8 Best Uses For Old Bluetooth Speakers

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If you have an old Bluetooth speaker gathering dust in a closet, it's time to give it a new lease on life. Rather than sending it to a landfill, consider repurposing it. Much like the many ways in which you can repurpose old servers or Android phones or old cameras and lenses, your Bluetooth speaker doesn't need to contribute to our global e-waste problem.

According to a report by Tonerbuzz, the world generated 48.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019 alone and this rate of production has been increasing by 21% every year. That's a staggering amount of electronics that end up in landfills, where they can release toxic substances and take hundreds of years to decompose. By repurposing your old Bluetooth speaker, you can do your part to reduce e-waste and protect the environment.

But it's not just about the environment — repurposing your old speaker can also be a fun and rewarding project. Whether you're looking to add some greenery to your home, create a DIY kitchen timer, or make your own plant watering system, there's no shortage of creative ideas for repurposing an old Bluetooth speaker. So whether you're looking to upcycle, save money, or just want to put your tech skills to the test, we've got you covered with these ten great ideas for using old Bluetooth speakers.

Upgrade to a smart speaker

One of the best uses for an old but still operational speaker is to convert it into a smart speaker. It's a cost-effective and easy way to reuse and upgrade your old speakers and add features like voice control functionality to play music, set alarms, and control other smart home devices. Plus, smart speakers can also be integrated with a range of smart home devices, such as smart lights, thermostats, and security cameras, allowing you to control them using voice commands or through a mobile app.

The best part is that by converting your old speaker into a smart speaker, you'll also have direct access to a variety of streaming options, including music services like Spotify and Apple Music. Smart speakers can be used to make phone calls, set reminders, and answer questions, too.

To convert an old Bluetooth speaker into a smart speaker, you will need to purchase a smart speaker kit like the Chromecast Audio that pairs with your smartphone over Wi-Fi and gives you complete control over your speaker via a mobile app. You could also try the slightly more off-brand alternative: the Skyeen M5 AdioCast Receiver.

Build Your Own Intercom System

Having your own intercom system has the potential to change the way you communicate in your home. It could allow you to communicate with visitors at the front door without opening it. You could use an intercom system to call everyone in the house to the dinner table when supper is prepared. If you have kids, an intercom system could be a tool for creative play.

To turn your old Bluetooth speakers into an intercom system, you will need some technical skills, including knowledge of Raspberry Pi boards, coding, and soldering wires. However, the process is relatively straightforward once you get started. You'll need to set up a Raspberry Pi and connect it to a Bluetooth speaker using a Bluetooth adapter. Then you'll need to connect a pair of microphones to the Raspberry Pi. Once you have everything set up, you can use a program such as PulseAudio or A2DP Sink to configure the Raspberry Pi to send and receive audio data over Bluetooth. 

Enhance your smartphone's alarm system

Do you know there are specific alarm tones that can actually affect your entire day? According to a study by PLOS melody and rhythm are important in reducing sleep inertia which, if broken abruptly by the annoying "beep-beep" sound of traditional alarm clocks, can have adverse effects on health.

Using a Bluetooth speaker in combination with a device (like an old Android smartphone) as an alarm allows you to wake up to your favorite music or podcast rather than the shrill beeping of a traditional alarm clock. This can make your mornings more pleasant and help you start your day off on the right foot. The best part about using your phone and speaker in concert is that you can also use third-party alarm apps to enjoy features like gamification or gradual wake-up integration.

Take for example the app Calm. So long as the device you've paired with your Bluetooth speaker runs a new enough version of Android, the Calm app will set you up with a custom alarm system with ease.

Use it as your TV/Computer's primary speaker

If you have old Bluetooth speakers with great sound quality, you can easily enhance your TV-watching experience without having to invest in expensive sound systems that break the bank. Instead, you can simply connect your old Bluetooth speakers to your TV and use them as your primary sound system for your TV. The best part is that since your speakers are connected wirelessly, you can keep them near your couch and watch TV from a far distance while still keeping the volume lower. This can come in really handy if you're on a TV marathon during the night, but your family members are sleeping.

Similarly, the sound systems of old computers can be quite underwhelming, and the situation is even worse in the case of old laptops as most entry-level laptops are equipped with poor-quality speakers that make it really challenging to stream videos or play games without using headphones. But it can not only get really uncomfortable to wear headphones for too long, but it's also not always entirely harmless to do so.

Build Your Own Surround Sound System

The most obvious benefit of converting your old Bluetooth speakers into a surround sound system is the enhanced audio quality. More audio sources — when properly accounted for — make for a more immersive experience.

The catch is that creating a surround sound system may require you to purchase an expensive Bluetooth-supported Home Theater Receiver. Or you could buy a much more affordable solution like a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver. This same transmitter and receiver device could open doors to a whole lot of other opportunities for repurposing your Bluetooth speakers, too.

Once you have a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver device (there are several kinds with prices based on the number of features they include), you can turn basically any non-Bluetooth audio device into a Bluetooth audio device. Your TV can output audio to this device while this device connects to your Bluetooth speaker.

Turn It Into An Internet Radio

You could transform your old Bluetooth speaker into an internet radio for background noise at work. According to a study conducted by Dr. Cockerton T, background music can enhance your ability to focus and work more efficiently. So if you have a home office or any small workspace, internet radio can be a great way to listen to focus music while you work and create a more pleasant and productive working environment.

Not only that, there are several other studies suggesting that different background music can have its own effect on how you feel. By turning your old Bluetooth speaker into an Internet radio, you can access millions of radio stations dedicated to playing theme-based music according to your mood.

However, setting up an internet radio using a Bluetooth speaker can be a little tricky and requires you to have some degree of technical knowledge as well. But if you're up for the challenge, all you need is a Raspberry Pi, a computer with internet connectivity, some basic tools to create a circuit, and some motivation to get you going. After you've gathered all the items you need, you can refer to the detailed guide on Instructables to piece everything together.

DIY Plant Watering Alarm

You could transform your old Bluetooth speaker into a DIY plant watering system that sends you reminders when it's time to water your plants. To build this system, you'll need to program an Arduino or a raspberry pi and connect it to a soil moisture sensor and your old speaker (via Bluetooth). If the soil is dry, the device sends a signal to your Bluetooth speaker which sounds an alarm so you'll bring water.

You can choose a simple beep or a more elaborate message, or even your favorite song. For peace of mind, consider installing a battery backup to keep the system running even during power outages, and an optional power switch to make it easy to turn off when not in use. 

To get the most accurate readings, place the soil moisture sensor near the roots of the plants, about 2-3 inches deep in the soil. You can also adjust the notification frequency based on the type of plants you're growing and their environment.

Resell or Donate it

If you've read so far and have not found any ideas that spark your interest, or if you just want to get rid of your old speakers, you have two main options: reselling or donating.

Reselling your old speaker can be a great way to recoup some of the money you spent on the device, especially if you're looking to upgrade to a newer model. However, to sell your old speaker, you'll need to first determine its current market value. This will depend on its age, condition, and brand, as well as its features and capabilities.

You can use online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon to get a sense of how much your speaker is worth by browsing through other listings. Once you've figured that out, you can list it on a number of online marketplaces that make it easy to list and sell your speakers. Sites like eBay or Decluttr are good if you're willing to go out and ship your device, or you can stay local with Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Another option is to donate your old Bluetooth speaker. There are a number of organizations that accept donations of electronics, including schools, non-profits, and e-waste recyclers. Whatever you do, do not simply toss your Bluetooth speaker in the trash. They should not be thrown in a garbage bin because they contain battery units that, when pierced, can very easily start a fire.