Indoor wind chime system

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Wind chimes done well are a wonderfully calming source of background noise, but, of course, they rely on the presence of a breeze to work. Breezes generally aren’t present indoors (indoor air currents tend not to be as variable as true breezes). This project intends to pair an outdoor anemometer with an indoor chime synthesizer to simulate a real set of wind chimes.

Zephyr is two rather simple parts that work together. The first part is an anemometer, the second is a chime synthesizer.

The hardest part about the anemometer is actually obtaining or building one inexpensively. An anemometer is a wind speed measuring device. For our purposes, we don't care about calibrating it, we just want a simple relative speed indication. The easiest way to accomplish that is to use a cup-style rotating anemometer with a magnet mounted on the rotating part such that the magnet passes near a magnet sensor at least once per revolution (a magnet mounted on each rotating arm will provide more resolution). The sensor will effectively give us a leading edge every time it sees a magnet come near (good sensors have hysteresis to avoid false triggering).

The chime synthesizer simply needs to play a note for every leading edge it sees, but that note should be randomly selected and the synthesizer needs to be able to play at least two notes simultaneously in order to sound like a natural wind chime.

Making an interesting sounding wind chime is a lot like making an interesting sounding train horn. It's all about the notes you select. In the case of a wind chime, traditional choices include the whole-tone scale or an arpeggiated chord. Other good choices are the blues scale (so your chimes sound like a blues solo) or a major seventh chord.


Preliminary schematic

Adobe Portable Document Format - 58.60 kB - 04/23/2018 at 04:05


  • Preliminary schematic

    Nick Sayer04/23/2018 at 04:08 0 comments

    A preliminary schematic of the main (inside) portion of the project has been posted. This consists of the CPU, power supply, SD card and audio systems. It's almost the same as the GPS Voice Clock I did earlier this year, but instead of the "tick" output, the second DAC output has been hooked up. The idea is that this is effectively an audio synthesizer (done on the cheap) that has a two-note chording capability. The hope is that the two DAC channels can be run with DMA (so with minimal supervision) and can play back audio samples from the SD card independently, so that the overlapping quality of the audio will make it sound more natural.

    We'll see how this works out in practice, of course.

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