Introduction ( Theremin Tutorial )

 

This is the second Arduino thereminĀ tutorial. In this tutorial were are going to be building a theremin, a type of electronic instrument. A theremin has two controls, one for frequency and one for volume, traditionally it is a hands-free instrument where the operator does not actually touch the instrument.

The theremin the we’re building here is not hands-free so let’s call it a theremin like instrument. This instrument is also rather unique in that it is a training instrument, it will first demonstrate how to play a song and then you can simply copy the movement to learn how to play the song yourself.


In this tutorial we will be using the Arduino Due. In fact I bought a Due before even thinking of this project, I ended up with this idea just by looking for ways to take advantage of what the Arduino Due has to offer. The Due is one of the newer Arduinos and runs at 3.3v, which makes some of the existing shields incompatible, but the Due has several advantages over Arduino’s like the UNO or mega. The Due has Digital to Analog (DAC1, DAC2) outputs, so you can output a true sine wave, that’s how this theremin makes sound. The Arduino Uno and Mega do not have analog outputs. The Arduino Due has higher resolution Analog to Digital Converters (12 bits), whereas the Uno or Mega have only eight bits. The Arduino Due has a 32-bit 84 MHz processor this is significantly faster than any other Arduino prior to the Due being released.

This tutorial is also going to be a bit more advanced than the robot tutorial. I still think that a beginner can complete it since were going to be working in very small steps doing a little bit at a time, that said, at several points we will be stepping outside of beginner’s territory, but that shouldn’t stop you. It’s important to understand that you cannot learn everything the first time through, so if some parts are a bit difficult, don’t worry about it just keep moving.


Here is a list of parts needed to build this project. You will need everything in this list ( the resistors can be obtained individually or with an assortment), some kind of board to mount the theremin to, and something to make the handles out of. The speaker listed here will work, but wont sound very good because it does not have an enclosure. The speaker you actually see me use in the videos was not the one listed here, it was re-purposed from an old computer.

PartNameWhere to buyPart #Price
Arduino DueJamecoA000062$49.95
180-Degree Range Servo MotorJameco900-00005$14.95 ( need 2 )
Basic 16x2 Character LCD White On Blue 5 VoltJamecoFIT0127$9.95
10kā„¦ 16mm Rotary Potentiometer - 100mWJamecoP160KN-0QC20A10K $0.59 ( need 2 )
LM386 Audio AmplifierJamecoLM386N-3$0.79
830-Point Solderless BreadboardJamecoWBU-202-R$9.95
SpeakerJamecoTQ-066F-R$2.95
Capacitor Radial 10 uFJameco10UF/25V 4X5-R$0.15 ( need 2 )
220 uF Capacitor ( circuit calls for 250, 220 is closest available)JamecoR220/25$0.15
Capacitor Ceramic Disc 0.05 uFJamecoCD50000/1000$0.59
SPST Tactile PushbuttonJamecoG/S(PT-6601)-R$0.35 ( need 2 )
Resistor 610 Pack E12-Series 1/4 Watt 5% Tolerance
( this kit includes the next two entries)
JamecoK/RES-E12$11.95
1K resistor ( 10 pack)JamecoCF1/4W102JRC$0.99
10 Ohm resistorJamecoCF1/4W100JRC$0.99
Jumper wiresJamecoWJW-60P-R$11.95
Connecting wiresJamecoJ-200-R$6.95
Wire Hook-up Solid 22 AWG Red 100 FeetJameco9313-2-R$7.95

Here again are the most basic set of tools / supplies that I think you may need.

PartNameWhere to buyPart #Price
Hobby knifeJameco2157571$3.95
Small screwdriver setJameco226094$3.95
Wire strippersJameco127862$5.95
Needle Nose PliersJameco34712$5.49
Pliers SetJameco2180172$12.95
Glue gunJameco72696$7.95
Double sided tapeJameco285907$19.95

Intro->SOS->LCD Tutorial->Servo Tutorial->Timer Interrupts->Hacking Servos->Tone generator->DDS Tone Generator->Theremin 1->Theremin 2->RTTL Songs

 Posted by at 3:52 pm

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