Custom Built MP3 Player Cradle

Introduction: Custom Built MP3 Player Cradle

My Archos Jukebox 6000 did not come with a docking cradle. I wanted to build one so I could integrate it into a larger project I have in mind: a docking/charging station for all my portable electronics. Many portable electronics don't come with docking cradles. This project could be adapted to work with many of them.

Tools: Philips screwdriver, handsaw (dovetail), small chisel (1/4"), mitrebox, hacksaw, drill , router, quick clamps

Materials: 3/8 plywood, 1"x2" red oak, brass bar stock, brass screws, wood glue, Krylon flat black spay paint.

Step 1: Cut the Necessary Pieces Out of Plywood

I did not have drawings when I started the project. I built it by feel. I created the qcad drawing as a reference tool for fellow archos owners wanting to make this exact cradle.

- The critical dimensions are the width and height of the back. Place the mp3 player on the back piece and mark out about 3/16" from either side to give room for the dadoes (slots int the sides) and a little wiggle room. You don't want the mp3 player to fit too snuggly.
- Mark about 3/16" from the bottom to make room for the groove in the bottom
- Add the distance the connectors plug into the mp3 player to the top
- Cut some pieces at 45 degress for the sides. The side cut at 45 degrees has to be long enough to accomodate the back and bottom.
- Cut an 1/8" deep dado on each side to fit the back. Leave enough wood to guide the sides of the mp3 player
- Make bottom piece out of oak (or other hardwood) to get good holding power for the screws.
- The groove in the bottom locks into the back. I made a mistake the first time and cut the 1/8" groove so there wasn't enough wood to hold my cable in place. I flipped the piece over an tried again.
- Chamfer (cut at 45 degrees) the edge of the bottom piece that is closest to the table to allow the wires to fit underneath.
- I knocked off the sharp corners of the sides.


Step 2: Test Fit and Mark Cables

- Test fit all of the pieces to mark where the cables go.
- Marked the wood with a hobby knife to show where you need to cut out for the cables
- Darken the cuts with a pencil to see them better

Step 3: Cut Out Recesses for Cables

- Use a dovetail saw to cut across the grain at the widest part of the pencil line.
- Use a chisel to clean out the wood between the cuts.
- Take a little off each pass and test fit the mp3 player and conectors each time

Step 4: Add Cable Clamp

- Cut a piece of brass stock so it overlaps the cable recesses by about 1/2"
- Drill 2 holes about 1/4" from each end of the brass stock.
- Transfer the location of the holes to the bottom piece and predrill for the screws
- Tighen the screws with the cables in position and test the fit of the MP3 player one last time.

Step 5: Glue Everything Together

Pretty self explanatory

Step 6: Apply Finish and Reconnect the Cables

Plug it all togehter and see if it works.

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    7 Discussions


    12 years ago on Introduction

    looks cool but seems to expensive and probably would take to long for me =./ but i might try somthin like that cool thou :)

    Rednek Electrition
    Rednek Electrition

    13 years ago

    Your dog ate it like all the way or just chewed on it because that would be fun finding that in a backyard "pile"


    14 years ago

    Excellent idea!

    I may try and make a slightly improved version:

    1. Buy USB mobile phone charger providing 9V.
    2. Buy tiny unpowered 2-port USB hub.
    3. find power connector to match the Archos charger socket.
    4. Run USB lead from PC to HUB.
    5. Run small USB lead to Archos dock from one port of the hub.
    6. Plug USB charger into other HUB port.
    7. Find the 9V output pin on the charger and attach wires between that and the archos power connector. You can't cut the cable and use that as USB is only 5V - you need to ensure the DC-DC converter in the USB charger is present to get the
    8. Store excess cables, hub, etc insid ethe wedge-shaped dock.

    With luck, that should produce a dock that can also charge the Archos from the USB port. It might need a switch to turn off the charging when uploading data in case the USB port hasn't the power to charge AND upload at the same time.

    You can get a proper Archos USB charger Here:
    but mobile chargers are more common so you may get a bargain from ebay. Of course, you may have to take a gamble that the output voltage is 9V unless you can find the specifications for the phone.


    Reply 14 years ago

    eviloverlord, thats not a bad idea. I'll have to try that. That is if I can find the correct power connector, I haven't had any luck there.

    Maybe this is the key...

    An easier way might be to hack up a A to A USB cable at the dock end, tap the 5 volt power, and attach the charger at the dock. That way there is only one wire to the dock and no hub. You could even put together a simple boost switcher rather that wory about finding the right charger. If you can read a data sheet it's not that hard to do. I know TI makes demo kits ( i'm not sure how cheap they are though)

    You might be right about having to switch off the charger to transfer. I'd have to try it.


    Reply 14 years ago

    I've luckily got an old multi-connector switchable voltage adapter that I can steal a connector from. I currently use another one of those to charge my archos so know the connector fits. I like the cable-hacking idea to remove the need for a hub - that cuts the cost dramatically.


    14 years ago

    HEy, i have one of these archos players- Just like that one but with a 20 gig hard drive- let me know if you're doing anything cool with it, or of any neat projects with it but let me know through gmail-