DIY Turntable

The DIY Turntable is a low-fi DJ set made with a PC fan for the scratching turntable, a hacked walkman to play cassette tapes at the desired speed, and an Arduino to map these two. There are also some LEDs to show the speed of the song in another way.

The initial idea was to have the fan acting as input and output at the same time. I intended to have it rotating all time at the speed of the music (output) and let the user slow it down or speed it up to control the song (input). However, it seems the so-called hall effect only appears at high rpm, not the ones you can produce manually. So I had to think of another trick: use the motor as a generator. This way I can measure the amount of current generated by the manual rotation of the fan.

One of the most delicate parts of the project is the mapping, which is not linear at all, since there are so many factors to take in consideration:

  •  The reading from the fan has to be smoothed because it’s really unstable, but not too much to avoid delays between action and reaction.
  • The minimum voltage needed to start the motor is higher than the one needed to run it when it already started.
  • The amount of current affects the motor even more than the voltage, so the walkman behaves very differently when the Arduino is plugged to the computer, to a 9V battery or to a power adapter, even you are providing always the same voltage.
  • At a certain voltages, the motor isn’t powerful enough and produces a very annoying sound.

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Scratching Analog Audio With a PC Fan

  2. mrx23dot

    Nice!
    What about adding an USB to the PC fan, to create a cheap input device for DJ softwares?

    • araid

      You can already do that by plugging the Arduino to a computer with the USB. In fact you could plug up to 5 fans, but yeah, maybe creating something more plug&play would be a nice idea!

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  4. could I commission you to make me one of those DIY turntables?

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  6. that was f*cking outta control. had to pin it.

  7. blip

    would you share the code? thanks!

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