[Jonathan Thomson] was ruminating on EL wire displays and decided that most he has seen are boring, static fixtures or installations that simply flash EL wire on and off at a fixed rate. He thought that EL wire has far more potential than that, and set off to build something more exciting. Using a graphic equalizer T-shirt, with which we’re sure you are familiar, he put together a slick, sound-reactive EL wire display.
He started off by removing the EL panel and inverter from the aforementioned T-shirt, separating the display into two pieces. He set aside the panel and focused on wiring up the inverter’s ribbon cable to a set of EL wire strands he picked up for the project. Once he had everything hooked up, he put a design together on a cardboard box, which he intended to use for wrapping Christmas presents. With the holiday behind him, [Jonathan] broke down his original display and constructed another to offer up some fun birthday wishes.
While the EL inverter was originally built to display sounds detected by an onboard mic, [Jonathan] added a 3.5” stereo jack to his so that he can feed audio directly into the display using an MP3 player.
Continue reading to see the EL display in action, and be sure to check out his writeup if you are looking to spice up your gift giving this year.
Continue reading “Sound-reactive EL wire box makes gift giving awesome”
If your next project needs the ability to play MP3s but you don’t have a lot of room to spare in your enclosure, [Boris] has just the thing you need. His tiny embedded MP3 module supports playback of up to 65,536 songs or as many as you can fit on a 16GB microSD card, which isn’t bad in the least.
The module relies on a PIC24F for input and control, while a VS1011 handles all of the MP3 decoding responsibilities. He says that the module would be great for voice-enabled vending machines, telephone systems, cars, and more.
With such a wide range of possible applications, he decided that the module should be able to support several different input methods. The board can be controlled via a set of digital input buttons, which is perfect for direct human interaction, while it also supports serial control for scenarios where it is part of a larger embedded system.
Of course, we’ve seen tiny MP3 players like this before, but we like the fact that this module was designed to operate in standalone mode or as a component in a larger device. Of course all of the device’s schematics, code, and a BoM are available, allowing you to build your own if you are comfortable with SMD soldering.
[Ron] was looking for a way to play his MP3s around the house without having to use his computer. He also wanted the ability to remotely control his tunes with an old camcorder remote he had sitting around – not exactly a feature you would find in an off the shelf personal audio player.
Ultimately, he decided to construct his own remote-controlled audio player using a VMUSIC2 audio module, which can decode MP3s from any standard USB drive. The VMUSIC2 is controlled by a Propeller demo board, which also handles receiving and decoding IR signals from his camcorder remote. While he was originally dumping ID3 tag data to his computer for debugging purposes, he recently added an LCD screen for displaying song information in a more useful manner.
The MP3 player seems to work pretty well if the video below is any indication, though it’s begging for a nice enclosure to tie things together. We like the project so far, so we’re sure [Ron] won’t fail to impress when it’s completely finished.
Continue reading “Remote-controlled VMUSIC2 audio player”
[Jim] just finished restoring an old Seeburg USC1 jukebox for his father using an Arduino, replacing an electromechanical rats nest of wires. The stack of 45 records were replaced with an Arduino Mega 2560 with an Sparkfun MP3 player shield, and he jukebox lights are now controlled with 74595 shift registers. Because his jukebox isn’t taking in money, the dollar bill validator has been modified into a ‘skip song’ button, and when there are no songs in the jukebox queue, there are 500 additional songs on the SD card that will randomly play.
We’ve seen one of [Jim]’s builds before. Earlier this year he repaired a thirty year old Pachinko machine using the same Arduino + MP3 shield setup. It looks like [Jim] is pretty skilled at revitalizing bulky old electronics. The jukebox restoration is great and has a lot more class than the internet-connected touch screen monstrosities that we still pump money into.
Check out the video after the break for a walk through of this restoration.
Continue reading “Restoring a jukebox with an Arduino”
[Rui] needed an easy way to play music in several different zones from one centralized location, but he didn’t want to run any new wiring in the process.
He figured that the best way to do this would be to stream his music directly to his speakers over Ethernet. Earlier this year, he put together a handful of Ethernet-connected speaker nodes using a few Arduinos equipped with both Ethernet and MP3 shields. To interface with these speaker nodes, he wrote an application utilizing VLC’s network streaming engine. This software monitors his network for newly attached speakers, adding them to his inventory automatically. He can choose to play music on any set of speakers using a multicast audio stream.
The setup was pretty slick, but what about locations that didn’t already have Ethernet drops? He thought of that too, revising his design just recently. The newest set of speakers he constructed ditches the Ethernet board for a Wifly shield, all of which he crammed inside the speaker cabinets. Now, he has the ability to stream music anywhere he’d like, no matter what sort of infrastructure is in place.
If you have a need to do this in your home, [Rui] has made his software available for free on his site, so be sure to grab a copy.
Continue reading to see a short video of the speakers in action.
Continue reading “Stream music anywhere in your house with these WiFi speakers”
Like most of us at Hack a Day, [Bertrand Fan] has a huge collection of digital music that was all obtained through legal channels. Missing the physical process of choosing and playing an album, [Bertrand] built an RFID record player to get rid of the paradox of choice that arises when thousands of albums are at your fingertips.
The records are repurposed Christmas ornaments with RFID disk tags pasted under the label. These records are read by a RedBee RFID reader and sent to a Popcorn Hour media server, but we’re guessing this could be easily adapted to any HTPC.
The only limitation we see is the fact that the RFID chip is hard coded to individual songs. We think it would be easier to have the RFID chip store an album’s CDDB discid, but feel free to leave a comment and say how you would catalog thousands of albums on RFID tags.
We’re a little tired of skipping though our music collection like a portable CD player from 1990, so we’re pretty impressed that [Bertrand] came up with something that would get us to sit down and listen to our Terabytes of FLAC-encoded music. Check out the video after the jump for a demo of the RFID record player.
Continue reading “RFID record player”
[Ole Wolf] wrote in to tell us about a project he has been working on for several years now. The Wacken Death Box serves as a reminder that once you start a DIY project, it’s probably a good idea to finish it in a reasonable amount of time, lest it risk becoming obsolete.
His Death Box is an MP3 player that he takes along on his annual trip to the Wacken Open Air Festival. His goal was to construct a portable amplified music player that could be powered from either a car battery or charger. A Via EPIA Mini-ITX computer serves as the brains of the device, blaring his tunes from a set of car loudspeakers via a two-channel 100W amp.
[Ole Wolf] used the music player for a few years, improving it as he went along. He does admit however, that with the continually dropping prices of MP3 players, he decided to bring a small portable unit along with him to the 2010 festival, leaving his box at home.
Given the fact that far smaller and more portable devices make his music box seem clunky and obsolete in comparison, you might ask why he even keeps it around. We think that every hack has its place, and while you won’t be strapping the Death Box on your back for your morning jog, it fits quite well in a variety of situations. This rugged music box would be an appropriate choice to use in your workshop, at the beach, or even on a construction job site – places where you might not want to use your comparatively fragile iDevice.