Light Up Snare

Would it be possible to assemble a circuit using a piezo sensor and a string of LEDs so that a snare lights up when hit? My knowledge of stuff like this is extremely limited (read: non-existent) so any help would be appreciated! Also, if my idea is useless, it'd be great if other ways of doing this were discussed. Thanks!

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emmaec9 years ago
This is quite odd as i've had this idea in my head for a while after someone give me a pair of light up drum sticks, but only thought about making it for a school project the other day, i'm glad i've found a forum that's recent :) All the ideas so far seem as if they'd work, but would the mic on the sound to light board be able to handle the volume of the drum?
clairey (author) 9 years ago
Thanks for all the input, guys!
ak49er clairey9 years ago
Mechanically, the simplest way would be to get what is called a "magnetic reed switch". It is a switch that is held open by a magnet, and closes (turns on) when the magnet is removed.
westfw9 years ago
I think you could do something interesting with a piezo disk. However, I suspect that you'd have a much easier time using a conventional microphone:
  • There are many published sound-sensitive circuits that you could use.
  • There are many cheap sound-sensitive device sold that might be "bendable" to this sort of purpose.
  • You didn't really want to glue a piezo disk to your drum, did you?
  • You might be able to replace the microphone in one of those conventional circuits with a piezo disk to get decreased and more "local" sensitivity.
westfw westfw9 years ago
Ah. For instance this $6 One channel color organ mini-kit looks like a good starting point (and they publish a schematics as well as selling the kit...)
PKM westfw9 years ago
Yeah, it sounds like using a microphone would be easier than physically coupling to the drum (and would interfere with the sound less). Putting the mike right next to the skin and turning the sensitivity down should help eliminate interference from other sound (eg... your other drums).
NachoMahma PKM9 years ago
. Other than a mic being easier to obtain (everyone seems to have a cheap mic laying around), I think a piezo element would be a better choice. . Drums don't have a variable sustain to speak of, so all that's really needed is an trigger/amplitude signal and, for a lighting circuit, it doesn't have to have that wide of a dynamic range. . It would not be necessary to mount a piezo sensor on (or near) the drum head. Anywhere on the shell should work. Gluing a small sensor to the shell (bolting would probably work better, but I'm not going to recommend drilling holes) shouldn't affect tone quality of the drum. . A piezo element should be more durable. . A piezo on the shell would all but eliminate external sound pickup (other than what the drum normally picks up and re-radiates already). . . If he were going to be doing any thing with the sound of the drum a mic would probably be a better choice, but all he really needs is a trigger signal - it needn't be hi-fi.
I had in mind those little electret microphone cartridges you can buy from surplus dealers for about $0.30; not a "real" microphone. I'd expect these to be at least as rugged as a piezo - all the guts are well-protected... Another possibility is a small speaker, used in "microphone" mode. The ideal circuit would be capable of being mounted on each drum in a set, and lighting up the LEDs only when THAT drum was struck. I suppose that the ideal thing would be a pressure or flow sensor mounted in one of those holes in the sides of most drums (hmm. Not snares?) My son's a drummer; I may have to play with this one...
. I like the idea of a pressure transducer. Any idea what the pressure inside the drum spikes to? You might be able to use an auto manifold vacuum sensor (piped up "backward"). Maybe you can find an unused/obsolete/slightly-out-of-spec pressure transmitter from an industrial controls business. . Don't know if it would handle the stress, but a washer style piezo under one of the tuning nuts should work very well and be inconspicuous. . Keep us posted.
clairey (author)  NachoMahma9 years ago
Well, I've got exams until next Friday, so it's pretty much in the planning stages at the moment. I've got a long summer ahead of me though, so lots of playing around with this, hopefully! I'm pretty willing to try both the mic & piezo methods - I'm definitely thinking of getting that Sound-to-light kit from Maplin, then modding if necessary.
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