curiously strong music

Minty MP3

do you have some advanced electronics skills, 50 bucks, a spare altoids tin, and the need to out-cool your ipod toting friends? if so, check out limor’s instructions for building an mp3 player from scratch. it uses compact flash, has a built-in fm transmitter, and smells real nice. awesome!

63 thoughts on “curiously strong music

  1. “yeah, this was on the same site as that persistence of vision toy that was posted a while back:”

    THAT’S why this seems so familier.

    No biggie.

  2. The dude that came up with this is great. He seems to think everyone who reads his site know what he’s talking about. :P Building an mp3 player from scratch is a teeeeeeny bit too advanced for me.

  3. It looks like there is a lot for an lcd. or at least a small display like you see on a calulator. it also depends on what info teh mp3 decoder chip keeps and what it throws away. it’s possible that no info for a text output is saved.

    Man i want to make one

  4. The track data for mp3 files is stored at the end of the file in plain text; you don’t need a decoder for that. If you wanted to display track information you would just jump so many bytes from the end of the file, check to see if the “flag” is there that indications the track contains extra information, and if found just display its contents. Check out http://id3.org for more information.

  5. this project is really meant for advanced EE hackers, its not meant for beginners at all. a project like the MiniPOV is way more in-line with what the average hacker can pull together in a week.

  6. If anyone is interested in audio DIY, you shold check ot fixup.net and head-fi.com

    I’m an audio diy’er and I make stuff liek this all the time. I wouldn’t ever make a diy mp3 player, but this an absolutely impresive project. I would like to see more pics of the desigs, including inside pron, btu nothing here looks fraudulent.

    I love to see people making their own stuff and promote audiophile diy all the way.

    great job hackaday!

    BILL

  7. I already order most of the samples I could get. Only need the usb to serial (not really) and the mp3 decoder. If only she finishes the build page….

    Besides, I think i need to get a compact flash adaptor

  8. actually the USB to serial chip is a minor nuscance since they are on a new revision which has a different pinout getting the B is important. ( and a pain.. since if you can’t find it on ebay.. you probably have to go to the authorized distributors which will sell only in a min quantity of 6).

    I will agree it’s an advanced project.. but I like way to hard challenges.. I’m currently trying to get the damn chip to program.. ( after slowly planning my shit over the past few months)..

  9. I have emailed ladyada to get a detail parts list and to see when the fabrication part will be finished, and she emailed me back. It seems she has her thesis due at the moment, so she gave it about a month for us to see a finished tutorial. Cheers.

  10. (due to overwhelming complaints :)
    i posted a BOM for the current revision with price list and numbers as well as two other mp3 projects that might be more reasonable for hackers, & that come with kits.

    also, the FT232BM is available for pretty cheap from DonTronics. Best of luck…

  11. Some one help me out here; where can I buy solderpaste. I have plenty of solder, but had never heard of solder paste until I saw this project.

  12. Nope, I mean paste, not flux. Flux is used to remove oxidation. LadyYada referenced “solder paste” in a picture in the fabrication section. I did another search and found this black & decker reflow oven that she mentioned. It looks that these things are not counter top device. They are about the size of four or five laser printers line up.

    I found some places that sell it on the web. Solder past has solder flux as one of its components along with grains of solder. All of the references I find to it involve industrial equipment; if I were to trade in my car I couldn’t afford that stuff. but I’m crappy with SMT soldering :’(

  13. she also suggested high quality silver solder which is easier to obtain than solder paste.
    (all you need to do is apply the silver solder to the contact points before applying the chips and just apply heat ontop of the pins.
    )

  14. In that case, a trip to a local Engineering college could be useful in finding people who can help you. My roommate is getting the board made for me, along with soldering the ic chips and programming the pic. EE and CE is useful for something it seems ^_^

  15. I found the solder paste!!!

    Radioshack sells it under the description “Solder Weld.” It comes in a small overpriced quantity in a syringe. I sloppily spread some on a board, heated the areas that I wanted soldered, then wiped the excess away. It worked beautifully! Digikey sells the substance in larger quantities (produced by Kester). But the smallest container is $41.

  16. sweet project i think ill have to give it a try ive been trying to make a similar project but a am fm radio not a mp3 player but was having troble finding a fm kit that small

  17. where could i buy one of these if any1 is willing i might be up 2 buying 1 for around 100$ its really cool and if anyone sees a site selling let me know or on ebay!

  18. $100.. hah. you must be kidding, , get an ipod shuffle and stick it in an altoids tin.

    If you look at her bom, the parts( not even the pcb) come to $60, add in pcb ( which sure could be cheap if they made *a lot*) but in small quantities will cost you something like 20-30
    if you can claim your a student( ie you have no moral objection to lieing, or you actually are)
    if you do have an objections and olimex won’t take the pcb because the clearances on the board are too close( I never actually checked but their tools seemed to indicate that would be the case)( you’ll shell out $70 for 5 boards from http://www.pcbfabexpress.com most likely)
    oh.. and you need a CF card which isn’t on her BOM( I got a 500mb at 20$ AR)
    ( and regarding the CF card, you will need to format it first in fat16, which shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s other little widget)
    oh.. and you want the recharagable lion battery(single cell only)?(that’s not in the BOM either)
    so… lets see all that adds up to more than 100. and then there is the amount of time and labor it takes.
    in addition:
    cost of tools( assuming that you don’t already have them) ?? ( soldering iron .. possibly soldering station (9-100$)
    (DMM(digital multimeter is kinda handy for testing connections).. I have no idea how much an Osciliscope costs..I’m planning on skipping that step. Oh, and you will need some kind of programmer to program the microchip PIC (fyi the JDM style programmers and the PIC18F452 tend to disagree just a little)
    I’ve heard some people have had quit good success with the brocolli18 programmer, but the design depends on the voltage of your || port and what OS you are running( which if you are clueful you can plan for).

