Picture of Working Sonic Screwdriver
Christmas 2012 153.JPG
Christmas 2012 154.JPG
Update 2/4/2014
Version 3.0 is done and ready to be put up on instructables. I have not been able to finish the instructions as I have just started school back up but they should be coming, hoping for spare time. I do, however, wish to put up the code for the attiny85 PCM and have attached it to this project step.These instructions are not the most user friendly, a more user friendly set will included with the final SS instructions
It requires the Arduino-Tiny library, included in the zip file, and more specifically the optibook attiny85 board profile.
To make the PCM work: (taken from readme file)
* Locate the Arduino Sketch folder.  This is the folder where the Arduino IDE
  stores Sketches.

* Ensure the "hardware" folder exists under the Arduino Sketch folder.  For
  example, if the Arduino Sketch folder is...


  Ensure this folder exists...


* Extract the contents of the archive into the "hardware" folder.  For example,
  if the Arduino Sketch folder is...


  After extracting, the following files / folders should exist...

      C:\Projects\Arduino\hardware\tiny\Prospective Boards.txt

Open the code in the arduino software and upload to the Attiny using a programmer.

Update June 15th 2013: I am creating a v3.0 and v4.0, simple and complicated respectively. If anyone would like to suggest features for me to explore in these models I am willing to try to incorporate them. Theoretically one or both of these may become a kit version.

Update December 6, 2012
I am in the process of remaking the sonic with plumbing parts and attiny85's. The version I have developed uses 2 AAA batteries for power and should theoretically be louder. It also includes the TV-b-gone clone circuit. I am stuck in a coding problem to do with timers but hopefully soon I will have a new set of instructions. I am posting a process image above.

UPDATE! I have found a simple solution to a problem that I have been contacted about several times regarding the sound circuit. The trick is to remove all the wires but the two for power from the programmer before testing the device out.

I have two people who I am very close to who enjoy the show Dr. Who. For both of them I have made sonic screwdrivers to accompany their (mild) obsession. Both of the sonic screwdrivers make the proper sound and light up using a UV light however the more complicated one also turns TV's on and off, has an mp3 player embedded in it, uses a rechargeable battery, has a laser, has an FM transmitter and also shakes when activated. This instructable covers the construction of the simplified model to get a basic understanding however I include at the end a section on how I added features to the more complicated version as well as ideas for additional features I considered adding.
Attached to this step is a video of my first sonic screwdriver turning on a tv. The buzzing sound that is heard that should not be there is due to the vibration motor coming slightly loose. It is only noticeable within a few inches of the handle, past that the proper sound is heard loud and clear.
I do not like my props to feel cheap or breakable so both versions were made with metal handles and feature glass marbles as the light end. The amount of plastic exposed to the exterior of the sonic screwdriver was kept to a minimum so it appears as if it is a tool worthy of traveling the stars, opening doors, making cabinets and general tom foolery.

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ghunt4 made it!8 months ago

So my friend is a massive Whovian, and his birthday was coming up so it seemed like a good excuse to make something. This is the first build I have done from an Instructable and there were a few frustrating moments, but on the whole I am proud of it. The picture isn't the entirely finished article. I painted the lower half a gloss white and left the top half in the chrome/silver I also kept the prongs from the reamer and they surround the marble as per the instructable

do you have de code for make the sound with tje Attint85 snd the circuit?

I did eventually get the atttiny sound circuit to work. It can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Working-Sonic-Screwdriver-Version-30/ starting on step 14

lucas82821 year ago
You should make one that resembles the 11th doctors sonic
nerd74731 year ago

Mine isn't this good...

...but it is bright


It still isnt finished requires more paint...

o, and did the easy version make noise?

The one I am writing instructions for does make noise the noise from the show using an attiny85.

