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USB Speakers Into Portable Battery Powered Speakers!

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I bought a set of super cheap USB powered computer speakers on sale for $4 at my local grocery store a while back. I figured for $4, I couldn't really go wrong. They ended up being underpowered and just all around not great. So I thought with a few slight modifications (new amplifier, internal battery, etc.) I could turn them into a half decent set of travel speakers. Since they were so cheap to begin with, I'm not too worried if they get damaged/destroyed, so they're ideal little speakers to bring on camping trips and the like.

Parts:

-Old computer speakers

-ON/OFF switch

-Female 3.5mm jack

-Replacement amplifier (Optional. You can reuse the original easily, I just wanted a little more power/quality)

-Battery (I used a 1200mAh LiPo I had lying around)

-Charger for battery

-Misc hardware (Depends on your exact speakers)

Tools:

-Soldering iron and solder

-Heat shrink tubing or electrical tape

-Screwdriver (if your speakers are screwed together)

-Tweezers (not necessary, but very handy to get into tight spaces)

-Hot glue gun

-Epoxy/super glue

*Before I begin, I apologize for the lack of pictures from some steps. I got a little too into making it and forgot to take pictures of some of the steps!

I added a video of it playing. Not crazy powerful, but pretty decent for what it is :)

 
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Step 1: Dismantle Speakers

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First thing you need to do is take apart your old computer speakers and see what's inside! Obviously every speaker setup is different, so take yours apart however you need to. Mine simply had four #1 Phillips screws in the back of each speaker housing.

If you're keeping the original amplifier, then be careful when removing it. If not, don't worry too much haha. Mine was really crappy, so I decided to replace it with a 3.8w amplifier from Adafruit that I had in my parts box. It was a good choice since my speakers are 3w and the amplifier can run on anywhere between 3 and 5.5 volts, which is perfect for a lithium polymer battery. I cut the male USB and male 3.5mm cables off as close to the amplifier as I could. They're perfectly good cables and can be reused in another project!

Step 2: Placement Of New Parts

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This step can be a little tricky. It's not at all really difficult, you just sort of have to see if/where all of your new internal parts will fit. You want to try and make everything (amp, battery, charger, ON/OFF switch, 3.5mm jack) fit in one of the speaker housings. This is just so the only wires you will need going between the two housings are the speaker wires.

This is one of the steps that is sort of lacking photos. I apologize. Although every setup will be different, so yours won't likely be identical to mine anyway.

Step 3: Solder It All Together

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Now, you just need to solder all of your components together. Be sure to leave enough extra wire just to make it a bit easier for yourself when you are glueing the parts in later.

Solder the ground pin of your 3.5mm jack to the ground terminal of your amp. Solder the left and right terminals of your jack to the 'L' and 'R' input terminals of your amp.

Solder your speaker wires to the 'L' and 'R' output terminals of your amp.

Now, depending on your battery setup, this part may be a bit different. Since I used a LiPo battery and charger, I wired the charger and battery to one terminal of the switch and then the other terminal of the switch to the amplifier. This way the speakers can be either on or off while charging.

I apologize for the lack of photos in this step. If you check out my Altoids tin speaker system Instructable, the setup is very similar to that and it has a detailed schematic with lots of pictures.

Step 4: Glue It

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Now, get your hot glue gun ready.

Before you glue anything, feed your wires for your second speaker out the back of the housing from the first speaker enclosure (the one with all of the components inside).

I just used a box cutting knife to make a rectangular hole in the top of the housing for my rocker switch as well.

Then just sort of do whatever makes sense. Every setup will be different. For me, it was easiest to glue the amplifier and battery charger in first, since they were the furthest back in the housing. Then I secured the 3.5mm jack through a hole I drilled in the side of the housing. I then attached my switch and mounted my battery. After everything is inside, your speaker will go in last. Cross your fingers that everything fits!

Step 5: Reattach Grilles And Finishing Touches

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Now screw your speakers back together or glue them, depending on how they were originally put together. I lost the screws for mine, so I just epoxy glued them back together. The glue also helps make a better seal and improves sound quality slightly as well.

