Picture of Tic Tac Tunes - Now with Tic Tac Beat Box

Micro-organ and drum-kit in a Tic Tac box

This tiny box will give you hours of fun composing your own tunes. You can vary the tune tempo and switch between a pentatonic and blues scale as well as producing a variety of percussion sounds.
Load up a different program and it will compose its own percussion rhythms(Tic Tac Beat Box) or play with half a dozen different musical scales (Tic Tac Scales). Another cool feature is no power switch - It will hibernate when it's not being used.

There are great musicians around . . . and then there's me with no musical talent at all, but even I can get some great sounding tunes out of this. Watch the video and have a listen to the MP3 files to get an idea of what this little marvel can do.

UPDATE - Two new programs added - Tic Tac Scales and Tic Tac Beat Box - See step 6
Couple more sound files added (better quality)
Modification for right-handed version added to step 4.

Step 1: Parts and Tools Required

Picture of Parts and Tools Required

As well as standard workbench tools and soldering equipment, you will need :-

1 x PicAxe 08M or 08M2 microcontroller chip - see below
2 x 10K resistors - all are 1/4 or 1/8 W
1 x 330R resistor
1 x 22K resistor
1 x 560K resistor
1 x red LED
1 x 10K linear dual gang slide potentiometer (60mm).
2 x 1N4148 or similar diodes. Just about any small diode will do
1 x 0.1 uF capacitor (10V or more)
1 x 28mm x 4mm piezo sounder. This MUST be a low profile type or it won't fit
1 x PX28A 6V keyfob battery (4LR44 PX28A A544 L1325 equivalents)
1 x stereo 3.5mm jack socket
1 x jack plug for probe. This can be 2.5 or 3.5mm, mono or stereo
1 x stripboard 22 x 12 holes
1 x spring from a retractable pen
1 packet of TicTacs. Your choice of flavour

You'll also need a few bits of link wire and something to decorate it. I used the old Blue Peter favourite - sticky back plastic.

If you need to brush up on your soldering technique, there's an excellent guide HERE.

Most of my parts came from Maplin (UK), but Mouser or your friendly local on-line electronics store will have these in other parts of the globe. All the parts (including Tic Tacs and battery) shouldn't come to more that 10 pounds (16 dollars), but that may vary depending on where you are, and doesn't include p+p, or the programming lead (see below).

I've used a PicAxe 08M microcontroller which comes as a blank chip and needs to be programmed. To do this, you will need a programming lead and the free programming editor software. Both the PicAxe chip and the lead are available from Tech Supplies in the UK or see HERE for other countries.  The 08m has been superseded by the 08m2 - Either will work.
Once you have the lead, you only need a PicAxe, two resistors and whatever sensors and output devices you choose to have a full PicAxe development kit which can program any of the PicAxe range, so you can design your own projects. I have an Instructable planned which will get you well on the way.
So what chip did you insert in this tic tac tunes machine? I must'v missed it and can you buy it or do you have to make it?
Kjata10131 year ago
This rules. I love the idea! I'm making an arduino version of this. Simply because I don't have the funds to dive into the PicAxe.
Coolkid43 years ago
could you post a video tutorial on how to program the 08m2 chip
jdorne3 years ago
Here's an idea, change the instructable to use a 08M2 which has 2048 bytes of memory which means you can store all the programs on it and switch between them using a tactile switch connected to the unused PICAXE pin 3.
AndyGadget (author)  jdorne3 years ago
I made this around 3 years ago, well before the 08m2 came out, but yes, you could do a lot more with a re-write using an 08m2 (although I do quite like the challenge of getting maximum functionality out of a small device.)
Maybe one day, but I'm playing with polyphony on a 14m2 at the moment.
jdorne3 years ago
I have successfully made the Tic Tac Tunes. using the single gang slide pot made one half of the pot be the sounds and the other half the scales and its awesome.

Here it is: http://youtu.be/22etKzCdVO4
AndyGadget (author)  jdorne3 years ago
Great! - Glad you like it.
I've got and even awesomer (?) thing in the pipeline, if only I ever get around to finishing it.
jdorne3 years ago
I could only get hold of a single gang 10k linear slide pot but it is the perfect tic tac box size and tests 0-9k with multimeter. I noticed in the program that there is only a readadc command on picaxe pin 4. Do I need both parts of a double gang pot? or will the single gang do fine.
jdorne3 years ago
My piezo sounder I have is almost half the size of yours and has no screw holes. It works with the PICAXE and it has a tiny hole in the bottom of it and a larger hole in the top. will it be safe to super glue it to the top of the chip? Or does the tiny hole at the bottom have to be uncovered. Either way, I could glue just the edge of it on the chip and it'd still fit i think.
AndyGadget (author)  jdorne3 years ago
Glue it to the chip - No problem.
Covering the small hole may make it slightly quieter, but try it by blocking it with your finger first to see if it makes a difference.
The amazingness of modern technology...
Drakencas3 years ago
I think that this can also: http://www.rapidonline.com/Electronic-Components/PICAXE-08-Starter-kits-80318
Drakencas3 years ago
no i'm from the netherlands its not so funny in the netherlands they dont sell picaxe and download cable for picaxe and socket
AndyGadget (author)  Drakencas3 years ago
If there's no Picaxe supplier in the Netherlands then the UK Picaxe site, Techsupplies, may be your best bet.  It looks like postage for a smallish order to Europe is 3.6 Euro.  They do all the parts you need. 
Drakencas3 years ago
can this piezo sounder to? http://www.ebay.nl/itm/2-x-Cased-Toko-Piezo-Audio-Sounder-With-Leads-30-x-4mm-/390377033134?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&hash=item5ae448cdae#ht_1456wt_1139
Drakencas3 years ago
what is the sort socket a: stereo PICAXE socket or a: Surface mount Stereo Picaxe socket
Drakencas3 years ago
what will one tic tac tune cost if you have to buy everything (download cable)
AndyGadget (author)  Drakencas3 years ago
Assuming you're in the US (I'm not), probably around $20 plus P&P, half of which will be the programming cable.
Drakencas3 years ago
i have a question

if i buy the picaxe 08m2 whats in the box (download cable, programming socket)

AndyGadget (author)  Drakencas3 years ago
That will just be the chip - The other parts you'll have to buy separately.  The programming circuit is the 3.5mm socket and two associated resistors shown on the diagram as the chip is programmed in circuit.  You will also need the AXE027 programming lead which you can get from the same place as the PicAxe chip.  The software (Programming Editor) is a free download from the Picaxe site.
BrunoG3 years ago
How do I program it??
Could a 330 ohm 1/2W 5% Carbon Film resistor be used in place of the 330r Resistor or is that the equivalent??
I love it!!!
Whats the difference between each one?

