SparkFun Terror-Min

This is SparkFun Terror-Min, the wonderful toy to annoy and bring terror to the most patient parents. It's a simple kit based on the principals of a Theremin that makes noise based on how the user interacts with the light sensor. This is a great kit that goes together quickly and easily for those who are just beginning how to learn to solder.

  • 1 x Terror-Min PCB
  • 1 x Piezo Speaker
  • 1 x photocell
  • 1 x PNP 2N3906 transistor
  • 1 x NPN 2N3904 transistor
  • 1 x 10k resistor
  • 1 x 0.47uF cap
  • 1 x mini power switch
  • 1 x battery holder pack
  • 4 x 1500mAh AA Alkaline Battery

SparkFun Terror-Min Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

2 Soldering

Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • gunnk / about 15 years ago / 5

    Great kit! My daughter (about to turn 14) put it together in about half an hour last night. It's great to see her getting enthusiastic about electronics. Kits like this and Lux Spectralis (which I expect to see assembled this weekend) are just the ticket!

    • It's good to see kids who LIKE electronics and are more interested in it than Baseball/Football/etc. I'm in 6th grade (well I would be if I WENT to school) and building an 8-bit Binary DIP Switch Letter input thingy! (Number-Letter Substitution Cipher style: 0000000 = a, 10000000 = A (bit 8 on the far left = Capital Yes/No), 00000001 = b, 10000001 = B, etc.)
      And one of these days I'm gonna actually buy one of these kits.

      • you're calling her a kid--but she's older than you right? and saying "8-bit Binary DIP Switch Letter input thingy isn't really that professional of a name--try making it sound professional and then make it into a neat acronym!! I'm building a 1/12th scale robot and gave it a neat name with acronym-- the A.S.R.B. (I call it Arby or Rb) the autonomous Science Research Buggy!! --not sure if anyone knows what the intel science talent search is....

        • When I said "kid", it was not meant as a belittling term--quite the opposite, actually, as since I am a kid myself I was simply saying "It's pretty cool to see another person in the 12-18 range doing this kind of stuff. Good job, bro". Also, I just didn't quite know what to call my project, and besides, it's not something I'd enter into anything like the Intel Super Official Sciencey Talenty Thingy with.

          Edit: Intel Super Official Sciencey Talenty Thingy was not meant to be belittling either. I just like making up funny names. :)

          • I was kidding! I am on the older side of that range--but I'm still in it! Totally with you on that---I'm a proud nerd and a great geek!!! And it's a high school course that has college credits that tag along with it sometimes--and if your school has it, I would definitely look into it (once you get into high school)!! It's a great class that lets you research all sorts of great scientific things!! If there's a way to test it, it can be researched!! It's a three year course. I'm researching autonomous vehicles and (currently UGV's) but my mentor is teaching me how to build and program AVG's now!! It's rediculously fun!! You also have to enter different contests--well, not really contests, more of places to show your studies and what you've accomplished--then get rated on how your study affects the world--It's a painful process!!

            • FlowerAskew / about 10 years ago / 1

              I'm in 8th grade and am making the M.M.L.F.R. A robot that follows a magnetic strip and can be used with different attatchments. I havn't started on building it yet, but hopefully I'l order my parts soon. Good luck on the 8-bit Binary DIP Switch Letter input thingy and Autonomous Science Research Buggy!

  • ctdahle / about 11 years ago / 2

    Extremely easy kit to build. It doesn't much sound like a real Theremin, but by moving your thumb over the sound hole on the piezo and your other thumb over the photocell, you can make some reasonably musical noises. Be aware that it almost certainly will drive parents nuts. Fun, but don't over do it, or you won't be allowed to order any more kits!

  • baum / about 12 years ago / 2

    Awesome curved traces!

  • Member #644355 / about 9 years ago / 1

    My nine year old daughter put this kit together, but we made a minor mistake. The two transistors which are marked 2N3906 and 2N3904 were switched and thus caused it not to work. I didn't know this until I talked to Chris from tech support and sent him several pictures of the Terror-min.

    The great news is, they're sending me new transistors AND a another kit in case I can't fix the current one. That's really nice of them!

  • Dr. CroW / about 12 years ago / 1

    Here is my version of the terror-min (spanish).

  • it's like an "Oh fudge" without as much noise and different ways to interact!! I'll take 15!

  • Justin Spencer / about 13 years ago / 1

    Is the speaker polarized? Can I put it in backwards?

    • Derp on my part, usually there isn't a diode inside of those things, and in my testing, you can pretty much ignore the polarity of passive speakers.

    • It is polarized. You cannot put it in backwards.
      Source: Product #7590 (Buzzer - PC Mount 12mm 2.048 kHz)

  • Nakor / about 14 years ago / 1

    So this works based on how much you block the light?

    • Judging by the fact that normal theremins get higher pitched the closer you put your hand to the antenna, this probably gets lower pitched the more light there is. And yes.

    • Yes--but whether it produces more sound if there is more light or the other way around--I don't know.....

      • baum / about 12 years ago / 1

        More light = less Ω = smaller RC time constant = higher frequency.

        Less light = more Ω = larger time constant = lower frequency.

        The amplitude isn't technically supposed to be changing.

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