Light Theremin on Upcycled Dot Matrix Printer Board

Light Theremin on Upcycled Dot Matrix Printer Board

Remember, just because Weekend Projects is on break at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t send us your stories and pictures of your mods! Belfast-based hacker David writes in with this awesome upcycled Light Theremin, built on an otherwise discarded dot matrix printer circuit board. He explains:

I’m a keen recycler of components as I was brought up with through hole components and their price has risen dramatically over time due to their being replaced by SMT. With our throwaway society and the decreasing lifespan of electronic devices there is an endless supply of free components if you are prepared to strip a few devices.

I decided to build the light theramin and found a suitable bare PCB from a dot matrix printer control panel which had been stripped to harvest touch buttons for arduino projects.

After trying the 555 timer a few different ways in the 16 pin DIL pad, I found one orientation which worked well and constructed the rest of the circuit around it using the existing tracks, using a few jumpers when required.

See all of the RadioShack Weekend Projects posts

6 thoughts on “Light Theremin on Upcycled Dot Matrix Printer Board

  1. Charlie Perry says:

    I just have to ask (as a novice, newby, outsider to hacking–but as a prospective natural at the sport) How do you reuse a circuit board?  I mean, they are laid out for as specific a purpose as purposes come!  It would be a miracle to my mind that all those copper strips and holes would work for more than one circuit.  It would be like trying to use a map of London to get around New York.  Wouldn’t it?  I really want to know how you make it work.Chas
    Anchor Point, Alaska    

    1. Anonymous says:

      howdy Charlie,
      While I can’t speak for David’s design, he does say (and you can see) he uses jumpers to complete his circuit where the board doesn’t have an existing pathway. Just a matter of deciphering the pre-existing layout and then re-arranging the parts to talk with each other. Modern motherboards are probably too complex and dense (including a lot of Surface Mount Technology, or SMT) to reuse, but I strip parts off them all the time – an old dot matrix board like David’s though is quite sparse. Hope this helps!

  2. Charlie Perry says:

    Thank you anonymous.  If he did it he did it but I’d like know if it has put any corns on his brain.
    PS I have 3 five gal buckets of nuts from years of saving and salvaging but if I ever lose a nut….I seldom have what I need.  Seems like the problem would 10 times worse with electronic components.

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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