Picture of Annoying Autonomous Rickrolling Device (For April Fools' Day)
Usb Port.JPG

Have you ever wanted to Rickroll somebody very important for hours while sitting in a comfortable non-culpable vantage point where you can watch all the fun? Do you also want extra points for only using some salvaged old parts (an old Arduino, $6 Chipcorder and a speaker) augmented with less than $10 of stuff from RadioShack? Do you want it to be able to (theoretically) endure some aggravated Rick Astley fueled rage and abuse before finally failing for maximum hilarity? High five! You think just like me!

I was originally going to pull this prank on my high school biology teacher for April Fools' Day, but had to change my plans at the last minute. My Biology teacher had already anticipated the prank (with what I can only fathom must have been his mind reading ninjutsu), and instead suggested that I pull this prank on the Dean of the upper-middle school. Since I was personal friends with the Dean, I knew that he would in no way be offended by the prank, but actually thought that he might actually enjoy the novelty of the prank.

Therefore, on the morning of April Fool's day, I took out my computer and set the current time and date on the Rickroll device (Codenamed "The Cinnamon Shaker") using an Arduino serial prompt. I made sure to set a trigger time sufficiently ahead of lunchtime to ensure that the Dean would still be in his office for the start of the prank; I didn't want him to miss it! Using a pinch of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder, I hid the box in its new home in a obscure corner of the room.

I am glad to say that the device worked flawlessly. Even though the Dean was unable to shut off the device and had to shut it in a desk drawer with the speaker propped against the inside of the drawer to muffle the noise, he was really amused with the prank! He did admit that enduring an hour worth of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" was not exactly enjoyable, but was alright since the device automatically shutoff due to an one hour anti-excessive-cruelty timer. More than one hour, and some particular metal box might have found itself defenestrated onto the street below.

Warning: This device is incredibly devious and annoying. It should not be used on somebody who cannot take a joke or who doesn't know what Rickrolling is. It might get you fired or yelled at. I am not responsible or liable in any way for how you use the information and Arduino sketches in this Instructable.

For all of you who do not know what Rickrolling is, this Wikipedia page sums it up quite nicely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickrolling

Drop me a line in the comments if you need any help with anything!

Update: Video coming soon! (I just need time to edit it and fix the sound quality.)

Update: The video is now up!!! Enjoy!!!!
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Why do you link us to a private video we can't see ???

Where's the fun ?

video doesnt work please fix it.

That's not good. You made the video private.
Robot Lover4 years ago
if you replaced the mic on the recorder with a stereo jack you could plug it into the headphone port on your computer, then the sound would be cleaner.
Hey, interested in trying this project. Is it possible to completely eliminate the need for the chipcorder and load the music file directly onto an sd card for the arduino to read? (this is my first big boy project with arduino, so forgive my lack of knowledge)
winterfresh (author)  johnsewe4 years ago
Hello again!

It is not currently possible to play music off of an SD card with only a stock Arduino but it is possible if you use something like LadyAda's Wave Shield for the Arduino. Take a look here for the shield: http://www.adafruit.com/products/94

You could also look at my other instructable where I make a talking robot head to see how I used a Wave Shield to play audio files using an Arduino. It would require some changes to the Rickroll code but is definitely possible. Here take a look:


It is possible to play sounds with a lonely Arduino, but not that anyone has done that with an SD card. This one loads it from the internal flash:
Hey, wait! It has been officially done with a Due. The library is provided with the latest IDE.
I saw a project one time that communicated directly to an SD card using a PIC microcontroller to play music. Perhaps a little try googling PIC SD card reader or something of the like.
What? It doesn't mean there are ten thousand resistors in the package. It just means the resistors are rated for ten thousand ohms.
You could play a more easily looped song, such as the "TROLLOLOL"
Chowmix124 years ago
wheres the code?
winterfresh (author)  Chowmix124 years ago
There is now a link to my Github Repository that is hosting the code in step 6. Apparently Instructables.com does not like people uploading code in zip files and the code never got uploaded.

Thanks for pointing this out!

The link still doesn't work. Here's the correct link: https://github.com/xtremd/Rickrolling-Arduino-sketch/blob/master/RickRollAlarmR2.pde
winterfresh (author)  Chowmix124 years ago
Huh, I've never noticed that the "Git Read-Only" link that Github gives you does not direct you to the Github repo's splashpage. (*Facepalm* Well obviously! The link ends in .git! it's only meant for public pulls/merges!) I've now added the real HTML link to the repo's splashpage (only one level down from your link) in step 6.

