August 8, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

1. I'd like to take on a portable-electronics-building project. 2. I have none of the required knowledge. 3. ...?

I lost my old mp3 player, the only one I've ever owned, and of course all the ones on the market now are Not Quite Perfect. I think I want to make something awesome to replace it, and I have some detailed, slightly atypical, needs. I'm not likely to make a hobby of this kind of thing, but I'm pefectly willing to learn stuff. I'm just not really sure what stuff I personally need to know, and what's just as well left to the professionals. (For example, my pride is perfectly fine with having someone else physically wire it together.)

Who would I even ask to work on this? (Feel free to self-promote if this is your kind of thing, btw!) Should I know all the technical details of what I need to get what I want so I can just present a list of specs and say, "Make this!"-- or are there consultation fees or whatever if I have to have someone talk me through that?
posted by jinjo to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm kind of curious, what features are you looking for?

If you end up doing it yourself, you might want to look into Daisy as a starting point.
posted by drezdn at 11:21 AM on August 8, 2008

Response by poster: Well, I want it to have a gray screen, instead of a color one. Color ones have to keep turning off to save battery and I hate that.

I want it to have a built-in USB plug, a la the Flip camcorder.

I think I would like it to take AA batteries (or even AAA?), not only replaceable but always easy to find. This is apparently not unthinkable.

And I want to be able to plan out the button layout and whatnot myself. (My whimsical side wants them to be those glass fishbowl-filler pebbles.)

I had found the Daisy already in my search, and it made me realize I didn't even know what to do with the information they give on it. Is it what I need? Is it overkill for my purposes? What would I do next if I got one? I don't know!
posted by jinjo at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2008

Is your budget thousands of dollars? Assuming you want to pay less than an iPod touch, I would suggest you scour review sites etc. until you find the display/software combination that is suitable. For example, I have an old mp3 player (circa 2000) that is AAA powered with a 2 digit LCD screen and accepts SD cards.
If it were me, I would look closely at the iPod mini.
Once you find the display you like, you need to find the case that can be modified to accommodate AAA batteries and a fixed USB plug. Note, the wiring of the USB plug would be the most trivial part.
Similarly, powering the player via AA or AAA batteries is also pretty simple, you just need to find a device that can fit the display, batteries and USB plug.
again, if it were me I would look at battery powered radios, on the grounds that you could drop out and replace the circuitry, carefully trim a slot for the display and USB plug and you are home free ;-)
posted by bystander at 7:07 AM on August 12, 2008

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