How to Build an MP3 Player for less than $100

Make your own custom MP3 player.

Here is a list of parts and links to tutorials on necessary procedures on how to build your very own MP3 player. I was introduced to Sparkfun through a coursera course on writing programs for drones… which I never completed because I am too lazy and the course was too hard ūüėõ

However, this looks super fun and not entirely too complicated. The program itself is hard, but there are already a few versions ready to upload to the processor. Also, the audio files are stored on a micro SD card, so you can have nice storage capacity!

  • Basic USB¬†powered mp3 player (not including micro sd card) – ~$66
  • Battery / Wall Adapter powered mp3 player¬†(not including micro sd card) – ~$78

*I am not affiliated with Sparkfun at all, it’s just a cool project for those inclined to do so


First is the shield itself

The second is a micro controller to operate the shield

And lastly you need some way to connect the shield to the controller.
A¬†guide that shows how to solder the headers to the shield. It’s for another product, but the steps are the same.
You will also need a mini USB cable to power and program the RedBoard (the controller). You might have one of these at home already. They are currently sold out on this part, but here is the link to it for your reference. (You can find them at any computer store)
Your MP3 files are stored on a micro SD card. If you don’t already have one, you can find them at most any electronics or computer store.
If you wish to use the player when it is disconnected from a computer, it will be necessary to power it with either an AC adapter or a battery pack. Links for those are below.

In order to make everything work, you will need to download and install the Arduino software.

This¬†tutorial here to show you how to do that. If you need to install any libraries, we have another guide here that shows how to do that. You might want to spend some time getting familiar with the Arduino software before moving on to getting the shield working. There are a lot of example programs (or “Sketches” in Arduino speak) that come with the software to get you started.

This was written with help form Sparkfun’s support staff at my request.

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Author: Joshua Casper

Joshua Casper is an Artist, Musician, and Blogger.

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