Which one should I use?
madbutler3 years ago
You dont know where the cheapest place is to buy dual gang potentiometers? I would love my students to have ago at this circuit but at $12 a pot they are to expensive. Is there any other thing that would replace the dual gang pot?

gada8883 years ago
I found the picaxi 08M and pic12f683 out in market.are they the same thing?
no, PICAXE is pre programmed so that you can 'program' in BASIC unlike PIC which is different
Nice...but I tried my hand at PICAXE chips...

I like pics more though (No offense, though.)
Mutantflame3 years ago
Great instructable AndyGadget,

I was just about to make an order on Tech Supplies for the PicAxe chip, but then I realised that the link is broken for me. Is there any other website that sells them and will ship to the UK?


(Now, off to maplin!)
AndyGadget (author)  Mutantflame3 years ago
Are you using an old bookmark link?  The site moved a few months ago.
Currect address is HERE.

They're shipping the 08M2 now which is a more powerful replacement for the 08M, but It should work in this circuit - Please let me know if it doesn't.
(I know there's a problem using the 08M2 with my Piecax project, but I'm working on resolving that.)
Thanks, this link works fine for me.

Does the 08M2 cost any more than the 08M? If the price is the same or similar I shall be giving it a try.


Oh, and just to confirm, I only need the Chip and the cable right, not the CD disk or any of the things, correct? I don't want to make an order to find out that I am unable to program it.

AndyGadget (author)  Mutantflame3 years ago
I think the 08M2 is cheaper than the old 08M.  The reason is that it's a custom masked item from Microchip (i.e. a component in itself) and not a standard PIC programmed by RevEd like the 08M was.

You only need the cable and chip - yes.  The software you download from HERE. You'll need the Programming Editor and the AXE027 drivers.  While you're ordering, get yourself another 08M2 and a proto-board too for playing about with.  Also a battery box to power it.  It's amazing how many things you can do with just that setup and using different sensors and output devices. 

Thanks for your help, AndyGadget! I will get back to you in the future as to how it works!
Oi234 years ago
Is there anywhere I can buy a finished "Tic-Tac Tunes"?
AndyGadget (author)  Oi234 years ago
Nope, you'll have to make it yourself.
(If you're after something ready-built, there's always the Stylophone.)
How would you classify those audio files above? How would you describe their genre?
AndyGadget (author)  WhiteHatJake4 years ago
I've got another project in development which generates an endless succession of this sort of tune (algorithmic music generation) and I may set it up as a ShoutCast station.  I think the genre which best defines it is 'experimental'.
Thank you very much. :)
cool soldering iron
AndyGadget (author)  retrotimelord4 years ago

Thanks, and I'd bet money that it's a lot older than you are.  I've been using it since the early 1980's (but had to change the bit a few times #;¬)
With the peizo sounder, what colour wire attaches to the Picaxe?
AndyGadget (author)  futureventions4 years ago
It doesn't matter - Connect the piezo either way around. 

That only comes into play when you're using two or more speakers :-  If you connect them different ways around then one is 'pushing' the air in one direction while the other is pushing in the other, so the pressure waves (sound) from each would tend to cancel out to some degree.
This is very noticeable with stereo loudspeakers if you connect them to the amplifier with one reversed. (It's called 'phase reversal'.)
soory to be a bother, but where abouts does the programming socket connect to, it's just that in the picture it looks like nowhere.
AndyGadget (author)  futureventions4 years ago

Look at the 3rd picture in step 2 showing the back of the board. The socket is in the top right . The top 2 are linked and the bottom 2 are linked. The tracks connect to the rest of the circuit. Relate the top side photo to the bottom side and the circuit diagram to see where.
could you please tell me where abouts the wires for the keyboard go, as i can't quite tell from the pictures.
AndyGadget (author)  futureventions4 years ago

If you hover over the yellow boxes on the 4th picture on step 2 it shows the keyboard connections to the top track (+V), in the middle (to the IC pin 3) and bottom track (0V).
it's ok now, i just hadn't read the previous slide properly!
cproo124 years ago
i ade y tic-tak box into an i pod i s took apart an old ipod and sed the parts i took off the screen thogh
AndyGadget (author)  cproo124 years ago

Could you make one into a keyboard?

(You appear to be having a little trouble with yours #;¬)
godofal5 years ago
any way to have this in an attiny form? would help me alot, since i cant program PIC's (yet, but that "yet" might take a long time...)
AndyGadget (author)  godofal5 years ago
I din't see why not (as long as it has an internal A to D and you can work out the frequencies and generate the tones).
and in normal english(or dutch, but i doubt u speak that :D) that means?

im new to elektronics, so i dont understand what ur saying...
AndyGadget (author)  godofal5 years ago
OK - I'll rewind a bit . . .
The A to D (analogue to digital) converter is a bit of circuitry which converts a voltage (set by the probe touching the resistive track) to a number that the 'computer' part of the chip can work with.  The chip can tell where abouts on the track you're touching and which note you want to play.  It will then produce a frequency on another pin which the speaker makes into a sound. e.g. for middle C it will produce a frequency of 440 Hz (cycles per second).
In the PicAxe there are simple commands to read the voltage and make the tone which a lot of other controllers would need much more code to do.

