Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Suggestions for winter electronics projects wanted

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
Fall is upon us and in a few weeks I'll be spending more time in the basement than in the garden and the garage shop so I'm thinking about electronic projects to work on. I already have a big project' or at least the last part of it (the power supply upgrade) but I'm looking for small, inexpensive, fun projects to pass the time.

2 each of these arrived today that I am hoping to put together in time to give to the kids in my life at Xmas

And I have a couple of other little projects in mind so I probably have enough to keep me busy until after Xmas but I need to be thinking about what I'll do then now so I can get things ordered.
I'm open to suggestions for kits or scratch building projects that aren't terribly complicated.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
5,985
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
5,985
Just about everyone would have made one of those 555 keyboard organs at some time but with "pcb piano keys" and an old biro as a stylus.
Great stuff for kids though.
The vibrating robot is something else again, great imagination.
Good choices I think.

Same thing for us here...we are finally going back to see the kids in Thailand this year and although Xmas is not really their thing, a few presents never go amiss.

Made up a birthday clock for them with a 1602 LCD and Arduino, scratched the head and finally wrote some code that worked.

One can scan through the menu of names and dates at any time, and on the day. LED's flash, and the "birthday kid's name" flashes.
(Muted the piezo buzzer and omitted from final design as it would have driven grown ups over there crazy)

Now just have to pop in a case and finish off in the next few weeks before we leave.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
I never made one myself but I remember people making organs with 2 transistor oscillators and the resistor leads acted as the keys when you pressed them against a common buss.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
So does anyone have suggestions for kits or projects I might find entertaining?

BTW: The kits I mentioned are here and I've ordered some parts to go with the organs (they need to be in boxes for little kids).
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
The 2nd one looks like what I remember from the 1970s except as I said instead of momentary buttons they pressed the free leads of the resistors against the bus to complete the circuit for each note. I think it may have been in one of those books of hobby electronic circuits Radio Shack used to publish.

But I'm only going to build the organ kits I bought to entertain the kids. What I'm looking for now is projects to entertain me or little things that might be useful around the house or in the shop.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
Yeah, but I'm not really interested in making organs. I only mentioned the organs I'm going to build as an example of the kind of kits I'd like to build.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
5,985
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
5,985
Below is a link to youtube vid where I made a birthday clock for the kids.........
Might interest you.

Code is in the comments (needs amending to suit your needs)

 

John Canon

Jun 1, 2022
81
Joined
Jun 1, 2022
Messages
81
One of the small projects in Electronics Class was a "Bird Chirper" You might combine several calls onto one board.

One person in class accidentally called it a "Bird Chipper"!

You could connect the Bird Chirper to a door entry switch (like a retail store) or to a doorbell button.
 
Last edited:

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
I was looking at a "16-Tone Electronic Module DIY Kit" that makes sounds like Fire Engine, Crickets, Birds &c. I've read about people using similar things to add sound to scenes on model railroads.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
5,985
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
5,985
Best way to add sound effects to model railway gear is a miniature bluetooth speaker.
Mate of mine found one around 25mm square and the sound that comes from it needs to be heard to be believed.
Source the sounds from the internet and load into ones phone.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
That's the one except that price is way too high
Best way to add sound effects to model railway gear is a miniature bluetooth speaker.
Mate of mine found one around 25mm square and the sound that comes from it needs to be heard to be believed.
Source the sounds from the internet and load into ones phone.
Actually the best way is to use DCC sound decoders so you can control them from your DCC throttle (or a computer with CMRI) and to record the sounds in the actual location but either of those is a lot more expensive than hiding a few of the 16 tone kits in the scenery and using photocells or PIR modules to trigger them when someone is nearby.
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
Your way involves a Bluetooth speaker for every location you want sound from and a source device that will send the sound you want to the speaker you want it to play from (& only that speaker - I wouldn't want factory sounds from a farm or cows mooing in the middle of the woods). I am not aware of anything that would do that automatically so it would either require someone to tell it when to play the sounds or have all sounds playing all the time, which wouldn't be acceptable.

A few sound generators set up to automatically produce appropriate sounds for the location when an observer approaches might be a bit more work to set up but would be much cheaper, simpler in operation (no operator input required) and probably produce a more realistic experience.
 

John Canon

Jun 1, 2022
81
Joined
Jun 1, 2022
Messages
81
How about this? Train a Lyre Bird to mimic the various railway and commerce sounds. Then the model train can go to each location with a bit of corn in its hopper car. Your bird will fly over to that location, make the appropriate sound, and eat its reward ... ding,ding,ding ...
 

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
203
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
203
If you want the factory sounds to come from the industrial area, the cow sounds to come from the farm and the bird sounds to come from the woods you need 3 speakers.
 
Last edited:
Top