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Asked — Edited
Resolved Resolved by Jeremie!

Breaking Out The Sound From The V4 Ezb

Hi all,

EDIT: the below post has been changed to reflect changes to correct wrong information and show the successes I had with the proper wiring information I received from the fabulous EZ Robot Support team:

I spent some time over the past couple days seeing what I could do with the sound that can be streamed from my computer and played through the EZB V4. First I gotta say I'm no sound engineer or even a weekend garage installer. Just a simple guy trying to stitch this all together and learning along the way. Sound systems are one of my weak points (among a lot of other stuff :) )

Anyway, I first have to say that the little speaker on the V4 EZB does an amazing job for it's size and what is asked from it. It sounds pretty good but if I relied on it for the voice if my 400 pound B9 robot he'd sound like the Mayor of munchkin town.:P

My B9 has 4 sound systems. One is stand alone and plays background mechanical sounds through it's own amp and speaker. Two more (EZB V4's streaming sound and a Bluetooth receiver) play through the same amp and speaker and are sorted out by an auto AB switch. They play through the CF Sound system's auto switching input jack and it that can also play it's own sound files. The robot's chest neon is triggered by one of the CF3's speaker outputs.

So, what do I do if I want to Stream my sound files through my B9's main sound system with EZB? The V4 EZB has two little holes on the bottom board marked "Speaker". There you can solder in a couple wires and add another somewhat larger speaker. I first tried to wire in my sound system to these two holes and quickly found I had to also add a ground wire to one of several spots on EZB's grounding grid. I chose the square solder pad marked GND that's right next to the power plug on the bottom board.

However, when I wired my speaker and amp to these speaker through holes I quickly found that the sound was flat and tinny. EZ Robot support quickly explained that that is because these two breakout holes are "after" the onboard amp. So, If you are using a setup where you wish to use the amplified audio from the EZ-B, then the two solder points marked SPKR on the EZ-B are to be used. To get high quality sound output to my own amp I need to use the provided solder pad that is located before the onboard amp. Jeremie from EZ Robot told me:
"We made a small solder point called a via available at the input stage of the amplifier and true high quality audio to be used for inputting into an external amplifier. The via is located to the top right of the amplifier chip when looking at the main board from the top, you should see it no problem from the bottom too as it's the only other through-hole pad that isn't soldered in that area of the board.The connection will be as follows:Via to right (or left) audio channel. GND to GND audio connection"

So I rewired like Jeremie suggested and was amazed at the difference. The sound was crisp, clear and deep. Here's a few pics of the process and a video where I hope you can hear how well this sounds.

I damaged my MP3 Trigger the other day beyond repair so I de-soldered the 3.5mm Mini Plug and built a breakout board to easily plug into. Here I have everything laid out and ready for assembly:

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If you just want to add a small un amplified external speaker this is where you solder the wires, Important: adding the black shrink tubing helps to keep the solder joints from digging through the insulation of the wires and a causing short. In this shot you can also see I've removed the little power pin that sticks out the bottom of the board and installed my own Piggy Tail power connector using wire and a Molex connector :

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Here's a shot of the solder job under the project board that I bought from Radio Shack and cut to size:

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Here are a few pics of the locations I soldered the the wires to "before" the onboard amp:


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Here it is all put together and mounted in the neck of B9:

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Here's a video I made showing it in action and attached to my sound system through the 3.5mm Mini Plug that attached to the amp. I try to compare the fidelity of the already installed CF3 sound system and the streaming V4 EZB. Both play through the same amp and speaker.



I conclusion; EZB V4 does an amazing job making it easy for you to stream sound right from your computer to the board itself. Adding an amp and large speaker can be easily done and the sound is very nice. I'm thrilled how clear and deep it sounds. However I think your true results will depend on the quality of your sound files. I both .wav and .mp3 files and and heard a range of fidelity. Again, the better the sampling the better your file will sound. Also you can adjust sound quality with the controls on the amp and a good speaker will make all the difference in the world.

Before I got the V4 and tried to stream my sound files over the WiFI connection from my laptop to the EZB v4 I was using a SparkFun MP3 Trigger and the V3 EZB. The current setup is much easier to use and the sound when sep up like this is comparable. Again in the end it will all depend on your sound file's quality and how nice of a amp and speakers you use.

I hope this helps and you enjoyed.

Dave Schulpius

AI Support Bot
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Synthiam
Synthiam
#39  
@Bobsheaux, as long as you're here we'll help you as best as we know how :D. I think everyone here has made plenty of mistakes along our paths. Just keep trying, things might not work out how you imagined the first few times but it will come. Press onward! I'm supposed to be the knowledgeable one here and I have learned a ton just through conversations with this community. This community has a lot of patience and a willingness to help, I'm proud of what we have here.

Yes, you can remove the original speaker and replace it with a larger size of the same impedance (8ohm). The larger cone size will help with raising the volume, an external amplifier could work as well. Funny though, I find the EZ-B speaker to be pretty loud, and the software can overdrive the volume if needed, it just gets a bit distorted the higher you go.
#40   — Edited
After I did this mod I found if I left the little original little speaker I could hear a bit of latency between the two speakers. I could hear double talk. I removed the little speaker. 

The signal you get from this mod is unamplified. I ran the signal through a small Lepy LP-2024A-HA LP-2024A+ Hi-Fi Audio Stereo Power Amplifier Car Amplifier. You can see it here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ULRFQ1A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 
You then run your speakers from the amp. You have all the advantages an amp in your sound system will provide. 

