Hard drive… SPEAKERS?!

Hard drive… SPEAKERS?!


In this video I’m going to show you how to
make a speaker out of an old hard disk! First, get an old hard disk that you don’t
care about any more. Use a hex wrench to remove the screws.
Now you’ll be able to see the guts of the drive. You’ve got the hard platters where
the data is stored, hence the name “hard disk”. And you’ve got the heads which move around
to read the data. Connected to the head assembly you are going
to see this flexible cable and we’re going to remove the screws of the flex circuit that
it’s attached to. Flip this thing over and either tape it down
or glue it in place. Be careful to not break the flexible cable.
Next, get out your multimeter, set it to measure resistance, and look for a resistance of around
4 to 40 ohms between any two points on the connector. This means you’ve found the connection
to the hard drive’s voice coil. Solder some thin and flexible wire to those
connection points, and double check the resistance is still in the correct range. My coil is
around 12 ohms. Now if you connect those wires to a 5 volt
power source, you should see the heads jump! The next step is to connect your hard drive
speaker to an amplified audio source. The key word here is amplified. You don’t want
to hook this up to your phone or laptop’s headphone jack. Find an old amplifier that
is used to drive actual speakers, or you can browse my other videos if you want to learn
how to make your own. Slowly turn up the volume and…
So how does this work? Well you can tell your friends it’s magic but the real answer is
under here. If we unscrew this part, you can see that
we have a coil of wire attached to the drive’s head, and that’s right next to a strong magnet.
In other words we have a system very similar to a normal loudspeaker. Which raises the
question… how does a speaker work? Well, let’s say we have a magnet, and it has
a north and south pole. Then let’s say we have a coil of wire next
to it. And let’s attach something mechanical to it.
It could be a speaker cone or it could be a hard drive head.
If we pass an electric current through the coil, it creates a magnetic field around it.
The coil’s south pole gets attracted to the magnet’s north pole, and the speaker moves.
Now if we change the direction of the electric current, we change the direction of the magnetic
field. Now we have two north poles next to each other, and they are going to push each
other away, so the speaker moves in the other direction. If we do this with an amplified audio signal… Thanks for watching, and check out my other
videos about electronics!

100 thoughts to “Hard drive… SPEAKERS?!”

  1. I think one could get a fuller sound if 2 paper cups and a string were used. That was not what I expected .You can turn just about anything into a speaker. That was really weak for the amount of work. 

  2. What is the likely outcome of just using a jack and or the use of ann mp3 player? And that was kool in an unusual way

  3. I used to screw around with stuff like this years ago.

    You can do this with ANY coil of wire and a magnet. Granted, the coil can get hot so don't go throwing 50 volts at the thing. But an amplified source will work.

    Coil generates EM field, Magnet repels it… poof… magic. Sounds n' stuff.

    Great vid!

  4. if you replace the red wires with gold RCA plugs and use 25AWG speaker wire it will sound amazing like a $10,000 HIFI with rich bass and natural highs.

  5. 1:59 Which raises the question: could you use this with a modified HDD firmware to create a hidden microphone?

  6. I'm surprised this video didn't get taken down by youtube's music bot. It always seems to be an ever improving as*hole.
    Anyway, nice explanation 🙂

  7. Ugh, that low end speaker is to poor for me, the sound of that is nothing compared to MY portable valve amplifier connected to my $20.000 custom made headphones that I use to hear high quality music at the bus. I can't believe that peasants actually listen to garbage sound like MP3s (ew). My ears would bleed if something that isn't FLAC is near me. I cringed when the sound of that non SSD came out. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to get my hands on the new premium sound audio SD cards from SONY and my pure gold digital audio cable covered in authentic Egyptian papyrus.

  8. I never considered or gave thought of using an old hard drive as a low quality loudspeaker. Thanks for sharing. Best. Don

  9. Great videos, too short. No intro, no outro, no branding (i.e. personal style), just a big (albeit clear) rush through.

  10. Actually the head moves because of the right hand rule. If the coil was an electromagnet the head would move up and down instead of side to side.

  11. Is is possible to make a cheap and dirty amp circuit with a 9V battery and an LM386 to drive the hdd and and use it as a electric guitar amp+speaker that is loud enough to hear over the normal "unplugged" sound of the guitar? It would look awesome 

  12. Awesome video. I made something similar to this, I took a optical drive asembly from a cd player and underneath the lens there are usually 2 or 4 coils with 2 or 4 magnets next to them. I managed to hook the coils to an amplifier and voilla. I made a headphone out of it and yes you can put it next to your ear and has bass lol. Cheers 🙂

  13. I followed your website guide for this back in 2004-2005, when i was in high school. I hooked up the drive to an old audio amplifier and cd player. It was a cool science class demo.

    Thanks for bringing it back in video format.

  14. Cool. What's vibrating? I'm guessing that coil and magnet normally just pivot the arm and head across the disk radius. Is the arm what's vibrating and moving the air to make the sound waves? Now to think about where else there are coils and magnets that can be adapted to make speakers.

  15. Any tricks you could bring to bear to improve the sound? Obviously it will never be good, but my intuition is that there ought to be something. Also- would this work with the platter spinning? I'm guessing that a large part of the effect is from rubbing on the platter, so probably not.

  16. Could you make a tutorial of a transistor amplifier circuit step by step tutorial? Seems complicated for me to comrehend.

  17. Can you show how to make equalizer ang guitar effects and how to incorporate that into a power amplifier?

  18. u so rock ty been watching u for years ya taught me alot built many awsome projects in my lab while watching your blogs on my main screen

  19. I took mine a few steps further a while back. Removed the annoying platters, added the bottom portion of a paper cup to the arm, added rubber grommets to the stops so it wouldn't hit, then used hot glue to create feet for the bottom. Actually sounded good. 😛

  20. Cool idea, but something is missing. I fix it 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94bQKF5LBr0
    Remember, HDD on my video plays solo

  21. I'm just imagining hacking into a large database and making the hard drive room sing. The computer can choose where the voltage goes, so I think that we could probably write a program to turn any hard drive into a speaker without hardware changes. Though I'm not sure how well we'd be able to hear it inside its case.

  22. What do you recommend for voltage/current of the input signal? I have a few old HDDs lying around that I haven't gotten around to destroying yet, and I'd much rather do this with one of them haha

  23. That works like a turntable
    The turntable spike's convert the movement into a electricity and the electricity is converted to music by an amplifier
    (Sorry for my english XD)

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  25. Same thing can be made with flash drives. Digital synth sound will be out, of course… Good old hdd sound 🙁

  26. u can do this with dynamo motor too but beware damage to your amps
    see Photonicinduction
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxPXyHuCtjQ

  27. 2:15 that's not how speaker magnets are polarized, here is how https://dc.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/loudspeaker-figure.png

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