iPod jukebox (phase 2): prototype

You remember the first phase of the iPod jukebox, yes? To jog your memory, the basic goal was simple. How do I make these dust-collecting components:

…work with my iPhone in order to have music in my workshop?  Simple concept, not so simple electronics. The project is mostly a connectivity issue, i.e., there are tons of inputs and outputs that must all be managed with connectors and wiring and power regulation.

On paper, the system looks something like this:

system schematic

In Phase 1, I had done a substantial amount of wasted work with one such cable: the audio/power cable for a first & second gen iPod.  Since the project had been shelved so long, several generations of iPods and now iPhones have come and gone.  Well, in that time, Apple has settled on USB as their power bus of choice, rather than FireWire.  Thus, I had to likewise change directions on this project to accommodate my iPhone (rather than the antiquated iPods).  Mounting options naturally have to change as well.  And the overall enclosure gets modified too.  It’s quite a ripple effect when your central component (the music player!) gets the switch-aroo.

I was locked in a brain-freeze for quite a while on this part, the mounting and enclosure.  I had been stuck on the idea of trying to make a “pretty” Apple-esque Plexi box.  But I finally admitted to myself that this is just above my skill set.  I have a hard enough time making ugly black plastic kit boxes look pretty, let alone clear Plexi where blemishes show so easily.

So instead, I’ve decided to embrace ugly.  Why not just make this phase of the project an intermediate step rather than the final step?  My garage is already an acceptable and appropriately dirty place, as is the attached workshop.  Just let this jukebox fit in with that kind of environment.

So I completely re-thought the enclosure phase.  I began cobbling together other old cases, car mounts, and such to make a quick enclosure that would be practical, yet secure.  Such parts included:


iPhone gooseneck holder iPhone holder #2


USB audio iPhone cable


USB Car Charger for iPod charging circuit

In putting all these items together, it now (unintentionally, I assure you) might resemble something else entirely, as you’ll see in the project gallery below 1.  But hey, this jukebox does reside in the man-cave after all.

What’s in store for Phase 3?  Coming soon, I’ll package all this mess a little nicer.  I have some connections in the machine shop world.  I also will reveal this gizmo’s name, so stay tuned.

Project Gallery:



Outback iPodulator

My wife just got a Subaru Outback 2.5i station wagon. She’s in love with station wagons. No, seriously. Station wagons have been her dream car body style forever. It’s like she’s been a stereotypical soccer-mom-in-training since high school. That said, by her account I drive a station wagon too. I’m not going to split hairs with her. Tomato, toMAH-to.

Anyway, in Sarah’s previous car 1 — which goes without saying was a station wagon — she used one of those Belkin iCarPlay iPod FM transmitters to get her iPod music into her factory stereo receiver. Since getting the Outback 2, I jumped at the chance to do this right. That is to say, get a better sound quality input into her car’s factory stereo.

Continue reading “Outback iPodulator”

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