Do you have to program the sonic to turn on and off TV's? And, is there a way to make the sonic turn on most electronic appliances, such as tablets, computers, ipods, etc... Thanks, just wanted to know :)

I am using a standard tvbgone clone circuit to turn on and off TV's, so it does not have to be programed to an individual television. If you want it to turn on other appliances you would have to build a trigger switch into the appliance to be triggered by something in the sonic: the UV light off the front, an RF chip inside the sonic, some sound. There are a lot of possibilities.

MrPsyduck1 year ago

Props Monster,

I can't wait to see the update. I really want to make one of these for my kid.


The Props Monster (author) 1 year ago
I am in the process of writing a new set of instructions following an easier to assemble and more robust design I have created. For both types I used a piezo buzzer radio shack 273-0074 and an ir led like the transmitter half (should be the darker one) of radio shack 276-142. the new version uses 2 attiny85 microchips, one for the sound, one for the tvbgone. I shoild have part numbers and links for all of the parts I used.
I'm really new to electronics but I am really determined to make this! I went to radioshack in order to buy a few things and was curious about the exact numbers you had for your piezo speaker and IR LED, I would really like for it to work and not short circuit lol. Thanks!
i have one question, to put the quiasiduino bootloader, do i have to make a quiasiduino or can i just use the normal arduino uno?
im sorry if its a stupid question, but im not really good with these things :P
The Props Monster (author)  karimariesk1 year ago
You can use a normal arduino uno if you like. The reason I used the Quasi-duino bootloader is that it does not use a crystal, saving money, space and battery power. The slower clock speed of the quasi will also lower power consumption making your batteries last longer and the circuit more stable at lower voltages.
I really love this tutorial; your sonics are fanatastic! I'm looking to make one of my own, but my biggest issue is I am completely new to electronics/circuitry. Some of it seems pretty straightforward, but I'm kind of stuck on the whole sound circuit thing. I don't understand how you program the Arduino Uno; do you know of a more comprehensive guide I could look at to help me figure that out? Also, what type of piezo speaker did you use? The science & surplus store I like to visit has buzzers, discs, elements, etc. and I don't really understand the difference at this point. Any help you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated!!
The Props Monster (author)  maehoosadie1 year ago
Do you have a chip programmer or a fully built arduino that plugs into the computer?

I use a piezo speaker. There is a bit of confusion about the buzzer but in my experience typical piezo buzzers make a specific tone when voltage is applied. An element or disk could work, it is just the speaker without the packaging. They would be harder to package inside the sonic without the sides of the handle interfering.
cos4t1 year ago
I like!!
Wonderful project. I was wondering if you have a video that demonstrates the sound output of the project. Wondering how it sounds compared to other designs. Thanks!
The introductory step has a video attached. There is an annoying buzzing sound from the motor I put in the handle that came loose during the test but it sounds almost exactly like the one on the television show
Thanks. I missed the link somehow (or was just looking for an actual video screen). Well done.
Sakaniator1 year ago
Awesome project.. I'm going to make my own!!! I have a problem, I want to use Attint8/5 to generate the sound, but I'm dont know how to change the output pin of the PCM from pin 11 to another like pin 1 or 2 to use in my Attiny85... Can anyone help me??
The Props Monster (author)  Sakaniator1 year ago
You need to edit the PCM library
To start, copy the PCM.c and PCM.h files to a new folder at the C:/arduino/libraries/PCM2
rename the files PCM85.c and PCM85.h respectivly
open PCM95.c as a text document. I use Notepad++ to make editing clearer
replace #include "PCM.h" with #include "PCM85.h"
Then it gets interesting
You need to find out what the two PWM outputs on the 85 are, their variables (OCRX, TCRRX and such) the variables for the arduino uno will be found in the file
starting at page 65 of http://www.atmel.com/images/atmel-2586-avr-8-bit-microcontroller-attiny25-attiny45-attiny85_datasheet.pdf
should give you some idea
you need to set up the clock variables from the uno program to follow the syntax of the 85 program.
change int speakerPin = 11; to whichever pin the PWM output is required
Once that is done you might need to change the sample rate value of 8000 to either 4000 or 16000 to reflect the 8mhtz timer on the Attiny85.
I have been working on porting the code to that chip and giving my sonic's two tiny hearts though without an attiny on hand I have not been able to work much. In the next few weeks I should have some time to work on this project and will have new code for the attiny85 at that point if you wish to wait. I apologize for the complicated nature of this response, timers and PWM involve coding at a more basic level than regular arduino programs and are quite difficult to explain. If I get it up and working proper I shall attempt to post an arduino PWM explanation on instructables as well as the new code.
I hope your project goes well.

