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  • Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

    First post and first build. Man am I excited!

    I have been lurking in the shadows for the past 2 months researching and watching you all build some incredible things. I think I have enough information to be dangerous now and am beginning my build.

    I was actually going to buy a bluetooth portable speaker for Christmas. Then lightning struck me and I decided to just build one. I knew that they would be better quality and would be an awesome project. That was the promise as least - so this little project is called I started with the basic constraints of being portable. I quickly found the OS builds and Gordy's awesome version (Madeleine). I also talked with my speaker mentor Chris Brady (http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/index.html )about full range drivers versus a cross over design. I decided to try to keep it simple this first build.

    Electronics
    Chris recommended the MarkAudio Alpair 3.5 full range drivers but we decided they might be a little fragile for a boombox design. I researched options and ended up going with the Dayton Audio RS100 4 inch bad boys. I knew I needed to put in an amp, blue tooth module, battery, POT, 3.5 jack, and 12 v power jack. Gordy had a great design that I used from the Madeline with the Sure TA2024 2X15W Amplifier Board and Sure APT-X Bluetooth 4.0 Board. After some discussion with him, I am actually going to add the Digital Stereo Audio Volume Control Combo Kit in-between the Amp and Bluetooth module for better volume control.

    The battery was hard to figure out. I didn't want to put a lead-acid battery in there for weight and size reasons. I researched Li-po batteries and found some good options. Right now I plan on using a 6800 maH Li-po battery off ebay.

    Box Design
    I wanted to keep the box small and short to make the 4 inch drivers pop. I would rather have it a little longer than taller for aesthetic reasons. Drivers call for 0.1 ft^3 per. This is what I ended up with.

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    The back plate will need to be removable to get the electronics. Depending on how it all goes together, I may need to cut into the center divider to fit the electronics. Ports need to be 1 in. by 4 in. and will deliver 66 Hz which should provide a surprising amount of low end.

    In terms of material. I have some walnut drying currently that will be used for the build. I have another 2 months before it will be ready - plenty of time to tweak the design and learn how to wire this thing up. Will be milled to 3/4 inch and used for everything except the center divider. I will just use MDF for that part.

    Full list of parts (This is help all those other newbies out there that need some extra help like me!)
    • Sure TA2024 2X15W Amplifier Board 1 320-330 (Parts Express)
    • Sure APT-X Bluetooth 4.0 Board 1 AA-AB41136 (Sure Electronics)
    • DC 12V 6800mAh Li-ion Super Rechargeable Battery Pack (ebay)
    • SPST Automotive Round Rocker Switch with Blue LED 12V 060-770 (Parts Express)
    • Penn-Elcom M1320K Brass Amplifier Knob Black 240-211 (Parts Express)
    • Panel DC Power Jack 2.5 X 5.5 mm 1 090-496 (Parts Express)
    • 3.5mm Stereo Panel Mount Jack 090-317 (Parts Express)
    • 2x Dayton Audio RS100-4 4" Reference Full-Range Driver 4 Ohm 295-378 (Parts Express)
    • 4x Male to Male RCA Adapter 2 090-406 (Parts Express)
    • 2x Speaker Cabinet Port Tube 1" ID x 4" L Flared 260-470 (Parts Express)
    • 4x Penn-Elcom F1633 Rubber Foot 4 260-773 (Parts Express)
    • Speaker Gasketing Tape 1 260-540 (Parts Express)
    • Nte 16 Awg Wire Black 25 Ft. 1 101-820 (Parts Express)
    • Nte 16 Awg Wire Red 25 Ft. 1 101-824 (Parts Express)
    • Nte 16 Awg Wire White 25 Ft. 1 101-838 (Parts Express)
    • Penn-Elcom H1008 Black Leather-Look Strap Handle 8.57" Long 262-302 (Parts Express)
    • Penn-Elcom D2101K Blank Dish Black 5" x 7" 262-040 (Parts Express)
    • #6 x 3/4" Deep Thread Pan Head Screws Black 100 Pcs 081-435 (Parts Express)
    • Nylon spacers (Hardware Store)
    • Electronic Solder 60/40 1.3mm (0.050") Diameter 1 lb. Spool 370-034 (Parts Express)


    Total cost throwing in the hard wood as well will be about $200, but many of the materials can be used for other builds. And if this speaker keeps it's promise, then it will blow the socks off the soundlink or jawbone - plus I will have bragging rights.

