Support and General Use > Hardware

Did anyone consider to build a dedicated DIY Rockbox player from the scratch?



for a long time now I'm hunting for the "perfect" device, that fits all my requirements (more on that later). Unfortunately, I did not really find one, so I scanned through the Rockbox supported hardware list... Most of the players are either very old or hard to get reliably for an affordable price, so I thought: Why not build one?

I stumbled over Bumpy, an open source hardware design and Software, that includes a pocket sized mp3 player with a custom PCB, which already seems to be 9 years old. I also thought about getting a Waveshare epaper touch display for Raspberry Pi Zero 2 ( and adding some audio stuff, but I'm not sure, this is the right path.

Well, I know dedicated Audio Players are more and more replaced by Smartphones / Android devices with a huge feature set, so why am I considering Rockbox / a DIY Player?

The DIY Player shoud be repairable, upgradable and be available in many years without too much problems. I think it would even be possible to support Rockbox developers with money from pre-built devices or kits.

I neither share my requirements to ask for someone to build it, nor to complain about the situation. It is more for showing up alternatives and feature-sets that would be nice. I'm willing to invest time and money into this, so if someone is willing to help, I could donate a lot of old iPod stuff I collected over the years (from fully functional devices over parts to an iFlash quad)...

So here are my requirements:

* Small form factor (max 3,5 inches, better smaller - like iPod nano 7g) - even older / smaller android devices are at least 4,5 inches
* Cable headphone remote (like the EarPods from Apple) - i NEED this, because I listen to audiobooks in bed and cannot turn on the display or move too much, otherwise I would wake up family members ;)
* Ability to play mp3, flac and mp4/m4a/m4b formats with chapter support (audio books)
* No distractions - I listen to music and don't wanna get distracted
* UX - No android player app I found fitted my needs (I already thought about developing my own)
Nice to have but optional features would be:

* Bluetooth - although I prefer cable, it would be nice to have alternatives
* Wifi - for streaming and syncing files
* Huge storage - e.g. >256GB micro sd
* Changeable battery - best case >500mah capacity
* Upgrades / possibility to develop own software
* Custom buttons for play/pause, next, prev
* Touch-Screen
My journey so far:

The whole iPod lineup
I had every iPod that was sold. From iPod classic over iPod mini to iPod Nano. The best two devices were

* The iPod Nano 7G
* The iPod classic 160GB from 2009 with iFlash Quad and 2000mah Battery Mod
Problems: The iPod classic does not (fully) support the headphone remote with stock firmware and the iPod Nano 7G is quite hard to repair, if the battery is too old.

Sony Walkman DAPs (A55, NW-A306, etc.)
Quite ok in prize, size and software (Android 12), it does not support the headphone remote, which is K.O. criteria to me.

LG G5 H850
Supporting LineageOS, Bluetooth, Wifi, up to 2TB Storage and a Hifi+ Module, interchangable batteries and Headphone remotes, this is the device that comes closest to my full requirements list. It would be perfect, unfortunately, it is pretty big (too big for an audio only player in my opinion).

Satrend S11
This is a small sized (3,22 inches) Android 7.1.1 smartphone with audio jack. I did not purchase it yet, but it sounds promising because of the size. I do not know, if it supports the earphone remote...

Unihertz Jelly 2 / Atom
This is also a small sized (3 inches) Android 11 smartphone with audio jack AND custom buttons. Pretty expensive for an audio player and I saw that the custom lockscreen did not support audio controls. I do not know, if it supports the earphone remote... and it is pretty bulky (thick).

What do you think? Let me know, if there is something I missed.


Going on 20 years of discussion.  Can be done, it is just not very cost effective to do high quality mechanical components, and most people aren't going to be very happy with a 3D printed part.

Thanks for the reply. Seems that I'm a bit late on the party :-)

Ok, at least for the sake of completeness I would like to share my personal research, in case anyone gifted with the required knowledge is ever interested in this topic.

My personal opinion:

Easiest would be having a small (<= 3.5 inch) Android (>= 7.1.1) device supporting headset remote
Another proper solution would be to use the raspberry pi zero handheld modded as audio player
Best case scenario would be a whole custom PCB design utilising Rockchip RK3308 and Rockbox as firmware / OS

General information
So you want to build an embedded Linux system? - a detailed overview on how to build linux embedded systems

diy dap - various attempts resulting in modding an old anroid phone

Headset remote - why does it not work? - a discussion about how to get a headphone remote working on linux

Open Source PCB / Hardware designs

Bumpy - Open Source PCB and Open Source Software (no display)

diy mp3 player with display

Wooden case DIY mp3 player - (youtube, MP3 Decoder Board, no Display)

diy music player kits - very old

keyestudio audio module - controllable with the c# nanoframework device drivers

Raspberry (clone) based  hardware

Rock PI S - small but interesting sbc

diy raspi zero handheld - Promising approach that could be reused as mp3 player

ready to use headphone amp for pi zero

Found another interesting piece of hardware...

Now THIS is REALLY interesting. Open source (at least it looks like that) 2.66 inch touch epaper development board with 2 8bit channel DAC capabilities for about 30 bucks. More Features:

-2.66 inch e-paper resolution: 296X152px
-TP4054 battery charge and discharge chip
-IO39 custom buttons
-RST button
-TF card socket
-Type-C USB for T-U2T
-IPX antenna base (3D antenna is used by default)
-Power toggle switch
-3D antenna

The only things missing are

* audio jack
* battery
* housing
* rockbox
some interesting links

* The display / board
* ESP32 Datasheet
* Github with code
* A DIY Article from a similar device for a portable calendar


[0] Message Index

Go to full version