How to Hack Phil McMinion:

Who doesn't love Minions from the movie Despicable Me? ...well when McDonalds recently had Minions as the prize in their Happy Meals, I had to make several trips to collect a few. One of the coolest looking of these little guys is Phil, he wields a bright red slide whistle. Problem is, the people who designed this either screwed up or more likely didn't want a bunch of angry, annoyed parents contacting McDonald's....because as a whistle Phil really blows! (...sorry, pun intended). It basically sounds like just air!?!

Well luckily our Maker Space the "Rabbit Hole" was having a Jameco Build Night with nifty parts we got from Jameco Electronics and Instructables. There were some 555 Timers Integrated Circuits I didn't know too much about...well with a little research I found 555 timers can be used to make all kinds of things including cool sound effects circuits. And I found this 555 Slider Synth circuit by Dean Segovis. It was perfect to fix Phil! (It's a fun circuit to build and play with, so if you don't have a Happy Meal Toy you can still build this project)

Because I'm working in a limited space, and for the fun of it, I decided to add an extra potentiometer to this circuit ...easier to adjust the sound generated. I also decided to use an external power supply plug instead of a 9V or even watch batteries...again because of the limited space.

Parts Needed for Slider Synth Phil McMinion

  • 1 - Despicable Me 2 McDonald's Happy Meal Toy - Week 2 Phil
  • 1 - 200 Ohm Potentiometer (optional)
  • 2 - 100 Ohm Resistors
  • 1 - Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) (Photo Cell)
  • 1 - 2.2 uF Capacitor
  • 1 - 100 uF Capacitor
  • 1 - LED (different colors and brightness may perform differently, I had a small green one that fit in the tube great)
  • 1 - LM555 8 pin Chip
  • 1 - Small speaker
  • 1 - Momentary push button switch
  • 1 - 9 volt plug and adapter (or battery and adapter)
  • 1 - Breadboard - (optional) I recommend building this circuit on breadboard first
  • 1 - small chunk of perf board
  • 1 - screw to hold the skull back on
  • - Miscellaneous wire
  • 1 - Aerosol can top (optional) - as an alternative to stuffing everything into poor Phil, you could just put all the battery and circuit into a stand of some kind and run wires from it up into Phil. Might give you more room

Tools Needed

  • Magic three sided screwdriver to take apart the McDonald's Toy (Here is a good Instructable showing how you can make one of these)
  • Small screwdrivers or pry tools for opening Phil
  • Drill for cutting holes in Phil
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Tape
  • Heat wrap
  • Dremel style tool (to cut hole for button, open whistle tube and to cut out interior support
  • Glue - I used Maximum Strength Adhesive by Scotch 3M
  • Hot Glue - I used a hot glue gun to hold the button and power adapter in place
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Small pliers
  • Wire Strippers
  • Xacto Knife

Here's a look at the finished McMinion in action:

Gather materials and tools and let's go!

(This Instructable submitted by the Rabbit-Hole Maker Space as part of the Instructables Sponsorship Program.)

Step 1: Create the Slider Synth Circuit on Breadboard

Prototype Phil on a Breadboard

Maybe you don't have a Phil, maybe you are waiting for him to arrive from ebay...well I recommend a breadboard first for this project anyway. Why? Well it's got some complexity, can be tweaked a bit and when it finally goes on perf board you want it small enough to fit inside the Minion...and besides....it's fun! Breadboard circuits are nice because there's no soldering, so they are quick, easy to debug and change around, etc. For this circuit you may want to play with different types of LED lights, different colors and different brightness cause different sounds.

Here's what my "breadboard synth" looked and sounded like:

You can build the circuit I'm providing here if you want the extra Potentiometer or use the original slider synth circuit ...or create a variation of your own.
Don't worry about using the tube for the breadboard version...you can make lots of fun noises even without the tubing.

super cool
We collected all 8 at work and this one by far was the worst. Nice hack!
Worst from the pov of a whistle, but he still looks cool I think...the shaky noise ones are kinda poor too...still thinkin on how to improve them
We collected all 8 at work and this one by far was the worst. Nice hack!
This sounds cool. My 8 year old was disgusted when his slide whistle didn't work at all on this toy. It was the only D.M. Toy we got at McD's after seeing the movie.
ikr!? I wish I had taken video of it BH (before the hack) :-) ...it just did not work as a whistle ...but is still cool looking!
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, Banana!!!!
Ha! good one...well it really doesn't sound like anything...and in fact I think between the slide whistle, the POT and the momentary switch, my hacked minion is more capable of making Fart sounds :-)
I think it was supposed to sound like "air", as in it's a Fart gun, remember!
I think Apple Freak was trying to point out that in your supplies list you said "Incredible Me Happy Meal toy" and not "Despicable Me Happy Meal toy" Of course that could've been intentional, in which case I apologize.
Thanks, fixed it
Oops, fixed it now, thanks!
Any instructable that has the step "Crack open your Minion" has gotta be cool! This one certainly is! Thanks for posting.
I agree...and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/willschm/" rel="nofollow">willschm</a> has another Instructable in the works with the same phrase :-) Thanks!
Incredible Me!

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