    I'll continue to post updates here. Just got to wait for the wood to dry, parts to come, and some free time. Please let me know what you think of the plan or if I walking into any big mistakes. Thanks.
    Last edited by woodwelder; 10-17-2014, 07:01 PM. Reason: pictures won't show

  • #2
    Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

    How many hours do you think that battery pack will last? I powered my little boombox with the 25x2 Sure amp and 12 AA rechargeable batteries and get about 40 hours at fairly loud levels. I like the idea of the battery pack though.

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    • #3
      Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

      I don't like it ;p. Low quality cells, dodgy protection which kicks in on medium-high volume, crappy charger, 1/3 of the packaging is filling, only gets about 1/3 of its claimed capacity...... Quality costs money. If you want a high quality 6800mAh li-ion pack with charger, be prepared to spend at least 50 bucks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

        Originally posted by Lutkeveld View Post
        I don't like it ;p. Low quality cells, dodgy protection which kicks in on medium-high volume, crappy charger, 1/3 of the packaging is filling, only gets about 1/3 of its claimed capacity...... Quality costs money. If you want a high quality 6800mAh li-ion pack with charger, be prepared to spend at least 50 bucks.
        Any recommendations on a better battery Lutkeveld? I am open to suggestions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

          Any size/budget constraints? Maybe the 4200mAh Zippy LiFePO4 pack from Hobbyking?

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          • #6
            Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

            Personally not a huge fan of the RS100 run full range... Maybe look at the Aura NS3 or Dayton ND90...
            Melby Audio - Flat Pack Speaker Kits

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            • #7
              Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

              Thanks for the suggestions guys. I want to keep the battery small, which is why I didn't go with a lead acid battery. The 4200mAh Zippy LiFePO4 pack looks like a viable option. As far as the speakers go, I wanted to stay with a 4 ohm driver and the RS100 is rated very high. If I don't like what I hear I will switch to the 4 ohm Dayton ND90.

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              • #8
                Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                I don't really understand the battery thing in that I do not understand electricity well enough to know; how much battery is needed (volts, amps and such as this), how the recharging of the battery would work.

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                • #9
                  Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                  You may want to do some research yourself first. It's not that difficult but it is a lot of information.
                  Also, there are a lot of different topologies. The main ones you want to research are lead-acid, LiFePO4 and Li-ion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                    Hey, cool project.

                    One thing that will help is knowing what you have already purchased. I don;t want to give you advice on a different driver if you already cut the holes and painted it up, and bought the rs100.

                    Don't want to discourage you from trying it either though.

                    Someone said they didn't like the full-range rs100... well maybe they or another member can chime in on a filter which gets it sounding a bit better full range, if it really is an issue. Searched and found a post discussing this. Guy recommending the RS100 in a full range build... says "+1 on the RS100. It needs a circuit to flatten out the rising response near 20000Hz. Or if you like it leave it as is as it will smooth out off-axis." So if you search around, you may find other comments on it, and see if someone can help you thrown a filter together. Another option is to add a few bits and pieces. There are a few projects I think that use the rs100 in a two-way build. why not add a tweeter and a crossover? just a thought. I searched and there are threads discussing the rs100 with a tweeter/x-over. I mention the tweeter idea, because I read someone say that the speaker is a little beamy... and could benefit form better dispersion. It seems like you aren't sparing much expense so far, so why not add a few tweeters? I bet you could keep your current box design, too.

                    I hear the bluetooth board you selected is a good one. As far as the amp... if you haven't bought it yet, investigate a few others too, like the tpa3116 series on ebay. they actually put out around twice the power of the sure amp and sound good too.

                    But just as it is, it will at least be really nice for quiet or medium listening and maybe even louder listening!

                    As for the battery, avoid lipo. They can cause fires (I know, lots say this doesn't really happen or is rare, but SO MANY have actually had theirs burn!) if mishandled/mischarged etc etc. But life4po is much more stable. Also, li-ion is sort of in between lipo and life4po... better than lipo. The main attraction to lipo is that they have such great energy density- greater than li-ion and life4po (the power to weight ratio). But in this case... definitely consider the smaller battery. Especially with that sure amp if you go that rout. something like this maybe- LINK which includes two packs and a charger. It gets complicated because the packs have their own on-off switches and usually have a certain method for charging... but hey, they usually come with built-in protection circuitry, and they are pretty reliable.


