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Light Up Snare Answered

Would it be possible to assemble a circuit using a piezo sensor and a string of LEDs so that a snare lights up when hit? My knowledge of stuff like this is extremely limited (read: non-existent) so any help would be appreciated! Also, if my idea is useless, it'd be great if other ways of doing this were discussed. Thanks!



10 years ago

This is quite odd as i've had this idea in my head for a while after someone give me a pair of light up drum sticks, but only thought about making it for a school project the other day, i'm glad i've found a forum that's recent :) All the ideas so far seem as if they'd work, but would the mic on the sound to light board be able to handle the volume of the drum?

Thanks for all the input, guys!

Mechanically, the simplest way would be to get what is called a "magnetic reed switch". It is a switch that is held open by a magnet, and closes (turns on) when the magnet is removed.


10 years ago

I think you could do something interesting with a piezo disk. However, I suspect that you'd have a much easier time using a conventional microphone:
  • There are many published sound-sensitive circuits that you could use.
  • There are many cheap sound-sensitive device sold that might be "bendable" to this sort of purpose.
  • You didn't really want to glue a piezo disk to your drum, did you?
  • You might be able to replace the microphone in one of those conventional circuits with a piezo disk to get decreased and more "local" sensitivity.

Yeah, it sounds like using a microphone would be easier than physically coupling to the drum (and would interfere with the sound less). Putting the mike right next to the skin and turning the sensitivity down should help eliminate interference from other sound (eg... your other drums).

. Other than a mic being easier to obtain (everyone seems to have a cheap mic laying around), I think a piezo element would be a better choice. . Drums don't have a variable sustain to speak of, so all that's really needed is an trigger/amplitude signal and, for a lighting circuit, it doesn't have to have that wide of a dynamic range. . It would not be necessary to mount a piezo sensor on (or near) the drum head. Anywhere on the shell should work. Gluing a small sensor to the shell (bolting would probably work better, but I'm not going to recommend drilling holes) shouldn't affect tone quality of the drum. . A piezo element should be more durable. . A piezo on the shell would all but eliminate external sound pickup (other than what the drum normally picks up and re-radiates already). . . If he were going to be doing any thing with the sound of the drum a mic would probably be a better choice, but all he really needs is a trigger signal - it needn't be hi-fi.

I had in mind those little electret microphone cartridges you can buy from surplus dealers for about $0.30; not a "real" microphone. I'd expect these to be at least as rugged as a piezo - all the guts are well-protected... Another possibility is a small speaker, used in "microphone" mode. The ideal circuit would be capable of being mounted on each drum in a set, and lighting up the LEDs only when THAT drum was struck. I suppose that the ideal thing would be a pressure or flow sensor mounted in one of those holes in the sides of most drums (hmm. Not snares?) My son's a drummer; I may have to play with this one...

. I like the idea of a pressure transducer. Any idea what the pressure inside the drum spikes to? You might be able to use an auto manifold vacuum sensor (piped up "backward"). Maybe you can find an unused/obsolete/slightly-out-of-spec pressure transmitter from an industrial controls business. . Don't know if it would handle the stress, but a washer style piezo under one of the tuning nuts should work very well and be inconspicuous. . Keep us posted.

Well, I've got exams until next Friday, so it's pretty much in the planning stages at the moment. I've got a long summer ahead of me though, so lots of playing around with this, hopefully! I'm pretty willing to try both the mic & piezo methods - I'm definitely thinking of getting that Sound-to-light kit from Maplin, then modding if necessary.

. If you have much adjustment at all on the light organ, you should be able to use mic, piezo, or speaker for your input. If not, a simple preamp (741?) should take care of things. . This would look real nice with the LEDs inside clear/translucent drum shells. Especially with separate controllers/lights for each drum. It would add a lot of stage presence for the drummer and provide a "tag" for the band. "Did you see that group with the lights in the drums?!?!? Awesome!" . You keep us posted, too.

. hmmmm With a light enough sensor, one could trigger off the drum sticks without affecting play too much.

You wouldn't need the piezo, just arrange the snare so that it either pulls a switch when it gets hit, or it pulls a plastic strip from between a pair of contacts that will then close and switch the LEDs on.

Are you thinking "snare" like in "trap"? I was thinking "snare" like in "drum"...

. LOL This is in the Music forum, isn't it?

Whistles innocently

I was looking in "all", there've been a couple of trapping threads...

Yeah, I read forums via "all" too. Sometimes is has "posted in " and sometimes it doesn't. I wonder if that's a bug?

. I posted a bug report on that shortly after the last site upgrade (but before the new bug reporting system was rolled out).

> plastic strip from between a pair of contacts . A clothes pin works well for a contact carrier. Just attach some metal contacts (eg, thumbtacks) to the jaws and place a piece of plastic between them. . . The piezo idea will only produce a single, very short pulse. You would need extra circuitry to maintain an output to your signaling device. . The idea is far from useless, just not very practical in this case.

I posted a similar forum ages ago, but with a trumpet instead of the snare. My friend and I wanted to string LEDs to our horns before the marching show... hehehe...

You could hide the electronics in teh muffler things in the end...

Actually, we were thinking of working the electronics into our gloves. But the thing was, we wanted the LEDs to get brighter as we got louder.

Microphone resistance unit, I saw something about microphones that were more like resistors but either way it's easy, using an average volume circuit to ramp up the current of stages of LEDs liek an equaliesr...

I'm not sure how it works exactly, I'm not amazing at electronics, really my area is insane ideas or oddball jobs...