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with Nate and Yannick
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Arduino Powered, Dementia Friendly Media Player

A Makers Corner Blathering by CubicleNate

There is seemingly an endless torrent of interesting creations around the web by a multitude of incredibly creative and talented individuals. I have decided that I want to start indexing these interesting projects here so that I can revisit and potentially make one similar to it for myself.

The first project I want to highlight is this fantastic media player encased in a repurposed radio from yesteryear. I don’t currently have a wood grain beauty like this but it doesn’t mean I won’t be able to wrap my fingers around one at some point.


You will need to have a computer with the Arduino IDE. If you are running openSUSE Linux, you can find the instructions for setting that up here. For all others, is a fantastic resource. Familiarity with the Arduino IDE is a plus. This also assumes you have a soldering iron, solder and wire. It may also be a good idea to have solder removing items as well.

If you plan to build this into something, that should be kept in mind too. That is not on the parts list and should be thought about, if not roughly planned out to house the contraption.

Parts List

The parts list for this isn’t extensive at all and all quite affordable. The heart of this creators project is powered by an Arduino UNO. I am quite sure you can other similar controllers just as well.

  1. Arduino single board micro-controller.
  2. DFPlayer compatible MP3 module.
  3. MicroSD card for music storage
  4. Rotary encoder for ‘tuning’
  5. 10K ohm potentiometer for volume control
  6. 1K ohm resistor
  7. Perfboard for assembly
  8. External power supply (9-12V @2A recommended)
  9. Loudspeaker (3ohm @ 5W or similar

The module that is new to me in this parts list is the DFPlayer MP3 module. This is not an expensive thing at all. Compatible units can be purchased in packs of two for $7. Everything else is pretty standard stuff.

Potential Design Improvements

I have not built this yet, I need to seek out a very vintage looking shell to put it in or perhaps make my own but some things I would like to change about the operation is how the files are stored on the SD Card. There are some seemingly strict rules about the folder and file names that would make it difficult for me to manage. I like file names that actually mean something and my other concern is the time it would take to name the files as required would have to be done with a script as anything more than a dozen or so files would take far too long.

I would make to this is a better speaker system. It wouldn’t have to be a High Fidelity level, just something with good quality sound output. I am sure that there are some off-the-shelf solutions that would work very well.

As I noodle this idea around, there is one more change I would make: I would have to have a play/pause button on it someplace. This would, of course, require some additional wiring and perhaps swap out the rotary encoder with a version that has a push button. Being able to pause the music without unplugging it is a necessary feature. The additional code required here would be minimal.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a useful and unique project idea for an Arduino, this is a great choice for one. If you have just a little bit of skill in woodworking, you could potentially create something to house this which, should I not be able to find something at a reasonable price, might be the way to go.

The more I think about this, the more I would like to turn this into a reality. It would be a great gift for a technologically impaired relative that basically listens to the same things over and over with minimal costs to build. Good thing there is to index this for me to return to at another time.

Arduino IDE Installation Instructions for openSUSE
DFPlayer on
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LEGOs, Batteries, and Wooden Desk

Today, the guys have a guest ! Mark Murphy, from The Binary Times Audiocast, talks about his build of the LEGO International Space Station. Then, Nate explains how he frankenstein’d a battery from one brand to make it with the charger from another one. And finally, Yannick goes over the wooden desk he built for his daughter.

LEGO(r) I.S.S:
LEGO(r) I.S.S:

Nate also talked about a LEGO Full-Size Working Commodore 64 !


Wooden desk

Workbench, Windows, and Pantry

In this episode, the guys talk about woodworking. Yannick goes over his initial projects, while Nate tells the story about the replacement of his house windows. He also talks about a hidden slide-out pantry he built for his kitchen. And because this episode is about woodworking, the Thingiverse Thing of the Episode is a simple 6 inch speed square.

Yannick’s projects

Nate’s windows

The slide-out pantry