SnoTunes Lets You Rock Out In The Winter

backpack stereo

[Matt Bilsky], an avid reader of Hackaday for years, finally gathered up the courage to submit a project to us. We swear, we don’t byte! Anyway — we’re glad he did, because his project is absolutely awesome. He calls it SnoTunes and it’s a backpack stereo system designed for the outdoors.

It’s a whopping 160 watt stereo, has 7-8 hours of battery life, is somewhat water resistant, and can be controlled wirelessly. Its brain is a Raspberry Pi B+ running Kodi (which was formerly XBMC). A 7″ display is hidden inside of the backpack for more fine tuning controls.

It fetches and downloads YouTube music videos and can create a playlist that can be manipulated by text message. You can share YouTube links to have it download and queue the songs, you can skip the songs (but only if four people make the request), and it even automatically parses the music video titles to extract the song name and band. It also works with AirPlay — but who even uses that.

He’s got a bunch of videos explaining the build and has tons of resources on his personal website in case you want to try your hand at building one. We’ve seen lots of portable home brew stereos before, but never in a backpack!


24 thoughts on “SnoTunes Lets You Rock Out In The Winter

    1. I´m with vonskippy. It is extremely annoying when you´re in the outdoors- and someone pulls out a cellphone to play some tunes. And now this. Sorry Matt, I am sure you put a lot of thought into the design (didnt read the article), but I hate it

    2. I agree. Snowboard / wakeboard helmets with built-in headphones? If it’s not enough fun without a constant soundtrack then you’re doing it wrong.

      Sometimes the silence actually ADDS to the experience. Snowboarding in deep fresh powder so it feels like you’re floating. That moment kitesurfing when you leave the water and it all suddenly goes completely silent. Bliss. Maybe I am a bit old though…

      Anyway, I’m not knocking the build or personal preference to have some sounds. Just not for me.

    3. Agreed ! next door neighbor punk azz was always blasting his
      “wigger” music from his POS rustang at nuisance levels. Rather
      than call the cops, I just ‘persuaded’ him to knock it off Tony
      Soprano NJ style. He got the “message” after I smashed in his
      windshield with a baseball bat.

      This self centered punk pushing his musical tastes on anyone
      within earshot is asking for a smack down.

      And the soldering work needs a lot to be desired.

      1. LOL; anonymous tough talk hyperbole on the web cracks me up. In the event you live in that tough of an environment you didn’t. For that to be effective you had to be seen doing it. Karma for extracting such a high price for what you consider nuisance, could be bitch, if not deadly pain inducing. Not that I’m saying I wouldn’t find it a nuisance myself.

    4. Classic rock is not my first musical love, but I always set my little Chinese ham radio to classic rock when solo hiking so as not to surprise bears. There could be valid safety reasons for such a rig as well.

      1. One valid safety reason for this might be to make yourself heard when you are buried under an avalanche. Oh wait… you probably caused that avalanche with thunderous bass music in the first place.

    1. Yep when I read that the anonymous comment gallery came to mind as well. I wonder how much stuff bad or good goes unpublished, because of the thick skin requirement of the world Wide Web.

  1. The whole text message thing seems like a hassle. But on his page he mentions it has airplay, so at least you can just stream music straight to it from your phone.

    I’d probably just load the thing up with as much music as possible and create a basic web interface and have it serve as a wifi AP.

    Why is it considered a 160 watt stereo? It’s powered by two portable USB power banks which couldn’t possibly push out that much power. According to his power flow chart, by the time the power jumps through some balancing and step-up circuits, the amp is pulling 12v 3.3A which would be ~40 watts right?

    I like the DIY nature of it and how it’s got a lot of features, and would perhaps use it as a home system, but it seems like too big a beast to carry around. Honestly, I’d rather just use a bluetooth or airplay speaker with built in battery.

    1. Agree on the wireless AP. What about places that have no wifi or crappy cell service? Much more straightforward and I suspect something probably at least partially supported by Kodi plugins, IIRC

  2. Starting in 1978 the FTC rating of amplifiers and been made honest but this only refers to home and pro amps.
    With everything else BS prevails.
    One big speaker will give better bass and higher efficiency. There is no stereo in such narrow spacing of two smaller speakers.
    HaD featured a backpack PA! The single speaker (12-15 inch) was back worn and towered above one’s head.
    Does playing music have to get so SOCIAL (media)!

      This is the one I’m using for a somewhat similar project. It’s 7 inch, runs off 5V DC and displays HDMI resolution nicely. I’m trying to make an all in one emulator box to take camping. The current problem I’m having is getting a good battery solution for it. Anyway, here’s the link to the project page:

  3. In the description of power, he said that he feeds the amp with 12 volts @ 3.3 amp. That’s only 40 watts of power going to the amplifier. given losses, he’s probably getting 15 watts per channel max out of this setup. That and the battery pack is a 1s lipo, a horrible choice. He should have gone with a large 3s lipo for the power…

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