IPod/MP3 Player Bicycle Speaker




Introduction: IPod/MP3 Player Bicycle Speaker

About: Teacher, tutor, trainer, author, and creative person; if I can do it or make it myself, I will! Jewelry & websites at http://www.aspiring-arts.com. Oh, and I did an "instructable" on TV once, o...

A simple passive speaker for your bicycle using the parts you have lying around. Loud enough to hear on quiet roads. A person with very basic soldering skills should be able to do this; doesn't require any advanced electronics knowhow.

I made this because getting up those hills can be easier with some tunes, and I didn't have the cash to buy one of the commercial ones. I really liked this too because it recycled things that weren't being used anyway - go green!

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Step 1: Materials Needed:

This instructable describes how I made my bike speaker. It's intended to give ideas for others to modify for their tastes/materials. It just uses what I had around and available; thanks to my friend Chris who donated the speakers that were just lying around.

Materials needed:

Passive computer speakers (or active, but my available speakers were passive). The ones I used were branded Creative, and they were made by Cambridge Soundworks, so they were good quality. This helps.
Screwdriver - mine required Philips Head
Wire cutter/stripper
Soldering iron
Cassette tape case
Cardboard/stiffening material
Glue gun (or sewing implements, if preferred)

Remote control
Nonslip material
Mesh/screen to protect speaker

Step 2: Speaker Removal & Connection

Open up the case of one of the speakers. As you can see by the photo, the wire ran through a small hole. In order to keep the wire intact, I cut it right where the two parts of the stripped wire were soldered to the speaker, then pulled it through. Remember which wire was connected where! Remove the speaker from the front of the box (I just had to unscrew it).

Step 3: Cut, Strip, Solder

The speaker will now be free. You will have two wires joined together and leading down to the headphone jack. To make use of the jack, I cut off the wire from the other speaker where it joined the wire I wanted to use. Then I shortened the wire I wanted to use, because there was just too much wire. I left about 4 inches of single wire.

Strip the wire. I ended up with one white-insulated wire and a bunch of copper strands. Strip about 1/2 inch insulation from the insulated wire (careful, it's delicate), and twist the copper strands together.

Solder both wires back to where they were before on the speaker (you do remember, don't you?). :-)

Now you should have a speaker with a wire leading to a headphone jack attached to it. Plug the speaker into a computer or MP3 player to make sure it works and to test the volume.

Step 4: Making the Case

This is the part where it's a bit harder to show, since made the speaker before making the instructable.

Take the cassette case and cut a hole in the top for the speaker. Then take foam (I used packing foam for a hard drive) and cut a hole in that for the magnet, etc. Glue it all together, running the wire through so it ends up in the compartment.

For the bottom, cut a piece of cardboard to make it less floppy (unless yours isn't floppy), and glue it and a piece of foam into the bottom. This provides shock protection for the iPod.

I had a lot of excess wire despite shortening it a lot, so I used a bit of spare velcro as a tie.

Turn the case over and glue on two double-sided Velcro strips to secure the case to the bike. I also cut the front loop (used previously to carry the case) and glued Velcro onto that to secure it around the handlebar stem.

Step 5: Optional Steps

The speaker is now usable as it is. You can add refinements (like ones I am thinking of) by:

- adding a screen to protect the speaker

- attaching non-stick material to the bottom to prevent falling to the side, an issue my speaker has sometimes now

- using something a bit narrower, or just the width of the speaker. My knees sometimes hit the sides of the case now

- using a remote control. I find this very useful. I attach it to a pocket in my bike jacket and adjust volume or skip songs with it.

One reason I like it to be passive, besides the fact of being able to hear cars on the road, is that it minimizes weight. The only weighty things now are the speaker itself and the iPod. No batteries.

The sound is pretty good on this. I bought a mini speaker you plug into the headphone jack. It's powered by a AA battery. The sound on my version is better and louder.

I also like the added feature of having a little case on the front, the perfect size to throw snacks in!

If you have other suggested improvements, please feel free to add them in Comments.

Participated in the
Discover Green Science Fair for a Better Planet

Participated in the
Park Tool Bike Month

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    12 Discussions


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Nope. Don't want one, don't need one. But feel free to modify it with an amp if you so choose. :-)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Notably, I know you're not interested in an amp yourself... but if you ever wanted to, it might be possible to wire in an amp attached to a capacitor that was wired to one of those old wheel-generator-headlights as a charger. Totally green, and most of the parts are probably stuffed in drawers in every cyclists garage in North America. I may have to put some thought into what it would take to get a capacitor bank hooked up to one of those little generators and use my waste-motion while biking to charge batteries for things.. hmm.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea if you have one... my remote control works well, though, and is a bit more convenient when riding, I think.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Hey this is a cool idea, you could hang it between the handle bars in the front? You may not get the best sound blasted at you but you would avoid the side sliding and knee knocking. This would also help to prevent the speaker from laying and bouncing on your iPod.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the idea. That might work on a bike with flat handlebars, but there's just too much space with drop handlebars. The speaker, which is too short, would have to be suspended (on what?) over the front wheel, which makes me worried about it falling off, hitting the wheel, and instant smush as I run over the whole thing. With the current setup, the most likely scenario of falling (very unlikely!) is that it falls to the side, is cushioned and is easily retrieved. It only really hits my knees when it falls to the side. When I fix that problem, the leg thing will be fixed. :-) Also, the speaker doesn't lie or bounce on the iPod; there's too much space in the case for that.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Oh yeah I couldn't tell to well from the picture what style handlebars you had. I see what you mean. They would hang. Yeah that could be costly and dangerous. You could try to mount a piece, of cut in half, PVC pipe to the bottom to prevent sliding to one side. kinda like a little "c" that rides over the bike frame.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, today I found the cause of the pulling to one side. It's the front piece of fabric that wraps around the handlebar stem. I will eventually modify it so that it is balanced, but for now, I just balanced it by putting the iPod on the opposite side of the case. Worked quite well.