Converting an old music center to USB


Most likely, many still have old players, tape recorders or other audio systems. The hand does not rise to throw them out, and there is no point in leaving them. You shouldn’t get upset. You can breathe life into these «oldies». Converting old systems to USB is not a difficult task, especially when it comes to a music center. Such work will not take much time, and it will cost quite a bit.

About plugins

Technological progress does not stand still. So Chinese manufacturers decided to please amateur craftsmen by launching a special audio module for sound conversion.

The device is sold in several versions, differing in operating voltage. The model, suitable for most music centers, is powered by 5V. If the voltage measurements on the printed circuit board of the music center do not allow you to find the right pair of conductors, you can buy another version of the panel. For example, with a power supply of 12V with an allowable limit of 9 to 15V.

Those who want to get everything at once will like it version with bluetooth module. It allows you to play audio from your phone after pairing with a modified music center.

music center conversion module

Module with USB and Bluetooth

But these details are not enough even to create the simplest player. For this, the old audio system will be used. Well, if it has been preserved in working order. If not, don’t be afraid. The main thing is that the necessary details work:

  1. The battery pack, or the unit responsible for charging.
  2. The speakers are from the old system, it is through them that the music will sound.
  3. Well, the sound amplifier built into the music center.

You can choose a device with various «bells and whistles», but a simple module equipped with one usb port and the ability to output sound is enough to revive an old cassette player.

Audio conversion board

Audio conversion board

What you need to work

The reading interface panel fits quite neatly into the overall body design of the music center. But to place it, you need cut a rectangular hole. For all necessary work you will need:

  • the player itself, the interface for reading modern media;
  • screwdriver for disassembling the case;
  • soldering iron;
  • wires for mounting, solder and flux;
  • multimeter for measurements;
  • screwdriver;
  • small diameter drills and a pair of self-tapping screws for fastening the panel.

You can cut a hole in the case in different ways. The optimal one depends on the set of tools available to the user. It is convenient to work with a dremel or mini cutting discs fixed in a drill chuck. In the simplest version, the hole can be cut with a jigsaw or knife, aligning the edges with a file.

Cut a place for the module

Location of the module in the music center

Precautions and work requirements

It should be understood that without some skills in handling measuring instruments and knowledge in the field of electrical engineering, when upgrading an old music center, you simply cannot do. To carry out the work, you will need at least multimeter and soldering iron.

It is necessary to carry out any operations only when the power supply of the music center is turned off. This is the main security measure, because the voltage of 220V is fatal to humans.

If it is necessary to measure the parameters of electrical circuits with the power on, this must be done carefully. First, you need to carefully apply the probes of the multimeter. It is not allowed to short adjacent current-carrying tracks on the board. Secondly, do not touch with your hands any areas of the structure where there may be stress. In addition to the obvious danger of electric shock, there is another, damage to the elements of the music center board.

checking the music center with a multimeter

Working with a multimeter requires care and knowledge

How the player is connected

On the rear panel of the multimedia panel there is a comb with contacts or outputs in the form of separate wires. There are 6 of them:

  • common contact of audio channels;
  • connection points for left and right channels;
  • antenna input;
  • two power connection points.

To simplify the description of the process, we will take a music center with an AUX input as input. The player connects to such models quite simply. If the music center does not have an input for an external signal, complex work will be needed with the circuit diagram of the device and switching the player’s outputs directly to the input of the amplifier.

Work procedure

All connection work can be divided into three parts.

Finding a place to install

The case of the music center must be disassembled. This is usually done by unscrewing the screws on the back of the device. After that, the body is divided into at least two parts. The user is required to find the optimal location for installing the new panel.

disassembled music center

To install the module, you need to disassemble the case

It should not be dangerous for the player to come into contact with the motherboard. The installation point is chosen in a place where there are no moving mechanical elements or other parts whose functionality may be impaired. And of course, after installation, the panel should be easily accessible for convenient use of connected media.

Audio connection points

The player can be connected to the music center with AUX in two ways.

  1. Solder the wires to the board at the GND, R, L points or connect them to the GND, RO, OL comb points, respectively.
  2. Make a simple wiring from the GND point of the player to the external contacts of the AUX input tulip connectors, connect the central conductors channel by channel to RO and OL, respectively.

It should be noted that the first method is preferable. In the second case, the length of the switching lines is large, they will be affected by various pickups from external sources of interference.

contacts on the music center board

Finding food

The contacts on the power cable in the music center are not signed. Therefore, you will have to measure with a multimeter and look for the right one with a voltage of 5V. In this case, one probe of the device is installed on the GND of the center motherboard or on the chassis. And the second one sequentially leans against the contacts of the comb of the loop. The measurement must be taken with the power on and the AUX mode activated.


After all switching points are found, the final soldering and insulation is performed. Then the player is installed in the hole cut out for it and screwed with self-tapping screws. The body is assembled. All that remains is to check the operation of the modified music center.

the board is installed in the case

Music center after the alteration


To convert an old music center to usb, you do not have to put in a lot of effort. It is only necessary to order a special module for transcoding audio and install it in an old player. For a very small cost, you will get a device that can play music from a flash drive.


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