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The Workshop Box

I spend a lot of time working in my home workshop and on various projects around the house so I wanted a portable Bluetooth speaker capable of producing excellent audio quality. I looked online for something to meet my needs but most of the small Bluetooth systems use very small low wattage drivers coupled with passive radiators. Although these designs are incredibly efficient, I wanted something with a little more clarity and “punch”.

The Workshop Box

Designer: Preston Parrett

Project Time8-20 hours
Project Complexityamateur
Project Cost$100-$500
  

Overview

I spend a lot of time working in my home workshop and on various projects around the house so I wanted a portable Bluetooth speaker capable of producing excellent audio quality. I looked online for something to meet my needs but most of the small Bluetooth systems use very small low wattage drivers coupled with passive radiators. Although these designs are incredibly efficient, I wanted something with a little more clarity and “punch”.

After weeks of reading online, I decided to challenge myself to learn enough about audio theory to build my own. The following is a brief description of my first speaker design and its construction. I’m very happy to say that the result is excellent and the process was extremely rewarding.

Enclosure Design

My first requirement for the system was that it be no larger than a small toolbox. I settled on rough dimensions of 20”x10”x10” and then begin modeling with several different woofers available from Parts-Express. I found several excellent options and used WinISD to model the volume and porting requirements for each. I calculated a target box volume of about .8ft^3 which would take into account the displacement of volume from the port, batteries, amplifiers, and crossovers. I decided on a 2.1 configuration using a Tang Band W5-1138SMF 5-1/4" Subwoofer, 2 Dayton Audio RS100-4, and 2 Dayton Audio ND20FA-6 3/4" Neodymium Dome Tweeters.

In order to get a relatively “flat” response from the small Tang Band subwoofer, WinISD recommended a port of 26” in length! In order to meet this port length and keep the enclosure size small I used a folded design that wrapped the port along the circumference of the inner volume.

Amplifier/Crossover Configuration

In order to maximize battery life, I used two highly efficient Class T and D amplifiers. A Lepai LP-2020A+ would power the Mid and Tweeters, while a SSL SMCM200 would power the subwoofer. The crossovers are a 2nd order 5kHz.

Battery Design

The batteries were built using a 4S2P configuration of individual 3.2V 3100mAH LiFePO4 rechargeable cells. The total output is about 6AH @ 13v which runs the system at high volume for about 6-8 hours.

Enclosure Assembly

The enclosure was built from MDF with a Peruvian Walnut Baffle. Speaker cutouts were machined by hand using a router and circle template. The enclosure rear was finished with a scratch resistant truck bed liner spray and the Walnut front was finished with a hand rubbed gloss polyurethane. Component cutouts on the rear were mounted via a Penn-Elcom dish cut with a drill press and Dremel rotary tool.

About The Designer

Electrical, Computer, and Engineer hobbyist with no previous speaker building experience.

Project Parts List

Tang Band W5-1138SMF 5-1/4” Paper Cone Subwoofer

Dayton Audio RS100-4 4" Reference Full-Range Driver 4 Ohm

Dayton Audio ND20FA-6 3/4" Neodymium Dome Tweeter

Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier without Power Supply

Dayton Audio XO2W-4.5K 2-Way Speaker Crossover 4,500 Hz

2.5mm Panel Mount DC Jack

2.1mm Panel Mount DC Jack

3.5mm Stereo Panel Mount Jack

#6 x 3/4" Deep Thread Pan Head Screws Black 100 Pcs.

Penn-Elcom H1008 Black Leather-Look Strap Handle 8.57" Long

Penn-Elcom D2101K Blank Dish Black 5" x 7"

 

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