Introduction: Azurophone - a Marvelous Steampunk Bluetooth Speaker
Good day gentle reader. This is Professor Thaddeus Westfield, the world traveller and explorer. Many of you know me from my recent adventures in Ceylon where I was able to procure several marvelous specimens and devices that made me the toast of the Crown Heads of Europe. I am here today to relate to you a fantastical and spurious tale off my latest adventure during which I had the supreme fortune to procure the Azurophone: the mysterious device that you see illustrated above.
Recently The Royal Explorer's society sent me on a new expedition to the Near East. It was there, whilst in Constantinople that I came across a small shop of curiosities in the local Bazaar. The proprietor told me that he had just acquired a marvelous new oddity that I might be interested in. He took me to a small dimly lit anteroom where on a marble plinth, illuminated from a single shaft of light from above, sat "The Box". I approached slowly and examined its marvels. It was small, wooden with brass colored embellishments and had a curious lion finial. The markings on the box along with the lion suggested to me that this was an ancient device most likely associated with the arts and practices of a secret society. In my learned opinion, the origin was most likely Rosicrucian or even Ordo Templi Orientis. On further examination I discovered that this exquisite device was an Instrument of Communication, capable of receiving mysterious signals through the Ether and incredibly translating them into beautiful musical tomes. It was most likely used by that ancient society during their Occult Rituals as a method of communication with their Supreme Interdimentional Seer.
Once lost to the ages, I conjecture that the device reappeared briefly in the Harem of a local Oriental Potentate who used the device to amaze and woo his many Courtesans and Concubines.
Again lost, it has now reappeared. I have taken the liberty to name the device the Azurophone because of its mysterious blue glass vessel which is a sign to all as to when it's receiving its signals from far far away in the Ether.
Once I returned home I sought out my friend and confidant, the man commonly known as "The Nizzy" to examine this marvelous instrument and determine how it functions. I hoped that he might be able to understand its mysteries and in doing so be able to reproduce this device so that it's marvels could be used for the greater good. I will now sign off and allow The Nizzy to explain, in the common vernacular, his findings and instructions on how to make such a device for your amazement, knowledge and pleasure........
Step 1: Introduction
Every Tuesday I have a date with MeeMaw. I take her grocery shopping to the Piggly Wiggly and then across the street to the Goodwill. MeeMaw likes to shop at the Goodwill for her house dresses and slippers cause she's convinced that she won't be around much longer and why would she spend good money on stuff thats just gonna be given away when she's "called home". Anyways, while at the Goodwill, I found a box. It was a wooden box with a lion on top and it had a clock in it. It probably was a guy's jewelry box, because girls don't usually store their stuff in clock boxes with a lion on it. I thought that this would make a great Bluetooth Speaker. I love Steampunk design and knew that I could transform this old box with recycled materials into a Steampunk work of art!
Once I finished it, I showed to to my friend who is big into Steampunk. Man, he flipped out when he saw it!! In the local Steampunk Community he goes by the name Prof. Thaddeus Westfield. But his real name is Kevin. I've known him since the third grade. He's great guy, just kind of eccentric. Oops, I guess I shouldn't have outed him, but whatever. Just hope I didn't make "Thad" mad. Get it? Get it?
Any who, I thought this build would make a great Instructable. It will show you how I made a small Bluetooth speaker from easily obtained components and how I embellished this box to make it a Steampunk design.