The PicAxe is a really good place to start if you want to play with microcontrollers as it has a very simple but powerful programming language (based on BASIC) which lets you do complex tasks with simple commands. 
Have a look at the links HERE to get more information on what it can do.
(There are many many languages in the world which I do not speak, and Dutch is one of them ;¬)

Are those PicAxe chips just Pic chips + bootloader, like the arduino is a bootload programmed AVR? If so, I guess the added value is in the IDE that Picaxe provides.

>e.g. for middle C it will produce a frequency of 440 Hz
440Hz is A

AndyGadget (author)  TheCoda4 years ago
The Picaxe is pic based and has a bootloader but also has an interpreter programmed on-chip. The programming editor downloads a tokenised program to the chip which is interpreted as it runs. 

This gives benefits in ease of programming but there is a speed penalty and the PicAxe is nowhere near as fast at an AVR (although plenty fast enough for the vast majority of applications).

There's 3 ways of getting noises out of one :- Using the 'tune' command as I have which plays a musical note for a set fraction of a beat, the 'sound' command which plays a frequency for a set period or the 'PWM' command which is really intended for motor control but good for sound generation too.
well, i dont believe attiny's have that A to D part, so il guess i still have to look for a picaxe programmer :D
and even if it had, the programming part would not be anything i could do...

guess i gotta get some tut on basic and C++ or something, il search it, but anything that u know is simple (for the real basics, for someone that doesnt know the first thing about it) so i can start fast with it?
The ATTiny13 has even 4 A/D-Converters: "4-channel, 10-bit ADC with Internal Voltage Reference" (Excerpt from the datasheet, which can be found here: http://www.atmel.com/dyn/resources/prod_documents/doc2535.pdf )
i dont think anyone has ever said so much i didnt understand within 1 sentence :D
hey i speak dutch!!! :D i was born there! well in NL anyways=) and i have no idea wat it means either! but thats ok...
rpierce-14 years ago
so just copy and paste the code stuff?
AndyGadget (author)  rpierce-14 years ago
The code is in human readable form in the .DOC files, but to program the chip you need the free Programming Editor from the site linked above.
You open the.BAS file from the Programming Editor and hit the 'program' button.
im using axe pad and it opens "picaxe programs" and .bas isnt one of them
??? what do i doooooo
AndyGadget (author)  rpierce-14 years ago
I haven't used AxePad, but reading around a bit it does look like you copy and paste. It's probably best to save the .DOC file as a text file first to get rid of any strange characters.
Absolutely amazing, nothing shy of genius.
AndyGadget (author)  seerixprojex4 years ago
Many thanks : There's a MKII on the way when I get time to finish it.
Leodip4 years ago
I want to make this but I'm Italian and I don't know name of the material in Italian.
Do you speak Italian? Or do you know their name in Italian?
Thanks anyway
AndyGadget (author)  Leodip4 years ago
Which material are you having trouble with.  The Picaxe will still be called a Picaxe, and it looks like all the parts you need are available from Robot Italy - there must be an Italian language version as well. 
(There are many languages in the world which I don't speak, and Italian is one of them.)
pietzeekoe4 years ago
In the parts list it sais you need 1 x 330R resistor. Did you mean 330K? or just ohm?
AndyGadget (author)  pietzeekoe4 years ago
330R is 330 Ohm.
The 'R' is there to fit in with the standard system of labelling these things. The 'R' replaces a decimal point and indicates the multiplier, so, a few examples :-
R33 is .33 ohms
3R3 = 3.3 ohms
33R = 33 ohms
330R = 330 ohms
3K3 = 3.3 kilohms
3M3 is 3.3 megohms
33M is 33 megohms
moogbeatz994 years ago
dude this thing fricking rocks! literally!
firefliie4 years ago
i wish these were for sale because..i cant make one to save my life!
looks fantastic by the way!
im sorry if this seems a really stupid question,but how do you program the chip, as this looks a cool thing to make but i dont understand how to do that. Also how much does the programming lead thing cost normally?
AndyGadget (author)  chicken121755 years ago
The programming lead is the AXE027 and costs just under £12 - See the link in step 1 for your local supplier if you're not in the UK. This plugs into any USB port and then you load the drivers (from the website).
You'll also need to download the free programming editor from the website.  This lets you write your own programs for the PicAxe.
Once you've built the PCB, all you need to do is to load my program into the Programming Editor, plug the lead into the 3.5mm plug on the board and click the 'program' button.
Does it work on a mac?
AndyGadget (author)  Adam Manick4 years ago
There is a Programming Editor called the AxePad which is multi-platform, but I don't think it has all the programming aids the Windows version has. However you can edit and download existing programs to the PicAxe chips.
A Windows emulator on the Mac may work as long as it can handle serial ports.(I know very little about Macs.)
SpecieS~4 years ago
I wonder if this piezo sounder would work: http://www.datasheets.org.uk/datasheet-pdf/078/DSAE0067526.htm . It's really hard to get a fitting piezo sounder in Germany and the potentiometers are really expensive, too :O (5€ for a potentiometer is way too much). If anyone knows where to get suitable piezo sounders in Germany, contact me please.
shopatross5 years ago
i never worked with electronics before im more of a mechcanical so would this be a hard first project??
 Haven't you been to high school, on my freshman year and I learnt electronics.
AndyGadget (author)  shopatross5 years ago
The circuit is pretty simple and as long as the track cuts and components go in the right places and the right way around, there shouldn't be a problem.  You'll also need to program the PicAxe but there's plenty of information here and elsewhere.

