Please show me where to get a simple, inexpensive DAC (USB) kit
February 4, 2012 10:50 PM   Subscribe

Yay I can solder! Please show me where to get a simple, inexpensive DAC (USB) kit, preferably < $50. Inspired by krilli's earlier question.

I made a "tactile metronome" kit and it worked perfectly! Having been forced to take E-Mag and that basic computer wiring hardware breadboard lab in college, turns out actual soldering isn't that hard. Now I want to make something useful, and my stereo is lame and failing.

So, connecting my old laptop to some speakers seems like a good idea, and I can easily whip up a wooden case using my router and drill and stuff. I think. Also glue and maybe SuGru.

I just need to find an easy way to make a digital-to-analog thingie. Analog connectors can be whatever, I guess. Digital side should probably be USB. Googling, so far, gets sites which seem to assume I know 5% more than I do (oh, jargon), or else kits to make lights blink or sirens.

Any ideas? Links? Tutors in the NC Triangle? Recipes? Apparently Radio Shack has what I'd need, but I'd still need a recipe.
posted by amtho to Technology (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of links to get you started.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:16 AM on February 5, 2012

Here is a store that sells at least 1 kit. The skeletonDAC looks to be what you want.

Also, here is a list of DACs under $450, including kits. Lots of broken links but also lots of info.
posted by ianhattwick at 10:44 AM on February 5, 2012

Careful old bean. You might have a little bit more of a problem with something that uses surface mount components in it, that tactile metronome kit looks like it has only through-hole components which are a lot easier to solder.
posted by drhydro at 7:07 PM on February 5, 2012

OK, probably next week I'll ask for book recommendations. Maybe I'll read up on surface-mount soldering online until then.

The BantamDAC plans look interesting, though way way complicated for me, and the skeletonDAC might be really what I want.

Thank you so much for the heads up, drhydro! I'll definitely start with something inexpensive in case I set it on fire or something!
posted by amtho at 8:45 PM on February 5, 2012

Here is one for $35. I have no idea about quality. It doesn't seem to use surface mount parts though. Those things are very difficult to solder.
posted by caddis at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2012

If you're going to be doing some kitbuilding, one of the best things you can do is get a GOOD temperature-controlled soldering iron, like this... it will save you a LOT of frustration!
posted by drhydro at 10:04 PM on February 5, 2012

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