Homemade music player

Sadly, this pocket mp3 wav player doesn’t come close to the capabilities of even an iPod generation 1 yet, but you have to give [Owen] props for making it in less than 24 hours. The system consists of a Propeller MCU (cleverly wired to be swappable with “shields” similar to Arduino systems), SD card for song storage, and an LM386 for audio. While the setup is a little dull, and only plays through songs non stop with no controls whatsoever, it certainly is a good start in the right direction for a cheap and simple portable music player. Of course some planned changes are in the works, include an accelerometer (gesture based controls?), etched PCB, docking station, and a case. We’re surprised there is no form of screen planned, considering Owen appears to have a rather good handle on touch interfaces; perhaps he’s waiting for revision 3.


  1. Hacksaw says:

    While not the most technically advanced it is still very cool.I can imagine a a quick flip of the wrist to skip to the next song…or fast forward hat sounds really cool.Nice job!

  2. strider_mt2k says:

    I like it for it’s simplicity.

  3. xorpunk says:

    It actually reflects how lazy and consumer people are that one wasnt made years ago that had modern features(and wasn’t a $80 kit)..

  4. Dan says:

    This would be a nice inexpensive way to play music 24/7, e.g. hold music in telephone systems or elevator music.

  5. roboman2444 says:

    wow, if he took the small surface mount propeller, surface mount lm368, some small buttons, a microsd card,and a small lipoly battery, he could have a ipod shuffle.

    i would like to see a small display, maybe one from a cellphone. That would make the thing absolutely awesome.

  6. Haku says:

    Impressive for making it with parts laying around, sometimes those are the most interesting and fun builds, like the thing I stuck in my fridge that after 5 seconds of closing the door you can hear “*bang *bang* *bang* excuse me, excuse me, excuse me! Can you let me out of here?!”, made from a silly electronic toy + Picaxe + LDR.

    But if you’re looking for an SD mp3 player that can be fully controlled with a microcontroller through TTL serial, this unit is somewhat amazing, especially considering it’s only $10+postage:


    It can handle 32mb to 8gb SD/SDHC cards, and cope with almost 3000 mp3 files that can be individually selected through the TTL serial connection.
    You’ll need to run a freeware program called DriveSort to make the files on the SD card in the correct alphabetical order within the FAT, you don’t need to name them 001.mp3 002.mp3 etc. you can use real names, but adding 001 etc. to the beginning of them helps.
    Proper, full datasheet for the unit is here: http://www.thaieasyelec.net/archives/Manual/TDB380%20datasheet%20V2%5B1%5D.0%20.pdf

    I bought 5 of em :)

  7. Jake says:

    There are a great variety of write-ups (and in many cases, complete schematics, parts lists, and code) for sub-$40 MP3 players on the internet. This one might be nice for a music-on-hold system, since you are just looping the same track over and over. I can’t think of anything else it would be useful for, due to the crippling size of .wav files? Maybe you could use it to play sound effects inside a Halloween pumpkin? :D

  8. egasimus says:
  9. Gonzalo says:

    Would be cooler if it could decode mp3 (I think it’s possible in a Propeller uC, what do you think?)

  10. sintos says:

    Check this out http://syso.name/w/PMB – the
    same approach with the DAC, but a live synthesizer

  11. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t there an MP3 library for the Propeller?

  12. Paul Potter says:

    Great work.

    I’m very interested in them cheap modules now. TTL-USB serial = sorted

  13. Tiago says:


    A lot of mp3 based in avr!!!

  14. bilbao bob says:

    Does anyone remember the silly guy who mortgaged his house to build a pez mp3 player… from scratch?

  15. Eirinn says:

    Was thinking about building an arduino mp3 player, but the mp3 shield is sooo expensive :S

  16. @Tiago: great, thanks for sharing (:

  17. Davo1111 says:

    great design, thanks for sharing.

    I bet the battery life is better than the ipod hahaha

  18. opcode says:

    Great design and better than buying a ready made one.
    For my projects I use this one:


  19. Jon Williams says:

    I created a commercial WAV player using the Propeller that has been a huge hit with our customer base. The great thing about using the Propeller is that it’s easy to customize; our product even allows users to upload new firmware from the SD card which makes product improvements a breeze.

  20. Roshan Bhoi says:

    its quite hard to made, though the ckt is not so simple.

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