If you're doing this as a first project, I'd make it larger and not try to squeeze the whole thing into a TicTac box.  This will allow you to lay out the circuit more like the diagram and give you practice at designing your own stripboard layout.
pbecker835 years ago
Very cool. Nifty little project. Great for beginners,
 Great project. Good to see more people messing with sounds on the 08M.
Jodex5 years ago
I really haven't done any PIC project YET. So I'd have a question. Or lets put it this way. Sure I can program the PICAXE with an USB programming cable(www.hvwtech.com/products_view.asp) when using this software?
www.hvwtech.com/products_view.asp The first free one is the one. This is great instructable anyway.
AndyGadget (author)  Jodex5 years ago
That's the one.  You'll also need the drivers from HERE (AXE027 - near the bottom.)
Thank you.
bsachtjen5 years ago
AWESOME! do you have any idea of when the Kit is going to be available?
Well i dont really need the WHOLE kit, i just think it would be nice if you could sell the PicAxe programmed. Just let me know if you can do that
Britain5 years ago
I would just buy one if it was available cause i really want one :l
swimmer955 years ago
jason-25905 years ago

50/10 yeh that is 50 out of 10 its f*ckin amazing
kcls5 years ago
About how much did all of this cost to make?
zoltzerino5 years ago
 What are the diodes for and are they strictly necassary?I presume it is to to with directing the voltage to protect something(as in a radio circuit).
AndyGadget (author)  zoltzerino5 years ago
The Picaxe allowed supply voltage range is 2.2V to 5.5V.  I'musing a 6V battery.  Each diode will drop about 0.6V whenthere's a current flowing through it so the supply at the PicAxe pin isaround 4.8V - Perfect!  Diodes are a simple way of losing a bit ofvoltage which will be the same (almost) irrespective of the currentdrawn.  (I could have used 3 small button cells in series toget the right voltage, but that was too fiddly ;¬)
 Good answer, thanks. When using the PIC (not PicAxe) chips atschool we half a capacitor between the +ve input to the chip and 0vrail, do you think it is necessary to include one in with the08m? (some 08m boards do and others don't).
AndyGadget (author)  zoltzerino5 years ago
The short answer is 'yes'. 
The full answer is . . . Digital logic tends to draw very short high current spikes from the supply rails as they change state. (It's a side-effect of obtaining high switching speeds.)  The capacitors are to absorb these transients and stop them being passed on to other devices.  If this is not done, they can cause false triggering.  They are called 'decoupling capacitors'. 
At college many years ago one of the early practical experiments we did was to make a ripple counter out of d-type flip flops.  We were told not to put any decouplers in and the circuits counted erratically and seemingly randomly.  Then we put in the capacitors and everything worked fine.
A lot of circuits will work perfectly well without them, but it is good design practice to put in one across the rails as close as possible to the power pins for each chip.
 Does this look right?
PICAXE cap.bmp
AndyGadget (author)  zoltzerino5 years ago
Yep, that's where it goes in the circuit, but as I said, put it close to the chip physically.  It's not the case here, but if you're using motors or servos in a circuit you have to be very careful to decouple properly, otherwise the electrical noise can stop the circuit working at all.
mandanao5 years ago
Very nice project, compliments!

"Sonic Sculptures"like those created by by Ballard always bewitched me, both in electronical and mechanical form, take a look at


I have planned to realize many of  your devices to use them with my students.
As soon as possible I will send you some video concerning this idea.

Again, bravo!
AndyGadget (author)  mandanao5 years ago
Thanks for the Singing Ringing tree link.  I have relatives just a bit further North than Burnley so I think we'll take a detour to see that next time we visit.

