The Light Listener

About: I love building things and taking pictures.

There has been the Ghost Whisperer and the dragon whisperer (How To Train Your Dragon) but has there ever been a LIGHT LISTENER??? With one earbud and a solar panel YOU can become the world's FIRST Light Listener!

(Some restrictions apply. You will NOT be the world's first Light Listener because I will:)

Step 1: Get the Parts

You will need:
 Ceramic earphone (I got mine at Mouser along with a lot of other great parts.)
 Solar Panel(s) (You can use one or two...I used two because it gave me more surface area. More surface area = more noise!)
 Tape or a hot glue gun (I used an abundance of tape for speed but, hot glue will work too.)
 Wire (Stranded OR solid core works.)

 Amplifier (Yes, you still need the earpiece)
 Female 3.5mm (or 2.5mm) female headphone jack (This is if you have a male headphone jack on your earphone and don't want to cut it or if you want to plug it into an amplifier.)

Additional Notes:
 The ceramic earphone can be replaced with a piezo transducer but that would NOT be an earpiece.

Step 2: Build the Solar Assembly

Take your solar panel(s) and wire them in series...skip this if you are using one. Solder two wires from the ends and you are done with the solar assembly.

Step 3: Build the Rest

Cut the headphone jack off (not necessary if female one is used.) Then solder the two wires (or leads) to the wires from the solar panel. Hot glue or using tape, secure them together.

Step 4: Amp It.

Attach a male to male headphone jack from the solar panel to the amp. Next where there is the headphone sign, plug in the male jack.

Step 5: Enjoy.

Hold it up to the closest CFL (this is necessary) and you will hear a buzz.

Hold it up to the sun or an incandescent lightbulb and you will hear a constant click.

When I was taking pictures of the finished product, I used flash. When the flash flashed, it made an extremely large click that was audible to me even WITHOUT putting the earphone in my ear.

Who knows what will happen with a STAR like POLARIS???

The earphone turns voltage into sound.

The CFL is flashing at high speeds (sort of like PWM) and that is why you hear a buzz. (I'm not sure but this is my theory.)

The sun and incandescent lightbulb click every so often because like a BEAMbot, it collects a charge and when the voltage is high enough, it turns that volage into sound.

The Flash gave the solar panel a super charge and the earphone turned that surge of voltage into sound or, a click.



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    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 5

    Hmmmm I bet you could use this to listen to the laser audio from my "MintyBeam" instructable !!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't even know people still looked at this. :-)

    I made this ible BEFORE I read about that. I saw it in one of the engineer's mini notebooks.

    Thanks , though.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Have YOU tried it? If you want to know you should build one. I am not going to test it for you but, theoretically it should be a series of clicks...try looking at your remote via a camera...there is a lot more LIGHT that you yourself have not seen.

    This idea to listen to light has actually been around since the 1970's. I know a man who set up his stereo system over 25 years ago with IR transmitters and receivers. It played his music on speakers around the room using light. Fun stuff.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe you could take the output from a music playing thing which normally goes to speakers, and instead hook it up to a light. Then when that light is shining on you solar cell you hear the song.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, that is how I discovered this would work. If you happen to have a copy of Gonzo Gizmos or, seen then you would know what I mean. This idea of listening to music via light originated with Simon Quellen Field and was aired on one of the Weekend Projects with Kip Kay. Thanks for the feedback, though.