Thanks a million sir! You deserve a medal for your efforts.

winterfresh (author)  winterfresh4 years ago
Oh, BTW Good luck in the Robot Contest and Makerbot Contest!
Thank you so much. Have you looked at my first instructable?
winterfresh (author)  Chowmix124 years ago
Yes, and congrats on your age 13-18 win! It's nice to see someone else here who is in the same age group as me doing the same awesome robotic stuff! Keep it up! Also, are you planning on entering in the Adafruit contest?

I am not.. I want to focus on my projects right now and I have a huge list to attend to after school gets out.
winterfresh (author)  winterfresh4 years ago
Sorry, I meant a level up from your link.
rdswords4 years ago
This is a great idea, but it seems like this could be implemented in a far more simple and low tech version by eliminating the arduino and triggering the play button in a simpler way.
winterfresh (author)  rdswords4 years ago
Well I could have used a few kitchen timers but I was afraid that someone would think it was a bomb so......
Haha yeah. I showed it to a coworker (we're electrical engineers), and we agreed that the microcontroller was a pretty good choice afterall, because you could get random number generations, but that there were some much smaller and much cheaper microcontrollers that would reduce the size and complexity of the circuit.

This is a good example:

winterfresh (author)  rdswords4 years ago
True, I could have just used a bare Atmel or Picaxe chip but I did not have the time necessary to wire up the voltage regulators, crystals and all. I had alot of trouble finishing this project on time for April Fools just how it was. Check out the video for evidence, the time and date on the computer says 12:50AM April first!
94CJS4 years ago
That's horrible and twisted....and probably the reason i love it...XD
jwoo20234 years ago
someone could melt the glue.
I wonder if there is a way to remotely activate, rather than by time? I'd love to do this to a coworker but I can't predict when he'll be at his desk.

Any ideas? Maybe the Arduino is only used for its clock?

Thanks! Very cool!
winterfresh (author)  Madmardiguino4 years ago
I know that someone did something similar to what you want to do and posted an instructable on it but I'm having trouble finding it now. I think it was called RC Arduino or something.....
(correction) In my previous comment i said "attack" a regulator to a clip. I meant attach.
winterfresh (author)  Matrix-technician4 years ago
Yes! You could! The only reason I did not mention it in the Instructable was that not only would you have to know how to wire up the 5V regulator (which I did not know there was an Instructable for), but you would also have to know how to bump it down to 3.3V for the Chipcorder along with finding a way to pack all of it into an already tight fitting box. I also did not want to have to deal with regulator efficiencies and battery drain because I knew that the regulator in the Arduino was very efficient (or at least that's what they boast in their product page). Lastly, the Arduino I was using was already old, outdated and water damaged, I did not really care whether it would make it back in one piece.

You do have a very good point though, if you went entirely barebones and ordered all your parts from the Internet, this project would be almost disposable in terms of cost!
OK! Btw, did you know you can get 3.5 volt regulators? I'm sure you could simply attach somthing like a 100ohm resistor to bring it down a tiny bit to 3.2 or maybe 3.1 volts. That should be able to run the chiprecorder.
winterfresh (author)  Matrix-technician4 years ago
Actually, I took a look at the ChipCoder specs and it seems that it can be run between a maximum of 2.4v to 5.5 so either a 3.5v or 3.3v regulator should be fine. It could probably even be run directly from 5v in a pinch (probably at the expense of runtime though) although I would personally run it from ~3.3v. Here, I found a regulator on digikey for $0.44 that might do the trick. Take a look! http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/619040-ic-ldo-reg-250ma-3-3v-92-3-mcp1700-3302e.html
Looks promising! This is why i love this site. Soo much usefull information can be exchanged, shared, and found all in one place. No more clicking useless link after useless link!
winterfresh (author)  Matrix-technician4 years ago
High five for progress!
BTW if you're interested, the simplified Chipcorder datasheet can be found here:
whereas the in-depth and useful datasheet can be found here:
They mashed some specs from multiple Chipcorder chips into the same sheet so just remember that the chip we are interested in is the ISD1620B.
winterfresh (author) 4 years ago
Hey folks, so Instructables is not letting me edit my Instructable but I finished the video. Here it is! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKOMrLaJHWw
winterfresh (author)  winterfresh4 years ago
Edit: It's now up on the Instructable intro!
nice only change would be tamper resistant screws. keep up the good work.
winterfresh (author)  bikerbob20054 years ago
Maybe proprietary Apple Iphone4 pentalobe screws?
Mosher63364 years ago
This concept would make a hilarious gag gift, disguised as a similar sized device (think external hard drive, or the like) with a power button that only starts, not stops, the rick-roll.

May meet some people's standards for a true rick-roll
codongolev4 years ago
hide it in someone's car. hook it to their stereo.
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