Project: RetroModern Music box

I found one of those old record player/stereo cabinets recently. It has a record player that didn't work, a radio/tape player that works great and sounds perfect, and an 8 track player that who cares about the 8 track player. The whole thing is enclosed in a slightly beat up wooden cabinet about 4 feet long, 2 feet high, and 19 inches deep. There is a lid that folds up on resistant hinges, exposing the tech inside. It's made by Zenith, in the early 80's.

Overall, this is a good find. But wait! There's more!

I fix people's computers, and as a result, I have a lot of old sick and dying computers sitting around. One of them is an HP laptop in fairly good shape, about 5 years old. The screen hinges and case are trashed, but the LCD magically works despite its battle scars.

In the past I've had experience with laptops where the case was trashed and the internals were fine. My solution in this case is generally to case-mod the laptop into a desktop. This sounds challenging but the hardest part is actually disassembling the laptop. It's possible, but you risk destroying the sensitive parts in the process. Once it's all been extracted you can pretty easily put it all into a box of some sort and it essentially becomes a mini desktop.

Back to the music box. I managed to fix the record player in a stupid simple way. All it took after hours of cursing and poking around inside it with a multimeter was to put some turbine oil on the spindle and manually rotate the deck until it turned freely. Always try the simplest fixes first people.

Now that that works, I've turned my attention to the other end of the box. The 8-track deck sits there and taunts me with it's inferior quality and deserved obsolescence. It must go.

This is where the case-mod of the laptop and the music box meet. I'm taking my laptop, gutting it, boxing it up in a rectangular box with the LCD on top, and replacing the 8-track deck with it. The most technical thing that needs to be done is the addition of an AUX cord input to the old 8-track audio inputs to allow the computer to play through the music box speakers. After a bit of poking around, I was able to rig up an old AUX cord, allowing me to play music from my phone at high quality, making this part much easier than I originally had thought.

At this point I have a music box with a hole where the 8-track used to be, a disemboweled laptop that needs a case, and a lot of wiring to do. I will update you on this as I go!