Retro MP3 Player: the NASA Pod




About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe

Steam punk is played out, this is straight up NASA punk. Or at least I imagine if it were the 1960s space race and NASA was commissioned to make an MP3 player, this is what it would look like.

This project uses the Daisy Mp3 Player kit from MAKEzine, a VU meter from this instructable , and a case from Curious Inventor.

Step 1: Parts

-LM3915 x 2
-1k ohm resistor x 3
- 1 1/8" Stereo Jack
- 1 1/8" Stereo plug
- Analog Gauge
- DPST Toggle switches with return to center spring x 5
- SPST Toggle switches x 2
-LED Holders x3
-5v power supply
-panel mount power jack
-Case from Curious Inventor
-MakeMP3 player kit.
-Stand offs x8

Crimp terminals and .1" headers
Crimp pins

Drill Bits
Wire Cutters
Screw Driver

Step 2: MP3 Kit

Build the mp3 player kit following the instructions that come with the kit. They are very good and I can't better it here...

Step 3: VU Meter

I built the VU Meter from my VU meterinstructable here, EXCEPT I didn't go with the LED bar graph. I used a RadioShack 0-15v panel meter.

Since we send all the power to the meter, I tied all of the negatives from the LM3915s together and then to the meter.

Step 4: VU Meter Positive

You'll need to use a resistor or two to limit the + voltage going to the meter. I used a 1k2 and a 4.7k resistor soldered together to get the right voltage for the meter to read accurately.

Step 5: Solder Your Switches Together.

Solder your switches together, I used crimp pins and connectors to connect the switches to the MP3 player kit.

I used a handy little tool from, a crimper for this small connector. You don't need this, you could solder or use pliers, but it is so much easier to use.

Step 6: Box

Time to drill the main hole in the box for your panel mount gauge.

The meter from RadioShack meter included a template to use for drilling the hole. I used a drill press and a bimetal hole saw.

Step 7: Mark the Box for Switches

Ok you'll want to mark the box for switch location and LED location.

I was having a problem in some of my past projects lining up all the holes for switches so they would look good.

I covered the box with masking tape, used a square (also form curious inventor) and marked with a pencil. This was the first time I tried this and it worked out really well.

Step 8: Holes for the Boards

Mark the base of the box for mounting the boards for your VU meter and MP3 player kit.

Step 9: Power and Stereo

Drill two holes in the back of the case for power and your 1 1/8" jack.

Step 10: Put It Together

Plug it all together and bask in the nasa punk goodness.

I ran one LED for showing power was on, and then moved the two LEDs from the MakeMP3 board off to the outside of the case along the top where you see the LED holders.

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    15 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

    LAB PSU 0-15V3A - PS1503SB

    Costs 58 pounds (about 110 $)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    He he, definitely need 'Main Bus A' and 'Main Bus B'


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'd love to see a nixie tube track-counter or something like that. :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    oh.. Nasa has some lights and stuff on most of their stuff, maybe you could use some LEDs and get some big cover lenses so they look like incandescents.. but don't draw too much power.. What do ya think?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love this.. I usually try and incorporate some humour with my Projects, Retro is hilarious though.. Great work and great sense of humor.. I love it. I want one, maybe you could sell them, you never know.. Lolz Thanx.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    All that's missing is some retro corporate logo on the front!


    Neat! Great use of existing instructables to create a masterpiece of your own. Although, it may be more convenient for the reader if you used little snippets from those instructables to explain either the theory or reason behind that step. Great Job!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the nice words :) -Joe


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love switches!... Which one controls power?... It should be big and red if you ask me... I'm partial to this style...

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That switch rocks! I need to change it out. The power switch is the one on the bottom right. -Joe