AMPLFY - Ammo Box Portable Speaker!

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Introduction: AMPLFY - Ammo Box Portable Speaker!

Do you want to know how to build the best portable speaker, which looks great and sounds even better? This portable speaker will out perform most portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. This speaker is perfect for fishing, camping, the beach, worksites, parties and especially festivals.

This Instructable will go through the basics of how to build your own portable speaker. This speaker features; Bluetooth, FM Radio, Remote Control, Micro SD Card Input, USB Input and AUX input and has amazing 30 hours playtime. That’s more than most portable speakers. We will also go through how to add a solar panel and a phone charger.

You don’t have to be an electronics wizard to make this speaker, as long as you can follow instructions you should be fine. If you still need an extra hand after this instructable, we are offering videos and diagrams so there really is no excuse.

Because this speaker has been so popular, we have launched a crowd funding campaign, to allow as many people to experience the joy of building something they will want to use every single day. We will be offering updates including, how to make it Solar Powered, How to add a Phone Charger, How to give it a professional Paint Job and How to add a touch-screen monitor with Internet Radio.

What’s more because we have launched a crowd funding campaign, we are able to order parts in bulk and recycle components. Therefore if successful we will be able to give all of our backers the opportunity to build their own speaker, at a fraction of the cost that would be paid if each component was bought brand new and separately.

We have also teamed up with our Local Electronic Waste Centre, and literally have thousands of high quality 18650 lithium-ion batteries on hand and ready to go into our speakers.

We are also working with a Social Enterprise to assemble our kits and our Battery Packs – which would usually be too difficult and dangerous for the average Instructables user. In doing so, we are able to provide training and support for people with disabilities and others seeking long-term employment, and reduce the complexity of the build to make it as easy as possible for our builders.

If you like the sound of this speaker, we are using the power of the crowd to get the parts as cheap as possible. We are effectively doing a 'group buy' through our crowd funding campaign to order parts in bulk to save you money. What's more you will also get access to our lithium ion batteries, which are very expensive to buy brand new.

Here is a link to the Campaign: http://bit.ly/1NONSY5

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Specs and Features:

· Bluetooth Audio (Up to 10m’s)

· 2 x 4” Co-axial Speakers – 15 watt. (Matched to the enclosure and the amplifier)

· 20 Watt Tri-path Class-D Amplifier

· 11.1 Volt Lithium Ion Battery Pack 10 Ah (lasts up to 30 hours)

· Aux Input

· USB Input

· Remote Control

· Micro SD Card

For those of you in Australia - we will be giving away a free speaker in the next couple of weeks. To stay in the loop and find out how you can get it, Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/amplfyspeakers

Step 1: Kit Components:

1. Switch on/off

2. Led Voltmeter

3. Ground Loop Isolator

4. DC Power Socket

5. Fuse

6. Screw Terminal

7. Ammo Box

8. Amplifier

9. Battery 11.1v, 10 Ah (30 Hours)

10. 12v Battery Charger

11. Speakers

12. LED Control Panel

13. Remote Control

Step 2: Where to Source Essential Components:

Essential Components and where to source:

If you are trying to save money and live in Australia, I would recommend purchasing the kit via our Crowd Funding Campaign – this way the speakers match the amplifier and the enclosure and you will save money and time sourcing the components. However if you don’t live in Australia, There are many other ways to get most of the components.

Here is the link: http://bit.ly/1NONSY5

Speakers:

I would suggest recycling ‘bookshelf’ speakers that are rated at about 8 ohms. You can check this with a multimeter. The speakers will sound great at this level, and will not drain the battery too fast. Good places to look are curb side collections and check your local listings (trading post, craigslist etc). You can usually pick some up for about $20, or sometimes even free.

Battery:

We use high quality Samsung Lithium-ion Batteries that have been recycled from old laptops. Why Samsung? Because they make some of the best and safest batteries in the world. It is not recommended to dismantle laptop battery packs, if you have little experience doing so.

Instead of Lithium-ion you can use a 12v Sealed Lead Acid Battery. However they are much heavier, and not as efficient as lithium-ion. They also do not have over-charge and discharge protection. Therefore it is very easy to damage the battery.

Ammo Box:

We source ammo boxes in bulk from our Supplier, however you can usually buy Ammo Boxes from camping stores and ex-military stores for a bit extra.

Ground Loop Isolator:

You will need this if you want to use Bluetooth. If you don’t you will hear a very annoying buzzing and humming sound. You can usually pick these up from your local electronics store.

Amplifier:

I would recommend purchasing any Class-D Tripath Amplifiers: Lepai TA2020 are a favourite amongst low budget DIYers.

