Old News

In March, I received an inexpensive, somewhat generic brand (read: kinda cheap) MP3 player as a gift. I certainly appreciated the thought, but in practice, it wasn't very useful as a music player - it only holds 256 MB of songs (not that much, these days), and isn't quite convenient enough to use. The interface wasn't great, and was partially in Korean, which I don't speak. Rather than learn Korean, I decided to find another use for it.

MP3 Player

I thought about just using it as it was as a portable USB storage device, but the extra cable to carry around wasn't ideal. Since the case wasn't so exciting, I decided to open it up and see what could be done.

Opened housing

A fair amount of the inside of the case was actually used for the battery (which I wouldn't need). I could definitely repackage the circuit board with a USB connector and make myself a useable 256 MB storage device.

The _two_ circuit boards inside the housing

As I disassembled more, I discovered there were actually two circuit boards. One had the screen and USB & audio connectors on it, the other seemed mostly buttons. Could it be that I didn't need the second, button-ful board?

Single board connected to the computer

Amazingly, the single board works on its own! After a little de-soldering and soldering, I mated the USB connector to the board (surface mount solder pads are small!) and had a working storage device.

All soldered up.

I made a wood housing for the board by routing out two small pieces of walnut (actually did it on the table saw). One of the walnut pieces has a small piece of plexiglass embedded in it to let the green light shine through.

Clamping the two walnut pieces together

I cut two small pieces of maple for end caps to the housing. One had a hole for the USB connector.

Maple end caps for the housing

I expoxied the USB connector in to the maple end cap - since it takes the brunt of the forces of plugging & unplugging, it had to be sturdy.

Gluing the USB connector in place

I glued the end caps in place and cleaned up the wood (scraped & sanded). Then I put on a couple coats of polyurethane finish.

Finishing the wood

And here it is, providing 256 amazing megabytes of portable, stylish storage:

USB storage attached to computer