Intro: Quell the Screeching - Quieting Kids Electronic Toys
Our girls just recently got these little speaking toys for their birthday. They shout random phrases and letters and colours if you press the buttons. Even though they have a volume adjustment, our girls immediately figured out how they work and always keep them on maximum. While it doesn't bother me, it did bother my girlfriend and their father, so I got an idea for an easy way to fix them so they still worked as they did before, but quieter and less abrasively.
To complete this, you'll just need a screwdriver or two, your wits, and a smallish piece of felt.
This guide will hopefully be generic enough that you can try the same fix on any electronic toys, not just these strange little blue "tablets"...
Step 1: Open'er Up
To start, figure out how your device opens up. In this case there were just a few self tapping screws to remove. Some other toys might have clips that you'll need to feel around for with a flathead screwdriver or some other crazy mechanisms that a Chinese toy design engineer might come up with.
Also, it's amazing how little is in this thing. I checked out that PCB near the top and it's tiny with he whole thing run by an epoxy domed chip-on-board device.
Step 2: Pull the Speaker
The speaker might just be pressed into the case and will just pop out, but in my case there were two small self tapping screws holding it in that I had to remove. Make note as you get to this step of the routing of the wiring. Sometimes these toys can be hard to put back together if you don't route the wires the same way as they were originally (They might get pinched by the case).
Step 3: Fashion Some Sound Dampening Discs
Take some felt, and cut out a circle that's around the same shape as the speaker grille. I made two for each of these tablets as one didn't provide enough of a volume decrease. You might even be able to stack more than two depending on your toy. The felt can compress quite a bit. Once you've got your discs made, stick them in against the grille, then put the speaker back in place. If your speaker screws down this is pretty easy. If it just sits in the case then you might need to do some tricky 4 handed maneuvering to close the case while holding the speaker in place.
Step 4: Closing
Close it up and give it a whirl. Hopefully it's less of a screeching demon and is at a more acceptable volume. Not only does this decrease the audible level of the toys, but it also acts as a lowpass filter and cuts some of the crackly shrillness of the really cheap sound systems. Our girls didn't seem to notice and everyone around them is a lot happier.
If you try this out and have any questions or come across something strange in a toy you open, post a comment below and I can try to give some helpful / wild guessing advise.