This project won me a Thingamakit in the Art of Sound contest and I'm going to be building that as a sonic sculpture when I get the chance.  I'll be modifying it to use various environmental sensors (heat, light etc) instead of the manual controls.  (So many projects, so little free time . . . )
lastdayback5 years ago
This is an amazing project. I can't seem to find all the parts here in my area. Know when your gonna have the kit available?
szechuan535 years ago
ZOHMAHGAWD this is one of the best instructables I've seen in a while. Can't wait for the kit. :D
amanihoot5 years ago
where did you get the supplies?
AndyGadget (author)  amanihoot5 years ago
Step 1 tells you where to get the bits, although any good electronics supplier will have everything but the PicAxe; that comes from one of the suppliers linked in the text.
would radio shack have the supplys and how much did it cost all together to make it
kotarski5 years ago
This is THE coolest thing I have ever seen!
Dude, thats awesome. Why dont you sell it as a kit at Gadget Gangster? That would be easier for some people instead of run around collecting the stuff you need to build it.
batman966 years ago
could you add a small knob to adjust the speed that the notes are played at? so you can adjust it on the fly?
AndyGadget (author)  batman966 years ago
Not with the 8 pin chip I'm using. There are potentially 3 ADCs in the 08m, but because of the way I've configured things there isn't one spare and (and it would have to be a very tiny knob). There's no code space left to program it either.
I'm sorry I do not know much about circuit boards (and nothing about "8 pin chips"), just thought it might be a good idea.
You could use the upper track to control tempo and bottom track to play the scales. This should do what you want, obviously loosing the percussion part but I always find it's the scales that I enjoy messing with.
cjw616 years ago
when does the kit come out? reply ASAP please. p.s. PicAxe rules
cjw616 years ago
Where did you buy the parts at? that would help alot. Thanks
joeyoung1236 years ago
I want to hear (and see)someone play through the fire and flames by dragon force on this!
ednolan6 years ago
I just made one as my first PicAxe project, and the PicAxe is really a wonderful chip. This was such a fantastic project. Thanks for the Instructable!
AndyGadget (author)  ednolan6 years ago
Thanks for the nice words. Yep, the 08m is a pretty powerful little beast and it's bigger brothers do even more! The PicAxe community is waiting for the release of the 20x2 at the moment, which has all manner of bells and whistles.
Hoooyyat6 years ago
Is there any way you could figure out how to put a head phone jack on it?Because then I would definitely buy it.
uncre8d16 years ago
could the other side of the slide pot be used as a second track? this would mean splicing on another headphone jack 'controller' but you could play a duet with your sweetie. Being a novice, i dunno if there's even space for it. mebbe upgrade to altoids tin?
AndyGadget (author)  uncre8d16 years ago
One of the limitations of the PicAxe is it can only play one tone at once, and tones are of fixed length so two people playing at once would sound pretty confusing. Also, with two probes the software would still only see a single resistance and create a tone according to that. If you're looking to do something like that, build two totally separate circuits into an Altoids tin and you and your loved one can duet to your heart's content. There will be a project appearing in the not too distant future which uses multiple PicAxes. Watch this space . . .
dear andy im yajna and im from south africa i love your tic tac tunes beat box and was wondering if you can make one for me because i cant get the materials please reply at yajnapale@gmail.com
TicTacDuelingBanjos? ;)
AndyGadget (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
Not quite, but not a million miles from what I've got planned. (No idea if it's going to work yet - Still at the idea stage ;¬)
That was more in response to uncre8d1's question. ;) I'm looking forward to what you've got coming!
trapz6 years ago
omg..its brilliant..!!
jeff-o6 years ago
Would the circuit run on just 3 volts?
AndyGadget (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
3V is the absolute minimum operating voltage for the 08m but you couldn't program it at this voltage. There is a 1.8 to 3.3V operating variant of the more advanced PicAxe X2 chips, but not the 08m. The centre frequency of the sounder is 4.2 KHz, but I chose it for the flat profile rather than the electrical characteristics. Whatever you use it will sound pretty tiny in that box.
Ah, I see. So, I could temporarily hook up 5V during programming, and the rest of the time run it from a 3V lithium cell?
AndyGadget (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
Yep, that should work. Make sure you disconnect the 3v while 5v is connected otherwise the battery will overheat!
Naturally. ;) I suppose I'd also have to change the resistor for the LED, but that's a trivial change. Oh, and I'll have to make sure the piezo is happy running on 3V as well.
AndyGadget (author)  jeff-o6 years ago
Good point. A blue or white might struggle because of the Vf. Red would be best. Piezo should be OK, just quieter.
I know this sounds weird, but this brings me to tears on just how FLIPPING AWESOME this is. mostly because i like pocket sized things and pocket size instruments. ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
jeff-o6 years ago
What is the center frequency of the piezo element?
zaphodikus6 years ago
In reply to my prev. post, I now think you used a linear pot to make the steps even, sorry if anyone building this baby is getting confused. PS: Any stylophone instructables?
AndyGadget (author)  zaphodikus6 years ago
Yep, thanks - It is linear. I've updated the parts list. A log pot would have all the notes bunched up one end. Log pots are used for volume controls as hearing works in a logarithmic way. I wanted equal graduations (although the linearity is slightly skewed by the 560K resistor).
zaphodikus6 years ago
Is the slide potentiometer a linear or logarithmic? I am guessing you used a log pot (Since it would be the most popular being usually for audio), and without looking at the A2D source-code and steps because I'm lazy and want to implement on a different micro anyway: am I right?
Since only the center connection is required, can I make the probe with something else? Great job!
AndyGadget (author)  ramcorsolerto6 years ago
Yep, it only needs the single wire connection so use your imagination. I used the 3.5mm plug as it was small, close to hand and easy to hold.
Ethanal6 years ago
Congratulations on your win in the pocket sized contest. It looks like you are doing pretty good in the other contest too. You earned it! (I finished in 21st place. Had I had 20th, I would of gotten into the finals )-: )
AndyGadget (author)  Ethanal6 years ago
Many thanks - It's my first contest prize ;¬)
That reminds me of a Stylophone.
AndyGadget (author)  chirp-o-tron6 years ago
It is similar in some ways, but very different in others. Have a look at my reply to MDog93 some way below in the comments if you want te full detail.
Default1176 years ago
So you must be left handed?
AndyGadget (author)  Default1176 years ago
Yep, you're right. I was thinking this while I was making it, but forgot to mention it. Probably the simplest way is just to position the strip at the bottom of the box instead of the top and turn it around. It's then fine for the righties ;¬) I'll update the text.
AndyGadget (author) 6 years ago
I get back off holidays and WOO! - I've won a prize. Many thanks for all who voted for me. As I have mentioned I am in the process of producing a kit for it, but I'm a bit behind schedule due to holidays and stuff so please be patient.
