Starter Project – Exploding Light Organ

Ethan I - Starter Project


Hello, my name is Ethan and I am going into  the ninth grade at the Birch Wathen Lenox School. For my starter project I decided to create the light organ, which is able to create a light show depending on the sound that the organ hears around it. This project consists of 7 transistors, 25 light emitting diodes (LEDs), 4 capacitors, 2 IC chips, 11 resistors, 1 microphone, 11 resistors, a 9 volt battery and 2 trimmer resistors.
The 9 volt battery produces the voltage and current required to power the circuit. The current then goes through multiple resistors. These resistors reduce and control the current flow so that nothing in the circuit will burn. Then, the current goes through a microphone, which receives sound and creates current variations that will depend on the sound. This energy is stored in capacitors. The capacitor and a resistor are able to take out all the low frequencies from the sound that the microphone hears. This is called a high passed filter. Then, the current is amplified by three transistors. The current needs to be amplified so that there is enough of it to power the IC chip which is where the current will be sent next. This chip takes the current variations and digitizes it into a sequential binary form. This is sent to the other 4017 IC chip, which disperses this binary number code to many different pins that will power the light emitting diodes (LEDs).When the current is put out to the groups of pins, it is not strong enough to power all 6 LEDs in the group so a transistor is used to amplify the signal. There are 2 trimmer resistors that are used and these are able to control the sensitivity and the speed of the light emitting diodes (LEDs).

I encountered many problems when I was doing this project. Soldering each component was very difficult, for I never did it before. In addition, I had to desolder many components because I made many mistakes when soldering. After completely finishing my project, it did not work. After troubleshooting for a very long time, I was not able to figure out what was wrong. Because of this, I started my light organ again. This time, I had experience in soldering and I knew exactly what to do. I completed the project in one day. The only problem I encountered this time was that some pins fell off my IC chip. To solve this, I was told to use a wire to replace the connection and it worked.

In the end, I was happy that I did the project again, for I was able to learn and retain more information because of it.

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