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Electronics Projects

       Project Prep

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, as the saying goes. Whether you feel particularly savage or not, if you enjoy listening to all kinds of music, you’ll enjoy this project. Here, we combine light and sound in an interesting way: We show you how to set up two rows of lights that illuminate to different frequencies of sound. When you put on a rowdy piece of music — say, swing or reggae — the lights dance all around. Every piece of music has its own, unique effect. We chose to arrange our lights like notes on a music staff, but you could put them in any arrangement you like. By working through this fun project, you get to know more about frequency filters, operational amplifiers, and how music can make things light up and get your toes tapping.

The Big Picture: Project Overview

After you complete this project, you’ll have a display of LEDs that light up in response to high- or low-frequency sounds. You can see our LED musical notes arrangement in the finished display in Figure 5-1.

figure 5-1

Here’s the overview of what you’ll be up to in the Dance to the Music project. You will Put together an electronic circuit to turn on the LEDs in response to sounds.

Half of the LEDs will flash to high-frequency sounds, and the other half will flash to low-frequency sounds. Create a template for the musical notes; then place the template on the box and drill holes in the top of a wooden box for the LEDs.

Wire two groups of LEDs and resistors. Turn on the juice (that is, pop in the batteries and flip the switch), and then turn on some music.

The circuit sends current to each group of LEDs in response to the music. Get dancing yourself.

This one’s infectious!