I have had a lot of fun with this project so I decided to share it with some of you pranksters out there. Basically, we will be modifying a can of Altoids Mints to shock someone when they try to pick it up and steal your candy.The two basic components are a can of mints and the circuit board from a used disposabale camera.
Step 1: Materials
This project can be done for less than $3.50.Most of the materials can be obtained very easily and are relatively inexpensive.You can get a used disposable camera for free at Walgreens or almost any place that develops film.Just ask them and see what happens (I got 12 cameras on my first try!) You will also need a AA battery holder available at any Radio Shack for about $1.00 (holder not shown in photo).Everything else is listed below:
1.Altoids Mints can
3.26 AWG wire
5.Solder (or Wire Glue)
6.Electrical tape/Scotch tape
7.AA battery holder
Step 2: Disassembling the Camera
First you must take apart the disposable camera to access the circuit board inside. This can be done by simply prying open the camera case with a small screwdriver.Use the screwdriver to lift up on the plastic tabs located along the seam of the camera (you may have to remove part of the paper label to do this). DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF THE CIRCUIT BOARD WHILE DOING THIS OR YOU MAY GET A NASTY SHOCK.
Once the case is opened and the halves are seperated, locate the battery and remove it immediately.Please remember not to touch the circuit board because it may still have a residual charge even after the battery is removed.
Step 3: Removing the Circuit Board
Before removing the circuit board,it is important to discharge the capacitor to avoid being shocked.
The capacitor is the large,black cylinder with two metal posts attached to it.To discharge it,simply touch the two metal posts at the same time with a screwdriver (you may hear a loud noise and see a bright flash of sparks). It will scare you to death but get over it.
It nothing happens then the capacitor was'nt charged to begin with and in either case the circuit board can now be safely removed by gently pulling it out with your fingers.
Step 4: Modifying the Circuit Board
Moding the circuit board is rather simple.First, remove the capacitor by cutting through the two metal terminals with a pair of wire cutters.Throw the capacitor away.Now solder two pieces of 26 AWG wire to the two contacts where the capacitor used to be.
Next,locate the little metal button near the center of the circuit board.This is usually only held in place with a piece of tape and can easily be removed. Once the button is removed,replace it with a dab of solder.Be certain the solder touches both of the circuit pathways so they are connected permanently (in the photo I have used a dab of conductive Wire Glue in place of solder).
Also,break off that long metal arm on the circuit board as it will only get in the way later on.
Step 5: Attaching the Battery Holder
The battery holder is easily attached to the circuit board.Simply strip the ends of the positive and negative wires and then twist them onto the two metal tabs that used to hold the battery (be careful not to reversed the positve and negative).
You could also solder the wires on to the battery terminals but I hate to solder and always try to get around it whenever I can.
Also,I like to put a piece or two of electrical tape over the metal terminals just to make sure they don't touch the lid of the box (this will become more apparent later on).
Step 6: Modifying the Mint Can
First,remove the lid from a can of Altoids by gently prying up on the two metal tabs that hold the lid in place.It is very important that these metal tabs are bent back far enough so they never touch the lid of the box as this will be important later on.
After removing the lid,coat the inside of the box with several layers of electrical tape.Add a few more layers to the walls of the box so that the circuit board and battery case will fit nice and snug.Leave a small area exposed so that one of the wires can be attached directly to the metal can.
Also,coat the rim of the can with some clear plastic tape.Make about a 1/4 inch flange all around the rim of the can so that the lid and can are never in contact with each other.
Step 7: Inserting the Circuit Board
Insert the circit board and battery holder into the can as shown in the photo.Tape one of the wires coming from the capacitor leads directly to the metal inside the can (remember you were supposed to leave a bare spot with no tape). This wire will 'electrify' the can (be sure the end of the wire is stripped so it comes in good contact with the can)
The other capacitor wire is bent over the rim of the can about 1/4 of an inch.The clear tape on the rim of the can will insure that this wire does not actually come in contact with the can itself.The purpose of this wire is to come in contact with the lid when it is placed on the can (thus 'electrifying' the lid). Please take note that the circuit board is always 'live' when the battery is in place (you get about 4 hours of shocking fun out of a standard AA battery).
You are almost finished but be sure to sand off some of the paint on the metal tabs.When the lid is in place,touching the lid and one of the metal tabs at the same time creates the electric shock.Also,the paint on the can acts as an insulator but tiny scratches in the paint can allow electricity to 'leak' through and shock you.That is why I like to coat the can with a couple layers of clear lacquer (though rubber cement may work just as well).I WOULD BE HAPPY TO MAKE ONE OF THESE FOR YOU IF YOU CAN'T DO IT OR DON'T HAVE THE TIME.FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS.ENJOY!!