WM-F45 Upgrade (Sony Walkman)

A modern upgrade for a cassette player. The brains android with the feel and function of a vintage Walkman.

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A sophisticated case mod you could say for the WM-F45. It's been gutted with the intent of adding some new brains with the help of an "HTC one V" and a "Bluefruit EZ-Key".

The "WM-F45 Upgrade" project was the idea I came up with for my senior project. My high school requires that senior students complete a project of their choosing that is based on research and is thoroughly documented with a writeup after the project is completed. Since one of the requirements is to publish your project to the public in some manor. Initially I was going to put up an instructable, but after making an account to participate in the "Trinket EDC Contest", I think that this website is the better choice.

The idea of this project was to create something that was made up of technology that would otherwise have been discarded. I researched some information on electronic waste and found that since our technology has progress at such a high rate, this has left many devices depreciated and or obsolete. Another research article that I read was called "Life Cycle Aware Computing: Reusing Silicon Technology" and it made some great points about how computer processors are usually thrown out after about an optimistic 20,000 hours of use, but could theoretically keep operating for another 60,000 additional hours (Oliver). It's a very interesting article and it helped me realize that I should not discount the processing power of a used device in favor of one that is the latest and greatest.

Using an old android phone would be the perfect example of using old hardware to accomplish more simple tasks. In my product I use an HTC One V with a cracked screen. This ran me about $15 on ebay and it does a decent job of acting as a music library and media center with apps like "Soundcloud", "Infinity Tracks", "Beyond Pod", and "Bandcamp".

The obsolete Sony Walkman which originally played cassettes serves as a great housing for the phone and provides enough space for a secondary battery and button interface.

Works Cited

Ben-Tsvi, Yati. "Digital IO." GitHub. GitHub, 30 Apr. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Ben-Tsvi, Yati. "Analog Input." GitHub. GitHub, 30 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Felicity, Caldwell. "Toxic Tossers E-Waste Hidden Cost Of Upgrading." Mx (2013): 1. Newspaper Source. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Oliver, John Y., et al. "Life Cycle Aware Computing: Reusing Silicon Technology." Computer 40.12 (2007): 56-61. Academic Search Elite. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.

(All photos taken by John Hamann)

  • 1 × Sony Walkman WM-F45
  • 1 × HTC One V
  • 1 × 32gb micro SD card
  • 1 × Bluefruit EZ-Key
  • 1 × Lipo Battery & Charger

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  • Buttons

    John Hamann02/27/2015 at 05:30 0 comments

    How I was going to actually turn the buttons on the outside into digital inputs, took a bit of thinking. For awhile I had the idea of 3D printed inserts and a brace of sorts with places for buttons. I had also planned on making it one connected structure that would fit around all of the nooks and crannies.

    Instead I salvaged the plastic inserts from the cassette guts, since these would be better than any inserts I could create. Also instead of one solid structure I went with a more modular approach, creating a small piece that could be printed in quadruplicate.

    The tactile button sits against that back rail and the insert sits on the front and is lined up with the button.

    And with the help of some cardboard and hot glue, all the buttons sit nicely up against the inserts and function as intended.

  • To bring everyone up to speed...

    John Hamann02/19/2015 at 19:41 0 comments

    I'm going to give a quick rundown of what my ideas were before I got to this point.

    First off my initial idea was to gut the walkman and install a Raspberry Pi with a nice audio DAC. I had bought some parts and it wasn't exactly coming together very smoothly. I was quickly running out of room and my button set up was juvenile to say the least.

    (Yes that is a popsicle stick)

    Hypothetically from there I would have used a teensy to emulate a keyboard, and I would have written a small media player on the RPi to display on this tiny composite screen.

    Noticing all of the flaws I decided it would be best to go with an android phone, and I bought a few on the cheap off of ebay for around $15 each. To interface with the android phones I looked around and found the IOIO board, which is one of the coolest boards in my eyes.

    For the senior project class, research was a required part of the curriculum and I annotated the IOIO documentation on Analog I/O and Digital I/O (Yati). The IOIO board would have allowed me to add analog input from the volume pot and I would have been able to add a status LED to shine through where there was one originally on the device. I was also planning to write an android program that issued media commands to the device through a IOIO connected app. These were features I'm willing to put off (for now).

    To get things moving more quickly I switched to the Bluefruit EZ-key, which added some more flexibility and a smaller form factor (albeit some weird programming software).

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