Category Archives: Circuit-Bending

Circuit-Bending, a Fun Way to Learn About Electronics

This month the SHARC Report looks at Circuit-Bending, the art of rewiring battery powered electronic devices to exploit their hidden potential.  I just finished my first album of circuit-bent music titled Um… Uh… Gum Eh?

front cover

Tin Can Luminary is John Hardin (KI6DGX) and Amy Gustin.  Here is the back cover:

fixed backwww

Here’s a couple of samples of the music on it:

I’ll be showing off some of my circuit-bent creations on Friday May 3rd from 5-9pm at the Hemp Connection in Garberville as part of Arts Alive.  Here’s a few of the devices I’ll bring out:

Here’s a few videos to help you make sense of the circuit-bent movement, and to get you started bending yourself:

Here’s Q Reed Ghazala’s piece, Hymn for the Faces of Belmez in it’s entirety:

Below is a good tutorial about how to add a pitch-bend knob to most electronic toys.    This is a very useful and easy modification:

The pitch resistor is usually labeled R1 on the circuit board.  You can also find the pitch resistor by touching it with your finger.  If the pitch of the toy changes when you touch it, you’ve got the right one.

Here’s the link to find the PAIA oscillator kit I described on the show:

http://www.paia.com/bckit1/

Here’s a few circuit-bending links to explore:

http://www.anti-theory.com/

http://www.getlofi.com/

http://casperelectronics.com/

Listen to The SHARC Report on KMUD, Garberville on the first Thursday of every month at 5pm Pacific Time, or on the web, both streaming and archived, at http://www.kmud.org

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Electronic Components

Hello radio lovers.  This month The SHARC Report discusses electronic components.  You can find The SHARC Report on the archive at www.kmud.org.  The SHARC Report airs on KMUD on the first Thursday of the month at 5pm.  These images illustrate some of the topics covered in this months show.

Cells, not Batteries.

Resistors

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Capacitance and Energy Stored in an Electric Field

Watch capacitors explode with excessive voltage

Also, capacitors can store a lethal charge of electricity for years after the device has been unplugged.  Be extremely careful with capacitors!

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The Return of Circuit-Bending

The Return of Circuit Bending

So I didn’t tell you about our circuit bending workshop. I mean, I told you it was coming, plenty of times, but I didn’t tell you how it went. Well, it went swimmingly! We had a great turnout, more than I expected. My only regret was that with so many people in the workshop, building kits took the entire time, and CMKT4 didn’t get a chance to play.

CMKT4, who gave up their only day off on their 30 day West Coast tour, to do this workshop in G,ville, told me that our event turned out to be their highest grossing workshop on the entire tour. They had a great time at the event as well, and look forward to returning to Garberville soon. Next time, we’ll get started earlier and go later.

I had a terrific time! I met some cool new people, got to know some people I already knew better, and got to introduce some of my Ham friends to some of my music friends. I also got to stalk our local thrift stores with CMKT4 and ask some circuit bending questions of someone who knows their way around the insides of a Casio mini-keyboard.

I also got to build this spiffy cigar box drum machine. I love the sound. It reminds me of 50s sci-fi movies.

 

The box contains three piezoelectric contact microphones (probably overkill). The underside has three different sized expansion springs for reverb. Above board you can see a collection of soft drink lids, beer bottle caps, finger cymbals, a small brass bell, five different sized compression springs and two small wire chimes surgically removed from little plush toys.

I grabbed one of those little PAIA two transistor oscillator kits that SHARC was giving away at the event,

took it home and built this little light-controlled, Theremin-like instrument. I housed the project in a burned out solar yard light.

 

Since this oscillator runs on only one and a half volts, the single AAA battery holder in the yard light provided the power solution. I removed the LED, circuit board and solar panel from the lamp, replacing them with the oscillator circuit card and five photo-resistors wired in series, routing various wires through the hole that originally accommodated the LED. I found a speaker that fit perfectly into an old spray paint can lid, and mounted it to the bottom of the lamp with aluminum angle brackets I cut from an aluminum can. I mounted a momentary action switch, and an output jack in the lamp flange. The switch turns the oscillator on and off, the amount of light coming in the top controls the pitch.

I really hope everyone else who participated in the event had as much fun as I did. I hope CMKT4 will return to Garberville as soon as this Fall and we can have another circuit-bending event, and next time we’ll have some music, maybe including some local circuit-benders.

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Photos From SHARC Potluck and Circuit Bending Workshop

Some photos from our 2012 SHARC club Potluck and Circuit Bending workshop

A few words from our president…

Dessert!

