Library Sound Meter

Introduction: Library Sound Meter

This instructable was created as part of the Instructables Build Night with Chibitronics at MakeICT.

We received Chibitronics peel-and-stick electronics for crafting circuits for an Instructable Build Night. These circuit stickers allow anyone to add effects to just about any item you can think of using lights (LEDs). Included were effect and sensor stickers so the lights can do more than just being on, they could be animated or influenced by external input such as making a sound or touching an item. It was with an effect in mind that we built something that was affected by the environment around it, a library sound meter.

Step 1: Preparing to Build the Sound Meter

For this project you'll need:

The effect sticker has three corners that stick to the copper tape: one corner is positive (shown as +), one corner is negative (shown as –) and the third corner is called the signal that generates a light pattern. The signal is pre-programmed to affect the lights connected to it on based to the amount of sound that is generated.

Step 2: Building the Circuit

We are going to use the sound sensor template that Chibitronics has created. The space between the lines where the LED stickers go is just 1/4" and using the template has the right spacing. The effect stickers are a little bit trickier when laying out the copper tape since they are farther apart and have three corners.

Applying the copper tape:

  • Start at the + battery terminal until you reach the corner where the tape will turn.
  • To make a clean, flat corner, fold the tape away from the desired direction. The sticky side will be up.
  • Now fold over the tape, the sticky side will get folded on itself, causing a tight, square corner once you flatten where the tape turns directions.
  • Cut the tape when you reach the + corner of the sound sensor location.
  • Continue until you have covered all the shaded lines of the circuit.

Applying the Chibitronics circuit stickers:

  • The LED wide side is the + and the pointed end is the - and easy to get right as the template is labeled
  • Pay close attention to the + and - when you place the sound sensor on the copper tape

Testing the circuit:

  • Place the - side of the battery on the - battery location
  • Fold the paper over
  • Attach binder or paper clip
  • It should light up when you blow on the sound sensor

Step 3: Assemble the Sound Meter

Build your Library Sound Meter with any artwork you like. The owl was chosen as the bird is wise and quiet, a perfect animal for any library.

Assemble the sound meter:

  • Turn on the sound meter
  • Verify it lights up with sound
  • Leave it on as you check placement behind your artwork
  • Use the glue stick or invisible tape to attach circuit to artwork
  • Leave the battery corner of the circuit page loose so there is easy access to the battery

Adjustments to the sound meter:

  • The lights may not be bright enough to see through the artwork and holes may need to be created where the LEDs are underneath
  • Sounds may be harder to detect without a hole where the microphone is located

Enjoy your sound meter.

Protected Contest

Participated in the
Protected Contest

Small Spaces Contest

Participated in the
Small Spaces Contest

Explore Science Contest

Participated in the
Explore Science Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge

      Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge
    • Super-Size Speed Challenge

      Super-Size Speed Challenge
    • Audio Challenge 2020

      Audio Challenge 2020



    Times have changed, public libraries now have "quiet zones", small areas where noise is kept low. The rest of the facility tends to be a hubub of activity and talk, this thanks to the internet as municipalities try to re- invent them so as to be more attractive to patrons. As a kid, I remember anything above a whisper anywhere would get you booted out by some old crone who looked like she overdosed on ugly pills. ;-)

    Still though, this looks like a fun project.