Intro: Mac G4 Turned Into IPod Dock
I bought a G4 tower intending to move a legacy PC into its case. When this turned out to be more of a hassle than I had intended, I decided to build something that I had always wanted, an iPod dock that didn't sound like garbage. I'd had enough of 1-2" speakers and no power. Being a car audio guy, I decided I could probably fit a whole car's worth of components into the tower, it was roomy after all. Since it was my first attempt, I kept the budget pretty much as low as possible. Are they the absolute cheapest parts available? No. But close. The total for the project is still a lot more than some would consider paying for an iPod dock.
I had the idea of a Marshall Stack flying around in my head, so 4 round speakers in a square was what I wanted. How convenient, the case is square! 5.25s were too big, so I had to settle for 4" speakers. I knew that would take care of most of the sound... but could I fit a sub in that case too? Turns out I could, so I bought a 6.5" Sub and mounted it firing down. The case has cool "feet" that bring it off the ground a few inches, so my clearance was covered.
Speakers out of the way, time to power them. I was originally thinking a motorcycle style amp, but my options were super cheap and moderately priced, or pretty nice and priced sky high. I ended up finding a 4 channel amp the size of a daily planner, nice!
Now, something to power the power. Initially I was thinking a motorcycle battery (had mine out for winter so it was available to test fit) with a small charger on it. This would make the dock portable, but the run time (especially with a sub sucking juice) was daunting. I had the power supply from the G4 laying around so I tested that, finding that it was toast anyway. I found an inexpensive PSU that supposedly will put out 25amps at 12V, nice! Only problem, I couldn't mount it in the original location because I would now have a speaker magnet there. Pushed it forward to the drive bay area, but then had to pipe the fans to allow proper cooling. One tube goes straight back to the original location, the other takes a 90 and goes straight to the bottom of the case. By far the ugliest part of the install.
I wanted to retain the case power switch to keep it looking clean. Swap out the circuit board behind it for a push on/off and that's take care of. Just above is the original Apple speaker. Turns out these are oval, btw, even though they're behind a round opening. Mounted up a volume knob with RCA pigtails to go between the iPod and the amp.
Not a lot of pictures during, sorry. But you can see the cuts, the power switch, and the birch wood to make up for me cutting the mounting holes too large.
Things take shape as I mount the speakers and wire them up.
Add the PSU and some ducting and it gets pretty busy. Don't have a picture of the final product inside, but the second duct goes straight down to a hole in the bottom next to the sub.
And the final look! I decided against any sort of iPod dock because most of them are so flimsy and this is designed to for parties where rugged is better.