Make: Projects

Miniature Beeping Circuit Prank

This is a simple circuit project for pranking your friends and coworkers. Every few minutes it emits a brief, high-pitched beep. The beeping gets annoying after awhile, but what is really frustrating is not being able to find it.

Steps

Step #1: Circuit Design

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Miniature Beeping Circuit Prank
  • The circuit is a basic 555 timer circuit in astable mode. In this configuration the IC sends a brief pulse to the buzzer every few minutes. The values of the resistors and the capacitor determine how often the buzzer will sound and how long each pulse will be. With the values that I used, it beeps about every 6-7 minutes. (If the capacitor is completely discharged, the first beep may take up to twice as long.)
  • Increasing the value of either the capacitor or the resistor between pins 7 and 8 will increase the amount of time between beeps. Increasing the value of the resistor between pins 6 and 7 will increase the length of each beep. Decreasing these values will have the opposite effect.

Step #2: Make the battery connectors.

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Miniature Beeping Circuit Prank

The only parts that you need to make are the battery connector pins. To make these, cut off two pieces of the paper clip that are about an inch long and fold each of them in half. The bent end is where they will contact with the battery. The cut ends will be soldered to the board.

Step #3: Solder the circuit to the board

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Miniature Beeping Circuit Prank

Then solder all the components onto the board. If you are using the same PCB, you can just copy my layout. If not, just make sure to follow the schematic on Step 1 and check all the pin connections. When soldering the battery connector pins, try to align them so that they are leaning slightly towards each other. This will help make a tight connection with the batteries.

Step #4: Trim the Circuit Board

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Miniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit Prank

After soldering everything together, I trimmed off the unused part off the circuit board to make it easier to hide. I used wire cutters to remove the large chunks and a Dremel to trim up to the edge of the circuit board. In hindsight, it would probably be a lot easier to cut the board to the needed dimensions before soldering all the parts onto the board. So if you know where all your parts will be, I recommend trying that.

Step #5: Finished Circuit

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Miniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit PrankMiniature Beeping Circuit Prank

Then just insert the batteries and your annoying beeping prank is ready. Now all you have to do is find a good hiding spot. You can put it inside someone’s computer, tape it to the inside of a drawer, or stick it behind a piece of furniture. Use your imagination. The batteries should last from several hours to several days depending on the size of the battery that you used. But your victim will probably find it before the battery dies depending on how determined/obsessive they are. Be creative and have fun.

Jason Poel Smith

Jason Poel Smith is a helicopter tooling engineer. When he’s not inventing, he’s spending time with his amazing family.


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