Sounds like Success (Chloe CW)

As the year nears the close and college admissions decision come rolling we get closer to the Maker Faire and presenting our creation to our community.  This means my group needs to realistically asses our goals for this project.  Initially we undertook a huge project, and maybe it is still possible that we could accomplish all we wanted to, but our group has run into many problems with our coding and circuitry recently.  These problems must be solved quickly if we are to move on and build the rest of the circuits and the app.

Part of our circuit showing the red light that lights up when the sound goes over a set value and the green light indicating that our sound sensor is on.  This is an original photograph.
Part of our circuit showing the red light that lights up when the sound goes over a set value and the green light indicating that our sound sensor is on. This is an original photograph.

After receiving our materials and finishing coding, setting up the light and sound sensors was fairly straightforward.  We didn’t run into any problems that weren’t easy to fix.  However, once we began work on the sound sensor circuit our work became much harder.  No matter how we changed the code, the circuits, what research we did the screen output the same few measures of sound.  Furthermore the values didn’t change based on actual, surrounding volume.  They fluctuated randomly.  We tried going into a quieter space, making clapping sounds, we even had the sound sensor on while a power

The pesky sound sensor. This is an original picture.
The pesky sound sensor. This is an original picture.

saw cut wood; nothing changed.  After nearly a week of struggling, our research provided a “eureka” moment.  I realized the sound sensor wasn’t properly connected to power, ground, and a pin.  After switching the pin wire and ground wire a small green light popped up on the sound sensor.  This easily curable issue occurred because there are different sound sensors that function and look similar.  These sound sensors were connected to circuits in different ways, the wires were switched on different models and circuits.  Fixing this allowed a wider range of values to be displayed, but the values still didn’t change based on sound.

Today we had a breakthrough.  We read the comments on the amazon sound sensor we purchased.  We found that while many people complained about the product and were met with confusion similar to our own, a few individuals commented that they used a screwdriver to tweak the sensor.  At first I had no idea how they could’ve used a screwdriver because the sensor doesn’t have screws.  Then I realized that a small blue box that acts as a potentiometer has an inner piece that can be

The mini-potentiometer that can be adjusted with a screwdriver aka our saving grace.  This changes the sounds the sensor can pick up.  An original photograph taken by my iPhone.
The mini-potentiometer that can be adjusted with a screwdriver aka our saving grace. This changes the sounds the sensor can pick up. An original photograph taken by my iPhone.

adjusted to pick up different levels of sound.  After testing different adjustments and determining that near three was the best setting (ranges from 1 to 3).  Then it was the moment of truth.  The red light was off and then if someone clapped or snapped it turned on and the serial monitor printed out a higher value.  I changed the threshold and experimented with different sounds.  The threshold for the light turning on will need to be tested and adjusted with actual sounds in the trailer.   The next step is combining the light and motion sensor code with the sound sensor code.

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