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MAKE subscriber Pete Mills of Plymouth, MI wrote in with this excellent project: a Lunkenheimer steam engine train whistle pressed into service as a doorbell.

(H)ave you ever missed the doorbell ringing? Perhaps you were in the shower or vacuuming the floor. Well, fear no more; you won’t miss hearing this one.

I was given this Lunkenheimer steam train whistle as a birthday gift quite a few years ago. I came up with the idea to make it into a doorbell shortly thereafter for pretty obvious reasons but I was unsure how I wanted to execute the wireless part of it. As you can see here I ended up using an el-cheapo wireless doorbell. This solved a lot of problems for me, not the least of which is that I can let the bell ring for a bit first before activating the steam whistle so my heart remains firmly in my chest rather than being startled to death every time UPS stops by.

More photos and text, a schematic, as well as a short video, on Pete’s blog.