    Oh yeah.. and there is shipping and handling ,and in her bom she cites at least 4 different sources( fyi newark tends to adding handling costs if you order is small enought( not that I blame them.. they do some really nifty vacuum sealing in esd bags of all your components).
    ( for S&H I’d add another say $20-40).

    so lets see at a guess, if you could find someone who already had all the tools they needed and was willing to do it all, unless they were doing it full scale as a commercial venture ( at which point there are possibly some ip issues (it is limor’s design and code)).
    I’d be highly suprised if you could get someone to make one for you for less than $200.
    If you want a cool looking mp3 player for less than that, try yammp-7, assembled they sell it for 150.

  19. dan, dont exagerate so much. Half of the bom was sampled for free. The other half are cheap parts. Since most of the parts were order from digikey, the shipping is greatly reduced. PCB might cost alot, but some students, mainly EE, can make it themselves. If I knew how to program pics, or how to solder smt pics, I would gladly sell for 100 each, minus the cf card. And maybe the battery. And it would have to be 100 upfront. (Got no money base to make then sell ^_^). Tools shouldn’t figure in cause anyone who even tries this has been using them for a while, or should have been.

    So lets see. About 25 for the none sampled parts plus 12 for the mp3 decoder. (I was able to sample the cs4340 dac ^_^) plus shipping on both. 15-20 for the board. 2 bucks for the tin (I keep the mints/caffine pills) 57 + 10~15 total shipping, 75 bucks and 25 profit plus experience points. And the person then shells out for the cf and battery. Then again, my time building one is worth atleast 50~75 alone, with internet browsing, phone calling, pic programing and pcb building. The actual solder job would only take bout 3 hours max.

    ~in semi-dream land~

  20. ok, so it’s a little inflated. lets say that you charged what your time is worth( since if I successfully did something like this for a lark, I wouldn’t sell the first one I made) and that sampling allows whoever is doing it to have cheaper costs.
    cost would then be 125 without CF or battery.
    so I’m thinking your basis would put that at say 155-165 with cf and ( assuming lithium ion battery)
    btw, nice job sampling the DAC, I didn’t manage to do that, so newark bumps my estimate up a bit too.

  21. The DAC took a bit of phoning to do. First you go to Cirrus’s site (Or whatever company that makes cs company coded chips site) and use their sample request. That gave me an email saying they couldnt accommodate me with a free sample. So after reading the badly binaried email from CS’s to my dodgeit account, I figured I had to call the local supplier for CS in NJ. It gave me two suppliers from CS’s website. I called one, it was a machine, and the other I had to call three times. Once to get connect to someone who was afk, the second to try to get reconnect with that person (who handles the Rutgers and School of Engineering accounts, so if you a SOE student you might get a free sample or two). The third try resulted in me being connected to someone else, who took the sample order for me with little hesitation. He did tell me that Fedex (i think it was fedex) might not be able to ship to my school’s PO box (which it might since microchip using ups and maxim/dallas with fedex have arrived for me (or viceversa).
    *take a breath*
    Anyway, thats why I did quoted phone calling under my time list ^_^
    And I might end up going with the newer series of DAC’s from cs, the cs4344/5/6/8 series, once I compare the data sheets for that series and Limor’s acquired cs4340. Hell, I might make the dac a swapable part using some yet to be defined molex board to board adaptor for smt chips, and switch and compare without having to pick one and lump it. It also helps in replacing parts that might get shorted or what not.

    I think I should write for hackaday. If only I knew what to write about. ^_^

  22. Okay……. It seems that the microchip sample order was sent with the name cde, and since thats not the name the post office at rutgers knows me as, I might have to reorder that one. The Ti sample might do the same thing as well. But atleast the ti order has my Nick name Geo, a standard for me real name, and my real last name. Hopefully that will work.

  23. oh, and for anyone actually planning on working on the latest version, the BOM and PCB is *slighly* off in that it references a 20Mhz crystal instead of a 29.4912 crystal.
    limor knows , and probably will be updating the bom when she has the free time. but in the meantime for anyone who care and doesn’t want to wait the month or so for the full tutorial.
    you can get an appropriate crystal at mouser:
    695-HCM49-29.

  24. Limor doesn’t say that she sampled the FTDI chip on the hardware part as well, though it does say on the BOM (Which I still dont know what it stands for… Board ops mech?) I just did the same I did for the cs chips. I email one of the two US suppliers for FTDI. Sampling is great social engineering fun (and practice as well)

  25. BOM = Bill of Materials.

    This project looks great. For those of you who are beginners and want to learn more about electronics, there are FPGA kits out there from Xilinx or Altera (about 80$ to 150 depending on configeration) that allow you to build your own MP3 player and other things. Although, none of these will be as small or well designed as Limor’s.

  26. Hi just had a question… is there anybody who has turned a USB memory stick /pen drive into an mp3 player? That would be *really* cool (not that this isn’t…). Any tutorials would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  27. #43 Do you mean like the micro cruzer companion? Like just using a flash drive as the memory instead of a memory card? Whats the point? Both a mp3 player like the minty, and the cruzer companion need an external method to connect to usb to add the files (CF reader for minty, micro cruzer flash drive for Companion). Or do you mean more like the iPod Shuffle (Which I think is what limor is going to do with the mini Minty)?

  28. I finally decided I wanted to take a look at the project but web.media.mit.edu seems to be down today, looking at the google cache just isn’t the same :/

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