Introduction: $5 Disposable Audio Annoyance

Ever seen one of those electronics kits for a noise generator, or electronic cricket? How about one for $5 that takes no soldering skills, only much larger? How about if it plays 16MB worth of MP3 instead of just chirping?

I suppose the only "instruction" here is an interesting pair of parts at a good price, since you couldn't get much simpler on assembly. But hey, if it's OK for the throwies, then why not this?

I'm hoping that someone more creative than I will find a good application for this. Noise grafiti? Halloween noises?

Step 1: Buy $5 MP3 Player

I saw a link on the Make blog:
for a really cheap MP3 player. BG Micro is selling MP3 players for $5/ea, quantity 3 or more. I bought 3, I figured I might pull one apart and see what kind of parts they have. You can order this part at If you put in 3 or more, it should give you a $5/per total instead of the $5.95.

Incidentally, I didn't get the first order they shipped via US Priority Mail. I emailed their sales people, and they just reshipped without any hassle or suspicion, nice people.

Open your package, and extract the MP3 player holder in all its glory.

Step 2: Examine the Bits of the $5 MP3 Player

Pull all of the bits of your MP3 player out of the holder.

Step 3: Wonder About the Headphones

Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how I'm supposed to route the combination cord/lanyard thing round my head either. Fortunately, we don't need it for this project, unless you want to test the sound output. Extra parts!

Step 4: Separate Battery Holder From Drive, Put Sound on It

Pull the black and silver pieces apart. Realize that the black piece appears to just be a holder for the AAA battery, and the silver piece is a 16MB USB flash drive with buttons on it.

Insert the USB drive into the USB port of your computer. Copy one or more MP3 files onto it. For this project, I used "Wailing Paddle" by the Rudiments:

Step 5: Insert Battery

Install the (included!) AAA battery into the holder.

Step 6: Attach the Free Speakers

So I frequently shop at yet another electronics surplus site, On one of my orders, I noticed that they were offering free speakers, up to 50 sets. (Though, it adds onto your shipping I imagine.) You can find said speakers here:

I see that now the site seems to imply that you can get up to 100 pairs per order. Let's not get greedy, you know. So, order something else there, you know you want to, and add on a quantity of these speakers. When I first received my 5 sets that I had ordered, I was a little disappointed to see that they were unpowered, and therefore probably had few interesting parts to recover. (But hey, speakers, cables, casing, connectors, etc...) However, the unpowered aspect turns out to suit this particular project.

So I'm sitting there with my new $5 MP3 player, and vaguely recall having a box of unpowered speakers. Hah! Take that, storage space...

Finally, plug all your bits together. If you require additional detail for this step, then I feel embarrased for you.

Press play.

Appropriate duct taping, zip typing or twist tying is left as an exercise. The devices are all stereo I believe, so you could separate the speakers the length of the cord, to some effect. You might even be able to get two distinct sets of sounds out of the two speakers, I haven't experiemented with that yet.

Step 7: Enjoy

Next, I'm guessing that you put it some place where it will drive people batty. I haven't had a chance to try this yet, I just got the MP3 player tonight. Again, I'm hoping that people might find a creative use.

To pre-address some questions I'm sure people will have:

-Yes, it's pretty quiet. For people to notice it, it would have to go into a relatively quiet environment. I have not experimented with cranking the volume in the MP3 file itself. The volume control on the device was all the way up.

-I have not yet tried to figure out how long a battery lasts.

-I have not done any further disassembly on any of the parts shown, yet. I may get to that later. Though, the Make link in Step 1 shows some guts. If there is interest in that, please comment and encourage me to do so.