woken6 years ago
I agree with cohara4 a pocket keyboard would be very entertaining and fun and people would pay for them
wow, thats actually really cool. i thought it would be some dumb noise maker but thats really beast
N1CK4ND06 years ago
This is beyond me :P
So thats how to make your own soundtrack for dos games, huh?
Torch346 years ago
That is really freakin cool. Too bad I don't have the stuff to make it. :(
gage69176 years ago
This is way cool. I I think it would be great to be able to obtain a kit for this. It would make an awesome gift. A+ like the last guy, I'm bummed I missed the vote
XR156 years ago
This is amazing - I'm gutted I've missed the vote. I'd really like to try and make this but I think it would test my soldering skills (or lack of them) and I've never done anything with programming. best of luck with the contest.
ikestarm176 years ago
what is a 330R resistor? I don't get the R
330 ohm resistor. Nothing fancy and very easy to find as they are commonly used as current limiting resistors just as it's being used here.
kimiharu6 years ago
amazing! just simply amazing! i've seen one called mini mooftronic mini synth but this is by far the supieror (did i spell that right?) device! I would make this but I have 3 problems: 1. I am just a beginner solderite, solderer, soldery whatever you want to call it 2.my soldering iron is to big and outdated for this type of work! 3.I'm fourteen and have no money, plus I'm too young for a job (allowence just doesn't cover it these days!) anyways amazing job on this i hope you win the contest you have my vote!
AndyGadget (author)  kimiharu6 years ago
Thanks for the nice words. Do you have an electronics club at school? You could use their equipment and they may even help out with parts. Check eBay for second hand soldering equipment. You'll need a parent to do any buying though. (They do have their uses ;¬)
We have an electronics GCSE lesson, me and my friend have our own science / electronics club after school. You have my vote and I hope to making this over the summer hols.
Yes we do have a class that's like that but gr.9's only solder leds together. eBay I might be able to get one now to go look for a babysitting job (or anything else that pays money!) Thanks for the advice!
unigamer6 years ago
OK, well I made it today. I'll go through my thoughts and if you could answer my questions that would be great! First off, it's brilliant! It has my vote already and I would encourage everyone to vote for it. I started with cutting out of board, this is tricky, I could not get the board cut with battery legs so I am just using some wire and soldering it on. It should be plenty strong enough to take the battery. How the components are laid out could probably do with a bit better explanation, possibly a grid arrangement to explain it. This would definitely make a kit easier. The circuit diagram is good and very helpful, if it could be made into an image and put straight into the instructable that would help. There is a capicitor in your picture and circuit diagram which I think is there to smooth out the circuit but it is not listed in the parts list. I took this to mean it was not essential and left it out (plus I didn't have it). My circuit makes random beeps every so often, not sure why but suspect it may be to do with missing capacitor. Any thoughts? I don't get any notes on the upper part of the track closest to the +ve wire. Is this by design? You soldered linking wires to join up parts of the socket, I just soldered across for one big blob. Is there a reason why you used linking wires? I think the opposite end of the wires is for controlling tempo of notes and the other end for the scales and types of notes, am I right? If you could code up a very simple test program that might be helpful for people who want to see if they have the hardware working correctly. No tempo changing etc just clear and distinct notes. I may do this myself as it would help me get more familiar with the code as I plan to have a go at a bit of customising. A few words for people making it, these things are in the instructable but if you don't bother reading things properly (guilty) then these things may help trouble shoot. You need to solder the top of the track thing to link the two resistive tracks. The positive rail must go through the diodes! I had it set up so the battery went straight into the positive rail missing out the diodes I had in place. This was particularly stupid especially since I know a little bit about electronics! Make sure you include all the linking wires. This is obvious but if you have problems such as it won't program then it is likely this might have happened. And finally, I didn't make this mistake but make sure you cut the copper track as has been indicated very clearly or it won't work. And may blow up. My thanks again, it has been a fun day project! I work pretty slowly so it took me quite a few hours but definitely worth it.
AndyGadget (author)  unigamer6 years ago
Many thanks for the comments - I'm really pleased it worked for you. I built it piecemeal and then wrote the Instructable so it's hard to appreciate which bits are going to be a problem when someone else is making it (although cutting the board would always be top of the list). I think the photo of the component locations is clear enough but I will add the positions of the cut tracks to the topside view (if you see what I mean). The kit will be a profesionally produced PCB and will make things a lot clearer. I've added the capacitor to the parts list. The function was already explained in the step 5 text. The random beeps are electrical noise being picked up by the probe when it's not on the track. Unplugging the programming lead makes an ENORMOUS difference to this. The 560k is there to pull the ADC input down to zero when there's no contact, and the software ignores very low ADC values. 560k was a compromise between pull-down effect and track linearity. I prefer a PDF as you can print it off and magnify it more easily, but I will add an image of the diagram for quick viewing. The active part of the slider track is between the diagonal marks (step 3 picture). I put in a bit of a dead spot at the top to separate the notes from the control blob (reading 254-255) I put in the links purely because "link the two tracks" sounds more professional than "put a walloping great blob of solder across the two tracks" ;¬) The 'control blob' turns it on, and then controls both the scales and tempo. Each touch (or touch and hold) cycles it around the tempo for one scale (8 steps), then there's a long flash to show the scale change, and it cycles around for the next scale. The top track is always the percussion sounds. Because the single gang sliders are easier to get than dual gang, and to make the build easier, TTTv2 will have only one track and it will cycle scale1 . . . scale2 . . . percussion . . . scale1 . . . Point taken about a test program. I'll put one up. I'm also about to post code for the multiple scales (no percussion) and the free-running beat machine. Once again, many thanks for the constructive comments. (Whooo look - another essay ;¬)
