posts tagged with the keyword ‘audio’

2017.10.06

The NoiseMakers (Part II)

In our introduction post I mentioned NoiseMaster 3000 and all of the noisemaking devices we built. We’re now up to number three!

This one has a more unique look, due to the material I used. I believe the “wood” is actually Bamboo, as this was an old cutting board that we replaced years ago. I didn’t toss it because I knew at some point I’d use it for a project. (See, I do have plans for those things most people just throw away!)

The NoiseMakers (Part II)

I also used some square dowels and a very small red momentary push button. Again, pretty much everything is exposed, though I did at least countersink the screws. The large hole was there when it was a cutting board, and I drilled speaker holes. and then used a countersink bit to give them an angle. (I think the rough edges are due to it being Bamboo.)

The NoiseMakers (Part II)

This one also features 3D printed parts. Little green standoffs were used for the PCB, and also for the speaker, so the screws could be the appropriate length. And once again an ATtiny85 powers the noisy noise. (This one is even more annoying than the previous!)

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.01

noisemaster-0216

In our introduction post I mentioned NoiseMaster 3000 and all of the noisemaking devices we built. Well, here’s another one in the series.

While I used wood for the first one, I chose MDF for this one. MDF has some nice qualities, like being smooth and consistent in surface and size, but besides all that, it’s terrible. Actually, I should say that I’m terrible when it comes to working with it. It’s not like wood, which is forgiving, and I seem to split MDF whenever I use it. I find it annoying, so why not work with it for a project that doesn’t matter that much, so I can try to improve my skills a bit. Good idea, right?

noisemaster-0218

This one again makes use of an ATtiny (I have like 20 of them) and I sort of liked this design when I built it. You’ll notice in the photo above that the screws holding the speaker in place are at a weird angle. That happened in transport, and was not planned. They were actually straight when I built it, but being piled in a bin with a dozen other noisemakers and other things caused a little damage.

noisemaster-0219

You can barely see it, but this one introduces something that will show up in future posts… 3D printed parts. It’s just the standoffs in this case, since I used all the laser-cut standoffs for the last one. Again, all electronics and wiring are exposed, by choice.

noisemaster-0220

I used a lot of screw terminal blocks, typically for power input (though sometimes for speaker output.) Like anything you make, if there’s a chance someone besides you might use it (or if you forget things) add labels! I did not add the ‘+’ and ‘-’ to this, as I know that when I use two wire colors the darker one is always ground and the lighter one is always positive. Maks and Dustin didn’t know that, so they traced the symbols from the PCB and added the labels.

noisemaster-0221

This one once again remained pretty raw. I left the MDF as-is, and did not paint it or otherwise do anything to the surface. I was still just focused on building things quickly. (Don’t worry, that changed a bit as I built more of them.)

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.01

noisemaster-3000

Around the end of 2016 I got some PCBs made that would hold ATtiny85 chips, and I used them in a sound installation. I was trying to figure out how I might reuse the piece(s) for Maker Faire Milwaukee, but I didn’t want to hang things, and I didn’t want to do the same thing again…

After I made SpringTime4 I thought about using the ATtinys in various noise-making devices, and so the journey began. (I also convinced Maks to join in and the idea for NoiseMaster 3000 was born. Oh, and along the way we recruited Dustin to join us.)

noisemaster-0211

I started digging up all the speakers I could find, and grabbed lots of wall warts from Milwaukee Makerspace, and I’ve always got scrap wood on hand, so I started building. At first I just slapped things together fairly haphazardly, but as I built more devices, I started making design choices. (You’ll see these in future posts.) In this post, we’ve just got a simple noisemaker. You press a button, it makes noise. (One of the criteria we set was that everything would be momentary, so no on/off switches. Sound could only be activated temporarily, so no one could turn everything “on” and then walk away. Sound should only be present when a person was engaged with it.

noisemaster-0213

In nearly all of the noisemakers I built, I chose to keep the wires and electronics exposed, or on display, as it were. If I used enclosures, they were typically open on multiple sides. Speakers were almost always visible. I didn’t stray too far from that aesthetic as I built things. Most of the buttons provided power to the unit, which started the noise, though later there were a few that used the button to enable the speaker. A subtle difference most people would not notice, but if you did, you probably know how microcontrollers work. :)

noisemaster-0212

I started working on the noisemakers in June, and thought that would leave plenty of time to make a dozen before Maker Faire. I came pretty close too, and along the way ended up doing some interesting things (at least I like to think so.)

I plan to write up posts showing each noisemaker (hence the “Part I” in the title of this post.) I’ll include photos and a short video, and notes about construction.

Enjoy the Noise!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.05.15

SpringTime4

SpringTime4 was inspired by something my former student Maks showed me, which he called a Victorian Amp. I couldn’t find any good info on it (Oops! I should have looked up Victorian Synthesizer instead) but since I still had a large speaker left over from the Sonic Titan build I decided to build something similar.

