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Kids mp3 player
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pleya - a kids mp3 player


This project started because I really liked the concept of Hoerbert, but didn't like the price of it. A quick search for cheap and accessible hardware to implement a simple mp3 player lead me to Adafruit's Feather platform. This repo contains the Arduino project for the player and some additional information on how to build your own.


Based on the VS1053b decoder chip, pleya supports the following audio codecs:

  • MP1, MP2, MP3
  • Ogg Vorbis
  • AAC
  • WMA

Being made for the little ones, the user interface is kept very simple. The controls are:

  • Power switch
  • Volume knob
  • Forward/backward button
  • N playlist buttons

Pressing a playlist button will start playing the next track in that playlist. Forward/backward buttons allow to fast forward through the playing track and reset to it's beginning. The current playing playlist, track and track position is saved to the SD card in order for pleya to automatically continue playing the last played track when turned off and on again. The track position is saved every 10 seconds.


The hardware is based on the following Adafruit Feather Boards:

To complete the pleya hardware the following additional parts are required:

  • Push buttons
  • Potentiometer (linear, around 10K)
  • Switch for power on/off
  • Speaker(s) (4 or 8 Ohm)
  • 3.7V Li-Po battery
  • MicroSD card

Hardware Assembly

To finish the hardware assembly follow these steps:

  • Stack the two Feather boards together
  • Connect the end terminals of the potentiometer to GND and 3V3 on the Feather
  • Connect the wiper of the potentionmeter to A0 on the Feather
  • Connect VREFA on the Feather to 3V3 on the Feather (analog reference)
  • Connect the terminals of the push buttons to GND and a digital pin on the Feather
  • Make sure to specify the correct pins in the configuration options (see below)
  • Connect the speaker(s) to the speaker terminals on the Music Feather Wing
  • Use the power switch to break up the battery connection (best to use an extension cord)

Software Installation

Follow these steps to install the software on the hardware:

  • Download and install the latest Arduino software
  • Install the Adafruit_VS1053_Library fork
  • Open sketch/pleya/pleya.ino in Arduino
  • Adjust the following variables in pleya.ino in case you don't use the default hardware configuration
    • playlistCount to set the number of playlist buttons (maximum is 9)
    • playlistPins to define the digital pins connected to the playlist buttons
    • backwardPin and forwardPin to define the digital pins connected to the backward/forward buttons
  • Select Adafruit 32u4 Breakout in the Tools / Boards menu
  • Connect the Feather via USB
  • Press Upload to upload the sketch to the feather

MicroSD Card Preparation

Follow these steps to prepare a MicroSD for pleya:

  • Format the card using the FAT filesystem
  • Create playlist folders 0 .. N-1 where N is the number of playlists (corresponding playlistCount in the software)
  • Copy audio files to the playlist folders (track order is sorted alphanumerically)

Images of completed pleyas

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