To skip to the videos of the warp pipe in action, click here!
Are you bored with your toilet making the same boring sound every time you flush? Well then I've got just the thing for you! Introducing Toilet Tones! For the low, low price of just $9.95 per flushtone, you can have all your favorite toilet-time-tunes at the jiggle of a handle!
...Um, no that's not right. Sorry, I must have dreamed that last bit. This instructable is about adding the Super Mario Bros. warp pipe sound effect to your toilet flushing experience. To do this we'll be using an inexpensive "sound drop key chain" which has the warp pipe sound effect. A sound drop key chain is a bauble that plays a single sound effect when you press a button. The green key chain in the second picture above plays the warp pipe sound effect.
Materials and Tools
Warp Pipe Sound Drop Key Chain
2N3906 PNP Transistor
2N3904 NPN Transistor
1 kohm Resistor
10 kohm Resistor
0.1 uF Capacitor
~1 sq. in (~6.45 cm^2) of Protoboard
~1 yard (~1 meter) of Wire
Two Cardboard Tubes (one with a slightly larger diameter than the other)
Printout of a SMB Warp Pipe (scaled to the cardboard tubes' dimensions)
Soft Plastic Lid (like those found on a can of mixed nuts)
Small Phillips Screwdriver
Hot Glue Gun
Step 1: Look Inside
So how can the key chain be made to play the sound effect when the toilet is flushed? My first idea was to affix the key chain to the underside of the reservoir cover and have the trip lever press the play button when the flush handle is pushed down. However, after a bit of experimentation I decided the trip lever was too weak for this and that the sound effect would be difficult to hear over the noise of the flushing if it was inside the reservoir. I was also worried the key chain would come unstuck and clog the toilet; this is after all the place where “[expletive deleted] happens.” Therefore I decided to use a simple circuit that would bring pin S4 high when I touched the metal toilet handle.
Step 2: Touch Circuit
Step 3: Enclosure
Step 4: Assembly and Installation
Step 5: Demonstration
It also works when using your foot to touch the handle. Even germaphobes can enjoy the fun!
Finally, please be aware that this sort of touch sensor can be unreliable because of the vagaries of static electricity. Sometimes it will trigger before you touch it, other times it will trigger as you move away from it. Sometimes it won’t trigger and other times it will trigger multiple times. Actually flushing the toilet sometimes activates the circuit more than once. I’m assuming this is somehow caused by the water flowing through the grounding pipe. If you can’t make a connection to a metal water pipe, that’s not a big problem because the “grounding wire” for this circuit doesn’t actually have to be at earth potential. As long as your electrostatic field is strong enough to induce charge to move then the circuit will work, just not as well; also there will be a period where re-touching the handle won’t reactivate the circuit because the induced charge hasn’t dissipated yet. If the sensor doesn’t trigger try rubbing your pants on your leg a little bit to generate some static or touching the grounding wire to balance the charge. Sealing up both ends of the pipe with the plastic disks cut down on the loudness of the sound effect and also makes it difficult to replace the batteries; on the other hand, not sealing the pipe could leave the circuit vulnerable to the high humidity of a bathroom. If I had this project to do over, I'd like to see what kind of results I got by triggering the sound effect with a strong magnet attached to the flush handle and a reed switch inside the reservoir, opposite the magnet.
Constructive comments on how to improve the circuit and my fuzzy understanding (mis-understanding?) of static electricity circuits are greatly appreciated; book titles and article links would be most helpful.