Retro 80's Speaker - Reborn!



Introduction: Retro 80's Speaker - Reborn!

This project is on how to make an outdoor speaker unit for use in the garden, on outdoor trips, vacation, festivals etc. It has a very long battery life that last for multiple days, a minijack input to not waste battery for wireless connections and a very nice retro design!

I first bought this speaker 5 years ago, when I saw it in a thrift-store and just couldn't resist it's amazing 80's look with square speaker units. Back then I tried making into a portable speaker using stuff I had laying around and a lot of hot glue! Now I thought it was time to give it back it's respect and a nice upgrade!

Step 1: Making a New Backplate

The first thing I did was to make a new backplate for it to have a clean "workspace", for this I used a water resistant plate of wood veneer.

Step 2: Mark Up Elements

After having gathered all of the needed elements I found out where to place them and drew this onto the backplate.

For the amplifier unit I just unmounted the frontpanel and used this as a template for the cutouts.

These elements was the following:

- Amplifier (Bass + Volume + Treble)

- On/Off switch

- DC female plug for charging

- Minijack female plug for music in

Step 3: Drill / Cut Out Holes

After having placed and drawn all of the elements on to the backplate, I drilled / cut them using a drill and a jigsaw.

Notice how I used multiple drill-sizes in the same holes, since the elements didn't have long enough threads for the backplate.

Step 4: Painting the Backplate

After having made all of the needed holes and checked that the components would fit. I spray-painted the backplate black to get the same color as the rest of the speaker unit.

Step 5: Instal Elements

When the paint had dried after some 10 minutes, I installed the different elements in their places.

/Make sure to make space for the soldering when installing the different elements/

Step 6: Instal and Fasten the Battery

For the battery I wanted the largest I could fit inside, so that the speaker would have the longest possible battery life. I found an old 12V scooter battery that fit just perfect!

To fasten the battery I placed it inside the speaker casing, closest to the back plate possible. I then drew up lines around it, removed the battery and placed screws to keep it in place. After doing this I placed the battery back in the casing and locked it in there / fixating it using two screws on each side as in the last photo.

Step 7: Wire It Up!

After the battery was in place I found the needed parts for wiring the whole thing together, which took me around 20 minutes.

The first thing iIdid was to locate the different places to solder on the PCB board, for both the power supply and on/off switch. I then soldered the switch in place, the power supply with adapter cables for the battery and finally the minijack input, where i used an old minijack/RCA cable.

For all of the wires I tried to make them as short as possible, so that they wouldn't shake inside the speaker, but long enough that I still could mount / unmount the backplate.

Step 8: Making a Handle

Since this was going to be a mobile speaker unit, I choose to make a handle for it. I basically just played around with some rope I had and found this "knot" that gave me a thicker handle and looked somehow nice.

Step 9: Adding Rubber Feet

Before finishing it up, I installed four rubber feet on the bottom and drilled four small holes on the backplate (not alining up with the old ones) for screws to fasten the backplate.

Step 10: Finalizing

The only thing left now, was to screw on the backplate, charge it and enjoy hours of loud music!

Step 11: Testing and Having Fun ;)

Step 12: Part List & Links

Old speaker unit - 15DKK (2,5$/2€) - Bought from local thrift-store

Speaker amplifier - 110DKK (18$/15€) - Bought from

12V Scooter battery - 60DKK (9,5$/8€) - Bought from local car/scooter store /reused/

12V Battery charger DC plug - 60DKK (9,5$/8€) - Bought from local car/scooter store /reused/

3,5mm mini-jack socket plug - 2DKK (0,32$/0,24€) - Bought on

On/Off toggle 2-pin - 1DKK (0,16$/0,13€) - Bought on

DC power supply jack socket - 0,8DKK (0,13$/0,11€) - Bought on

TOTAL COST 238,5DKK (37,8$/32€)

Audio Contest 2017

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Audio Contest 2017

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