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What do you make for a man that has most everything; a tiny waving flag, sprouts to keep him healthy and an automatic pill dispenser just in case the sprouts fail? It wasn't immediately clear. So, I looked at his profile to see what he likes. From what I could tell he liked useless machines, gear clocks and stuff. I thought for a long time about what he might want made for him based on what I already knew.

I was ruminating over one project in particular that he had built called the IRritator when it suddenly struck me, I bet he might have something that requires a remote control, like a TV (at least, I am hoping that he has a TV). Anyhow, assuming that he has a TV, I bet he has pressed the channel-up button thousands, if not tens-of-thousands, of times. That's a lot of effort being exerted to change the channel. But what if that effort was not necessary? What if there was a way to change the channel without ever exerting the effort it took to press the button? What if there was a machine that pressed the button for you once per minute? Well then, perhaps, just maybe, that would be The Most Useful Machine... EVER!

And thus, I have made janw The Most Useful Machine... EVER! for the Instructables Gift Exchange. If it turns out that he doesn't have a TV and this machine isn't as useful as I hoped it would be, then perhaps he can combine it with his IRritator and make the most annoying clock ever made. Towards this end, I have also mailed him the minute hand, so that should he need to, he can use it to trigger the IRritator for one minute every hour.





Step 1: Go get stuff

You will need:

(x1) over-sized universal remote control
(x1) servo motor with the controller board removed **
(x1) curved doorstop
(x1) 14" x 14" x 1/4" acrylic sheet
(x1) clock movement (with second hand)
(x1) small magnet
(x1) reed switch
(x1) extension spring
(x1) double-threaded standoff and corresponding screws
(x1) 2 x AA battery holder
(x3) AA batteries
(x8) 1/2" bolts with nuts
(x1) a few short zip ties
(x2) self-adhesive Velcro strips (the length of the remote)

