Running a Dead MP3 Player on AA Batteries




About: i am a photolab technician and an incurable packrat. i have made swords ,chainmail, crossbows.cameras,bike trailers,kayaks,guitars{slide and electric},knives,various film winders and vacum easels for the ph...

I Find It Offensive That People Will Discard A Piece Of Technology Without Even Trying To Fix It .
So For Your Reading Pleasure Here Is How to Save A Dead Mp3 Player After It No Longer Charges The Battery.

Step 1: Background and Parts

Hi Guys Nice to see you again.
Here we have a slight disappointment.
A yard Sale find that wont work.
I got this lovely little 1 GB mp3 player for a couple of bucks but it wont hold a charge.
it was a nice one with ebook reader ,
mp3 voice recording,
video player and picture viewer.
its too nice to just toss
when it was plugged into the usb it worked ok so we know the guts are ok.
So wheres the problem? is it the battery or charging circuit?.
To do the full test series that i did you will need.
1. cordless phone battery 3.7v 600 mah {The little battery in the player was 350 mah}
2. vinyl tape

To do the other test {will It run on AA batteries?) and final mod you will need.
1. 3 AA Batteries (Alkaline Or Nimh i tried both)
2. Enclosure (altoids tin or lozenges)
3. A battery holder for 3AA
4. Hot glue gun
5. Vinyl tape
6. A strip of Aluminum
7. Aluminum foil

Step 2: Will It Work at All

1. The first thing to so is to take the back off the player.
its pretty easy as there are just 3 screws holding the metal back on it .{not all players will be so easy to take apart }.
2. Locate the battery.
3. Snip the wires one at a time so you dont cause a short (CAUTION BATTERY MAY BE CHARGED EVEN THOUGH PLAYER ISNT WORKING).
4. Gently remove the this case it was held onto the back of the screen by sticky tape .

Step 3: Testing

this step took a while as the phone battery didnt come charged up.
all you need to do is charge it first
you could put it in a phone then charge it up.
but i didnt have one handy so i wired it up red to red black to black then plugged The player into the usb on my computer.
2 days later the battery had enough juice to start the player but not for long.
it seems likely that the usb hub i have cannot supply enough juice to run this battery up to full.
but at least we now know the player will work from a battery pack.

so if you want to do it this way get a battery that fits your home phone and a plug that fits the connector on the end of the battery leads.
swap out the battery with the phones one and charge up the new one then simply plug it into the connector on your mp3 player .
then just stick the whole thing in a box and youre done.
but can you run it on AA Cells?

Step 4: More Testing

I was pretty sure starting off this step that a 3 cell battery of AA would supply enough power to run this player.
but would it be too much?
rather than go out and buy a new 3 Cell battery holder and smoke the player out i made a 3 cell taped up pack first.(save the cost of the holder if nothing else)
conversely you could run your cordless phone off one of these too in a pinch.
the picture tell the story here but basically you just take 3 cells alternate the poles and use aluminum strips or foil or even wire to jump the batteries together leaving a neg and a positive pole at opposite corners.
attach leads to the corners run positive to red and negative to black then tie into the player..
be careful here the wires touched each other and the pack got very hot very quick.

well it worked really well the player ran good and nothing got too hot even though the voltage is now 4.5 instead of 3.7.
so now for something a little more permanent.

Step 5: Now for the Final Configuration.

I Went to buy a 3 cell holder but couldnt get one.
so i bough a 4cell holder and made a dummy battery out of a dowel wrapped with foil.
i then popped the assembly into the sucrets box(it was a nice tight fit) ,
wired it up to the player,
then secured everything in place with hot glue.
so far it has been running for 6 hours and the battery icon is still full.
i will update on how long it lasts before i have to change them out.
the i will go with the nimh cells and see how far they go.
i am considering moving the body of the player into the box and accessing every thong from the inside but i havnt time to fool with it today.
if i do i will add it as an update

Step 6: UPDATE

here is the player after i moved the player inboard.
it works ok except the back needed to be cut out and the battery pack
offset to clear the back of the player.
had the built battery pack worked better it would have fit without chopping the case.
i am getting about 25 hrs of continual use out of aa alkalines and still havent killed a set of NimH in it.

Step 7: Yet Another Update

i have just replaced the li ion battery with one out of  another broken player.
so the pocketability of this thing just went way up.
the advantages of having replaceable batteries i will miss but i wont miss my friends cringing when i take the player out.
as for the other player i crammed the main circuit board  into an sd card case and made a jumpdrive out of it.



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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Just made something similar to feed my mp3 player with three AA batteries. Thanks for the inspiration.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    thank you im glad it helped.


    Reply 1 year ago

    And again, I just resurrected that old player with one of those rectangular external batteries for cellphones. It makes a nice support for the player and since it also has a nice camera I can use it for video recording and taking pictures. I get up to eight hours of playtime. Maybe I should get a new player, but I am flat broke, so I get to have fun recycling things. Again, thanks for the inspiration.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. Talk about finding a solution to a problem. I have the exact same MP3 player that I bought at Value Village. Does the same thing, works when hooked up to USB but battery won't power it more than a few seconds. I almost tossed it, but then thought I could probably find something to "mcgyver" it if I look hard enough. Awesome instructable, I'll be doing something similar the next chance I get!



    9 years ago on Introduction

     You know what i find offensive? people capitalizing the first letter of every word in their introduction. It just makes people sound so loud and obnoxious in my mind.

    1 reply
    Phil B

    9 years ago on Introduction

    The number of people who are technologically challenged is far greater than those who are not. That works out well for those of us who like to fiddle with technical things. The problem you identified is the reason why I have preferred players that run from a common AAA battery. Having said that, I recently bought a knock-off of an iPod Shuffle (2nd generation) new for $10 US. I am enjoying it a lot. But, I also found you can buy battery kits for some of these players at Amazon. The kits come complete with instructions and tools for opening the players.

    3 replies
    lennybPhil B

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    its so true. i told some of my younger co workers about this and they said they would never have thought of it. when i was their age a sony walkman was still 200 dollars and a vcr cost 1500. so when it broke you had it fixed. but who wants to spend 250 bucks to fix a 75 dollar vcr dvd combo. its really sad.

    Phil Blennyb

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Decades ago there was a popular book by Vance Packard titled "The Waste Makers." It dealt mostly with planned obsolescence. But, now we have the throw-away society. Labor to make repairs costs more than finished goods, if you can find someone who knows how to repair the item. But, if costs for new goods rise precipitously for any reason, talented people will find a reason to learn DIY thinking and techniques again.

    lennybPhil B

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    il have to check the library for that . sounds like an interesting read. thanks


    9 years ago on Introduction

    hehe, I had a minor panic atack for a bit... then i looked over my notes, and what'ya know. Charging voltage/curent for a 3.7V Li-ion battery is pretty darn safe, when applied to 3 AA ni-mh batteries in series.
    Now I have a new tool, to test the charging circuitry of li-ion devices, if i ever lose my spare batteries. Hook up the phone battery, plug in USB, and watch for the "charging" icon!

    As a side note, I'd personally use a mintyboost and replace the battery with a small resistor, till i could scavange a new one.

    Is that really 350mAh battery? that suckers gonna run FOREVER on the AA pack!

    Nicely done.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    well it ran about 18 hrs on the 3 used batteries i put in it. {they came out of disposable cameras.} gonna try it out on some nimh next.