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Build Your Own MP3 Jukebox Pt.2

Play all your favourite music by remote control

By Peter Smith

After reading our articles on the MP3 music format last month, you’ve probably converted all your CDs to this convenient, space-efficient format, stored carefully away on that new big-GB hard drive ready for the Jukebox – right?

So let’s find out how to put them to use!

The basic idea behind this project is to enable you to control an MP3 music player (Winamp) running on a Windows PC with a standard infrared remote. Up until now, you’ve probably only ever listened to your MP3s while sitting in front of your computer. But imagine for a moment that your PC is actually a jukebox and that you can control it from anywhere in the room just like you do right now with your stereo system!

In keeping with the jukebox theme, we’ve included features like track shuffle and repeat, multiple playlist support and a liquid crystal display for vital track information. And if you’re a budding DJ, Winamp can be set up for track cross-fading and other great effects – but more on that later.

The IR Remote Receiver & LCD hardware described last month mounts up front in an empty 51/4-inch drive bay in your PC’s case. As it attaches to one of the snap-in drive blanking plates, no modifications to your PC case are required. If you want to remove it at some time in the future, all you need is a spare blanking plate.

With only two plug-in connections, hooking up the hardware couldn’t be easier. Power is sourced directly from the PC’s power supply via a disk drive connector and serial data is exchanged via a free serial port. To keep the serial cable hidden, it is routed through the case internals, exiting via any unused expansion slot hole at the rear. It then plugs into one of the standard 9-pin serial port connectors.

On the software side, you need a copy of our "IR Remote Control for Winamp" program, which we describe in detail below, as well as the current version of Winamp.

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