The following can be purchased from your local electronics DIY shop:

Fuse

DC Power Socket: 2.5mm x 5.5mm

Voltmeter

Switch

Charger: 12Volts 1 - 2 amps.


Step 3: Tools and Materials Required:

Tools and Equipment Required:

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Wire Strippers
  • Glue
  • Multi-meter
  • Soldering Iron
  • Screw Driver

Note: If you live in Australia and don't have the tools such as Soldering Iron, Drill, Jigsaw etc. We have you covered, we offer kits which don't need those tools. Check out the perks here: http://bit.ly/1NONSY5

Materials Required

  • MDF Wood (Optional if you want to insulate the inside of the box)
  • Screws and nuts
  • Heat shrink
  • Crimp Terminals (female sockets)
  • Wire - this can be easily recycled.

Step 4: Plan Where Components Will Be Placed in the Box.

This can be one of the most important steps:

You need to plan where each component will go, as well as the general flow of wires.

If you don't do this properly, you might regret it. Make sure none of the components are interfering with each other. Specifically pay attention to the magnets on the speaker driver and other components such as the switch, voltmeter and LED module.

Check out the picture to see where my components are placed.

Step 5: Cut Holes for Components and Speakers:

This step is fairly self explanatory. Essentially cut out holes for each of the components.

Please wear the appropriate protective gear: Hearing Protection and Eye protection: It is very loud, and little metal bits fly everywhere.

If you have never done this before, I would seek the guidance from someone who has.

1. Plan where each component will be placed.

Taking note of the of depth of the component, and where each component will fit.

2. Pencil in the measurements of each component on the Ammo Box.

  • For the speakers, use a fine pencil and find another object with the same diameter as the speaker (mounted size). Use this object to trace your circle. You can also make a stencil.

3. Cut out holes for each of the components.

Make sure you use a piece of wood as a brace on the inside of the box, so you don't bend the ammo box. (See Picture)

4. Place and Screw in all of the components and Speakers


Note: You will need to drill a hole first to fit in the blade of the jigsaw so you can cut out the holes to the desired size. Make sure you drill the hole inside the area you are cutting.

Tools that will get the job done:

  1. Nibblers
  2. Metal Hole Saw (If you find the right size)
  3. Jigsaw, with a metal cutting blade.

Step 6: Insulate the Inside of the Ammo Box

In order to improve the sound and quality of the speakers, it is best to insulate the inside of the box with MDF board, Butyl or Foam. By Insulating the inside of the box with material that is not conductive, you will also eliminate the the chance of accidentally short-circuiting wires. The speaker will also sound better!!

Step 7: Want to Paint It? Nows the Time.

Sand down the Ammo Box:

Tip: I would recommend using a sanding block:

  • Use coarse grit first
  • Followed by fine grit sandpaper (to make the surface nice and smooth)

Completely Clean the Ammo Box:

This will be the last opportunity you get to clean the Ammo Box Properly.

First Coat of Metal Prime

Apply the first coat of metal prime, use as directed.

Apply Paint

Apply the first coat of paint. (Follow the directions)

Note: There will be drying times between each layer, however it will depend on what paint or primer you use. Please read the instructions carefully.

Step 8: Plan Wiring and Components.

In this step, it is best to plan the route of each wire and the placement of the components. I would recommend drawing up a wiring schematic, detailing where each of the wires would be connected, along with where all of the components are placed.

The Wiring will be broken down into 4 steps.

1. First Connect all of the Positive Wires

2. Connect all of the Negative Wires

3. Connect the Audio Signal Cable Wires.

4. Connect the Speaker Wires.

More detail will be explained in the following steps:

Note: If you do not know how to wire the cables together now, read on to find out how the cables will be connected.

Step 9: Wire the Positive Cables

Note: The screw terminal will have two sections, one section is for all of the positive power cables, and the other section (negative section) is for the black ground cables. I have mounted the screw terminal to the bottom panel of the Ammo Box, so that it doesn't move.

Tip: Positive cables are usually red. Ground cables are usually black.

Wire the Positive Cables to the same port (section) of the Screw Terminal

1. Wire the Battery to the Switch (top pole of the switch)

2. Wire the Switch to the Screw Terminal (second pole of the switch)

3. Wire the Positive volt meter cable to the positive section of the screw terminal

4. Wire the Positive LED panel to the to the positive section of the screw terminal

5. Wire the positive cable from the Amplifier to the positive section of the screw terminal.

Do not short circuit by connecting the positive wire to the negative port of the screw terminal. You may damage components.

