After seeing the Bose SoundLink Mini and pricing out similar competitors, I figured i could accomplish what I needed with some junk lying around! This ible will give you the general steps to create a Bluetooth sound bar from parts you may have lying around the house!
Step 1: Ingredients
You'll need a sound bar with its accompanying power supply (or rig one up like I did). Your sound bar should have a regular 3.5mm audio connector for input and if you're lucky, around 12v input.
A USB powered Bluetooth A2DP receiver available from eBay for less than $3
And a 12v car to 5v USB adapter. I had a broken one lying around (internal support was destroyed) so this was free.
Step 2: Break It Open!
Crack open the sound bar and see what's inside!
Step 3: Bluetooth!
Crack open your USB powered Bluetooth dongle and inspect the goods!
Go ahead and solder power from the USB connector, and audio from the headphone jack.
Step 4: Power Time!
Now, take your car USB charger and solder the car side connections to ground and switched power on the board.
The places you will find ground and switched 12v power will depend on your particular sound bar, so break out your multimeter and probe away!
Luckily for me, my sound bar's power was switched on by the volume knob and thus was easy to trace back to a spot on the board.
Step 5: Can You Hear Me Now?
Plug the speaker input into the headphone jack, and start probing away at the connections on the Bluetooth receiver and the circuit board to determine the exact polarity of the stereo connections! solder away when satisfied!
Step 6: More Power!!!
Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures from this step, but connect power from the car USB charger to the USB Bluetooth receiver. Pretty self explanatory.
Step 7: Make a Mess!
Double check your work, cover any exposed metal or contacts on your USB things with electrical tape and smash it all in! Yes, jam-it-in is the technical term I believe.
Step 8: Let There Be Sound!
Pray to the gods that nothing shorts, turn it on, pair your device and off you go!!!
Congratulations! You've just took a bunch of worthless parts and made it a better looking pile of parts for the modern age!
Step 9: After Thoughts
This speaker is not without it's faults...
Only as good as your starting materials really.
Notes about audio quality:
The receiver I used produces next to no bass. This works well with my sound bar that clips badly when forced to produce bass. A higher quality (but certainly more costly) Bluetooth receiver would improve things.
On that note, due to the nature of the car USB converter being a switched power supply, there is a significant amount of noise introduced into the Bluetooth receiver. This may be remedied with a simple power filtering circuit. I will update this ible and report my results in the future.
Wouldn't it be nice to have more LEDs? Everything needs more LEDs! drill a hole in the speaker cover by the led on your Bluetooth receiver to have a nice notification light when your sound bar is paired or not.
And/or drill a hole for the LED on your car USB converter if it has one to let you know when your sound bar is on!
Thanks for reading my first ible! Hope you're inspired to make your own!