Oh dear, I spent more time trying to fix it when I broke it than I did making it! I've sat at this desk for 12 hours... I thought I'd messed up the jack lead into pin 3. Turns out I had a tiny scratch on the track that was causing the adc to fail royally. I know have it running with a 10k resistor and a large track I had spare. It's slightly gutting as I had about 5 seconds use of it in its nice tic-tac case! Adding the positions of the components would be very helpful. I thought I had read about the capacitor somewhere! Turns out I had one anyway under the guise of a 100N one... Not the first time that's happened Good info about unplugging the progam lead. I've used the chips before, I made a light following robot that used the adc stuff. It's rather brilliant adc but I never seem to fully grasp it needs to all be pulled down. I used PDF of the instructable too. I didn't read what you meant about the tracks carefully enough, I see now they are a slightly different colour. No need to clarify that in the instructable I think, people like me should just read a bit more carefully :) I actually quite like the dual gang component. I would scrap the percussion (it is very clever used of Picaxe sounds but not as fun a scales) and use the upper lever for a higher octave. I can appreciatte if you're sourcing parts for a kit £0.69 is not a competitive price for a potentiometer. I did take a picture of it in the case but I won't upload it as it is nothing sexy because I didn't decorate it. I think I might use Photoshop to design a template for decorating it which I'll post if I so. When it is actually working and in case I'll put it up. For anyone who wants to lower the cost even more you can get a serial cable to program PIcaxe chips but it isn't such a good long term purchase as laptops and most desktops don't come with them now. It is less than half the price though.
AndyGadget (author)  unigamer6 years ago
Circuit image now added (it came out rather well) and cut track positions marked on the topside of the circuit photo.
I'vre thought about what you said about marking component positions - I can tell at a single glance what everything is, but to a less experienced constructor . . . I'll add another photo with resistors marked with value etc.
When I first built it I had a problem with a stray solder whisker doing strange things to the ADC - it took ages to find. Do please post a pic of yours once you've finished it.
Have a play with theBeat Box - code now up.
To cut down the cost even more, you can build your own serial lead but I didn't want to make things any harder.
Circuit image is great. Dry joints and stray whiskers are not a problem I often get. I like to run a dremel cutting disk up and down between the tracks :D Will try the Beat Box tomorrow since I'm beginning to not want to see itagain. Had fun during my late tea with it. (Pizza wasn't so could, accidently left foam packaging underneath) Little asides such like you can build your own are useful, half the interesting things I've seen or done tend to come from asides. I'm thinking with a larger box such as an Altoids tin two to three seperate ones could easily be housed. That would be pretty cool. And just to let you know there is a missing letter in "show te scale loaded"
AndyGadget (author)  unigamer6 years ago
Ah. . . the pizza / plastic composite. I've done that too.
The problem with the PicAxe is when you're working on something, soooooo many other possibilities come to mind. Next but one project is something which I think will be more popular than TTT! Next project is one to (hopefully) get more people into PicAxe programming. Give the Arduino and AVR fans a run for their money.
Ta for the missing letter.
I look forward to it. I attached a photo of my one as it was yesterday. Waiting for some new tracks so I can put it into its case. It has a large 10K one on just now. You relased the code under no derivs, do you mind if I post my changes to it. Nothing much good yet just a little crescendo (going up in pitch now volume mind) thing.
AndyGadget (author)  AndyGadget6 years ago
N.B. The 'Clear Hardware Memory' function of the Programming Editor is very useful if you start playing about with the code. (You'll find out . . . ;¬)
Wow, I posted a small essay! I did use different numbers of spaces to split it up but they've been stripped out. Next time I'll use some dashes.
Please post the approximate price on this awesome Instructable! (Making kits for Ebay would also be great) I agree that this would be cool for long trips.
AndyGadget (author)  Ender Wiggin6 years ago
See step 1 - Updated.
Thank you! I was just hoping this cool gadget would not take more than $30. I will try to work on this one!
Cj slier6 years ago
hello, i am new to instrustable im 12 and (sorry if this is rude)but about how much did you spend to made this amazing piece of music!
kwaka476 years ago
a groovy bit of instramental gear ,would buy a couple for the grand kids if they were put on ebay
Jordan10la6 years ago
This is sweet, I wouldn't even attempt to make one myself but you can add me to the list of people who would buy one off eBay.
Heywasup6 years ago
if u put it on ebay i would so buy tell me if you do :D
brokengun6 years ago
Very cool sir! Well done!
tehh6 years ago
i like *thumb up*
foghat6 years ago
thumbs up especially for the eee pc :)
Justin Lam6 years ago
Kudos man, fun little thing to keep me busy on long bus rides. And think of the looks I'd get! Haha how much did this cost you to make?
latobada6 years ago
Very cool!
jam BD6 years ago
sooo cool!!!
i loved the use of a potentiometer strip for the input...
can,t get a analog pin on older micros =(
oh well.....
AndyGadget (author)  jam BD6 years ago
It took a while to think of that. I started by trying to make a resistive strip from anti-static bag material and putting various solvents on anti-static foam until I realised that a slider pot had a strip ready-made.
Da_Fudge6 years ago
Awesome! That is one of the best things that I have ever seen done with a PICAXE in a long time, when it comes to sound. They are pretty powerful when it comes to processing or data transmission/receiving/logging, but the sound part is seriously overlooked. Congrats for doing something awesome. But, one quick question, where is the code? I read the whole 'ible multiple times and couldn't find a link or attachment. Are you still commenting it or something? I have just gone out and bought all the parts. That's how keen I am to build this. Built it up, waiting for the code. One more thing, if you need help commenting the code, PM me and I will help you out if you like. I can 'read' code. Just thought I'd say. We are both into PICAXE, should do a collaboration..... LOL.
AndyGadget (author)  Da_Fudge6 years ago
Code now added. The big problem with the small PicAxes is the memory size, although I'm amazed it packs in what it does anyway. Programming anything complicated into an 08M is always a battle with the bytes. I'd have had to go to an 18 pin to get more code space - no room in the box for that. (Looking forward to the 20x2!)
Thanks for that, construction underway. That code has had a lot of attention put into it, I bet you had a few re-writes of it to make it smaller. Hmm, I thought the 20X2's were out?
AndyGadget (author)  Da_Fudge6 years ago
Yep, it was an ongoing process of writing code, finding it was a few bytes over, re-writing for size, adding a bit more . . . The first 'final version' had one spare byte in memory, but I've simplified the strip decoding (all scales are now 18 notes) and there's a few free at the moment. I'm re-writing the percussion section to make the storage more efficient. I'm pretty new to PicAxe but I think I've picked up most of the tricks now. Although it's filthy programming to a purist, PicAxe doesn't mind using GOTOs out of nested loops. Lots of other systems would gag at this.
AndyGadget (author)  AndyGadget6 years ago
20x2 is still shown in the Tech Supplies site as a 'future product'. I think the base PICs are just about available now though. Looks like it will be the basis of many, many projects and programming pins compatible with the 08m / 14m it will sit snugly in my forthcoming PicAxe development kit Instructable . . . sssshhhhhh. All that code-space - Luxury! (Although I lke the challenge of the 08M).
