Technology You Can Make a Bluetooth Speaker Out of Just About Anything
These are 7 of the Best-Selling Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon
Amazon's list of top-selling Bluetooth speakers has a wide variety of the most popular options. You can find a great speaker between $20 and $100.These wireless speakers can provide accompanying music for all kinds of activities, from playing at the pool to taking a hike. A few speakers are even intended for use in the shower when you don't want to stop listening to that podcast or audiobook. If you don't need the extreme portability that Bluetooth affords, you may want a good home Wi-Fi speaker that plugs into the wall; otherwise a battery-powered Bluetooth should be your go-to speaker. There are plenty of good options on this list.
When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, there are hundreds of options ranging in price from around twelve dollars to more than a thousand. But why buy one when you can build one that not only blends in with your décor but also will impress your friends? With a little imagination, just about anything can be made into a Bluetooth speaker. Lunchbox? Broken ukulele? Jewelry box? Busted antique radio? An old Tonka Truck? How about a desk, or a bookcase? Yes, these can all be made into Bluetooth speakers.
The parts for this 50-watt Bluetooth speaker project aren’t expensive and the process isn’t very difficult. If you have basic supplies like speaker wire and solder, it'll cost just under $100. Small circuit boards for Bluetooth receivers with built-in amplifiers are relatively easy to find. The biggest challenge people usually encounter is cutting holes for speakers and then making them look presentable. Our project utilizes sound exciters, or transducers, which vibrate, causing anything they are attached to, to become a speaker. Basically, they are the back part of a speaker without the cone. These eliminate the need to cut holes for speakers and open up a variety of things that can become speakers.
Sonos Roam review: The right speaker at the right price
Until 2019, Sonos only made speakers that lived on shelves or tabletops, tethered to an outlet. That changed 18 months ago with the Move, a loud, rugged and theoretically portable speaker you could tote around the house or bring out to the backyard. It sounds great, can survive a rainstorm or sub-zero temperatures, and lasts 11 hours before needing to be charged. But a few things keep it from being a straightforward recommendation: it costs $400 and is too big to just throw in a bag and take with you anywhere. Enter the Sonos Roam, a slim, light, $170 speaker that competes directly with Bluetooth-enabled devices like the Ultimate Ears Boom and Megaboom options.
For our project, we chose a 1970’s-era, plastic Samsonite suitcase. The broad, flat sides will vibrate easily and project sound very well. We’ve also made Bluetooth speakers from old cigar boxes, antique box cameras, and desktop shelves. Exciters placed on the bottom of a desktop, or on the back of a shelving unit, are just a couple ways these speakers can be used to blend into your décor.
Below we’ve included a list of parts, but once you know what you want to turn into a speaker, you can search for the best components to suit your project. The steps to complete the project will be basically the same, except for the location and method of securing the components.
Sonos Roam Review: The Portable Speaker You've Been Waiting For
Sonos Roam is a portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker that delivers everything you could want, from great sound to wireless charging.The Sonos Roam also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, like the Move, for uninterrupted use in or out of the home. It has a 10-hour battery life and is rugged enough to be submerged underwater for 30 minutes or to survive a drop.
Disclaimer: We chose these parts because they should be readily available to most people. We may earn commission if you buy from a link.
Parts you’ll need
- Something that will become your Bluetooth speaker and house the components
Tools you’ll need
- Assorted drill bits, or
Step 1: Assemble the Bluetooth receiver
- Follow the instructions included with the receiver.
Step 2: Test the receiver
- Cut two lengths of paired speaker cable, a little longer that you think you’ll need.
- Tin the two terminals on each of the exciters by heating them with the soldering iron and applying a bit of solder. Tinning wires and terminals makes them easier to solder together and helps make better electrical connections.
- Strip the wires on both ends of each of the speaker cables and tin the two wires on one end of each speaker cable.
