Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fake Electric Zap (capacitive touch)

Another Haunter on Facebook asked about making a barb wire fence that would make an "electric shock" noise when you touched it. That inspired me to put together a quick prop based on capacitive touch.

It’s pretty simple to put together. No Arduino involved. The sound comes from an Adafruit Sound FX board. They aren’t the cheapest option, but really easy to work with. I've saved a sound clip of electric shock to the board's memory as T01HOLDL.wav. This way it will play the sound whenever pin #1 is connected to ground. WAV files require less decoding so play faster. Pin #1 is hooked to the output from a capacitive touch sensor. The sensor is set to give a ground signal when you touch it, 5v when you don’t touch it. For this particular sensor, you need to add a glob of solder to connect the "A" pads.  I then scratched off some of the plastic covering the sensor and soldered a long wire to the sensor. That’s then connected to the outlet (which is of course NOT connected to household power or anything else.) 5V DC power from a wall wart transformer (or even 3 AA batteries) run to the power pins for both the sound board and touch sensor.

I highly recommend the Adafruit tutorial on their SoundFX boards. There are cheaper options for audio (DFPlayer mini is one of my favorites) but Adafruit is a great place to start. Adafruit also sells a great Capacitive Touch sensor board, but this one is cheaper and has the option to output ground signal with touch. 

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