Zach Adams of CMKT4 gets the workshop underway

A new contact mic is born

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CMKT4 to Lead Circuit-Bending Workshop/Concert in Garberville

CMKT4 to Lead Circuit-Bending Workshop/Concert in Garberville

CMKT4 at The Bent Festival

On Monday, May 21, 2012, the Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club or SHARC, presents a circuit-bending workshop led by the Dekalb, Ill based circuit-bending band, CMKT4. The event begins at 5pm with a potluck dinner, and the workshop will start at 6pm. Circuit-bending, a term coined by Q Reed Ghazala in the 1980’s refers to the art of rewiring battery powered electronic devices to exploit their hidden potential. Since then, circuit-bending has grown into a musical movement.

 

The workshop teaches skills like soldering, wiring, and creative re-purposing, and encourages everyone to experiment, and have fun with electronics. Each participant will build a CMKT4 contact microphone that can be used as a high quality acoustic instrument pickup, or to turn nearly nearly any object into an electrified musical instrument. The cost of the workshop is $15 and includes all of the parts, a comic book instruction manual, use of all necessary tools and supplies, and expert instruction. CMKT4 will also perform a set of original circuit-bent music to conclude the event.

 

Circuit-bending is a great way to learn about electronics while having fun. The Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club encourages everyone to explore and enjoy electronics safely. Ham radio is a great way to learn more about electronics, and to meet others who share that interest. Call Jack Foster at 923-3700 for more information about this event.

CMKT4 Contact Microphone

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This Month on The SHARC Report, Zach Adams of CMKT4

The SHARC Report Talks Circuit Bending With Zach Adams of CMKT4 on KMUD

On Thursday, May 3 at 5pm on KMUD, The SHARC Report will present an interview with Zach Adams of the Dekalb, Ill based circuit bending band, CMKT4. In the interview, Adams talks about circuit bending, the DIY electronics workshops they teach, and his band’s upcoming West Coast tour, which will bring them to the Garberville Veterans Hall on Monday May 21st, and to the Ink People’s Annex in Arcata on Tuesday May 22.

 

Circuit bending, or hardware hacking, involves rewiring electronic circuits to exploit their untapped potential. CMKT4 uses a number of circuit-bent instruments in their music, ranging from rewired sound modules from talking stuffed animals, to educational electronic toys, to modified synthesizers and fuzz boxes, to make their music.

Besides playing circuit-bent music, the band makes and markets electronic kits for circuit-benders and musicians who want to build their own equipment. They also host workshops to teach the skills and inspire the imagination to do it. CMKT4 will lead hands-on circuit bending and electronic kit building workshops at both the upcoming Garberville and Arcata events. The Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club, or SHARC presents this radio interview, and upcoming Garberville CMKT4 event to encourage people to have fun with electronics, safely.

 

SHARC offers a Technician-Class Ham license prep course that covers basic electronics, and Hams are a great resource for anyone who likes to play with soldering pencils and circuit boards. Call Jack Foster at 923 3700 for more info about the Technician-Class license prep class or about the upcoming CMKT4 event.

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SHARC Report for May 3 Features Interview with CMKT4 Member Zach Adams

The SHARC Report Talks Circuit Bending With Zach Adams of CMKT4 on KMUD

On Thursday, May 3 at 5pm on KMUD, The SHARC Report will present an interview with Zach Adams of the Dekalb, Ill based circuit bending band, CMKT4. In the interview, Adams talks about circuit bending, the DIY electronics workshops they teach, and his band’s upcoming West Coast tour, which will bring them to the Garberville Veterans Hall on Monday May 21st, and to the Ink People’s Annex in Arcata on Tuesday May 22.

Circuit bending, or hardware hacking, involves rewiring electronic circuits to exploit their untapped potential. CMKT4 uses a number of circuit-bent instruments in their music, ranging from rewired sound modules from talking stuffed animals, to educational electronic toys, to modified synthesizers and fuzz boxes, to make their music.

Besides playing circuit-bent music, the band makes and markets electronic kits for circuit-benders and musicians who want to build their own equipment. They also host workshops to teach the skills and inspire the imagination to do it. CMKT4 will lead hands-on circuit bending and electronic kit building workshops at both the upcoming Garberville and Arcata events. The Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club, or SHARC presents this radio interview, and upcoming Garberville CMKT4 event to encourage people to have fun with electronics, safely.

SHARC offers a Technician-Class Ham license prep course that covers basic electronics, and Hams are a great resource for anyone who likes to play with soldering pencils and circuit boards. Call Jack Foster at 923 3700 for more info about the Technician-Class license prep class or about the upcoming CMKT4 event.

CMKT4 at The Bent Festival

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