Picture of Augment a Moog Etherwave Theremin
I'm going to go through my process of hacking a Moog Etherwave Theremin. I created a new acrylic top, partially sanded to be translucent in certain areas, and created my own circuit around an ATMega168 Arduino Bootloaded microcontroller which is stealing a control voltage from the theremin's board and is driving 2 RGB LEDs which react to your playing.

In this project I embed what I call a hackduino which is an Arduino-compatible circuit, in this case built out by hand on perfboard.  I have made an instructable specifically about building one of these yourself, which you can read here.

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Step 1: Build out the microcontroller circuit

Picture of Build out the microcontroller circuit
This circuit consists of 3 parts.

1.  the 7805 voltage regulator.  This so we can take 12v DC output from the theremin, and lower it 5v which the ATMega chip needs. The code attached will work for both ATMega168 and ATMega328 chips. 

2. the ATMega168/328 circuit.  This consists of the chip itself, a 16MHz crystal oscillator, and several capacitors. I have not made an instructable for creating this circuit on a perfboard, however several tutorials exist for example here.  Alternatively, you could use any Arduino compatible device - there is a list here.

I will be attaching the Arduino code to upload to your chip

I have built mine out on perfboard from radioshack.  Reasons why I do not just use an Arduino board:  This is cheap, and completely permanent.  This entire circuit cost about $7 and is much smaller than an entire Arduino.  I can permanently add components as I need to.  I feel a sense of hacker legitimacy when I don't spend $35 on the bulky blue board.

3. LEDs.... [next step]

tmorelli2 years ago
where is the tutorial for programming the atmega?
and is obligatory?

Will you be uploading code for the atmega chip? Or did I miss it somewhere?
Fantastic project, I have a Theramax I will try this with.
Love this project! We blogged about it at  Would love to see some video too.  Any thoughts of making this into a product?
gmoon5 years ago
Pretty cool.

This is the type o' project that cries for embedded video, though...
bekathwia gmoon5 years ago
I agree! You're gonna do that though, right Joe?