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2 totally awesome 80s-lookin' coloured light boxes that flash in response to sound... need to rebuild and need help!

two sound reactive light boxes (about the size of boot boxes) that are made of faux wood, have a multi coloured panel and textured plexi lining the front, 2 light bulbs in back that flash thru the coloured and plexi panels in response to sound or vibrations. they look fairly early 80s. they started to get more and more unreactive and now you have to thump on them to get any response at all. sigh! anyway, i dont know exactly what theyre called, searches for "sound-reactive light boxes" turn up nothing helpful. anyone know anything about these amazing partytastic gems? id be so sad if i had to scrap them.

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rpowling (author) 6 years ago
OK! so i have finally been given the boards and bells n' whistles to rebuild my colour organs. (i know, it has taken FOREVER!!!) but i have NO IDEA how to build them. ive never undertaken an electrical project like this before... theres soldering involved... blerg! anyway. any ideas about how to learn to do this...? OR (better yet) what kind of place i could take them to be built for me? or what kind of services might be willing to try? im totally stabbing in the dark, here. but they are so awesome im just not willing to let them die!!! help!
appolo7 years ago
Hi, Firstly please be careful if you probe about inside! This is probably straight forward, using an internal miniature microphone. Check for a build up of dust and dirt on its surface area. Trace where the mic is connected into the circuits, could be an IC possibly LMXXXX or 741 etc. you can down load data sheets free to help you check voltages on the pins. Some of these circuits used auto sound level control circuits known as AVC, but look for any adjustment preset controls used for level settings. Mark the current position and using a small bladed screw driver make small turns in either direction and see if this provokes a response, dust can cause intermittent problems with controls. After amplification the signal passes through a driver stage, either a coupling transformer or opto coupler to modulate the lamp via a thyristor or triac control device. This sounds technical but the system is reasonably simple to fault find, and you can possibly find a TV repair guy willing to help out! Lets know how you get on, hope this information helps you sought it out. Regards
rpowling (author)  appolo7 years ago
phew! thanks, ill be trying all this out soon and ill write in and let everyone know how it goes...maybe ill finally get around to posting an instructable! thanks again, good advice all-round!
orksecurity7 years ago
Search on "color organ". Hard to say without opening 'em up and probing the circuits, but from the description I'd suspect a failing electrolytic capacitor. You could go through 'em replacing those with parts having the same ratings and see if that cures the problem...
rpowling (author)  orksecurity7 years ago
YES! i just looked up 'color organ' and 'light organ' online and they had pictures! so... i am looking to repair my color/light organ. i will open it up and take some pictures. maybe someone will know something about where to acquire parts at least... they are great (esp during thunderstorms!) and i want to get the up and running and perhaps build more! thanks for your help, orksecurity. any other suggestions from anyone would be welcomed :)