Question

Repurpose recycled Play 5

  • 23 January 2020
  • 13 replies
  • 350 views

I purchased a play 5 for part. Turns out it’s recycled but the speakers work just fine. I understand the need to brick the software component of the speaker but is there any reason this can’t be used as a plain old “dumb speaker?” Seems like a total waste to make the speaker completely non functional.


13 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

You could use it as a dumb speaker if you can find a way to feed it audio. Since the software is locked doing that using the Sonos circuit boards is a complex issue.

Now gutting the Sonos boards and adding a power supply, amplifier and crossover to the case is easily doable.

You could use it as a dumb speaker if you can find a way to feed it audio. Since the software is locked doing that using the Sonos circuit boards is a complex issue.

Now gutting the Sonos boards and adding a power supply, amplifier and crossover to the case is easily doable.

It does not sound easy to me :)

If you know of any tutorials or directions, I am all ears. Shame to let this perfectly good speaker go to waste!

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

No direct instructions but you could start with something like a Raspberry Pi Zero-W (cheap and has a WiFi radio) computer and add a power-amp to it. Making that a bit more complicated the internal speakers in a Play 5 aren’t a simple left right pair.

LF Driver: 3 x 4” woofers and HF Driver: 1 x 1” and 2 x ¾” tweeters

 

From a quick look at Amazon, to drive just a stereo pair of the internal LF and HF speakers this setup would work.

A complete kit, just the Pi is a lot cheaper if you have the other stuff:

https://smile.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-Wireless-Complete-Starter/dp/B07CMVDHWB/ref=sr_1_5

Small 3 Watt amp:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N24JQ37/?coliid=I31UEI8A46877I&colid=3U87SXP1HSZ5E&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Or a hefty 60 Watt amp:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B076DLCRHF/?coliid=I19I9RWMCNUVJB&colid=3U87SXP1HSZ5E&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Crossover:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N6Q75DW/ref=psdc_11042521_t1_B01IZ7JF2I

 

 

No direct instructions but you could start with something like a Raspberry Pi Zero-W (cheap and has a WiFi radio) computer and add a power-amp to it. Making that a bit more complicated the internal speakers in a Play 5 aren’t a simple left right pair.

LF Driver: 3 x 4” woofers and HF Driver: 1 x 1” and 2 x ¾” tweeters

 

From a quick look at Amazon, to drive just a stereo pair of the internal LF and HF speakers this setup would work.

A complete kit, just the Pi is a lot cheaper if you have the other stuff:

https://smile.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-Wireless-Complete-Starter/dp/B07CMVDHWB/ref=sr_1_5

Small 3 Watt amp:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N24JQ37/?coliid=I31UEI8A46877I&colid=3U87SXP1HSZ5E&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Or a hefty 60 Watt amp:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B076DLCRHF/?coliid=I19I9RWMCNUVJB&colid=3U87SXP1HSZ5E&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Crossover:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N6Q75DW/ref=psdc_11042521_t1_B01IZ7JF2I

 

 

I’d bet a beer and a shot that you are significantly smarter than I am. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

I wouldn’t go there but I did start off my career burning knuckles on vacuum tubes and ducking the clouds of selenium oxide fumes from failed rectifiers. :-)

Seriously the Pi is designed for kids, the grandkids love theirs, it is not rocket science.

Raspberry Pi Org http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

Pardon my ignorance, but as the play5 is standalone anyway, doesn’t it already have a built in amplifier?

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Pardon my ignorance, but as the play5 is standalone anyway, doesn’t it already have a built in amplifier?

Well no but…

The Play 5 has something like five amplifiers (too lazy to look at the description) but they are Class D and integrated into the other electronics making getting them working with the software locked down a major project if not impossible.

I took one look at my Play 5 Gen 1 innards and dropped my plan to keep any of the electronics inside, even the power supply. Now on the ZP-80 I did keep the power supplies as they are not integrated with the rest of the electronics and just have a plug to connect to them.

Realistically, if anyone can do this it is Sonos via some kind of firmware change that allows the line in analog signal to reach the drive units after amplification - and the unit would do nothing else, and not sit on any Sonos system, legacy or otherwise. Ditto for the Connect Amp. For the Connect, not so much because all it contains for stand alone operation can be bought for a pittance.

But the interest in this will be too small for the effort to be justified, even if possible. Better instead to retain the legacy products in a legacy system mode of operation.

Perhaps the modification may still make sense when legacy mode become unviable, but hopefully that is far enough in the future that these legacy hardware electronics will be close to dying, in which case it still won’t make sense.

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

Thanks for that Stanley 4. To re-purpose then we need a new method of amplification and ideally a way to add Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. I’m not interested in making them work with Sonos, they have lost my trust. If I could get them on a network with Bowers and Wilkins or Raumfeld then that would be nice, but stand alone would do. Or even the sort of changes Invebo does for old Bose iPod docks.

The speakers themselves are fine and it’s completely unacceptable to me that they should be landfill fodder at the behest of Sonos.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

The links in my post above will get you a working speaker with WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet if you switch to a Pi 3 or 4 instead of the Zero.

Userlevel 2
Badge

The links in my post above will get you a working speaker with WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet if you switch to a Pi 3 or 4 instead of the Zero.

Hi Stanley, I think there would be a great amount of interest if you provided a little more understanding on how the Pi can re-purpose the Play 5. I have a Pi3 sitting on my shelf at the moment.

Are you proposing that all the electronics needed to be gutted and replaced with the Pi and the 60W amp effectively bypassing the built-in amps? I think the play 5 has 6 speakers, so how would you possibly wire the Pi amplifier to 6 separate speaker? Thanks!

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Yes, a complete gutting of the electronics, and properly recycling them of course.

My plan is to initially do it as a stereo pair and see how it sounds. With 60 watts available there are several possibilities to power the remaining speakers. I think using a stereo to mono mixing transformer might be a good option.

https://dbbaudio.com/2012/stereo-to-mono-conversions/

https://smile.amazon.com/ILS-pieces-Transformer-Transformateur-Transformador/dp/B07913D6VJ/ref=sr_1_26

Realistically, if anyone can do this it is Sonos via some kind of firmware change that allows the line in analog signal to reach the drive units after amplification - and the unit would do nothing else, and not sit on any Sonos system, legacy or otherwise.

But the interest in this will be too small for the effort to be justified, even if possible. 

I’m not so sure. I have recently recycled my Play 5 to get a discount on something new. Now, before this i would never have considered taking my fully-functioning Play5 out to my dusty old shed, because its a crappy environment for such a good speaker. But now that the Play5 has been recycled and is otherwise heading for landfill anyway, that has changed.

Being able to line in to the Play5 from my phone (no software, no wifi… just dumb old analog amplification) would be useful to me. And it seems like i have this perfectly good unit that would now be perfect for my dusty old shed, and the only thing wrong with it is that the software is unusable.

Am i really the only one in this position?

I’m thinking, surely the signal comes out of the processor/wifi board to be amplified by the pre-amps. Is there really no simple way to tap a line-in jack into that?

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