I havent used the adafruit MP3 board, but the FX board is really good with the exception that it doesn't have gigs of space. Having used a different shield you will definitely have to mod the programming, but it should work just fine. Would definitely go for the version with the 3Watt amp

So, after some playing around with the Adafruit FX board, SERIAL MP3 PLAYER V1.0 from CATALEX, and The Citrix EZMP3
The FX is great, but limited in space...cause I want to put more songs on it than I should. I also used the version with a headphone out and no amp; the sound volume was lacking for sure.

The MP3 player from Catalex is cheap and has loud volume, but it picked up a lot of distortion and had pops when tracks ended.Some crazy programming with timers is required for looping. I dont know if it has an "Amp", but it is louder than an FX board that doesnt have an amp.

The citrix EZMP3 shield has good sound, good volume because of the 3W amp, but only plays MP3 and Wav files. There is a pop after a wav file stops playing and a gap when one MP3 stops and another starts. I haven't been able to remedy this, but its not too noticeable.
I used the same headphone jack version on my droid.



I hooked it into a cheap audio amplifier and then out to two 120 watt 4 ohm 3.5 inch speakers. Droid has TONS of volume but with a setup like that you must use a ground loop isolator like this


If I wasn't trying to save as much weight as I was I would probably look at a similar setup in my proton pack.
My knowledge of this stuff is nowhere near where I'd like it to be, so I don't know if this question is incredibly stupid or not; but would a power bank like this work for powering the proton pack? If yes, wouldn't this eliminate the need for the power converters?

https://www.amazon.com/18000mAh-HuaF-Po ... ay&sr=8-19
Almost everything in the current design is 5v or 3v so you could potentially use that. It's basically a two output source with one output sporting 1 amp and the other up to 2. I would use the 2 amp output for the arduino/audio board/led's and the 1 amp for the audio amplifier. I would wire things the same just omit the converters and power the ardiuno from vin instead of the 5v since the output of that brick is a bit unknown. In the diagrams if you see things connected directly to the converter make sure they are also connected directly to the pack. You will need to modify some usb cables to pull the power/grounds.

It's hard to say how stable a voltage that will have under load. One of the reasons I went with larger voltage sources and used the converters.
I am happy to report that I wired it all together and it works! (mostly)

My speakers are really quiet though, which I suspect may be because the 2nd output on that power bank is only putting out 1A; so I think I'm going to try the power bank NotSabbat suggested and see if I get a better result with that. (Nevermind, it appears that one has the same A output on each port as my current one.)

CountDeMonet, would you know how to add the ability to adjust the sound via a potentiometer to this setup?
The voltage on that 1amp power port may be sagging under load. I believe I set the buck converter to 5.5v going into this amp feeding two speakers.

They are loud enough for a quiet room to be quite annoying but if you are doing events and you really want the sound to be loud I'd switch to a larger amp and 4-5 inch speakers. I did that for my droid using one of these amps

feeding these speakers

I use the dial on the larger amp to control volume. In this amp I am feeding the full 12v from the battery to the amp. Very loud :) but it does increase the weight quite a bit. Since my build was for my 6 year old son I needed a solution that was loud enough but not heavy.

Here's a video on controlling audio level with a potentiometer. I think there are a lot of examples out there for it.
I haven't been able to find my multimeter, so I cant confirm the Amp output, but per the graphics on the Amazon link I posted the output on both USB ports was change from 1amp and 2.1amp to 3.4amps.
So, take that as you will ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It charges phones pretty quickly.

Here is a wall of text describing how I think our setups are similar. There is a TLDR bottom line, well...at the bottom.

So, I have two packs that have full lights and sound. One is a mad scientist project that shoves all kinds of stuff into a pack and is hardly applicable to this conversation, but the other is very similar to what you are putting together, though it does have its own weirdness to it;

It has a single usb cable that is the power input, ie what I connect the power bank to. That usb cable goes to a USB 3.1 splitter. Specifically this one:

https://www.microcenter.com/product/485 ... ub---black

I specifically purchased a USB 3.1 hub because the amp output of .9amps per usb port (of course thats dependent on the input, but I wanted to make sure I had the capacity) and I wanted to be able to just plug stuff in.

I have the Arduino board plugged into one port for power and I have the soundboard wired to the Arduino board for power (I believe. Its been awhile since I have looked at that one) and then I have two USB speakers connected to two other ports in the hub. I followed CountDeMonet's plans almost exactly when wiring up all the lights, etc. to the gun and rest of the pack (except I left the resistors out of the bargraph, but thats another story). I used 2 USB powered speakers from Microcenter (I have the volume on each set at about 80-85% of max) for the sound. The pack isnt the loudest Ive ever heard, but it can be heard well enough at a con to be shown off, so its not bad:

https://www.microcenter.com/product/485 ... -sound-bar

As I said everything is run from a single power bank. I have used the one I link above many times and it will run the pack on idle with hum for around 40 hours...In case you need to do that.

I have also used these el-cheapo power bank from microcenter (there is one close to me).

https://www.microcenter.com/product/488 ... nk---black

It is a 2,600mah battery pack with a .8A output and it will run that pack for around 4.5 hours.

I dont know what kind of speakers you are using, so it might be an Amps issue, I dont know. However it is possible to run a pack with very satisfactory sound on a 1.2amp port (or less apparently).

TLDR: One issue that I DID have is that the 3.5mm did not make a good connection in the jack in the sound card, so the sound was super soft at first. I re-seated it a bit and rotated it and now its fine. That may be all that is wrong with yours as well.
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