Thanks for your help! I tryed doing this, but, I was not able to upload the code for the Attinny85. It shows an error that says the "delay" was not declared. I'll wait until you can try doing this because I'm not so good with microcontrollers yet!! =D

The Props Monster (author)  Sakaniator1 year ago
I should have parts in by this weekend to make an attiny version, hopefully by the end of the month I will have the newest version up and running
does anyone know how to disassemble the pipe reamer? i'm having trouble
should i cut the inner part with a saw?
Doctor_what2 years ago
Would an earphone speaker work as well? I've seen it used to fix a CO speaker.
How would have a different color
best sonic screwdriver on instructibles!
Would you sell the new version on ebay
Hogbroom2 years ago
I would love to do this, unfortunately though, I have no idea how to use Arduino properly. I'm kinda new to tech-y stuff like this, as I normally do cosplay. Great design though, and I love how you incorporated the TV-B-Gone into it!
JACOBC7772 years ago
Car is painted like the TARDIS
the car key looks like the 7th Doctor's New TARDIS KEY
I dress like the Doctor
I even write in Gallifrey (Time Lord Language)
I carry around Psychic Paper (Credentials :Changing to what ever you say)
All I need is a Sonic
Everyone calls me The Doctor or Doctor
mattna42 years ago
let me test a few things out. If I can't get it up and running then I will send you what I have done, in what I can only imagine will be quite a lengthy email! lol! It might be a few days, but either way, you will hear from me. Either with pics of the up and running S.S. , or a series of steps and what went wrong :)
mattna42 years ago
well... if i ever get it finished I will send them right your way. After our discussion yesterday I tried a few things out. Essentially I re-burned the bootloader and once it said "upload done" I just went straight to upload the file by "upload using programmer" which...well... sort of... worked. Now all it does is click at me nonstop. I uploaded the same file straight to the arduino, and that plays fine... but now I get a "Expected signature for ATMEGA328P" error. Im so very close but can't manage to get the sound file uploaded to the chip properly.... think you can help a fellow techie out? If its more convenient I can private message you my email address or something... I would be very greatful for your assistance.
The Props Monster (author)  mattna42 years ago
When you upload the program is the board "quazi-duino 8MHz clock" selected under the tools?
if you did not switch back to the arduino board when you programed your nice arduino it might have thrown that exception.
how are you powering the circuit when testing it?
can you make the quazi-duino loaded board do a simple blink test using pin 13?
mattna42 years ago
Hey! thanks for the instructions! Im almost done with my sonic screwdriver with your help! I deviated a bit, and will send you a pic if you like, but I am currently stuck on some "wording" you used. I just finished programming the chip with the bootloader. And I have loaded the PCM library to the Arduino. I am BRAND NEW to ardiuno (specifically to just do this project).. and i need to know what you mean when you say "Pin 7 and Pin 20 connect to positive". Do you mean the 5V on the arduino? I just want to verify before I go hooking something up and ruining another chip :) heheh Thanks for the help again!
The Props Monster (author)  mattna42 years ago
I would love to see pictures, it is quite awesome to see someone else taking on this style of project.
Are you using a full arduino that plugs into the usb port of your computer?
How are you programing the chip?
Pin 7 and Pin 20 connect to the positive lead of your power source, for programing this is the +5v from the arduino, for testing later on it is the positive lead of the battery.

Nvm I got someone else to
Can you please make one for me I'd happily pay you.
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