Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No. 30: Light Theremin

Finally something that works. After trying several projects that are not Arduino related I finally get one that works. And not only a breadboard version but a soldered PCB version. The original Light Theremin project by Steve Hobley can be found on makeprojects.com. Here are the results of my project.

Here are the stages I went through to get to the final (or near final) completed project. A: The breadboard version I succeeded in getting to work. B: This was my first attempt to solder the circuit on a PCB that I got from Radio Shack. Since the PCB wasn't laid out like the breadboard I goofed up somewhere in rerouting the wires. C: This is the final soldered version that works. The PCB is one I got from Mouser and the layout is very similar to a breadboard so I figured I couldn't wrong. I did make some modifications to the circuit from the original. See the explanation with the next image.
1: The original plans called for two .22uf capacitors from Radio Shack. I wanted to see how many components I could get away with ordering online without having to purchase from Radio Shack which can be a bit on the pricey side. So I got this .22uf capacitor from Mouser. 2: The original plan doesn't call for a pot but I put one in so I could get more variable pitches in the sound. This is a 10k ohm pot. 3: This is a .22uf capacitor from Radio Shack. I ended up buying a pair of these anyway. It turns out the different capacitors add a bit more variation to the sound than using the same two capacitors. Two of the yellow ones give a deeper pitch even with the pot turned all the way up than the two from Radio Shack. 4: I decided to play around with some plug and play by using some machined header pins. That way I can swap out different capacitor combinations and different LDRs if I want to.
Here is the whole set up with speaker and a 6 volt battery pack hooked up to the circuit. I am thinking about putting it into an enclosure as a next step. You'll notice that I am using alligator clips to attach the the speaker wires to the board. I haven't decided what to do with those connections.
 This was a lot of fun to put together and learn something in the process. I still find looking for components online a bit mystifying and confusing. This light theremin is fun to play with and extremely irritating to some of my family.

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