The Problem: I have a Creative Zen Microphoto. It's great. One problem - being that I can't share my music.
The Solution: A pair of portable speakers. I could just buy them, but I really don't want to shell out upwards of Â£30 for a decent set which need 400 AAA batteries and have a 20 minutes battery life. So it's going to be a homebuild, using as far as possible stuff that I already have. Because I don't have a soldering iron, it's a no-solder job.
Step 1: The Start - My Donor Speakers
I had a pair of old Creative (match my Zen!) computer speakers lying around gathering dust. I decided to use these to give the sound to my vision.
Using a screwdriver, I took the casing to bits. Obviously, all speakers are different, but mine had three screws holding the driver to the casing.
***Note: At first I was planning to use the right hand speaker. This needs mains, but has volume, bass, treble and mute knobs, as well as an amp. Unfortunately, the amp was on a big, wide PCB. After a fair while considering if I could cut it in half, I gave up on this, and just used the left. This means it is quiter, and less cool, but now passive.***
Taking off the screws released the meaty driver.
Step 2: Getting Teh Driver Out of Teh Boxx
The clever people at Creative had passed the cord through a small hole in the case, then soldered it on. This meant that I had to cut it off the driver, then reattach it.
This was made harder by the fact that I don't have a soldering iron. Undeterred, I set off to find a new case.
Step 3: Finding a Case
This step required some serious thought. I needed a cool casing that was smaller and neater than the original body to make it worthwhile. I thought though many things... Altoids... pencil cases and the like. Then I came up with a tin can.
Seized by trepidation, I ran and found one (clean, no less!) in the bin. As if God-sent, the top is almost exactly the same diameter as the driver. Perfect. The shiny metal looks good and is strong, though as some point I may well paint it.
Using a brawdawl, I poked a hole near the bottom. The wire passed through this, and to prevent any jerking (stop giggling at the back) I tied a knot on the inside, then one on the outside to cover my overenthusiastic twiddling. As no weight will be put on the wires, I just stuck them through the holes on the driver terminals, and wrapped them back round themselves. A quick test proved this made no difference on the sound quality.
Out of its natural housing, the driver was tinny and weak. Put inside the tin with a reasonable fit, it instantly sounded better, with good, powerful bass.
Step 4: The Final Step - Attaching the Driver.
Once more, luck was on my side. The tabs which previously held the driver to the box could be bent over, and then used with the original screws to secure it on the tin.
Step 5: Results
Considering that it cost me nothing, the sound is very good. It's just a passive speaker, but it is pretty darn loud on full volume without too much distortion.
I hope that you have fun building it, and that somewhere along the line someone will work out how to easily cut a PCB in half, and work out the best material for a grille (still a major flaw in my design).
Thanks for reading. Comments and critiques welcome.