                    I don't think I have seen an rs100 box yet... yours looks conveniently sized. I am curious about how the quality of sound is with the bluetooth setup. Yes... even with very cheap speakers and a decent enclosure, you will, in a few ways, blow the other bt boxes out of the water. they still have a size advantage, and many times, their tiny speakers really have a nice little soundstage- but your system will bury them 6ft under anyway.

                    If you hear the finished product and question the quality of the rs100's, I say just mention that here and others who have used them full range may chime in with filter advice. Leave your project moddable once built, so that you can open part of it up if need be.

                    -Arrayed

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                    • #11
                      Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                      Part of the problem with lipo bursting in flames is how it's used. In the RC world people discharge it within 10-15 minutes while in this use case it will last a couple of hours. Also charging in the RC world is super quick, while a couple of hours is pretty acceptable for charging a boombox battery. Still, I'd recommend LiFe over lipo all day every day ofcourse.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                        Agreed. Still, short circuiting them generally causes them to blow I think. And sometimes dormant lipos just blow too. But yes, those are all r/c related stories I am thinking of. Lots of lost homes due to lipo fires.
                        Last edited by arrayed; 10-26-2014, 03:27 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                          Thanks Arrayed for your suggestions.

                          I just got my parts express order and the sure products from China. I am going to put it all together and test it out - see what it sounds like as full range without the tweeter or crossover. I was trying to keep the build simple for my first one - already feeling a little overwhelmed, but ready for the challenge. Refer to my first post - I pretty much got everything on the list.

                          I did go with the Li-ion battery instead of the Lipo, thanks for the suggestion on that. I can't return the item, so I am going to roll with it. Next build I will go with the LiFe battery. My first obstacle is that the batter charger doesn' fit the 2.5mm power jack - so I ordered a 2.1 mm and hoping it will fit. I still have to cut off the end and rewire to the metal jack. That should be fun.

                          Pictures to come from my experiment today. Wish me luck.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                            So I wired it up today and learned a lot. First of all - I got sound which was a big achievement and proved many of my parts work and I didn't ruin them. For all of you who remember soldering for the first time, you can relate. The amp hooks perfectly to the digital volume control which hooks perfectly to the bluetooth module via male to male RCA adapters. I wired power to the volume board from the amp. I was going to daisy chain it to the bluetooth module, but didn't have enough room so I wired power to the bluetooth module from the amp as well. It looks a little messy, but works.

                            The issues I found today are 2 fold. First, the Li-ion battery didn't hold a charge. Looks like I am going to switch to a LiFe battery - so for those that already posted this, you are right! And you can say 'I told you so!' I am hoping I can get a refund and not just a replacement. The other issue I ran into is the 3.5 mm jack. I can't seem to get both bluetooth and the 3.5 mm input jack to work together. It is either one or the other - if the 3.5 mm is plugged in, it takes precedence, but as soon as it is removed the bluetooth will kick in. I really wanted both options - anybody know how to do that with the electronics I already have?

                            The initial sound quality is good - was pleasantly surprised with volume, the lows and the highs. I think I am going to be very happy with the set up. I am an amateur but I am not hearing the lack of high or the brassy tone some mention. Time will tell, but I am happy so far.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Promise Keeper - bluetooth build

                              Originally posted by woodwelder View Post
                              The other issue I ran into is the 3.5 mm jack. I can't seem to get both bluetooth and the 3.5 mm input jack to work together. It is either one or the other - if the 3.5 mm is plugged in, it takes precedence, but as soon as it is removed the bluetooth will kick in. I really wanted both options - anybody know how to do that with the electronics I already have?

                              These are both inputs but you can only use one or the other. I have used either RCAs or a 3.5mm cable to transfer signal. If you run a line in with signal tied to the BT, you will torpedo that BT unit. I have sitting in my tool box that is dead. If you want two sources, you will need to use a switch like this one

                              http://www.parts-express.com/3pdt-mi...witch--060-520

                              You can also order these to solder to those boards and it makes it a lot easier to attach wires. I have found the 2.5mm inputs on the SURE boards are spotty at best and never use them I always use the screw terminals, nothing to come unplugged.

                              http://www.parts-express.com/two-con...-pcs--320-3370

                              I really wish PE would carry the BT 4.0 and volume control module. They integrate perfectly together and will work with anything. Using the 3 products that you are will also assure zero EMI noise.
                              "A dirty shop is an unsafe shop, if you injure yourself in a clean shop you are just stupid" - Coach Kupchinsky

                              The Madeleine
                              The Roxster
                              Swopes 5.0
                              Acoustic Panels
                              Living Room Make Over

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