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SparkFun Live

It's aliiiiiiiive!

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We at SparkFun share because we care, and today we're here to mitigate the Tuesday dooms with a fancy new video series called (drumroll): SPARKFUN LIVE. In this series, various talented and good-looking SparkFun folks will be doing live hacks and answering questions. Here, Nick Poole explains it all:



You can find the wishlist for the inaugural project - the OptoTheramin - here, so you can order your parts in time to follow along with our build session on Monday, December 9. This is a good project to start with because it has an astonishing range of earsplitting, cacophonous tones, and you can finish it in time to wrap it up and give it to someone with a really good sense of humor for the holidays. So get to it, and we'll see you on our YouTube channel on the ninth!

Comments 29 comments

  • Hoobert / about 10 years ago / 2

    I think you forgot something. It misses you.

    • But you get so much more flexibility from a uC!

      • Hoobert / about 10 years ago / 1

        But the application does not require the flexabilty a uC provides. However there are fewer calculations involved for fine tuning the finished product with a uC. That can be a factor in some cases. Using the RedBoard isn't the wrong way its just the overpowered way.

  • Please post directions for obtaining source code and schematic. I built one from the parts list and watching the web but don't seem to have the pots working as advertised.

  • claudiu / about 10 years ago / 1

    First, thanks a lot for starting this projects series, I am sure it will be awesome. Second, a question: as far as I know, the RedBoard needs at least 7V to be powered through the barrel jack; in the wishlist, there is a 4xAA battery holder - is this going to be enough? I never tried powering an Arduino other than using USB so this is probably a silly question but just want to make sure. Thanks in advance for your answer!

    • hello claudiu, if you are going to power the board with batteries, I recommend using a 9 volt battery, or 5 AA batteries 1.5 Volts, less than 7 volts, can cause problems in the supply of voltage and current by the regulator. excuse me for my English

      check out my page


      • claudiu / about 10 years ago / 1

        Thanks a lot for your reply. That's what I thought, too, and was not sure why the parts list for the project has a 4xAA battery holder and not a bigger one.

  • horack / about 10 years ago * / 1

    Wrong submission #2 for catopin contest.

  • horack / about 10 years ago * / 1

    Wrong submission #1 for caption contest.

  • Good day, first I congratulate you on your great career, you are an excellent engineer. I really liked yours projects. Like you I love technology, even so I am graduated as a lawyer that did not stop me. Since when I was 8 years old, I am dedicated to the study and development of electronic. I am currently working on a project. This is the address of my project


  • jrshell / about 10 years ago / 1

    Nick, My daughter (7) and I want to build a real theramin for her school music teacher. I've looked at a few resources, but I'm wondering if you have ever come across a good, but simple, set of instructions.

    • I'm afraid not. I've always been a Theramin fan, but I've never gotten around to building the real deal. I would imagine someone on this site has an idea, though. Hopefully someone else will jump in on this comment thread.

      If you end up finding some good directions and building something we'd love to see pictures, though!

      • jrshell / about 10 years ago / 1

        Thanks Nick. We won't be able to tune in to the live webcast, but we will definitely watch it once it is one YouTube.

    • Hoobert / about 10 years ago / 1

      A quick search brought me to here Seems to go into enough detail to help you understand, without requiring a PhD to read it. If you need help with the "art" of reading schematics this tutorial might help with that.

      • jrshell / about 10 years ago / 1

        Yes, that's the one I keep coming back to. I've been looking around for something that is a little more kid friendly, though. Of course, I'm sure there aren't too many kids interested in building a theremin. I guess I'm going to have to take the website and translate it into some instructions my daughter feels like she "help" me with.

        Thanks for looking around!

        • Member #82814 / about 10 years ago / 1

          Burns Theremins has quite a few models available ... similar to what Sheldon was using on Big Bang Theory.

        • jrshell, have you looked into building a three-radio Theramin? It's a lot simpler than starting from scratch, and there are a fair amount of pages on it. There's a good starting page here, and there are several videos on vimeo and youtube showing the process. I'm not sure if your (and your daughter's) aim in this project is the completed instrument, or the fabrication itself, but the three-radio version will have her making music much quicker, and allow her to understand the concept before she dives all the way into the nuts and bolts of it. You can also add a modded case, so that it looks more like a cool homemade Theramin, and less like a pile of old radios. My local thrift store had a pile of radios for $2 or $3 a piece, so I'm sure if you don't have any around the house, they can be acquired fairly inexpensively.

          • jrshell / about 10 years ago / 1

            I have not seen this before. Thanks for the link. Ultimately we want to make a real theremin, but this looks pretty cool! I thik we will try to dig up some radios and make this for Hack Friday.

          • MikeGrusin / about 10 years ago / 1

            PAiA has a theremin kit that's expensive but works very well (I've built several). You might also check out the opentheremin project, they're doing really interesting stuff.

            • jrshell / about 10 years ago / 1

              Not sure how I missed OpenTheremin. Thanks for the link! I'm also going to keep the kit in mind. If all else fails...

  • LightManCA / about 10 years ago / 1

    I think you would get better participation if it was in the evening hours. Also, the wish list just says "get an enclosure". I think without knowing what the final product will look like, it's hard to imagine an enclosure for it.

    • Did you watch the video? I used a 4" cardboard cube. So... just about anything hollow can be filled with OptoTheremin.

      EDIT: A creepy doll, for instance, would be amusing and nightmare inducing. But it's up to you.

    • We will also be recording the live events and releasing them on our YouTube channel afterwords for those who can't tune in to the live feed.

  • Kamiquasi / about 10 years ago / 1

    Nice! I ... less than three* ... SFE's educational slant :D

    * uh oh.. comment system ate my <!

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