with no audio. The amp is plenty powerful for this size enclosure. I'm kinda scared to blast it at full volume cuz it seems like it would blow the friggin lid off! If anyone wants help building one of these, just lemme know....

bowmaster (author)SDgeek2011-10-14

I can't imagine how loud this gets, considering my 120watt speakers hurt to listen to at full volume.

vov35 (author)bowmaster2011-10-15

Most speaker systems hurt to listen to at full volume. It's really a question of too much high frequency noise being emitted. That said, these large drivers should deliver plenty of loud, pleasing sound, while the tweeters SHOULD be tuned to prevent that annoying painful tinny noise. I don't know if he actually went ahead and did that....

bowmaster (author)vov352011-10-15

It doesn't hurt because of the pitch, it's just super loud.

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