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The Exploding Capacitor Piano - Advice if possible...

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Mike RS, Nov 20, 2003.

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  1. Mike RS

    Mike RS Guest

    First to give you all a bit of background when I was but a wee lad and
    still in the vile institution commonly know as public school I was
    given an assignment.

    "Invent something and explain what it could be used for."

    Well, being a violent and destructive youth I naturally decided that
    whatever I invented should explode, I was also studying the piano at
    the time. So I decided to invent an exploding capacitor piano. This
    was some twelve odd years ago, I now have the skills needed to build
    such a wonderful device, as an added challenge I have decided to do
    this using only one 8 pin PIC, everything else will be TTL logic, the
    only function of the PIC will be to control a High Power Transistor
    switching array.

    My working idea is as follows:

    Each note has a bank of 100 available capacitors, which upon exploding
    will vibrate the resonate plate above them (one resonate plate per
    capacitor), producing the correct (or close to correct) note. Now,
    given that each capacitor can only be blown up once my PIC needs to
    keep track of which capacitor its on.

    So, each array has a counter connected to it, each time the switch is
    pushed a high signal is sent to the clock pin and the counter advances
    one. The pic reads the status of the counter and provides power to the
    correct transistor through a decoder grid. The capcitor then, due to
    the extreme voltage begin run through it, explodes, producing a fairly
    nice note.

    Now, can anyone see a problem with this idea? I have build a one note
    bank and verified that the idea was sound, however, if I have
    overlooked anything here please point it out.

    Thank You

    And yes I am quite serious.
  2. Mike RS

    Mike RS Guest

    On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 20:18:51 -0500, Joe Legris <>

    Have you ever done it before? Well? Thought not.

    At any rate did I fail to mention the part about "Well Ventilated
    Area" or the also quite useful "Protective Plastic Divider"?

    Its fun you see, plus I have lots of Electrolytic capacitors, it would
    seem a shame to waste them in productive circuits when they could have
    a much greater impact on the worldwide music community if I were to
    blow them up.

    Besides, the little green men told me it was a good idea, are you
    going to argue with the little green men?
  3. Mike RS

    Mike RS Guest

    You are 'quite seriously' ill.
    Yes, I know, but will it work? See any problems with it from a
    technical standpoint?
  4. Joe Legris

    Joe Legris Guest

    What's this fascination with exploding capacitors when we've got good
    old-fashioned blasting caps? And if you really like breathing
    carcinogenic fumes, maybe you should consider adding benzene to your
    french fries. Mmm-mmm-good!

    Joe Legris
    Check out my Ebay listings:
    Brand new electronic components in lots of 10+
  5. You are 'quite seriously' ill.
  6. Sorry. I'm out of this ridiculous discussion.
  7. Mike RS wrote...
    Electrolytic capacitors have too long an explosive time delay, plus
    they're not predictable or repeatable. Go with the blasting caps.

    - Win

  8. Ben Bradley

    Ben Bradley Guest

    News, is that you?
  9. LOL! My version (never built) used acetylene/air in long tubes
    with a spark ignition. No CPU necessary, just put a little strobe
    trigger xfrmr on each pipe. But then someone else independantly
    invented it! Yarrrg! Don't you just HATE it when those sneaky
    independant idea theives pick YOUR idea out of the very same ether?

    propane organ

    (((((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) ))))))))))))))))))))))
    William J. Beaty SCIENCE HOBBYIST website
    EE/programmer/sci-exhibits amateur science, hobby projects, sci fair
    Seattle, WA 206-789-0775 unusual phenomena, tesla coils, weird sci
  10. It'll never catch on.

    No it won't. Even if you can tune the resonant elements correctly, it
    will still sound awful and you won't be able to control the sustain,
    so all your 'notes' will be either be quavers, minims, crotchets or
    whatever; each having the same duration.
    You're nuts. Thanks for the laugh, though.
  11. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    I used a NED (Noise Emitting Diode) in my implementation.

  12. I read in that Tim Shoppa <[email protected]> wrote (in <>)
    about 'The Exploding Capacitor Piano - Advice if possible...', on Fri,
    21 Nov 2003:
    An overloaded 5Y3GT rectifier expressed its displeasure by emitting
    tinkling noises, IIRC. (;-)
  13. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Guest

    I've seen (heard) tiny LED's go off with a very satisfactory bang
    - about the magnitude of a Ladyfinger firecracker.

  14. Bob Stephens wrote...
    Yes, LEDs operated at 1000% or more of the nominal current will often
    explode with a satsifying noise at some point, especially if there's
    a big capacitor across the LED to "filter" the current. But speaking
    practically, uncertain time delays would be an issue for musical use.

    - Win

  15. The timing of an LED exploding is very predictable at 1KV :) But I
    suppose if you're going to have 1KV capacitors and discharge tubes
    around, you might as well put a bed of magnets under the wires and then
    zap the wires to "pluck" them. It should put on quite a show and last
    long enough for several performances.
  16. I read in that Winfield Hill
    about 'The Exploding Capacitor Piano - Advice if possible...', on Fri,
    21 Nov 2003:
    Not for what passes for 'music' these days.
  17. Kevin McMurtrie wrote...
    Just to expand on the point. Several years ago I reported here the
    story of our LED Blaster, comprising two 400-LED banks of 655nm red
    high-intensity LEDs operating at about 150mA each, cooled by copper
    heat-removal bars and two huge fans. It worked well and generated
    a high light intensity at the precise wavelength needed to rapidly
    activate our purification dye within standard bags of blood in a Red
    Cross experiment.

    The 800 LEDs seemed happy enough and their light output didn't drop
    with time. But every now and then, one of the LEDs would explode
    furiously (I imagine that at the instant of failure the LED would
    start sucking all its neighboring LED's current) propelling plastic
    bits all about. Ultimately these occasional LED explosions caused
    the demise of the instrument.
    It'd be more practical to explode low-value resistors. And unlike
    exploding LEDs, there's a nice accompanying smell.

    - Win

  18. Wot about some big honking solenoids, digitally sequenced to play
    "three blind mice" on what would be an electric mouse organ?

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  19. You will get more bang for the bucks, if you put a tight
    rubber tubing around the resistor.

    Once my electric deep fryer had some problems, not heating
    now and then. At some point I discovered that bending the
    cord made the neon lamp go on an off. I proudly showed it to
    my wife, look, on-off-on-off-on-off-o B-A-N-G !!!!!! (louder
    than that, really). She was so mad, tried to sent me to bed
    early ;)
  20. Terry

    Terry Guest

    John Woodgate threw some tea leaves on the floor
    You guys are obsessed with exploding leds and rectifiers!

    I reckon you can't go past an exploding BC547, I'm sure I still have the
    package imprint between my eyes!
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