Equalizer Shutter Shades

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The Wellington Sevens, New Zealand’s biggest, annual party in our capital city. An excuse to dress up, drink excessively and perhaps even watch a game or two.

Thinking this would be a superb time to crank out my Tron Costume once again. I found this recent article showing an amazing pair of light up, el wire, equalizer glasses, which respond to the beat of surrounding music. A perfect addition to my Tron costume.

ch00f kindly uploaded his schematics and parts list to his article allowing anyone to easily replicate his circuit.

After a few tweaks of his design, I had my own pair of light up, sound reactive Shutter Shades.

The Glasses

Assembling the glasses were the biggest challenge. I only had 1m of el wire available, which was barely enough, allowing for no mistakes. I’d recommend getting more if this is your first time using el wire. The difficult part is stripping the wire in a way without damaging the fine inner wires. I found the easiest way was to use wire strippers to strip away the outer colour filter coating, then use a soldering iron to melt the inner insulation and phosphor layers, leaving the fine wires free. Doing this incorrectly can waste a lot of the wire.

As recommended by ch00f, I used the fine wires as the common for added strength and used the inner cores for controlling, bringing seven wires out to my control board. Care had to be taken to insulate all exposed wire, as the Inverted AC waveform was 100V RMS, enough to give a noticeable shock and probably not healthy around the eyes.

Control Board

With limited time, the design by ch00f was implemented straight onto protoboard. I couldn’t find the buffered triacs ch00f used in his design so instead I ordered the ACT108 AC Switch from element 14, which functioned identically.

I also added additional gain to the final amplifier and modified the cutoff frequencies to respond more to my liking. If you’re following ch00f’s schematic, R6 is labelled incorrectly as 30K, it should be 3K for a 50 Hz low pass.

The Final Design

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