Sunday, July 18, 2010

Does this make me a hacker?

Altoid tin ipod speakers
Originally uploaded by kdmade
I think I might have pulled off my first hack.

We have half of our belongings in storage since our house is on the market, including our CD collection. It's not such a big deal because I have almost everything on my ipod, but the speakers for the ipod live in the bedroom. It's not a huge speaker set and could totally be moved, but when you are living in a house that is on the market, moving anything is not advisable since, at any moment, you may have to move it back for a showing. Also, we are headed for our annual trip to Maine in a few weeks and I wanted to try to find a way to play some music in the car.

Enter the altoid tin ipod speakers. I found this tutorial and thought that little old techno-idiot me could pull of a stunt that was advertised as a "10 minute" project that was so simple a "monkey could do it". Well, 4 hours and a few choice words later, and I'm happy to say that this monkey has herself some portable ipod speakers.

Dear Andrew was quick to point out that I made the project more complicated than it was originally intended to be which must, of course, account for the extra 3 hours and 50 minutes I took to complete it. Well, that and my level of expertise with electronics is best summed up by the fact that installing one of those little snake thingees to wrap around and control all of the cords for my computer makes me feel like I've accomplished a huge technological feat. I didn't use earbud style earphones so getting the speakers out was a little more tricky than it needed to be. I used one big saffron tin instead of two altoid tins because I thought it would be cool to be able to store my ipod in there as well. Also, there was a wire connecting the two speakers and I didn't want to have to cut through any more wires that absolutely necessary. Let's just say I was a bit shaky on the whole putting-the-wires-back-together part of the project. I mounted the speakers onto a piece of really thick cardboard that was a pain in the freaking arse to cut through and then found a cool picture from an old calendar (yes, there is a reason why I save all of my cool, old calendars!) to cover the masonite/speaker mess.The speakers were hot-glued to the masonite, the masonite was hot-glued into the tin, the card covering was stuck into place with glue dots and Bob's your uncle, we have speakers!

I did have to cut the wire that runs into the ipod so that I could get it through the back of the tin . Splicing it back was no biggie, except I had no idea what they meant by using a lighter to melt the plastic after twisting the wires back together. The only plastic I could think of was the casing for the wire and I couldn't think of any reason why I would want to melt that. Just wrapping the wires wasn't reliably working though. At one point I actually got it to work, glued it all together, and then found it wasn't working anymore. In the end, I realized that there was a plastic fibery part in each the wires (along with the metal parts of the wire) and I took a lighter to that. That did the trick and I had sound!

I don't know if these are going to be loud enough for a car ride, but we'll test that out shortly. In the meantime, they are totally great for around the house and I now have a pretty place to store my ipod!

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made. by k.d.