SpringTime4

Instead of paper clips (or solder) I used two stretched out springs to complete the circuit. This worked well, because as the speaker coil energized the top spring would bounce up and break the circuit, then fall and complete the circuit again.

SpringTime4

To make things interactive, I added a button that could be pressed to start the device. This allowed people to interact with it, and also added another piece to complete the circuit. The whole thing is powered by a 9 volt battery, which I also left exposed, so people so see what provided power. I didn’t want a full enclosure that would appear to hide things.

SpringTime4

I used alligator clips to connect things, which allowed for disconnecting the button unit from the speaker, which makes it a little easier to transport.

SpringTime4

I took SpringTime4 to the Madison Mini Maker Faire and I really enjoyed watching people interact with it and then asking them if they knew what was happening. Some people sort of figured it out, and for those that didn’t quite get it, I explained how it worked. I think as a maker you tend to forget that even a really simple device can be difficult for people to understand, depending on their familiarity with things like electrical circuits.

SpringTime4

One of my favorite parts was when an 8 year old kid tried to makersplain to me how I should improve it. It’s nice to know that even kids think they’ve got great ideas about how someone else should do things. ;)

SpringTime4

The one improvement I’ll like to see is making it louder (if possible). It’s typical that I test things in my shop and they are fine but when I bring them into public and the environment is noisy, it’s hard to hear things. Since the visual component of seeing the springs move around is a large element of the piece, if I can’t make it louder it’s probably not a huge deal.

Here’s a short video showing SpringTime4 in action. Enjoy!

2016.04.14

911 Phone

What looks like an ordinary desk telephone is actually part of a museum exhibit at BBCM that lets kids practice dialing 911. When they pick up the receiver they hear a dial tone, and can then dial “911″ (which plays the proper DTMF tones) they then hear the line ringing, and then an operator answers and says “911, what is your emergency?”

Phone

Inside the phone I’ve replaced the guts with a Teensy 3.2 and Teensy Audio Adaptor board. This combination handles the phone receiver being lifted, the keypad being pressed, and the playing of audio.

Teensy Pins

After consulting the docs for the Teensy Audio Adaptor board I knew which pins were used for the adaptor board, and which I could use for the receiver switch and the keypad. From what I could tell 11 pins were available (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 16, 17, 20, 21) and I needed seven for the keypad and one more for the receiver switch. Plenty of pins!

I chose to go with a (perhaps slightly odd) method of having some pins point up instead of down so that I could attache female jumper wires to them. I’m not 100% happy with this solution, but it worked for this.

Teensy Wiring

The female jumper wire headers are nearly as tall as the Teeny + Audio board combined. You can also see a potentiometer used for controlling the volume, and a 1/8″ audio jack which goes to the speaker in the handset.

Receiver switch

I re-used the existing receiver switch and wired it into the Teensy. The switch is NC (Normally Closed) instead of NO (Normally Open) so I just reversed the logic in the code when looking for the switch to trigger. When the receiver is lifted the dial tone sound plays. (Also, if you leave it off the hook too long, it will play the annoying off-hook tone. (I aim for realism with this stuff!)

Keypad back

The keypad was also re-purposed (once I figured out the wiring) and wires were soldered onto the tiny thin wires, and the heat shrink tubing was added. The keypad runs to a small piece of perfboard which is used to connect to the Teensy, along with a few resistors in the mix.

Keypad Notes

Notes on how to wire up the keypad. I originally used a SparkFun Keypad for testing and development before I had a (broken) phone to tear apart.

Fritzing Diagram

Here’s a quick wiring diagram showing how it’s all put together. (I try to match wire colors in diagrams with the real-world wire colors, at least before any maintenance/repairs happen.)

Connection Board

The connector board allows for easily removing the Teensy if that’s ever required, or replacing the keypad if it goes bad. It also adds in the resistors necessary for the keypad to function properly.

Magnet Mount

For mounting the Teensy into the phone I opted to use an old hard drive magnet with a piece of wood attached. The Teensy is screwed to the wood (which is a good insulator) and the magnet is also screwed to the piece of wood, and then attaches strongly to the steel base of the phone. (There’s also gaff tape on the base of the phone, as extra protection between electricity and metal surface.)

RJ9 Wiring

I found this diagram for the speaker wiring from the handset, and wired the appropriate lines to a 1/8″ audio plug that goes into the adaptor board.

One other thing I did was add code that only accepts “properly dialed/formatted” phone numbers. So if you pick up the receiver and dial “4738911″, you didn’t dial “911″. You need to hang up and try again, with a proper “911″. There’s a buffer that looks for 3 digits (or 7 digits) and if you can’t get that right, it doesn’t work. As I said, I aim for realism with these things…

(Note: I may have left in a few numbers from testing. I’ll have to ask Jenny or Hannibal for the details.)

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