Afterwards, I plugged the holes in the back where the screws had originally been using some 3.5mm dust plugs and glued them in place.

Step 6: Done!

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Now you've got a cheap portable stereo for camping, the park, your bicycle or whatever!

You can set the speakers up however you like as well. I made it so I can feed the speaker wire back into the second speaker and have them back to back (see pic) or extend the wire and have them side by side!

They turned out great and are mostly made out of recycled parts!

Again, I apologize for the lack of photos and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have :)

Any questions, comments or criticisms always welcome!

FahadA43 months ago

thanks so much

pjoshi6 made it!4 months ago
hey can I use power bank..
it also gives out a dc potential difference of 5v
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This is really cool. I just resurrected an old iPod mini with a 32GB CF card and the battery life isn't what I want. I am going to hack it into a larger battery and hard wire some speakers like this that run off the same battery. This is very helpful.

ctx1985 (author)  josephsmythe1 year ago

Thanks! That sounds like an interesting project! I'm actually planning on doing the cf mod on my original iPod 3G. Does it work alright with your Mini?

nsalman21 year ago

was skeptical at first but, hey! these sound pretty nice! Great job!

ctx1985 (author)  nsalman21 year ago

Thanks a lot :)

newbeatle1 year ago

so nice can you tell me wuere to get the battery charger ? i have a pair of sony ericcson speakers but the amplifier circuit are damaged, maybe with a lm386 do the job for each channel .

thanks in advance, regards from mexico

ctx1985 (author)  newbeatle1 year ago

Thanks! Here's a link to the charger I used:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/370683029370?ssPageName=STR...

Yeah LM386 should definitely do the job!

seems nice and thiny , i suppose you just have to solder the battery there . i'll look for another things to ask for, thanks 4 your info !!

ctx1985 (author)  newbeatle1 year ago

No problem! If you need any help with anything else, just let me know :)

Interesting but what is a LiPo battery? Normally just for enjoyment where do you use KW's of sound? Handy

ctx1985 (author)  KROKKENOSTER1 year ago
Hey Lipo is just short for lithium polymer. Just a type of high capacity rechargeable battery. You'd find them most commonly in cell phones, Mp3 players, small Bluetooth speakers, etc. It is a very handy little stereo :)
agis681 year ago

nice job!

ctx1985 (author)  agis681 year ago

Thanks!

muddog151 year ago
Not that expensive. Thanks!
ctx1985 (author)  muddog151 year ago

No problem!

Farid0071 year ago
You got one more vote in the gadget hacking contest
ctx1985 (author)  Farid0071 year ago

Thank you very much! :)

Janolucero1 year ago

cool i'm doing this on my free time!

ctx1985 (author)  Janolucero1 year ago

Thanks! It's a great little rainy day project :)

Matt Carl1 year ago

Great job man! do you have any links to those specific speakers? Have been looking for some cheap computer speakers!

ctx1985 (author)  Matt Carl1 year ago

Hey thanks a lot! Here is a link to them with their basic information. I can't find a link to buy them online at the moment. I'm Canadian but living in Poland at the moment and I got the speakers on sale at a local grocery store. Here's the link anyways:

http://www.media-tech.eu/products/speakers/MT3140R

Maybe you can find a set used on eBay or something? I'll keep trying to find them for sale online though and will post a link if I can find one. Hope this helps a bit at least :)

awesome bro....but did u used regulated battery charger?
ctx1985 (author)  tejas1996241 year ago

Thanks dude! Yeah...It's a cheap Chinese one, but works fine, plus the battery has a protections circuit built in to protect it from under/over charge as well.

muddog151 year ago
Cost of building from scratch?
ctx1985 (author)  muddog151 year ago

I'd say about $16.00. Battery originally cost me like $10, speakers were $4, switch was $0.60, battery charger came from China on ebay for around $1.50 originally.

Nice build, great photos!

ctx1985 (author)  craftclarity1 year ago

Thanks so much!