Picture of YEAAAUGH, WHHAT? OKKKAY! Lil Jon Easy Button
Ever wish the Staples Easy Button (R) could say something better than the mundane "That was easy."? How about a Lil Jon button?



Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you will need (and where to get it):

Picture of What you will need (and where to get it):
NOTE: You will need  a way to program a dsPIC33 (a microcontroller from I recommend a PICkit 3, but it is ~$50 here: .
If you just want a pre-programmed chip, you can contact me through this website, I will try to send you a chip for $5.50 shipped. Edit: no more pre-programmed chips, also moved to PIC18 for better <3.3V compatibility.

1. The Staples Easy Button (R). Buy it online from here:
or get it at any Staples(R) store for $5.49. Apparently their profit goes to charity as well, so this is good all around.

2. A perfboard or PCB. I have laid out a PCB for you which you can have manufactured here for cheap: . As of writing a set of 3 boards cost $8.65 ($2.89 ea). The files (in Eagle CAD) format can be found here: . Alternatively, get a perfboard (e.g. ) and wire it up yourself according to the following schematics.

3. The microcontroller itself (U1). I used a dsPIC33FJ128GP202 . You can also use the dsPIC33FJGP802, or any of the others which have 128KB of flash (to store samples) and come in a 28-pin PDIP (that is, a non surface mount) package. Buy it here: (DSPIC33FJ128GP202-I/SP) for $4.93 or sample it for free here . Remember to get the SPDIP version.

4. Any resistor from 1K - 4.7K Ohm (R1). This serves to pull up the reset pin (~MCLR) for the microcontroller. This is optional, especially if you have a pre-programmed chip. You can just solder a jumper then to where the resistor should be (R1). This should be about $0.05 if you have to buy it.

5. A NPN transistor (U2). Any common NPN bi-polar transistor will do here. This serves as an amplifier (of sorts, even though it will be operating as a switch and not in the linear range). If you have no idea, a 2N3904 or 2N2222 will work fine. Similarly this should be about $0.05-$0.10.

6. A 10+ uF capacitor (C1). This is necessary because the microcontroller has an internal voltage regulator which is quite noisy. You are however in luck as the original Easy Button (R) has a capacitor which is a 47uF 10V electrolytic, perfect to cannibalize for this purpose. Otherwise get it for a nickel.

7. A board mount pushbutton (S1). This is the most common type of 4 pin push button switch. Get it at Sparkfun for $0.35 if you don't have a couple lying around.

Your total parts cost is $13.86 (including some money to charity but not including shipping)

Jeffrey G C11 months ago
so, you said you moved to a the PIC18f series, but I dont see anything that mentions what particular chip you ended up using? I have a couple 18f2480s sitting around, will those work? I plan on replacing the sounds that were included, with most likely just one wav file

please and thanks
Barrettkg1 year ago
I appreciate this 'ible. I was trying to find a way to play a audio file simply. The hope is to run a secondary horn for my car which is triggered by the easy button. I imagine I would have to amplify the audio signal so that it can actually be heard from underneath the hood or would it be worth investing time into using the DAC feature?
Zuofu (author)  Barrettkg1 year ago
I think you'd need a real amplifier to be heard from under the hood of the car. I'm not really sure whether being a "real DAC" vs just a PWM signal (like I used) makes a different, I imagine there would be so much other noise. The hard part would be getting it loud enough.