- Solder the two tinned ends of one speaker cable onto the terminals of one of the exciters, observing the correct polarity. Repeat with the second speaker cable and exciter. The positive terminals will be marked with a“+” or colored with red dye. On the paired speaker cable, there are three common ways to identify the positive wire: The individual wire itself may be red, it may have a white stripe, or if the cable is all the same color, it will be the strand with a ridge running down it.
- Connect the other ends of the two speaker cables to the terminals on the Bluetooth receiver, again observing polarity.
- Plug the 24-volt DC power adapter into the receiver and turn the receiver on.
- Go to the settings on your phone, tablet, or laptop and turn on Bluetooth.
- Go to your Bluetooth connections, find the new device, connect to it, and play some music.
- Place the adhesive backing side of the exciters (but do not remove the backing at this time) on any surface and turn on the receiver to make sure everything is connected and working properly. For fun, hold the exciters against various surfaces to see how they sound.
Step 3: Sort out where to put the exciters
- Turn the receiver on.
- Place the adhesive backing side of one exciter (again, do not remove the backing at this time) on your“speaker” surface and hold it there by pressing lightly with one finger.
- Slowly move the exciter around until you find the spot where it sounds best—this can be done on the inside or outside of your“speaker.” Mark the spot with a piece of painters’ or masking tape.
- Do the same for the second exciter.
Step 4: Install the receiver
- Find a good location to install the receiver. If control knobs are desired on the outside*, the area needs to be thin enough so that the nuts will catch on the shafts of the individual controls.
- Measure and mark placement for the three holes.
- Drill holes.
- Insert shafts through holes and fasten with nuts.
- Install knobs on shafts.
*If the controls don’t need to be exposed, or if hiding them is preferred, the receiver can be mounted anywhere, with.
Sonos Roam speaker vs. Sonos Move: Which speaker is for you?
With the arrival of the new Sonos Roam ($169; sonos.com), Sonos now has two fully wireless Bluetooth speakers in its vast lineup of premium audio products. That begs an important question: Do you get the $169 Roam or splurge for the more feature-rich $399 Sonos Move? © CNN The Sonos Roam is a portable Bluetooth speaker you can throw in your bag for a day at the beach, while the Move is a larger device that can fill up just about any room.
Step 5: Install exciters
- Install the exciters by removing the adhesive backing, positioning them in the previously identified locations, and pressing firmly to adhere them.
- Route the speaker cables back to the receiver, trim to the appropriate length, strip the ends, and install in the speaker terminals, observing polarity.
- Use electrical tape to hold down loose wire as needed.
Step 6: Install female socket for AC to DC adapter
- Find the best location for the socket, and drill the appropriate-size hole for it.
- Tin the terminals on the back of the socket by heating them with the soldering iron and applying a bit of solder.
- Remove the nut from the threads on the socket, press the socket through the hole, replace the nut, and tighten.
- Find the power cable that came with the receiver—it should have a male plug on one end, and exposed, stripped and tinned wire on the other end.
- Cut a piece of the paired red and black DC power cable long enough to connect the power cable on the receiver to the female socket already installed. Strip both ends and tin both wires on each end.
- Solder the positive and negative—red and black, respectively—wire to the power cable on the receiver.
- Solder the other end, both positive and negative, to the correct terminals on the female socket. Note that the terminal for the center pin is usually the positive, but check on the power adapter, it will indicate if the center pin is positive or not.
- Wrap the soldered connections with electrical tape to prevent them from touching each other and shorting out.
Step 7: Test the speaker
- Close up the speaker and plug in the power adapter.
- Turn on the receiver.
- Go to settings on your phone, tablet, or laptop and turn on Bluetooth.
- Go to your Bluetooth connections, find the new device, connect, and start enjoying your music.
For more control in your speaker design, purchase your Bluetooth modules and amplifier circuit boards separately. When doing this, make sure both components require the same voltage and that you match it with the correct AC to DC converter. Traditional speakers can also be used if you prefer. Make sure to check that the resistance (in Ohms) and power (in watts) matches what the amplifier is designed for. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery can also be used to power the speaker, as long as it supplies the correct voltage. Go forth, be creative, and make speakers!
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