Note: Do not wire the ground cable from the audio signal cables to the terminal. They will be wired further in the instructable to the corresponding audio signal cables.

Step 10: Wire the Negative Cables

Wire all of the Negative (Ground) Cables to the other side of the Screw Terminal.

1. Battery to Screw Terminal

2. LED Black To Screw Terminal

3. Voltmeter Black to Screw Terminal

4. Amplifier Ground Cable (Black) to Screw Terminal.

Note: Once again, do not wire any audio signal cables to the screw terminal (including the Audio Ground Cable). These will be wired in the next step.

Step 11: Wire the Audio Cables.

Wire the left, right and ground audio signal cables from the LED bluetooth control panel to the Ground Loop Isolator.

You will need to cut the plugs off each end of the ground loop isolator to expose the wires. One wire will be white, with shielding (ground) and the other wire will be red (right) with shielding (ground).

Wire the Left, Right, and Ground (shielding wires) to the corresponding wires on the Bluetooth Module and also on the amplifier.

Note: This step can be skipped, however you will hear a loud humming noise when ever you choose to use bluetooth.

Step 12: Wire the Speakers to the Amplifier

Wire the Left and Right Channels of each speaker to the Left and Right Channels of the Amplifier.

Step 13: Add Solar Panel and Phone Charger

The batteries we use for our speakers have an inbuilt Battery Management System, which prevents damage via over-charge and over dis-charge. If you are using lithium-ion batteries you will need to use a BMS system.

Solar Panel:

It is safe to wire a solar panel to the battery management system. However you will need to add in a blocking diode to prevent the solar panel from discharging the battery when it is not in sunlight.

Phone Charger:

You will need a 12v lighter socket. Wire the positive (+) cable to the positive terminal on the screw terminal and wire the ground cable to the negative (-) section on the screw terminal.

You will need to have an appropriate adapter to plug into the 12v lighter socket to charge your phone, any usb adapter should be fine.

Step 14: Enjoy the Sound

Congrats!

Music will never sound as good, as to hear it come from something you made for yourself!

If you liked this instructable and you want to see more: Support our Campaign: Here is the link. http://bit.ly/1NONSY5 - If you live in Australia you can get all of the components necessary at a cheaper price than buying them brand new. If you live elsewhere it is best to recycle as many components as possible to bring the price down.

If you are having trouble with the instructions, we go into more detail and offer videos and diagrams going through every step involved in the build. Look for the speaker instructions perk in the Campaign here:http://bit.ly/1NONSY5

It is less than a coffee and will go towards delivering more excellent instructables in the future, such as 3D Printers and Electronic Bikes.

Thanks!

4 People Made This Project!

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60 Discussions

The fuse what size fuse do you use and what type of a fuse holder

Thanks for this. It's by far the best guide I've seen on this so far.

I'm using a Wondem 2x50 JAB2 amp from Sure electronics which handles the battery charging and has bluetooth built in.

If I wire the voltmeter to the positive and negative of the power in of the amp, will it also pick up the voltage when it is running on battery?

I think I'll need to test this once my batteries arrive..

1 reply

To add to this, the switch in the above turns off the battery and AC power at the same time right?

I have just finished mine. It has a bit "box sound". Maybe a bass reflex hole helps it? At higher volume and bass levels the handle is vibrating loudly. Maybe some strong magnets at the inner side of the lid will hold it.

WP_20160623_13_27_20_Pro.jpg

currently trying to make this right now. However, I got a few questions since I have to source most of the supplies online. I have a photo of what I plan on getting for the speaker, amp, ground loop isolator, and power cord. However, since I source most of my supplies through amazon, I am not sure if I have those items right and cannot seem to find a led voltmeter, screw terminal, battery charger, battery pack, led control panel, or remote control. I've got the on/off switch, and I think I purchased the correct 10v fuse. Any help on what I need to get and where to get it?

image.jpeg
1 reply

I found ebay to be a better source of electronic components; they often come direct from China for much, much cheaper than you'll get them in a western shop front on ebay. Here are what I used:

Voltmeter: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-3-2-30V-Ammeter-Red-LED...

MP3 player with remote control: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Digital-LED-12V-MP3-Pl...

18650 BMS: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4A-5A-BMS-Protection-Board...

To charge 18650 batteries, you just put the appropriate voltage (IE, 3.7V on each one, what they output when charged) across them, with +3.7V to the positive terminal, 0V to the negative. However, because they're temperamental and bad things happen when you overcharge them or allow them to completely discharge, you can wire them to a battery management system (BMS). This will cut off the voltage to them when they are charged, and will disconnect them from the load before they go completely flat. Basically, wire your batteries into the BMS as indicated in the BMS instructions, and then wire the load terminals on the BMS in *parallel* with the 12V coming from the mains adaptor. Then the BMS will charge the batteries when the adaptor's plugged in.

