Boominator solar stereo keeps the music pumping even in cloudy weather

boominator

Despite 40-some years of product improvements, boomboxes today still require a half dozen D-cell batteries and measure their life in single digit hours.  After this, the batteries get chucked in the trash. Tired of the absurd cost and quantity of batteries required in a typical boombox, reddit user [anders202] has whipped up a solution that will keep the party going and the landfills empty. Using some off-the-shelf components and some impressive woodworking skills, he created the “Boominator”.

Despite its environmentally-conscious design, this green machine packs a whallop. Using its dual 10W solar panels, it can drive four woofers and tweeters to produce an estimated 102dB of sound with power to spare.  This extra juice can be used to charge its two internal 7.2Ah batteries or a cellphone using the integrated USB charging ports.  Better still, Anders chose amorphous solar panels (as opposed to crystalline) which produce power even in cloudy weather as demonstrated during a cloudy day at the Roskilde festival in Denmark.  For more information, check out the reddit comment thread.

Video demo after the jump

Comments

  1. great first post ;)

  2. polossatik says:

    nice, I see he mentions he cannot charge his MP3 play due ground loops, a simple “Ground Loop Isolator” should fix that (basically a 1:1 transformer) you put in the audio out cable

  3. Name already taken :-) but nice build

    http://boominator.dk/index.php/Main_Page

  4. CoytHV says:

    very cool project.

    The ground loop issue seems a little sketchy. It seems like there should be a DC blocking capacitor or something like it on the audio input inside the amplifier that should prevent any ground loops like this. He may be able to add one or use an isloator like everyone else mentions.

    I think he’s getting good sound because he used large good quality speakers and not much else. 4w max power isn’t much at all especially for a boombox this size. I get the whole solar powered concept… but solar panels are really only good for charging the battery while the sound is off. I’m currently working on a boombox similar to this…but add two 0’s to the wattage level :)

    • Anders202 says:

      Hello “Anders202″ here…
      If you are considering building a boombox yourself, you should definitely take a look at the boominator design. It have been optimized over years by audio professionals, with knowledge you can only dream about. You simply can not get better sound with this power consumption. You can go ahead and use a bigger amp, which will increase energy consumption tenfold. Then 20W solar panels wont make sense with such a energy consumption, and your only solution would be giant batteries, which will add a lot of weight.

      Also, the solar panels produce the same amount of power no matter if the amp is on or not.

  5. Midnight says:

    I used just around 1k USD …..

    Is what the maker says in the comments.?@??!??!
    There’s a small bar of gold hidden inside? You should be able to built one of these for what? like 100$. 2 panels, some old car speakers and a 2$ MP3 player?

    • Jaqen says:

      may have to do with prices in Denmark, I’d be hard pressed to build this from new parts for $100 you could easily spend $100 on one solar panel. If you want cheap here, you order parts from china and hope the package isn’t stopped in customs :-P

    • soundman98 says:

      but he didn’t use old car speakers…

      my last boom box build cost around $20 all set, and didn’t include a battery or solar panels.. mono 8″ midbass, stereo silk dome tweeters angled a few degrees to the sides driven by a $5 4 channel car audio amp, powered by a pc psu, all in a salvaged speaker box from good will..

      my next build, i hope to keep under $500.

    • Anders202 says:

      Hello “Anders202″ here…
      The 1000 USD was a direct conversion from DKK to USD, and thus reflect danish prices. I have estimated that you will be able to buy everything for 600 USD in America.

      And this is not some boombox with old car speakers and a left over amp. This is the most optimized boombox you will ever find. The cabinets are designed specially for the boominators purpose (loudness, clear sound, low energy consumption, decent outdoor bass).

      You can always built a boombox from left over materials, but you cant compare it to this level of quality, its simply not fair for any of the boomboxes ;)

      Also, each solar panel is 68 usd, so you will find it hard to add any form of solar panel with a lower budget. Saving money on speakers and going with a worse design would mean increased energy consumption which in turns would ruin the idea behind solar panels. The boominator is designed to be in the sweetspot in every aspect.

      I hope this gives you stuff to think about, since building something like a boombox can be anything from a simple task of mounting speaker to doing complicated acoustic calculations.

  6. David says:

    Great, another technopeasant writer. Amorphous PV cells are always less efficient than crystalline cells. They have no advantage in cloudy weather. That just makes no sense.

    • Chris C. says:

      Amorphous PV output falls off a bit less quickly than crystalline in diffuse lighting conditions. So there is a bit of truth to it, under specific conditions. Assuming you have a fixed monetary rather than area budget, and that budget purchases you the same peak output using either variety, then amorphous can actually be superior in overcast conditions as claimed.

    • Anders202 says:

      Hello “Anders202″ here…

      As Chris C also supports, my statement is completely true.
      Amorphous panels thrive on diffuse light rather than the absolute direct sunlight of the crystalline panels.
      Crystalline panels are more efficient per m^2, yes. But given a normal day in Denmark the amorphous panels would actually generate more power, since the hours of useable sunlight is increased compared to crystalline panels.
      Furthermore crystalline panels likes to be angled towards the sun (think roof installations) which simply would make it too much of a hassle on a boombox.

      To sum it all up: You are right about crystalline being more efficient on paper. But in the real world the amorphous panels is the better option.

  7. matthew watkins says:
  8. polytechnick says:

    I thought boom boxes themselves have been chucked in the trash some 20+ years ago, no? I might have been hanging out in the wrong type of crowds…

  9. Fallen says:

    I remember seeing this thread on diyaudio.com :D

  10. Dan Sullivan says:

    Wafers go for about 45 cents per watt and panel costs are about a dollar fifty per watt. I’m looking forward to affordable controllers and batteries. Then this all really starts to make sense for even big-box stores and we won’t have to build it all ourselves!

  11. KAK says:

    Just to be clear: the creator of the ‘Boominator’ is a guy named ‘Saturnus’, a member of diyaudio.com. The guy ‘Anders’ just made one of the hundreds or maybe thousands that people have already made. :)

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