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Electric/Battery Metronome

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by JenK, May 18, 2013.

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  1. JenK


    May 18, 2013

    I'm not sure if anyone here can help. I want to make an electrically powered metronome for an art installation project. Ideally I'd like to convert a vintage metronome so that it can be powered electrically and started and stopped by a switch. If that proves to be impossible I'd like to build something that has a pendulum arm and makes a click. Would be really grateful if anyone can help


  2. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    Nov 28, 2011
    Hi Jen, and welcome to the forums.

    That sounds kind of interesting.

    I guess you want to use a real mechanical metronome? Any vintage type would be clockwork, I think.

    The charm of the clockwork ones is the sound. The ones that are made of wood or have wooden parts inside have a distinctive "tock... tock... tock" and sometimes alternating 'tocks' are at different pitches. Do you want to put a microphone inside one and amplify it?

    If you add much to the pendulum of a clockwork metronome you will slow it down. The extra mass and extra air friction are the problem.

    "Electrically powered" in this case would mean motor-driven. I guess ideally you would need a motor to drive the winder. This might turn out to be quite difficult to add.

    Tell us more about what you want to do. I'm sure we can make some suggestions.
  3. JenK


    May 18, 2013
    More details

    Hi Kris – and thanks so much for responding.

    You’re absolutely right. I want to use an old fashioned mechanical metronome and yes -I’m after the sound and plan to amplify it. And yes – I do need to make it motor driven so that the mechanism runs continually.

    But then there’s two further complications. Firstly I want to be able to start and stop it at the push of a button. And then to make it even more complicated I want to add a random delay.

    The idea is that it will define whether people take a left or right turn. And so the metronome will be marked LEFT and RIGHT. There should be a big red button and when you press it the metronome will stop – but the result should be random, so that you can’t control where it will stop. And of course thirdly it then needs to restart.

    I know this is a tall order and may well be impossible – but I figured it was worth a try to see if anyone could come up with a solution. I’d really appreciate it if you could help me out here – or at least tell me I’m living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Many thanks for any advice.

  4. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    Nov 28, 2011
    Jen, sorry, I forgot to respond to your question about starting and stopping the metronome.

    You can probably do that using a thing called a solenoid. It's an electromagnetic device that moves in response to electric current being applied to it. You could probably mount one so that when it was energised, it would physically stop the pendulum of the metronome.

    The random delay is probably best implemented with a microcontroller. This means programming (both writing the program itself, and downloading it into a device), mounting the device on a board and adding some components to connect between the microcontroller and the real world - pushbutton input, maybe sound trigger, and solenoid control.

    This is not impossible - not at all, but since you don't have prior experience, I think you need to find someone local who does. You could see whether there are any "maker" groups in your area, or any similar kinds of groups where people with experience get together to build or fix things.

    These people can be quite resourceful, and if they need any guidance they can ask in these forums, of course.

    Good luck!
  5. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Since you want to use a mechanical metronome (I bought a wholly-electronic one
    for my daughter for about $20 U.S.), I'd look at putting hall-effect switches (magnet
    activated) on each end-point side of the pedulum's travel, and a small magnet on the
    pedulum shaft itself. Each time the pedulum swings to trip each of the hall-effect
    switches, a circuit would be tripped to send a signal to a simple circuit that would
    be activated by the closed contacts of the magnetically activated hall-effect switch.

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    May 8, 2012
  7. glewis721


    Apr 30, 2013
    how long does it need to run for?
    i have an old vintage one (that i want to keep) that runs ~1- 1 1/2 hrs on 1 full wind
    then you could use the solenoid thingy-contraption thing
  8. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Instead of a solenoid, I would use an electromaget with a permanent magnet mounted on the pendulum inside the box. A current that attracts the magnet would stop the metronome and a reverse current would kick-start it again. You would need one on each side in order to stop / start it in both states. How to keep it running without winding is another question though...


    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    May 8, 2012
    Damn, you read my mind! Solenoid linkage would be messy and cumbersome.

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