Author Options:

Want to make an MP3 Player out of spare parts, any ideas, words of wisdom? Answered

Ok, so I've got a busted 1st Gen DS, a glitchy Sansa View, a less glitchy Sansa Fuze, a couple Nokia 5230's, a Blackberry 8900, and a couple old Motorolla flip phones. I'm more than sure I can make something of them, but I wanted some advice. I want to make a small player with a dock that acts as extra storage and battery life with extra functions. That can wait though, first I wanna have what would be the brains done. Basically a player with basic functions and a small screen to see artist and song, etc. I'm not sure what to do first though? I'd need an OS of sorts I suppose? I don't know much at all, so this would be one hell of a learning experience.


Yes it would be a heck of a learning experience. You'll need to learn how to code for whichever platform you choose as the "brains" of the player. You'll also need to know how to read a data sheet. Assuming all the major chips in each device is marked with an ID. You'll need a degree in Electrical Engineering so you can fully understand how each device works and how to utilize the various components you have. You'll need to have some pretty good SMD soldering skills to desolder things and solder them onto your own PCB.

In short this isn't a project that will likely pan out for you. While it may be possible to hack an MP3 player together from the devices you listed, it goes beyond the skill of even the more experienced users here. If you want a small MP3 player with some nice options like that then buy one.

That's all good and fine, but I'm more interested in advice on where to start. For all my guesses, assumptions, etc. I need people who have some idea of what to do to give me some direction. Sure, it'll be difficult and won't go as smoothly as planned, but when does anything? I'm well aware of my ignorance and shortcomings, but I don't have the patience to allow that to get in my way. I wan't cool things that people don't sell, so I have to make them. If you've got any knowledge you wanna share, please do, but otherwise I'm well aware of my obstacles and limitations.

Start from scratch. Don't try to hack several devices together. There is all sorts of firmware mixed in there that you won't be able to work with.

Start simple, learn to use a micro controller like a pic or an Arduino. The Arduino is able to have what is known as a shield. Its different kinds of circuit board with various functions that pug right on top of the micro controller. There is one called a wave shield that is able to play MP3 files from an SD card. If you go to the Arduino web site and forums you'll find all sorts of MP3 player like projects that use that shield.

+1. The degree is optional but still the required reading must be done.

Your project will require some very good programming skills.

Some Very very good hardware skills

An excellent set of electronic tools so you can dismantle almost microscopic circuits

And the level of luck that suggests that you would be better off buying a lottery ticket.

IF you want to do this then forget the recycled electronic bits and pieces and go for a system that will at least give you a working chance of success like this. There is still a huge learning curve to climb