The small original speaker gets an amplified signal. If you don't have a lot of room in your robot you will need to stick with the small original speaker or solder in some wires for a better smaller external speaker. If you solder in speaker wire and replace the small speaker with an external (non amplified) speaker use the holes marked "Speaker" on the board This will take advantage of the onboard amp to drive them. See posts #25 & 28 for a nice pictures of this location.
#41  
I don't understand how I'm supposed to connect a speaker to the EZB via spring contacts by looking at those pics.

After examining the innards of the EZB myself, I feel like there's no way to remove the speaker without completely destroying it. I hope you can tell me I'm mistaken here.

Are there any videos available demonstrating the difference between an amplified and an unamplified speaker? I REALLY don't want to do anything that's going to demand I get another power source (like having to buy an external amp).
#42  
This topic is new to me too ... bear with me:

If i need to replace the speaker I would first disable the internal speaker: 

before:
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after:
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the internal speaker is gone.

Next I would soldering 2 wires to speaker pads:
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Synthiam
#43  
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Hey guys the speaker can simply be removed with a small flat-blade screwdriver (carefully prying against the enclosure) if you need to take it out. Be gentle!
#44  

Quote:

I don't understand how I'm supposed to connect a speaker to the EZB via spring contacts by looking at those pics.
To connect to the board pads you ll need springs or pogo pins like this:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32910364279.html

bear in mind both options require you to solder the springs / pogo pins to something else... e.g. board
see how pogo pins are used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ol3_ME8Ssc

Quote:

After examining the innards of the EZB myself, I feel like there's no way to remove the speaker without completely destroying it. I hope you can tell me I'm mistaken here.
Correct if you want to add your springs or pogo pins you need to replace lid with another lid or try to fit something between the existent speaker, eventually remove the internal speaker to fit whatever you have with springs/pogo pins.

Quote:

Are there any videos available demonstrating the difference between an amplified and an unamplified speaker?
The unamplified output is used to feed an external amplifier. 

Quote:

I REALLY don't want to do anything that's going to demand I get another power source (like having to buy an external amp).
So if you don't want to use an external amp, you only have two options:
1) use the existent speaker.
2) disable the existent speaker, solder 2 wires to grab the speaker output, and connect to 8 ohm speaker.

the real question is: Can an external speaker be louder than the internal speaker ?

If your EZB is buried inside the robot with an external speaker will you have the freedom to relocate the speaker to a better location and/or drill some holes in your enclosure to get the sound out.
#45  
@Jeremie:
It was my next step:)
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btw everyone, if it stops working is Jeremie's fault:) ha ha ha
#46  
jeremie

i turn the cover over and tap ones on your desk.speaker comes right out.
#47  
i found a spare speaker...

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So I'm ready to blast the neighborhood ... rave party !!! EZB is in D house !
#50  
So the speaker CAN be safely removed. Good to know.

But whatever direction I'm going with this project, I'm stuck soldering?
#51  
Soldering is a good skill to learn. get a good soldering iron, good solder and a pile of paper clips. Just sit down and solder the paper clips together in various designs until you get the hang of it. You will never regret learning how how to do it if you stay in this hobby,
#52  
@Bobsheaux:
I noticed in another thread, you are struggling with the led and sound.
If you want I can create a video to demo connecting the led to the speaker and discuss other led details, please let me know.

@Dave:
I hope you don't mind using this thread to discuss the speaker / led connection, the issue is related to breaking out speaker sound versus a specific ARC's control.
#53   — Edited
No Worries @ptp. It's all good.;)

Anyway, this is the community thread. Not mine. Whatever helps.
#54  
SO... soldering an extension cable to the EZB proved tricky (damn, those are some small holes) but per everyone else's assertion, NOT impossible. The external speaker has been attached to the vent in his omnibot gut, and now he's significantly louder. Thanks for the tips and (more importantly) the encouragement.:)
#55  
hi bob

you can always use an iotiny for speaker.
#56  
@Bob, did you solder to the amplified "Speaker" holes or the unamplified ones pointed to in this tutorial?

Also, I don't know if you know this but there is a volume slider on the side of the sound board you are using in ARC. 

Also, I may be wrong (because I'm not really an audio guy) but now that you have external speakers hooked up you may be able to get a powered speaker that has it's own volume control. Check this out to see if it's OK to do this first. They are usually used for unamplified signals like coming from a computer or cell phone. If you attached to the "Speaker Holes" you have a Amplified signal coming out. If you use a powered speaker that would turn the amp on the EZB into a Pre-Amp. I think that's OK. Check first.
Synthiam
#57   — Edited
I believe @Bobsheaux was looking to breakout the speaker from the EZ-B's speaker pins so that it could be moved physically to near the outside of his Robbie senior robot (i think?) so that it could be heard better. Let me know if I'm mistaken Bob.
#58  
@Jeremie
That's correct. I'm tinkering with a Robie SR. and have it set up so my EZB is settled nicely atop the tape deck inside. It makes for a nice set-up, but the internal speaker was so deep in the body and surrounded by various bits of wires and hardware, the sound was very insulated. I've hooked up a 3rd party speaker into the EZB via the speaker holes, attached it to where the Robie's original speaker used to be just under the skin, and now it's much more audible.