Picture of Picaxe Programmable Giggle Box

This was my first Picaxe project. Actually, my first complete circuit to design and build. The hardest part of the project is the soldering, but if I can do it you can do it.

Basically, it is a little box with a push button and two light sensors (3 inputs). It has an LED and piezo (2 outputs). I have it programmed to respond to light levels with corresponding beeps and blinks. It can be reprogrammed to respond differently. I "play" it by shading the two photoresistors with my hand. It is quite addictive.

If you like circuits and programming, and if you are just getting started in either, this is a good project for you.

Video 1 (Sorry, these are hosted at DivShare. It's slowww.)
Video 2

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

Shopping List:
Picaxe 08M
8-pin dip socket thingy from Radio Shack or similar)
Project Box (I used a thrift store computer speaker $.75)
Light Dependent Resistors X 2  (light sensors or photo resistors as they are often called)
LED (two if you want, I'll explain later)
Peizo (I salvaged one out of an old computer, sometimes they are in greeting cards, toys or novelty ties)
Push button, the momentary kind (I salvaged one out of an old computer power button)
Toggle switch (to control the power!)
Various Resistors
Wire (I used 22-gauge. But you can use smaller wire as long as it is insulated and flexible. Solid core is easier for soldering. You don't need much. I actually salvaged a lot of it from, you guessed it, an old computer.)
5V regulator ( from Radio Shack or similar)
9V battery with battery cap or holder (I think you could also use 3 1.5V batteries) Scavenge old broken toys and electronics.
Stereo jack

Soldering Iron (solder, helping hands, magnifying glass, etc.)
Hot glue gun
Razor knife and other cutting tools
Drill with small bits (depending on your project box and design)
Small gauge Wire stripper/ cutter

For Programming:
Serial adapter cable OR USB serial adapter cable
Pixaxe programming software
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audioluvr2 years ago
Just thought I should say: this is awesome, you should be very proud of your creativity. Love the idea of a controlled arpeggio instead of just a tone.

You should consider making a more suited case for it, a little coloured project box which you could sharpie a face on to. LEDs as eyes would look cool if not a little creepy, but to be fair the whole thing is a little weird.
justbennett (author)  audioluvr2 years ago
True. Since I originally was focused on the audio aspect I didn't think about a good place to put the LED. And the red LED was an afterthought as well. Actually, I used it in place of a regular diode to give some protection to the chip since I have the piezeo on the dual-use tx pin. I'm sure that's not standard practice but it worked!

Since publishing this, I've had a lot of fun reprogramming it. Right now it is a "lighter simulator." The light inputs simulate wind. When you push the button the LED will try to "light" and make a lighter striker sound. If the LDR reading are turbulent then the LED will flicker out. If it is calm enough the LED will stay on and flicker even giving an audio crackle at random intervals. Then you can "blow" it out by changing the light conditions quickly.
A cheap pcb mounting, electret omni mic would be absolutely ideal for this job as well, with a capacitor and a resistor to smooth the output to make sure the LED didn't go out all the time. Of course you would want to do it based on amplitude rather than the difference, and blowing on the mic would damage it, but you can get them for 70p so it doesn't really matter.
steverever2 years ago
What IS IT???
justbennett (author)  steverever2 years ago
It's a box that beeps and flashes different notes and sound depending on the amount of light hitting each sensor. It can also be reprogrammed to help you experiment with the capabilities of the picaxe.