Introduction: Sony PSP Audio Docking Station

Some time ago, I got a Sony PSP by chance. Actually, my parents won it as a prize at a town fete.

I am not fond of video games, but I like the PSP's capability as multimedia player (video, MP3 files and Wi-Fi Internet radio). Compared to most of the MP3 portable players, PSP is not pocketable but it has a large display and the handy control buttons make file browsing and playing very comfortable. When connected to a pair of amplified speakers, PSP is a convenient MP3 player for home use. Obviously, this basic setup (second picture) makes PSP owners jealous of iPod people, who have a large choice of stylish audio stations. Indeed, the Instructables community has produced a lot of home-made iPod stations. I was inspired by this project for its style and finishing:

On the other hand, the choice of PSP stations is poor and strongly oriented towards gamers. Most of them are very small and deliver a sound that needs a bit more amplification than the built-in mini-speakers (third picture) are capable of. That is why I decided to build an audio station capable of producing decent sound quality, by transforming a pair of amplified speakers in a small PSP audio docking station. Of course, the sound quality will strongly depend on the speakers employed in the project.

What you need:

Amplified computer speakers
MDF or plywood board (8 to 10 mm thick)
Wood glue and hot glue
Small drywall screws
Sand paper
Office drawing hardware: paper, set-square, ruler, pencil, and calculator
Electric hardware: soldering iron, electric wire, electric tape, connectors, stereo audio jack
Tools: electric jigsaw, minidrill ("Dremel") with some accessories, hand modelling saw, screwdrivers,

Let's go into the "making of"!

Step 1: Design

As I stated in my first Instructable, design is a mix of form and function.

The form:
I wanted to give the object a style that goes well with the PSP's rounded silhouette. Therefore I started with a rounded shape in my mind. Obviously, I wanted my station to be original, not similar to any other market products. As for my previous instructable ( ), the overall structure was designed inclined backward. I like this features as it gives a sort of dynamic look.

The function:
The audio station should have a small footprint that can be placed anywhere. Moreover, a handle could be integrated, for ease of carrying. After some attempts and sketches, I arrived to the design below:

Step 2: Dismantle the Speakers

A screwdriver is usually sufficient to dismantle the computer speakers. All the parts, except the plastic case, have been re-used in the docking station:

- transformer
- electronic circuit board and sound controls
- loudspeakers
I re-used the cheap original loudspeakers, but a better sound would be obtained using better loudspeakers.
Before disconnecting or cutting the wires, I labelled them and marked the positive contact of the loudspeakers.

Step 3: Fitting the Electronics on the Case

In my draft design I planned to place all the electronics in the front panel. My objective was to keep the station compact, therefore the width and height were determined by fitting all the components on the panel. To make things easy, I used a cardboard box, which was also convenient for transferring the design to the MDF board. I started from the bottom, marking the position of the components and the holes to be cut for mounting.

The original sound controls (on/off switch, volume, tone, and indicator LED) were fixed on a plastic panel and the circuit board was directly held by the control wheels. For simplicity, I kept the original plastic panel with all the electronics fixed on it. I trimmed the plastic panel to reduce its height to a minimum (pictures 3 and 4). A rectangular hole was necessary to insert the circuit board in the sound station. As you can see in the pictures, the first position of the switch panel was the left bottom corner. In the final version it was placed on the right.

In the original case the loudspeakers were mounted from inside. In my audio station I inserted from outside as this made the assembling easier. These speakers required 70 mm holes.

PSP holder and audio connector
I simply placed the PSP on the design and drew round it it with a pencil. This gave the perfect position of the holders and the audio jack. The audio jack and its wire came from an old pair of headphones. It is L shaped and needed a slot cut for fixing it and letting the audio wire enter the case.

The handle
I designed a horizontal rounded slot just over the PSP for handy transportation.

Step 4: Sizing the Enclosure.

After designing the complex front panel, I sized the speaker enclosure. For an optimal sound result, the volume of this box should suit the specifications of the original loudspeakers. In this project the specifications of the cheap loudspeakers were unknown, therefore it was not possible to calculate an optimal volume. This not a real hindrance, since this is not a hi-fi system. Anyway, the plastic case of the original speakers was very small and I thought that a slightly larger volume should have been beneficial for reproduction of bass frequencies. The wood material should also help to improve the sound.

Panel list
BK: back
T: top
B: bottom
LR: side right
LL: side left
M: middle

Step 5: Tracing and Cutting the Panels.

I used 10 mm thick MDF for the front panel, because with this material it is easy to obtain very smooth rounded edges. The side and back panels were made of 8 mm plywood.

The front panel was traced on the MDF panel simply by placing the cardboard template on it (first picture). The side and back panels were drawn on the plywood with the help of a ruler and a square.

