Introduction: TV-B-Gone Hoodie
Whenever I bring my TV-B-Gone out to restaurants, I always look real suspicious holding it up and pointing it around, so I've been looking for a more subtle and dinner-appropriate solution. I got zippered hoodie sweatshirt from the thrift store which had a convenient logo on the upper left front, complete with rhinestones! I thought the IR LEDs would blend in quite nicely, so I stitched it into the sweatshirt. The batteries are in the pocket. I broke out the pushbutton leads and used conductive thread to sew paths to the edge of the zipper, which has a metal pull. I made two little pads with the thread that are bridged by the zipper pull when it passes by, so all I have to do is zip the sweatshirt up or down to activate the TV turning-off action. Works great! You can see the project at my website, or view the full image set on Flickr.
This is an advanced tutorial. For a basic intro to sewing with conductive thread, please see my electronic embroidery tutorial.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.
Step 1: Prep the Circuit Board and Battery Holder
Assemble your tv-b-gone circuit according to the instructions. Break out the leads of the push button That have traces connected to them on the PCB with wires. Strip and coil the ends of the wires to prepare for sewing. Attach wires to the power leads with stripped and coiled ends as well. Make sure the leads of the battery holder are long enough to reach the top of the pocket, and extend them if necessary. Stitch the coiled leads to a fabric swatch with conductive thread, then stitch little pads of conductive thread that are easy to stitch over with the machine. Machine stitch in a small zigzag to connect to this pad, then to the edge of the fabric with a straight stitch. Hand stitch more pads at the bottom edge of the fabric swatch.
Step 2: Affix the Circuit to the Sweatshirt
Use an awl to poke holes for the LEDs to stick through, then stick them through the holes. Tack down the circuit board using a hem stitch, but make sure to test that your tvbgone circuit functions (according to Limor's instructions) before hiding it between layers of fabric.
Step 3: Stitch the Traces on the Sweatshirt
From the front of the garment, feel out where the conductive pads you sewed on the swatch are. Mark them with pins, and stitch lines from the two switch leads to the edge of the zipper, being sure not to cross the leads. At first I tried to use conductive thread for the power, too, but it turned out that the resistance accrued over such a distance was prohibitively high, so I later added two small flexible wires (stranded wire) to connect the battery to the circuit board.
Step 4: Stitch the Zipper Switch
If you leave long enough tails when you machine stitch the switch leads, you can just thread your needle with the tail and keep sewing. Stitch little pads right next to the zipper that will be bridged by the zipper pull. Sand any excess paint off of the area of the zipper pull that will come into contact with the thread, including in between the little teeth.
Step 5: Attach the Batteries
Like I mentioned earlier, I tried to use conductive thread to attach the batteries. It ended up not being able to power the board (too much resistance in the long thread), so I added stranded wire to make the battery connections. Either way, I put the holder in the pocket and poked the leads through the inside.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Test out your zipper switch and get crackin'!