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53 Portable Bluetooth Amp for Home Speakers
Anthony Pham
Austin Palanca
Nicholas Jew
Zhen Qin design_review
Anthony Pham - anpham2
Nicholas Jew - njew2
Austin Palanca - palanca2

The Idea -
Our project looks to create a battery powered bluetooth amplifier for regular everyday home speakers. While there are bluetooth speakers out in the market, for those who have bookshelf speakers, or towers in their home setup, they can repurpose their speakers on the go by using this device. For speakers with banana plugs, you can easily unplug your speakers and connect this device to use on the go.

The Inspiration -
I thought of this idea when I was going to dance practice and we used a $80 bluetooth speaker, 2x10w woofers. Although it is small, the downside is that there is not a big enough cabinet to reproduce low end sound. Also, most bluetooth speakers I have listened to from Bose, JBL, and Harmon Kardon have very muddy mids or highs due to them not using tweeters.

“Portability” comes to mind when developing this idea. However, for this case, portability just entails that we can move the device without hassle and leave it in place once it is setup. For example, carrying the speaker to the gym, park, or dance practice room.

So I thought, my speakers at home are pretty nice, however I’d have to remove my receiver which requires my to disconnect my entire setup. So I thought about how easy it is to unplug and replug in banana plugs and thought it would be interesting to make a portable amp that supports these connections. Of course for older speakers without banana plugs, they can remove the banana plugs and connect the cable directly to the speaker clips.

Design -
The device consists of a bluetooth chip, amp/dac chip, charging controller, battery, charging port, banana plug female to pcb, and the chassis.

The bluetooth chip we are looking into is the CC2564MODN or the CC2564MODA from TI. The difference between the two is that one has an integrated chip antenna and the other allows us to use our own antenna, for example a pcb printed antenna. However, this selection requires more research depending on the chassis.

The amp/dac that we are looking for is one that can operate with 20~40w @8ohm mono with an i2S, Inter-IC Sound, bus to communicate with the bluetooth chip. We would use the bluetooth chip as the master clock, and send its clock to the dac as a slave. We are also looking at a Class D amplifier due to it having a better efficiency than AB amplifiers. Although this causes more distortion, it should be above frequency ranges above audible levels. We are looking to ask TI if we can get 5 evaluation modules for their next gen series chip as they currently are in pre-production, but in the meantime we will purchase something like a TAS5731PHP as we don't know the turnaround time/cost for a new chip.

The Battery -
The battery needs to have a decent capacity and maximum output power, while also not being too heavy to carry around. Small sealed lead acid batteries (SLA) typically found in uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) would work, although they are usually very heavy for their capacity. Instead, we would use lithium batteries, which have good energy density and output power while also being lightweight. We will also integrate charging of the battery into the device using a lithium charging circuit, like TI’s BQ24616 chip.

The Housing -
For the chassis, we are looking at having a plastic housing for the device to reduce capturing noise. However, we do notice that although class D amps are efficient, there is still heat that needs to be dissipated. Assuming 94% efficiency according to Texas Instruments’ TPA3244 Amp chip, we can expect about 2.4 watts of heat from the chip itself. If using the PCB as a heatsink is not sufficient with passive cooling (slits through the chassis), we can look at creating a metal chassis with an external bluetooth antenna, or have a low rpm fan to move airflow inside of the chassis.

RFI Detector

Jamie Brunskill, Tyler Shaw, Kyle Stevens

RFI Detector

Featured Project

Problem Statement:

Radio frequency interference from cell phones disrupts measurements at the radio observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Many visitors do not comply when asked to turn their phones off or put them in airplane mode.


We are planning to design a handheld device that will be able to detect radio frequency interference from cell phones from approximately one meter away. This will allow someone to determine if a phone has been turned off or is in airplane mode.

The device will feature an RF front end consisting of antennas, filters, and matching networks. Multiple receiver chains may be used for different bands if necessary. They will feed into a detection circuit that will determine if the power within a given band is above a certain threshold. This information will be sent to a microcontroller that will provide visual/audible user feedback.

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