Introduction: Stylophone Deconstruction

Many moons ago, a hirsute antipodean arrived on the fair shores of Britain bringing with him three traditional musical instruments of the Australian people - the didgeridoo, the wobble-board and the Stylophone.  His name was Rolf Harris, and he prospered here, singing simple folk songs such as "Waltzing Matilda", "Tie my Kangaroo Down, Sport", "Sun Arise" and, more recently "Stairway to Heaven".

He advertised the Stylophone on TV and it was extremely popular at one time, but as is the way of things, interest declined and the Stylophone was lost to the general populace.

As is also the way of things, the Wheel of Life turns and thirty five winters on people began to ask "Where are the Stylophones?".  To assuage this human need, the son of the original Stylophone inventor redesigned it and had it made in large numbers in the Glorious Democratic People's Republic of China

But people are fickle, and many sold their Stylophones on a Well Known Auction Site where I purchased one for a small consideration.  I am now going to strip it of its case and reveal what lies within.

Step 1: Opening the Case and First View

First thing to note is that the Stylophone does not want to be taken apart.   There are four glued plastic tabs which hold the two halves of the case together and I had to use a lot of force to crack the tabs.  I originally had an idea for a 'Pimp my Stylophone' type project but as it's not possible to split it neatly I'm now doing something different, but I still wanted the keyboard out of this for my prototype. 

Once apart, the photos show the view on the back of the circuit board.  Hover over the yellow boxes to see the component functions.  The quality of the wiring was appaling and two wires broke off just by moving them.

Step 2: The Business Side of the PCB

Once the dozen screws are removed, I could get to the 'business side' of the board.  The original Stylophone was a purely analogue device with a simple oscillator but the modern version has gone digital and uses technology far beyond what was available in 1967.  The black blob contains a custom IC which detects which pad the probe is touching and converts this information into musical tones.

The board above this is the audio amplifier and contains an old friend,  the LM386 chip, which gives a 0.5W output into the speaker.  I've detached this and will be using it in a future project.  A little audio amp always comes in handy.

The last photo is a close-up of some of the tiny SMD (surface mounted device) components.

Step 3: The Aftermath

I bought my first Stylophone with the sole intention of pulling it apart, but found it to be a fun instrument so I've bought another, pristine condition one to play with.  I got this for under £8 ($13) including P&P.