Build Your Own MP3 Jukebox Pt.1

Here's a fantastic way to play your MP3's. It's based on a PC and features infrared remote control and an LCD to display track titles.

By Peter Smith

IR Remote Receiver & Display Features
  • Works with most off-the-shelf universal remote controls
  • 16 character, 2-line LCD with backlighting
  • Simple serial interface
  • In-built mini-terminal makes programming easy
  • Microcontroller (IC1) can be programmed in-circuit
  • No messy wiring

Over the coming months, we will describe how you can transform your PC into a veritable jukebox, able to play any of your favourite MP3s at the press of a button. And if you’re really serious about your MP3 music, you can even build a standalone PC-based player without a monitor or keyboard.

We’ve received so many requests for MP3 projects that we just couldn’t ignore them. This project includes the most-requested features but omits some of the more radical – such as a Pentium III PC strapped in the car boot with a custom power supply, up-front console and remote control!

What will the finished project do, exactly?

Essentially, we’ve taken one of the most popular freeware music players on the Internet, Winamp, and added some software to allow it to be controlled remotely.

Next, we designed a small board to do the remote bit. It receives codes from any universal remote control and also provides an LCD readout big enough for MP3 track data. Plug it into a free serial port on your PC (or even build it right into your PC) and you’ve got a mean MP3 machine!

This month, we describe the hardware part of the project. Next month, we’ll look at the Windows-based software, including Winamp and the control software that makes it all work as an MP3 player.

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