Introduction: SIMPLE Arduino VU Meter

About: Passionate Project Maker and Electronics Enthusiast!

Hi there this is my 4th instructable and hopefully my best! I have been away for a long time so hopefully this will be a good one!

Just to let you know , I am a 13 year old maker so please don't leave hate, Vote if you want to! ;D

For anyone who doesn't know a VU meter is a machine that turns sound into light, there are many good tutorials and videos on it! I will try to make one of these on an Arduino Uno to give my amazon Echo an upgrade!

Step 1: What You Will Need

To complete this project you will need a number of different things I will put a link to them as well !

  1. Some perfboard/ stripboard
  2. An arduino Uno
  3. Pin Headers
  4. An audio Cable to cut open
  5. Multi core wire
  6. solder!
  7. acrylic sheet
  8. piece of Wood, I used Oak ;D
  9. A led strip

You will need the Following tools

  1. A drill
  2. A saw
  3. some drill bits
  4. A soldering iron
  5. Sandpaper
  6. A hot glue gun
  7. Yourself!

Step 2: Prepare the Wood!

In this stage you will prepare your block of wood and attach the acrylic!

First, use a saw to make a U shape out of the wood , like I have in the picture. This may take some time, if you aren't using a band-saw.... You can see that I used a over sized drill bit , its not perfect.

Once done you need to measure the size of your wood, then cut the acrylic to the appropriate size. Once you have cut the acrylic line it up against the wood and check that they match. If they do then glue them together, I used hot glue but others would be much better!

Step 3: Attach the LED Strip...

Get your strip of LEDs and line it up against the interior of the wood. Once you have done so, cut it along the copper dots.

Check that the Leds all fit in and then heat up your hot glue gun because you'll need to get gluing them down.

Once done you can solder some wires to the led strip, these will later connect to the arduino, they are GND, Data In, and 5V

Step 4: Make the Arduino Shield

Now this is the hardest part, You have to make a shield for the arduino. First put all of your headers in the arduino. Then place the perfboard on top. Start soldering so that they stay in place! Once soldered lift the perfboard off the Arduino and you have a basic shield, that doesn't do anything xD.

Now, solder the wires from the led strip to the perfboard and attach the 5 V to 5 V , GND to GND and the DI to pin 2.

Now for soldering the Audio cable....

Cut the Audio cable in half and separate the 3 wires. Identify which is the ground and solder that down and link it to the GND pin. Pick one of the other two wires, it doesn't matter whether you use left or right. I used left. Solder that down and connect it to the A0 pin.

To test this you can go into the AnalogReadSerial Demo script and run it, when there is audio in the cable you should notice a difference in the Analog input. Else you have done something wrong.

Step 5: Programming

Unfortunately this step is difficult. I have found that on the serial monitor the audio signal changes a lot and varies between audio cables. So you will have to make some adjustments. What you want is that so when there is no audio, the serial monitor states '0' and when there is there is a number between 1-10

You will need to fiddle around with this like I did to find the perfect equation. if anyone has a solution, I would love to hear it! In the end my number was to divide by 18 though yours may be different.

You will need to install the FastLED library to use the script.

Once done , press the upload and watch it go!

Step 6: Thanks!

I hope you enjoyed this projects and possibly made it! If you could vote for me that would be amazing! If you want to like this project as this would mean the world to me as would a comment!

Thank you and Goodbye


Automation Contest 2017

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Automation Contest 2017