Grand Ambitions from Green Bay, WI (USA) - diyAudio
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Old 15th December 2005, 06:48 AM   #1
Sedodes is offline Sedodes  United States
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Default Grand Ambitions from Green Bay, WI (USA)

First off, let me say that I know next to nothing about electronics. Sad, considering that I'm going to school for a degree in electromechanical technology. I know how to fix broken things, connect components, and make my own cables which has carried me for the most part through my life as a computer geek. Generally I end up burning a lot of components since I just last week bought my first multimeter and beforehand would simply not even do any math and never cared about voltage, resistance, or current; I'd just plug things in and hope for no smoke (hey, I was messing around with electronics since I was about 7 years old and since most of the stuff I intended to do worked I never bothered to ACTUALLY "learn" anything about it). I may be able to replace parts and seemingly know what I'm doing with my mad soldering skills and common sense, but as far as beginning with an idea and building something from a bare PCB I'm clueless.

So hopefully being here will be a learning experience for me and supplament my schooling nicely. I don't really know if this is the right place to be posting about my proposed project since this forum seems more about the audio than the electronics, but quite frankly this seems better than any other place (since most electronics forums seem to chastise me for not knowing the ins and outs of electronics. The first thing I want to do is this: I have a 10GB laptop (2.5") hard drive (and about a dozen smaller ones, from 4gb to 1gb) and I want to make a DIY MP3 player. The trick is this; I'd like it to be able to plug into the AUX on my car's head unit and draw power from the cigarette lighter (which is notoriously "dirty" power as I understand) but I'd also like to be able to plug it into a USB port on a computer (not at the same time, of course) and add/remove/access files from it.

I already have one of those $10 enclosures that turns an internal drive into an external, and it works nicely. I'd intended to use it with a 12v FM transmitter I picked up from wal*mart that plays mp3's from a flash drive. The problem is that the FM transmitter doesn't seem to push enough power to the hard drive -- plus I've a lot of radio interference from other devices in my car and as such I get a very fuzzy signal when I do use a flash drive.

Alternatively, adding a USB port to my head unit would be an even better solution so long as I could skip ahead in a playlist with the player controls. Since USB is powered, I wouldn't need to plug it into my ciggy lighter and instead could leave my CD and heater plugged in (I have so many gadgets in my car -- both DIY and purchased -- that my hatchback looks more like a semi trucker's cabin). The downside is that it would involve modifying the head unit, and I'm not going to do that this time of year without a garage to work in.

I'm not asking for schematics and a pat on the head. I'd like to UNDERSTAND what I'm doing and why I'm doing it since the "build this, here's your A" type of deal is what I'm going through in school. I can't explain the control logic of some of most of the circuits I build for my classes, but I can build them from schematics like clockwork. Sadly, since I only have free time from 11pm - 4am, I don't have time to learn WHY it works or what I'm doing by sitting down with other students or instructors.

Yes, I suppose I could go and read books for dozens of hours and hope that a light went on, but I learn better by doing, and creating something I "need" is wonderful motivation to learn.

The kicker is this: I'd like to do this project for under $50 if possible. I have a ton of mid-to-late 90's computer components (all of the laptops from which I pulled HDDs) as well as misc. wires and cables. My tool cooection is massive, and anything REALLY exotic that I don't have I can get VERY cheap locally.
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Old 15th December 2005, 03:31 PM   #2
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I can't help with the project but welcome to the forums anyway.

Are you a Pack fan?
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Old 16th December 2005, 07:05 PM   #3
Sedodes is offline Sedodes  United States
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The Packers and the Steelers have always been my two favorite teams. My father (who tells EVERYONE about being at the "ice bowl") is a football FANATIC, so I became one as well -- and when I was 4 or 5 yrs old I thought the Steelers and the Packers were the same team and just wore different uniforms until I saw them play each other and asked my dad what was going on.

The stadium renovations, though no longer "new," are breathtaking (though I must admit that I was against changing the stadium until I saw it finished). If anyone wants some nice hi-res pics of Lambeau I'll be glad to take them if I get my digital camera for Christmas.

My current g/f (wife in 2007) hates football. She isn't just apathetic about it, she HATES the sport. She is a hockey and baseball fan, fishes, and plays golf (better and for longer than I, in fact) so she redeems herself. Going to school to be a professional masseuse wins her points as well since I'm her study guide -- most weeks she occupies my Sundays with activities far more interesting than football. Never thought I'd say those last four words in that order in my life

Her, and the fact that I'm working two jobs plus doing full time school, means I missed all but one of the Packers' games this year -- and during the second quarter I fell asleep from only getting 4 hours of sleep per night. It looks like they fell apart and lost their lead in the second half, though, so I'm not kicking myself too hard.

After the Packers won superbowl 31, my father said, "Now get ready to go about 30 years before you see this happen again." As such, I feel I can afford to miss a game here and there.
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Old 16th December 2005, 07:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sedodes
The Packers and the Steelers have always been my two favorite teams.
The Pack more than the Steelers but I like them both.

Quote:
[i] If anyone wants some nice hi-res pics of Lambeau[/B]
That would be nice, hope you get your camera.

Quote:
[i]My current g/f (wife in 2007) hates football. [/B]
Mines in the football pool

Quote:
[i] more interesting than football. [/B]
Must be some girl.

Quote:
[i] and during the second quarter I fell asleep [/B]
Ya, they caught you on camera. You should have heard what the announcers were saying. Something about a stag.
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