I used an electric jigsaw to cut all the panels. The plywood could be easily cut with a hand modelling saw, but 10 mm MDF is a too dense for hand sawing!

Step 6: Assembling the Case

The first stage of assembly involves the side box panels. Before final glueing, I checked if all the parts fitted well together (first picture). The left and right panel were not identical. I clamped them together and trimmed the borders until the two panels overlapped perfectly (second picture)

A thin layer of woodglue was spread onto the contact surfaces and borders. The parts to be assembled were placed on a horizontal flat surface and tightened with two screw clamps and elastic bands (third picture). The back panel was put in the assembly but not glued. It was in place just to help keep all the panels at the right place. To avoid glueing the back panel, I separated it with an aluminium foil.

Take care the glue does not fix the box to the bench surface!

Step 7: Finishing and Sanding the Panels.

The upper back corner of the side panels was rounded using the jigsaw and sand paper (picture 1). The edges of the side panels and front panel, including the handle hole, were also rounded and smoothed with sand paper.
Two narrow vertical plywood bands were fixed in the inner surface of the side panel in order to form a frame, onto which the back panel can be screwed (picture 2). After the glue was properly dry, the case was assembled with the front panel.
An additional finishing step was to groove the front panel following the shape of the switch panel and of the metallic frame of the speakers. In this way these parts perfectly fitted the panel surface without any protuberances (picture 4 and 5).

Step 8: PSP Docking

Two stands were designed following the shape of the PSP bottom corners.
The left stand includes the audio jack, which plugs into the PSP line-out when the console is docked. Fitting the audio jack needed a hole in the front panel and a groove in the back side of the left stand. The PSP was placed onto the panel in its final position and the audio jack was plugged in it. In this way it was possible to mark the hole to be drilled. A similar procedure was applied in order to mark the groove to be cut in the stand.
The right stand could include the 5 Volts DC plug to charge the battery. This could be very convenient. I did not include this plug in the box, because I preferred to keep the AC/DC adapter separated. In any case, the charging inlet remains accessible when the PSP is docked.
The two stands were fixed on the panel with some screws to check their alignment and then unmounted for painting.

Step 9: Painting

The whole box was painted with three layers of gloss white spray paint. The plastic switch panel was also painted taking care to protect the electronics from spraying. The red LED was protected with a small piece of modelling clay.

Step 10: Mounting the Electronics

I started by screwing the docking stands. The audio jack needs to be firmly fixed since it is pushed and pulled each time the PSP is docked. If the jack is loose you can use some hot glue to fill the small gap.

Before going on, all the wires were connected and soldered. They include the input stereo wire, the two speaker output wires and power input from the transformer to the amplifier. After soldering, I screwed the switch/control panel. The transformer was then fixed on the bottom panel using hot glue. The AC input cable of the transformer was terminated with a screw connector. The power cord was passed through the back panel by a hole and blocked with some glue to prevent it being pulled it off the box. Before closing the box, I performed a rapid test to check if it worked! For a final finishing touch the heads of the visible screws (switch panel) were carefully hidden with small circles of white adhesive tape.
After closing the back panel the sound was okay. It still remained to dress the naked loudspeakers.

Step 11: Speaker Cover

I designed a speaker cover with a shape similar to the PSP. As raw material, I choose a transparent empty chocolate box. Eh! Eh! If you love DIY, do not throw away this smart, useful material! It is polystyrene (PS); transparent but fragile.

I cut the panel off the box using a hand modelling saw. It is very difficult to use electric tools with this plastic, because the blade warms up during sawing and melts the plastic.
After cutting the covering panel, I put it in place and marked the position of the speakers and of the outer screws. To allow sound to pass through, I drilled a dense grid of small holes (2.5 mm diameter). For this delicate drilling, I used an electric screwdriver, because the rotary tool turns too fast, even at the lower speed, and melts the plastic. The screwdriver is OK, but very slow, therefore drilling all the holes took almost two hours!

At this point I got a transparent cover (picture 4). I painted the back side with silver acrylic paint. The front side keeps the glossy plastic surface, perfect without painting. The cover was mounted with the four outer most screws of the speakers. I made some small cylindrical spacers to be separate the speakers from the cover.
he back side with silver acrilic paint. The front side keeps the glossy plastic surface, perfect without painting. The cover was mounted with the four outer most screws of the speakers. I made some small cilindric spacers to be separate the speakers from the cover.

Step 12: Enjoy Your Multimedia Station

Et voila! A newly designed multimedia station is ready for use. It looks great in my living room!

A possible improvement would be to allow for charging in the frame. A second jack for battery charging could be included in the right PSP holder. The mounting of the DC jack would be similar to the audio jack and the small power supplier could be hidden inside the case. In this way a unique cord would power both the amplifier and the battery charger.

Thanks for your attention and many thanks to Kiteman for correcting English spelling.

Please rate this Instructable!