** Learn how to remove a servo controller on this page.

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<p>Hey, ive been looking to build one of these for a while, this one looks like a great idea. Is there a way to make it press quicker, like once every 3 seconds or so. if it can, how would i do this? Thanks</p>
Very nice! besides the awesome gadget the instructable it self is very nicely set up, very professional and the photos are awesome! nice work!
Howdy - Thanks for sharing this instructable! I was wondering... would it be possible for the machine to detect when the TV plays the ads louder than the regular show and then turn down the ads to normal volume then turn the volume back up when the ads are over and the show comes back on? Just an idea. Thanks again for sharing.
TV stations **swear** that they the adverts don't have louder volume.. and most of the time they are right. The reason it sometimes sounds louder, is that it's more noise. Music, fast talking, flashing lights. <br> <br>Otherwise, I think this one is fantastic! Something that I build for my father or husband - if I could actually do this sort of thing. :D
Yes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This instructable just uses a bunch of mechanical components to make it completely ineffecient. However, the novelty factor of that makes it pretty funny and interesting. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For what you are doing, you want to use a microcontroller and &quot;read in&quot; the volume up and down button codes. Your arduino (or similar) has IR transmitters and a microphone. You would need to sample the volume and then turn it down or up. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hate how the instructables comments can't have paragraphs unless I fill the line with dashes.
<br> <br> <br> That device was invented back in the 1920's. It's called a compressor/limiter. The simplest (and cheapest) compressor would be a cadmium sulfide photoresistor (Radio Shack has 'em) and either a small incandescent light (those little tiny &quot;grain of wheat&quot; types emit plenty of light) or a flat front LED, sealed in a light-proof container, such as a piece of heat shrink tubing with both ends plugged and sealed. The LED could be run from the TV's speaker (you'll probably need an L pad or pot that'll sink the amp's output power), and the photoresistor would probably work best connected from ground to the VC's wiper.<br> <br> As the volume increases, the amp power rises, the light gets brighter, and the photoresistor's resistance lowers, shunting the audio coming into the pot to ground.<br> <br> BTW even though this is cheap and easy, it's one of the better sounding compressors, especially if you go with the incandescent lamp. The lamp smooths the sound, which results in much smoother operation.<br> <br> <br> -Mike<br> <br>
But in fact, there /still/ aren't paragraphs, since the comment as it is shows is a different width than the comment input box.
Yeah. Sigh.<br> <br> Unless this rich editor actually supports hard returns, like it seems to in the preview.<br> <br>
Ah-ha!<br> <br> Well, now you know.&nbsp; Rich editor FTW!<br>
<br> <br> <br> That device was invented back in the 1920's. It's called a compressor/limiter. The simplest (and cheapest) compressor would be a cadmium sulfide photoresistor (Radio Shack has 'em) and either a small incandescent light (those little tiny &quot;grain of wheat&quot; types emit plenty of light) or a flat front LED, sealed in a light-proof container, such as a piece of heat shrink tubing with both ends plugged and sealed. The LED could be run from the TV's speaker (you'll probably need an L pad or pot that'll sink the amp's output power), and the photoresistor would probably work best connected from ground to the VC's wiper.<br> <br> As the volume increases, the amp power rises, the light gets brighter, and the photoresistor's resistance lowers, shunting the audio coming into the pot to ground.<br> <br> BTW even though this is cheap and easy, it's one of the better sounding compressors, especially if you go with the incandescent lamp. The lamp smooths the sound, which results in much smoother operation.<br> <br> <br> -Mike<br> <br>
Yes it is possible, but not by this machine.
cool
Hi, thanks so much for the great Instructable... I do, however, have one problem. When I try to upload the .eps file to Ponoko it says that there is no lines in the template. I assume that this is a problem on your end so can you double check the file and send me the updated one? O yeah and where did you get the clock movement? also, how long is the extension spring. Thanks so much...<br><br> -Jake
There should be lines. Nonetheless, maybe they have turned invisible, ask them to try to select all and changing the color to black.<br /> <br /> I don&#39;t recall the legnth of the spring. Perhaps in the ballpark of 2&quot;.<br /> <br /> The clock movement I got at a local craft store, but I have gotten stuff from clockparts.com in the past without much cause for complaint.
Thanks for your Reply!
stop making me become lazy lol
I'm not making you, just providing the opportunity.
really good job
haha... awesome.you could totally annoy someone by making it press the volume up button once per minute. hide it, and watch them freak out. or even better, make it press the power button every minute...
i had a tv once that randomly decided that it was gonna shoot the volume up to full XD dunno wat caused it. no mobiles around it at the time since they wernt as widespread as they are now, and no remote hidden anywhere.
Cellphones doesn't usually interfere with TVs. TVs use IR signals. It could be caused by sunlight, candles, or anything else that emits IR radiation. A random IR pattern could be recognized by the TV as a signal to turn up the volume.
yea i know cells dont interfere with tvs, only the sound wenit goes bipbipbadip, and i know they ure ir im not a derp ;). was jsut saying there was nothning around, not even sunlight or any light that can intefere on a ir spectrum.. it was just a skitzoid tv specially since it also decided to detune to static randomly too and make me get up to press the channel again XD
It was a ghost! lol
ITS A TRAP!
The ghost wanted him to work out by making him get up
XD
(i'm writing this because i like the tutorial) the tut is great, but i had no idea about how would the motor start working ??? you should've explained more about how the &quot;MAGNETIC REED SWITCH&quot; will work, i had to read about the stuff you need to realize what is going on. maybe you should add more description in &quot;step 9&quot;, and draw an arrow over the &quot; magnet&quot;, then the last video will explain everything. finally ....to be honest, i will for sure use this same &quot;&quot;circuit&quot;&quot; in other projects :) LOVE IT 8)
Needs more cowbell
Definitely more cowbell. :-)
Cowbell, huh? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJglaqH5Tno
Good idea , but , it dont go to increase the obease people in the word ?
I noticed the zombie vs ninjas silouette thing in the background haha.
Yeah, it keeps the living room lively at night.
Many great ideas and techniques going in to building such a ... Useful? machine. I like it!
Thats a very big remote you have here lol
one word: AWESOME! :)
Look, I like it, alot. But what does it do??
It presses the 'channel up' button once per minute.
Honestly, that's quite ingenious.
The problem is when you find a good show...<br> <br> ...stopping the machine calls for some movement...
We need a robot to sense our increased sense of alertness to stop the automatic channel changer.
Ohhhhhh! Does it require any complicated or non complicated ciricts?
This was just the gift for me! So good thinking Randofo! I was always facinated by those cartoon-machines where a hand comes out to push a button. So this makes me smile when I see it at work. I also love the analog clock as trigger. It makes me think of those oldschool timebombs. I also want to thank you, Randofo, for caring about my health. Thanks to your machinem my thumb won't be overworked and so I won't need my pillmachine for that ;)
I am glad you like it! Hopefully this will maintain the health of your thumb for a very long time.
this is really useless... LOVE IT!! awesomely well done, the pictures are extremely clear,well documented and the idea itself is ingenious and clever! :D
<br /> Needs More Toothbrushes and Vibrating Motors<br />
Are you trying to tell me to brush my teeth?
Well real juggalos use faygo, Ke$ha uses jack daniels.<br />
Ummmmmmm.

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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