18650 cells: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-SAMSUNG-ICR18650-30A-3...

18650 battery holders: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5pcs-Plastic-Battery-Holde...

Since 18650s really don't like being exposed to high temperatures (IE, may explode) it's probably better to spend a couple of dollars on holders; it looks neater and you can easily swap cells out if needs be.

Thanks for posting this. I am attempting to make one as well. My challenge is that I cannot figure out how to build the battery pack. I have 20 or so 18650's. How do I build the pack so that I don't burn down the house? The amp I am using requires 12v. Thanks for the help.

5 replies

Usually, CR18650 are 4.2-3.7 V. You should start by charging them and test them all with a multimeter to be sure that they are the right voltage (approx 4.2 when fully charged). Basically, if you connect 3 batteries in series (that is the + in the - of the other battery), the voltages will add, and you will have a 12.8-11.1 V battery, which is exactlly what you need. For my speaker, I used 3 cheap 9800 mAh CR18650, which gives me approx 3 hours of listen time (because they are not actually 9800 mAh. It is just not possible for a 2$ CR18650).

If you want to improve the capacity,you have two options.

A : You can do multiple packs of 3 CR18650 connected in series. Then, you can connect all the packs in parrallel (the + of each pach together and the - of each pack together). The total capacity will then be the capacity of one of your battery times the number of packs connected.

B : You can make 3 packs of x CR18650 batteries connected in parallel, and then connect those 3 packs in series. The total capacity will then be x times the capacity of one battery (x being the number of batteries in one pack). Should you choose this method, you must make sure that all the battery packs have the same capacity, of you will end up wasting some charge.

If you use only one pack and your batteries includes on overcharge/overdischarge circuit, there shall be no problems. However, if you are planning to connect multiple packs in parrallel, I would suggest you use a BMS (Battery Management System), as this type of configuration is more prone to errors. The BMS will disconnect your batteries if they charge or discharge too fast, of if their temperature is too high.

To make the actual battery pack, if you do not have access to a spot welder, I would suggest you read the instructions on this site : https://www.inlandhobby.com/v/vspfiles/files/battery_pack/building_rc_battery_packs.htm. It explains how to make a battery pack with a regular soldering iron.

Thanks for the in-depth response. We use 12 or 24 batteries, wired at 11.1 volts in our speakers.

Have you any instructable To do the battery i
Have many 18650 batteries but don't know to donthe battery, sorry for my English I'm Spanish,
Need a bms to control charge and discharge the battery? What model?

Thanks

Thank you FrançoisL14. I really appreciate your help. A couple of questions. First, could you repost the link in the last paragraph please? It was cut off and I cannot find the page you are referencing. I understand everything you are saying however I need some more information on making the series/parallel packs. I think the link you have provided may be of help to me.

I made a pack where I created 4 series packs of 3 in each and then attempted to wire in parallel with a balance lead for charging. I have no idea if I did it right. I am a little worried haha. It is sitting on the floor in the garage. I started to charge it at .5 amps. Seems to be charging find but I think the individual cell readout on the charger is off. Probably due to the way I wired the balance leads.

please give me the instrucitons to do the battery, its so difficult for me, need pcb bms?

Where did you get the BMS? Does it automatically cut off when it's done charging, discharging, and if the cells have different voltage?

2 replies

I got the BMS on eBay, just type in 3S BMS and plenty will pop up. Yes it automatically cuts off after charging and discharging.

Ok cool thank you very much :) I just mounted a couple 4 inch drivers on a 30 cal can, just waiting for lepai 2020. I have to rely on ACDC power supply first before I make my 18650 setup.

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RickG5

2 years ago

I love how the LED panel works with the aesthetic of the ammo tin; it looks like a stereo from a Robocop movie. Is that a car stereo that you've hooked up to the 12V supply, or is it some other kind of media player? I'd guess at car stereo, but I've never seen one with mounting screwholes.

1 reply

Never mind. Had some trouble searching ebay in the UK, just got car stereos. If anyone's in the same boat, try searching "Ultra 12V Car LED Bluetooth MP3 WMA Decoder Audio Module Board USB TF FM Radio" or variations thereof.

Awesome , thank you for the update. Very much appreciated.

I had a question, since the campaign is closed, is there any other way to get my hands on the complete wiring instructions?