Project: MP3 Player – Design and goals

As promised here is the first post about my mp3 player project.

I´ll talk about mainly two things today: What are my goals  and what will be the basic design of the project.

Well for my goals, what I have in mind is actually quite a simple. I want to build an MP3 player with following components:

  • TFT LCD Screen with 320×240 resolution
  • Touch screen interface
  • SD Card for music/data storage

So there is nothing really special about it. All standard stuff.

As for my design, here is what i have in mind:

MP3 Player Diagram

(click for bigger image)

For the microcontroller, i will be using the Stellaris LM4f120H5QR. It is both a low-cost and powerful ARM microcontroller. It can operate at 80MHz and comes with all the standard peripherals like SPI, I2C, I2S, UART´s, lots of GPIO´s, etc. You can buy one from here: Stellaris Launchpad Evaluation Kit

For the LCD display I’m using a cheap chinese one from eBay like this one (or you could simply search for “3.2” TFT LCD Module Display + Touch Panel”). This displays are actually quite nice, they are cheap and even come with a touch screen and an SD Card socket! However they have a few problems. They are a little bit slow when filling the display completely and for some reason the one i got seems to be missing the SD Card controller IC (although I haven´t tested to see if it works without it). But these are more annoyances than real problems since there´s rarely a need to fill the complete display over and over, and I can order the SD Card controller IC from eBay for a few cents and solder it to the board in no time.

Another grip that I have with this display is that, although the LCD controller is capable of SPI communications, the people who built this display decided to disable that leaving only the parallel interface! So i had to improvise a little solution in order to spare a few more GPIO pins on the Stellaris (else i would need 22 GPIO pins just to control the LCD! :O)

As for the mp3 decoder chip, I will be using a VS1053 made by VLSI (link). It cost about 15€ (~20 US Dollar) and comes with a lot of stuff! Although it is an overkill for these project, you should see their flagship chip, the VS1005! That thing is just… uau!

Well that’s it for now. There are a few problems with this set up but I will talk about them in future posts. Because of that, please note that this design will most probably change!  It is my first time doing a project at this scale so I’m sure there will be quite a few changes that will need to me made.

Oh and I’ve finally decided to give my project a name: Varuna MP3 Player (or Varuna Player for short)! Just to make it official :p

To those curious, Varuna is the name of the God of the sky and water in the Hindu mythology. There is nothing special about “Varuna” per se. I just like the names of hindu deities and other mythological stuff!

See you soon!

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