Step 2: Materials for the Bluetooth Speaker
For this project I used the following materials:
PAM8403 5V 3W+3W amplifier
USB Bluetooth Audio Receiver
USB Female Type A Female DIP socket
Murata NKE0505SC (Isolated DC DC convertor to eliminate ground loops)
(2) 470 Ohm resistor
(1) 22K Ohm resistor
3" speaker (salvaged)
Misc Mounting Hardware
5V DC power supply
The goal of this project was to use a small amplifier that could be run off of either a 5V power supply, a USB port, or even a power bank. The 3W+3W PAM8403 fit the bill. It was small and powerful enough for this application. Since this was going to be a mono speaker, I had to combine the left and right channels of the audio signal to feed into one channel of the amplifier. In order to do this, I used a resistor array to mix the signals and to provide an impedance load to the amplifier. I wanted to run both the Bluetooth receiver and amplifier off a single power supply. In order to eliminate the possibility of ground loop interference, I used a Murata isolated DC/DC convertor to isolate the power going to the Bluetooth receiver. The 3" speaker for this project was scavenged from an old radio. The 5V power supply was an old cell phone charger.
Step 3: Schematic and Bluetooth Amplifier Build
The amplifier and Bluetooth were built on a protoboard according to the above schematic. Pics of the components that I used and the assembled protoboard is shown above.
Step 4: Fitting the Speaker
The box originally had a clock built into its lid. I removed the clock and detached the decorative trim ring to be used later. I used a 3" speaker reclaimed from an old stereo for the project. It fit perfectly in the hole left by the clock. I secured it to the lid with nuts and bolts. I then fit the trim ring to the speaker. Before I glued the trim ring in place, I made a speaker grill to fit in the trim ring. The grill was cut out of the original metal speaker grill from the salvaged stereo system.
Step 5: Fitting the Bluetooth Amplifier Board
The Bluetooth Amplifier board was placed in the box. Holes were drilled in the box to accommodate a power input jack, a switch, a power indicator LED, and a "Bluetooth Tube". The amplifier output was soldered to the speaker. The box was sealed with hot glue to keep the connections secure.
Step 6: Steampunk Embellishments
The Azurophone gets its name from the blinking blue tube protruding from its side. I made this simply by bypassing the indicator LED on the Bluetooth board and running wires to a new blue LED that could be placed outside the box. I had plenty of burned out audio tubes laying around and I decided to use one as a Bluetooth indicator. I simply made a decorative ring from an old washer and fit the tube through it and secured it to the inside of the box. I made the tube glow and flash by glueing the blue LED to the bottom of the audio tube. Now the audio tube flashes depending on the status of the Bluetooth connection.
I also made trim rings for the DC input jack and power LED out of old washers spray painted gold.
On the opposite side of the Azurophone, I placed a salvaged audio output transformer. I made wire leads out of solid copper wire I had laying around. I coiled the wire around a pencil in order to make it "springy".
To complete the look of the project I made a couple of nameplates from brass trophy name plates. The scripts were laser printed on clear label stock and fixed to the name plates. These were then clear coated to protect the script and the plates screwed onto the body of the box with brass screws.
That pretty much completed the steampunk theme.
Step 7: Epilogue
Two things I purposefully did not add to this Bluetooth player were an external input jack and a volume control. Since this is a device that receives music "Mysteriously from the Ether", I didn't want anything to detract from this illusion. I didn't want Professor Thaddeus to be plugging his "Zune" into the Azurophone in order play his cosplay thematic music. Talk about ruining the illusion. Because this is a Bluetooth-only device, a volume control would be redundant since the volume can be controlled by the audio source, whether Etherial or just a good old IPhone.
The player is powered by a 5V DC wall wart type power supply. The cable simply plugs into the back. The power switch is turned on, the device is paired with your music source, and voila! You are now listening to your favorite tunes.
Meemaw's favorite country singer is Merle Haggard. I showed her the Azurophone and told her that it can mysteriously receive music from the great beyond. I then waved my hands around a few times, chanted something about Old Merle and the Azurophone started blasting "Okie from Muskogee". She loved it. I don't think she actually believed it was Merle singing to her from the great beyond, but she had a great story to tell all her girlfriends at Bible Study.
Well thanks for looking at this Instructable. I hope it gave you enough information on how to build a small bluetooth player into a found object. If you have made a similar project, please share below.
Runner Up in the
Make Noise Challenge