I ordered some chips and was hoping 20X2 would have been released by now but had to settle for a 5 pack of 08M and a 20M. Thanks for posting the code! I'm going to have a fiddle round with it, I think adding a guitar tuning function may be useful too.
grundisimo6 years ago
how much you get computer for?
and where?
AndyGadget (author)  grundisimo6 years ago
Just under 300 pounds from Amazon - I'm in the UK.
It came with XP Home which I replaced with Windows 7 as soon as I got it.
Win7 is great - It took a lot to get me away from XP (Pro) but this has done it. Fast too - at least as fast as XP and I'm running the Aero interface on the NC10, and soooo sweet to use once you realise what it has to offer (libraries, enhanced taskbar etc) It's what Vista should have been if the marketing guys hadn't forced them to push it out early.
I never thought I'd be one to enthuse about a Microsoft product, but it IS good.
(I think he was asking about the picAXE chip)
AndyGadget (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
He did say 'computer'. However, just in case . . . Grundisimo, Step 1 (Parts and Materials) gives a link to Tech Supplies (in te U.K ,where I get mine) and a link to a site which gives suppliers in other countries. If you don't already have one, you will need a PicAxe programming lead. These come in 2 flavours; A cheaper serial lead (for which you need a COM port on your computer) or a more expensive lead which will plug into any USB port. These are available from the PicAxe supplier. Once you have that, and the free software, you have the full development kit for any PicAxe.
I suspect Grundisimo's first language is not English - translation software or a poor dictionary could be to blame.
Jeg er virkelig kede lige nu.
AndyGadget (author)  grundisimo6 years ago
Is that Danish? My Son is in Denmark at the moment at the Bla Sommer Scouting event.
yes that is danish. (want me to start speaking in swedish)
oh sorry stupid translater stopped working for a minute. that says i am bored right now.
Does that mean I'm right?
depends....... i wasn't really paying attention to the comment above.
BHStibal6 years ago
how much does the whole project cost?
Kiteman6 years ago
When are you going to post the code? And did you solder the chip directly, or use a holder?
AndyGadget (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Hi Kiteman - Code now posted.
Sweet! (Adds project to already-too-long list)
AndyGadget (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Thanks - There'll be plenty more and a development board . . . let's say 'with an odour of mentha piperita' . . . to build them on ;¬)
AndyGadget (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Should have some code up there this evening - I'm working on the free-running function at the mo, but I'll post the rest. No room for a chip socket - The sounder wouldn't fit.
AndyGadget (author)  AndyGadget6 years ago
Got a bit side-tracked tonight - Slug trap Instructable and replies . . . tomorrow!
Kiteman Kiteman6 years ago
Oh, and could you replace the piezo with a headphone socket?
AndyGadget (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
No problem with that, apart from fitting it in. If you go the headphone route, a small resistor / capacitor low pass filter would improve the sound by 'rounding off the edges' of the square wave.
how much exactly would it cost for all the stuff?
mdog936 years ago
is this quite like a stylophone?
AndyGadget (author)  mdog936 years ago
My design is different in several ways. The (original) stylophone (as advertised by Rolf Harris in the UK) was a very simple oscillator circuit with the frequencies set directly by a resistor chain. It has pre-set notes on the keyboard, uses a full chromatic scale, and the guy in the video can play it properly. It is dedicated hardware and can do only one thing. My design uses a small microcontroller chip and a continuous resistive track which is decoded into key positions by the software so I can have different numbers of notes on the upper and lower track. No note positions (or percussion sound positions) are fixed. I have programmed in different musical scales - ones which sound better for improvisation (or if you're absolutely no good on a proper keyboard ;¬). The design is fully flexible and if I changed a couple of the surrounding components for different sensors and reprogrammed it, it could become a light sensing alarm, an intruder detector or a plant watering alarm etc, etc. This is the difference between the electronics capabilities of the sixties and the 2000's.
so u cant rely play songs on this then
AndyGadget (author)  mdog936 years ago
Yep, you can, but think trombone rather than clarinet . You have to remember where each note is rather than having marked positions. Because of the interest, I'm planning a rebuild of this to make it easier to construct and will be losing the percussion and adding more features to the keyboard sounds. It would then be possible to actually mark the note positions on the scale. With the five or six note scales I've got in there at the moment, the range spans three octaves. With a chromatic scale (which a lot of western music is written in) I'd limit this to an octave and a half (enough for a lot of tunes) otherwise the notes get too close together. I need to get some more files posted, so check back later and I'll have added the chromatic scale.
unigamer6 years ago
That is very good. You've programmed it well, it has tons of features! Will be trying it shortly!
Also, there is no need for it to be a dual gang potentiometer is ther?
AndyGadget (author)  unigamer6 years ago
I used the dual gang because that's what Maplin had and I thought they were more commonly available, but looking around, it appears not. As it was, I used the lower track for the notes and the upper track for the percussion. I may well do a rebuild of this using a single-track pot (once I get hold of one). Losing the percusion would allow me to do more with the musical side.
Thanks, I may pick up one from from Maplin but I couldn't find them on the website I was using for an order. Maplin is handy to have but so much more expensive than online prices. I plan to make a few of them since once you have all the parts they're pretty cheap (+ I get to buy more Tic-Tacs!)
joeogio6 years ago
thats awesome and there are tons of cool things i have laying around that i could put these components in
merijnvw6 years ago
This is extremely cool. I may try to make one later. thanks!
whjh6 years ago
Great, very clever
Stew26 years ago
This is so cool! Sure wish I could do that, but soldering and circuits don't like me much... :)
AndyGadget (author)  Stew26 years ago
This is not a good project to get started because of the tight space, but there are a lot of simpler electronics projects on Instructables, and a good soldering guide HERE.
There's nothing stopping people making a slightly larger version, either.
Cohara46 years ago
I would pay at least pay over $50 or 45 Pounds for something as ingenious as this. You should make quite a few of these then sell them on Ebay. I know a lot of people who would pay big money for this. Consider my advice. Thank You for taking the time to read this comment.
volquete6 years ago
Bridel5686 years ago
hey try adding another slide so you have two and can probably get more sounds out of it. basically a longer slide piece but with one on top and one on the bottom
PyroMonger6 years ago
wheres the vote button...your getting mine
AndyGadget (author)  PyroMonger6 years ago
Voting starts after the contests close and go on for a week or so after that. Look at the 'contests' tab on the right of the page for full details.
This is really cool!
bumpus6 years ago
My goodness! This is excellent! :D
Brennn106 years ago
I love this! I think I might have to try this one!
Chicken22096 years ago