I am the type of person who loves being able to have an idea and being able to turn that idea into a physical working product, this probably explains my passion for CAD (Computer Aided Design) software and 3D Printing which when both are used in conjunction with each other can turn a virtual design into reality. I currently 3D print a few designs using Shapways.com (and try and sell some of my designs in the process) however this Instructable is not about 3D printing (most of my other Instructables are) as with this project I had access to techniques far superior in quality (be it with a lot more effort) than 3D printing and more functionality than can be made possible with 3D printing (until 3D printed circuits can be made); with this project I joined both my passion for design and electronics to create a fully working prototype product, the functionality is quite difficult to explain in words so please watch the video below and it will make the functionality very clear and then read my explanation beneath the video.
This is a project I recently endeavoured on as part of an 'Electronic Products' qualification, it seemed a bit ambitious at first but thankfully it all worked perfectly in the end.
I could design any electronic based product I could imagine (within reason and time constraints) and this is what I made, every aspect of this project is my own original design and original conception of function, which i believe to be the first of its kind ever created, which was improved throughout the duration of the making of this project. The entire project was made by myself.
Below is a demonstration of the device in action (a video speaks louder than words):
Unfortunately the project has to stay at school at the moment so this video had to be taken on my phone however I will record a better quality video when I am allowed to take this project home. The room was very loud at the time of this video so please ignore the bad sound quality as my phone's microphone is not the best so I have dubbed the original music track on top of the video. Unfortunately my phone's camera's frame rate is also not high enough (and exposure is to long) to appreciate the full effect of this device due to the low lighting. View the video from half way if you want to see it working finely tuned.
So what is it? Simply put, this device has three functions:
1. Firstly this device is a audio amplifier which can plug into your iPod/iPhone/Phone or anything that has a headphone socket (3.5mm jack) and it will amplify the audio with the control of a volume knob on the side of the device, this audio is then outputted through two 10 Watt speakers.
2. With the help of a Picaxe 18M2 microcontroller, this device, while amplifying your music, also flashes rings of LEDs to the 'beat' of the music playing, similar to a 'VU Meter', the sensitivity and brightness of the LED's response to the music can be controlled using two control knobs (potentiometers). This light from the LEDs is projected through a layer of dense fog which is being produced by an Ultrasonic Atomiser fed by ordinary water in the separate box at the back of the unit which 'pours' the fog into the bowl.
3. Using the LCD display and the two push buttons, the user can also navigate a menu system to select 1 of 4 preset LED patterns and adjust their speed using one of the potentiometers, this can be an alternative to having the LEDs being controlled by the music. This makes this device functional even if there is no music playing.
Equipment I Used:
Easy PC (Software)
Pillar drill with 1mm bit?
Soldering Iron + Sponge
Wire cutters (for the components after soldering)
Drill + Countersink drill bit
PIXCAXE Programming Editor (PC Software)
PICAXE Download Cable
Autodesk Inventor (Software)
Corel Draw (Software)
Materials I Used:
Blank Photosensitive PCB Board
Picaxe 18m2 IC
Picaxe Download Socket
Capacitors of various capacitances
Variety of Resistors
16* 5mm ultra bright blue LEDs
Low Power Diode
Audio Amplifier IC
3.5mm Audio Jack
3* Potentiometers (100K ohms)
2* Push Buttons
Battery Box for 3 AA Bateries
3* AA Batteries
24v Power Supply
2* 75mm diameter 10 Watt speakers
The total cost of this project was £43.77