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Archive for the ‘boombox’ Category

While ’80s-style boomboxes have their own unique character, per hacker “Dancorp’s” excellent mod, it’s clear that they could be improved dramatically with programmable LEDs.

This build uses a capacitive filtering arrangement to feed line out signals from the boombox into an Arduino Uno, which then controls three LED strips.

Two of these strips are arranged around the speaker cones, emitting beautiful LED effects to go along with the music playing, while the third can be used to light up the built-in VU meters.

A schematic along with Arduino code are available on Dancorp’s write-up. It looks like a fairly accessible project, especially given the extra space available in electronics from that era.

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.

Maybe you don’t have a boombox or want to start from scratch. In that case, check out this artfully made wooden one or this custom one in a rugged, homemade case that you’d swear on first glance was military issue.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, LED Hacks


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