Instructables

How would I make a computer generate sound effects on startup?

Here's the deal...

I build computers as part of a hobby, and I often advice my friends and family. My sister would like me to build her an ultimate PC which she would like to title "Zeus."

Now despite the fact that Zeus is the father of all gods, we have a budget, and I am thinking of a build that has only moderate-high speed that way there is some money left over for the aesthetics. I already plan on having a black case, possibly painted by an artist if I can find one. with a clear side panel and UV or white LED lights. 

What I would like to do in an ideal world is have the LEDs flash on startup (like lightning) and then remain lit and have a sound effect played (like the sound of thunder)

I am complete stumped on the lights for the moment but for the sound effect I was trying to figure out if there would be a way to remove one of the sound generators from one of those "halmark cards" and just plug it into a fan connector on the mobo for power or something. (Some minor guess work soldier work there). But the problem with that would be how do reprogram the flash memory that plays the specific sound file to a different sound file. 

I could be going the wrong way about all of this, but I just thought of this idea the other day. I welcome any constructive ideas... 


DO you want the sound to play when Windows loads or would you rather have it hit as soon as the power button is pressed?

If you want it to hit as the PC powers on than you will need some sound recording/playback device. One from a Halmark card that you can record your own sounds would be cheap but wouldn't give you the quality or volume you'll want. Assuming your in the US you can get a 9V recording module from Radio Shack and tie that in with the power button on the case. The LED flashing can be handled by a 555 timer. Or you can take it a step further and use a micro controller to control the flashing and the audio playback. Then if you come up with some other ideas for the case they can be integrated in as well. Who knows maybe you'll want to ad a small pager vibrator motor to rattle against the side wall of the case for added effect.
Joshua Breeding (author)  mpilchfamily1 year ago
Now THIS is what I am talking about. I know changing the windows start up sound would be easy, but I want something a little more 'custom' ya know?

I have not heard of a 9V recording module befrore, but I will look it up asap.
About this 555 timer, can it be tied in to any LEDs I install, or just its own? and could it be programmed to only flash for a comple of seconds, then remain on?

Basically imagine a computer case, side clear panel that has been decorated to look like it came from Greek Mythology. and I want it to flash bright and make sounds like "Lightning" upon system powering on. The name of this computer is suppose to be "Zeus", I figure why not play into it a little?
It may just be simpler to go ahead and use a micro controller. When the case button is pressed and powers on the system it will also power on the micro controller. The controller can then flash the LEDs the number of times you want then leave them on and also activate the recording module for you.

If your unfamiliar with micro controller then you may want to look into using an Arduino. The setup you want will be very simple so it won't be hard to program. The arduino runs off 5V so you can tie it into any USB port that doesn't remain on even when the system is powered off. Then as soon as the Arduino gets power it will start it's LED flashing program and activate the sounds.
Joshua Breeding (author)  mpilchfamily1 year ago
You sir have solved this for me, and made my client (sister) very happy! I can't wait to build this system, these lights and sounds are all special effect I hope to add in.

I am afraid my knowledge is limited to assembling computer, I understand what a micro-controller is, but am unfamiliar in their use, and on that even unfamiliar with an Arduino, but at least now I have a direction, and the name of a part that I can research! Thank-you again!
Vyger1 year ago
You can change the startup sound windows makes to anything you want. Its in the control panel, under sounds I believe. You can change any of the sounds that windows uses. I used to have different sounds for things like the windows error sound. (From Babylon 5 : You just committed a fatal error, there is nothing we can do for you ) It used to freak people out. As far as the lights, there are all kinds of customizing stuff out there now. I have found that while its fun for a while it gets old fast and pretty soon you are unplugging stuff.
I don't like black cases, they used to have a lot better ones after they broke away from the PBB (plain beige box). Some are still out there like this one -----
I still have a brand new dream star case.  The acrilic bubble tubes one the front light up with Blue LEDs and the front pannel has a color changing LED . They were good looking cases.  But people have gone to this stupid black box that sits under the desk and has nothing for lights.

I was going to do a customized case by building a PC into a beer keg and use water cooling with the lines running through the beer.  Maybe I should still do that as an instructable.  But then, everybody has lost interest in it.  One guy used an aquarium with half for the computer and half for the fish and ran the cooling lines through the fish water to keep them warm. There were a lot of cool ideas around then.
Joshua Breeding (author)  Vyger1 year ago
Thank you for your comment Vyger;

With Windows 8 and a sata3 ssd I guess I could do a sound effect on OD startup, I was thinking more along the lines of on system startup, I wanted to make something a bit more unique, you know? Of course your right it would get a tad annoying after a while, I would of course build a switch into it.

I have been searching for different light mods for PCs, and still haven't found anything that will give the effect I'm looking for, I even looked up a couple of strobe things here. If you know a good website/store to check out, could you please provide a link?

Oh and I agree, having just a black computer is kinda dull, I like to add lights, fans w/ lights, and I often adhear to the mobo side panel some of the bragging right stickers that come with the products.

If at all possible I would like to hire an artist to paint this build (like a mural) I'm working on... still researching weather that's a good idea or not.

Oh and btw I think custom towers are still in! If you built a pc that was inside a beer keg I believe you'd have a serious shot at winning the cover of CPU magizine. They still give away $1500 every month for whoever builds an awesome mod.
Vyger Vyger1 year ago
I found a better picture of the dream star case. And I also found a few of the better case mods that people were doing.

Another one I thought of doing was to take one of the tougher cases and paint it camouflage then take it outside and shoot it with a shot gun to punch a few real holes in it.  Then take a torch to some of the plastic and melt it a little. I was going to call it the Veteran, a case that has really been there. Lot of fun ideas, but it has gone out of fashion.