Introduction: NOISE FROM TOYS (Part I)

About: broken robot


I would like to share the results of some experiments in Circuit Bending and talk about how to make a noise collage* from old children's toys.

*Enthusiasts create many different instruments in this way, a small part of them use this direction to search for and reproduce Noise as a complex of experimental sounds within the framework of musical culture.


Instruments and some parts:

  • Soldering iron;
  • Drill of various diameters (0.6-1.2mm ~ 8-20mm);
  • Screwdrivers;
  • It is desirable to have a power supply of 3-9 volts, but you can use the batteries that come with the toy;
  • Wires for connection and soldering;
  • Connectors;
  • Switches;
  • Potentiometers for different values (1 Ohm ~ 1 M Ohm or biggest);
  • imagination!

Step 1: To Make the Noise We ..

We need a few old musical toys ..

We are talking about the most simple and cheap toys because in regular Circuit Bending experiments is used are more complex and expensive toys and circuits ..

I found one of them at a flea market .. I try to buy only those toys that have already been broken before me by the previous owner ~ the microcircuit inside those toys is usually perfect and that toy is no pity to completely break ..

Step 2: Microcircuit From a Toy With a Musical Sample

We can start extracting and preparing a circuit board with a microcircuit ..

First, we need to disassemble the toy and find a circuit board inside .. It should be noted that all boards in these toys look pretty the same .. The circuit board can be connected to diode (LED) lamps, buttons, speakers, and other interactive controls .. Occasionally come across toys with electro-mechanical parts and all function is worked by the command that writing into the microcircuit ..

When we disassemble the toy, we find the circuit board with a microcircuit and the other parts too ..

Step 3: Search for Noise

When the toy is opened and the microcircuit is found, we can start to prepare them ..

For a more simple way we need to find a resistor on the board ~ It can be an SMD resistor or THT resistor .. SMD resistor is not so simple for soldering because it is very small, and a THT resister is more comfortable for soldering because it is larger ..

Such a resistor is usually used for changing the parameters of the frequency reproduction of the musical sample recorded inside the microcircuit ..

This toy was an SMD resistor, not the most convenient resistor .. Think it is not a problem, ~ it is will allow us to see how we can find the solution to a much more difficult task ..

In order to check whether we found the resistor correctly, turn on the sound on the toy and touch the resistor with your finger ~ if the sound change then it's the right choice!

Myself, to check it, I used the small crocodiles attached to the wires and connected to the connectors from the Arduino (2.54mm Dupont Jumper and Pin headers) to touch the SMD resistor .. and, check ..

To change the playback frequency of the sound sample, we need to replace this resistor with a potentiometer .. My practice shows that is a 500K Ohm ~ 1M Ohm potentiometer is good for that, but if you can find a potentiometer of greater resistance, it's even better ..

Now, we remove this resistor with the help of a soldering iron, so that it can be soldered wires and connectors to the poles on the board ..


Step 4: Preparation

In order to be creative, you have to destroy .!

We completely remove all old wires from the board and replace them ..

Now we need to solder the small pin-connectors to the connection points ..

Once I found parts of the Arduino components (Jumpers, Connectors, Pins, and other hardware stuff) and now use them everywhere .. This is convenient, especially when you often need to reconnect different wires again ..Those connectors can be so helpful, for example then you need to make flexible connections, creating one such connection once, and in the future, it helps a lot to disconnect and connect it again and again ..

Imagination is a power tool that you needed to the next steps ..

Now, we need to find a suitable structure for the location of future controls that will be added by us - buttons, switches, and audio output.

I found «eyes» from another toy and want to use them in this design ~ they fit well and the light from the diode lamps is visible through their clear glasses .. In addition, I found cogs and soldered wires to them to create special noise buttons ..

Do you remember how we touched the resistor to check it and the sound is changed .? These «touchable buttons» can enable us to touch the connections between the potentiometer and other contacts on the circuit ~ to find Noise, just use different combinations of touches .!

In order to connect the toy to audio equipment, we need to solder a special way for the audio output signal .. Necessary to find the jack of the audio connector, and here is used the TS connector (input jack1/4 Inch mono) and a switch ~ that can choose between sound from the toy and output to audio equipment ..

Step 5: Something Is Lost and Something Was Found

I lost the audio signal output to the toy when the connectors and switches were connected, and all the wires were connected to it. Perhaps this is because I should try using a two-channel switch, which I did not have now.

This is the whole experiment at the first, and I found an amazing sound that is obtained if a resistor is placed between the wires of the audio output: when I use a potentiometer 330 ohm under and the sound turned out to change .!

After that, I found a potentiometer (rheostat) or even less resistance (50 ohms) and when I installed it, the sound changed and it got even better .!

As a result, we have distorted a musical sample recorded in a toy on a microcircuit and turned it into noise .. Moreover, we can in some way manage the parameters of noise with the help of special «touchable buttons» on a resistor ..

I made an audio recording and that's how a prepared toy sounds :

Step 6: To Be Continued ..

That is all for the first part of the instructions ..

In the next part, we'll get to connect several such small toys into one, thus creating even more amazing Noise Sounds .!


Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017