This Boombox Hack is Lit

Old boomboxes make great hacks. Their design is iconic; yes they look dated but that really just builds on the nostalgic urge to have one hanging around. Plus their big cases simply invite adding things inside in a way impossible with contemporary electronics.

[Danc0rp] hacked his JVC M70 boombox to make the speakers glow with animated light, bumping VU meters, and a pulsing horizontal bar above the tape deck. The effect is superb. The cones of the speakers act like a projection surface and the grilles hide the LEDs until they activate, and enhance the effects once unleashed. It is one of the best LED speaker hacks we’ve ever seen.

Custom board with Arduino UNO
Custom board with Arduino UNO

The light effects are provided by LED strips, which for the speakers are attached just inside the outer rim. The brains behind it all is an Arduino UNO. To connect to it, he soldered components to a blank Arduino prototyping board. That board takes input from the boombox’s line-out and does some filtering (an attempt to address some ground noise) before passing the signal on to the Arduino. That board also interfaces between the Arduino and the LED strips. The schematic is available on his GitHub page. He’d like to replace the board with a custom PCB instead and is looking for design help.

The result is not only beautiful but professional looking too. This makes us wonder why boomboxes don’t come this way. See it for yourself in the video below.

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Wooden Ghettoblaster Makes Use Of Recycled Parts

Wooden Ghettoblaster made from recycled car audio parts

Humans generate a lot of waste. It is somewhat relieving to see so many great reuses of old items out there on the ‘web. We love covering these types of projects here on Hackaday. [Martin] likes using recycled items in his projects and wrote in to tell us about his recently completed Wooden Ghettoblaster that utilizes a bunch of old parts and doodads he had kicking around.

The main case, believe it or not, is constructed of leftover wood flooring. The fake tape deck, buttons and tuner may look like they are just burnt/etched/stained but they are actually inlaid pieces of darker wood. Once all of the inlays were installed in the front face of the cabinet, the entire surface was sanded smooth and the edges chamfered to add some visual appeal.

Holes for a pair of old aftermarket car speakers were not only cut into the front face of the case, they were also counterbored so the speakers would sit flush with the panel. [Martin] did decide to purchase one component for the project, a set of VU meters. They are mounted to the case via their own inlaid piece of wood and are connected in parallel with the line-level portion of the signal path.

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PVC boombox is not a potato cannon

After [Luke] built a suitcase mini-ITX rig for LAN parties he was left with one problem: he didn’t have any speakers and he didn’t want to use headphones. Not wanting to do something boring like a USB-powered speaker setup, he built a PVC Boombox.

Built around 3 inch PVC pipe, the boombox houses an off the shelf 15 W amplifier, bluetooth receiver, and charge controller. [Luke] found a deal on a dozen 1400mAh lithium ion batteries and despite the standard, “if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t use lithium” trope commonly given as advice, he forged ahead anyway. [Luke] picked up a power converter that charges the batteries and provides some protection. The batteries are charged though wall power with a transformer and a huge cap scrounged from an ATX power supply.

[Luke] is pretty pleased with his boombox. Not only does it put out some decent quality sound, the battery life should be tremendous. It’s not a ground-up build, but we think it’s a pretty nice project. [Luke] will be taking the ‘boomtube’ to the Detroit Maker Faire next month, so if you see him make sure to say hi.

Cigarette tin amp


We’re a little confused: [xXxMrCarlosxXx] built an amp out of a cigarette tin and calls it a Mobile Oppression Unit, but we thought all mobile oppression came in the form of giant, invincible crab-shaped palaces. In any case, or more specifically, in a repurposed Lucky Strikes case, he used an mp3 player, some speakers from a garage sale, and a bread board packing an LM1877N-9 chip “optimized for loudness” to construct a great-looking, compact boom box. Check out his Flickr stream at the read link and begin oppressing your neighbors with sheer volume today.