Vibration motor meets the Headphone jack

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Although vibration motors are common in Mobile phones, procuring button sized vibration motors were the ultimate challenge. (There were a couple of good ones on ebay, but couldn’t find one at this point of time)

But once that was resolved, one of the leads of the vibration motor was connected to the headphone jack and the ground of the headphone jack to the other lead.

Now square wave signals are played through the headphone jack using Audacity. Although one can feel the motors vibrating, using an operational amplifier such as LM324 helps to intensify the vibrations. ( Power source to LM324 – Battery/Arduino )

drawing

 

 

Note:

One of the weirdest but yet satisfying experience with the vibration motor is when you connect the vibration motor through the audio jack without any amplifier. You can hear the music being played through the vibration motor. The motors seems to be dancing to the music being played. We tried so hard to capture the phenomenon but the sound was too feeble to be picked up. That shouldn’t stop you from giving it a shot.

The anatomy of a headphone jack

Most of us live under the simple algorithm : Plug a headphone into the jack and move on with life. But the beauty of it is what happens during those instances when you insert the jack and the mobile/laptop recognizes the device to be indeed a headphone jack.

Most modern smart-phones and laptops detect a headphone using the following simple principle :

Establish a potential difference between the mic and the ground ( ~ 2- 3 V ) and observe the resistance. If its high, its air and probably nothing has been inserted. If its really low, then a headphone jack has been inserted.

drawing

And the fact that a potential difference is constantly being given between the mic and the ground allows us to plug in a led and light it up .

Corollary ūüėČ :

All that the phone is looking for low resistance value. You can very easily fool the phone to think that an aluminum foil is a headphone jack.

Older headphone jacks

This answer by Rick on stackexchange answers this question so accurately :

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” Headphone jacks have extra contacts inside, which act as switches. The the drawing below, pins 4 and 5 are intended for sensing that the plug was inserted. They are not intended for audio signal. When the plug is not present, the switche, which are formed by 2 & 4 and 3 & 5, are closed.

When the plug is inserted, these switches are open. The plug flexes 2 and 3 slightly, and they break contact with 4 and 5. You could insert a 3.5mm plastic rod [a dummy] into the jack, which will open the contacts, and the phone might think that earphones are plugged in. ”

 

Headphone jack plugged in or not ? (Software end)

In a previous post , we talked in depth about the /dev/input directory in Linux.  This video talks about how the computer knows whether a headphone jack has been plugged in or not from a software point of view.

The ultimate guide to using LEDs with headphone jack

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Lighting up an LED using the headphone jack is probably one of most easiest tasks. Take the mic of the TRRS pin ( or left in a TRS ) and connect it to the shorter end of the LED. Take the ground and connect it to the longer end of the led and you are good to go !

A potential difference of ~3V exists between the two pins that is sufficient to light up a LED. Why is there a potential difference in the first place ? Well, this will answered in great detail in one of our post on the Anatomy of a headphone jack.

Now no one wants to stop with just lightning up a LED, so let’s improvise..

 

Controlling LED brightness

Like we said: A potential difference of ~3V exists between the two pins that is sufficient to light up a LED.  By controlling the volume, we can reduce this potential difference and thereby dim the LED.

 

You can control 2 LEDs (min.) with a single headphone jack

With a simple headphone jack, one is capable of controlling 2 LEDs at the very minimum. Take 2 LEDs and connect them both to the Left/Right in the configuration shown below:

drawing-1

If one plays a square wave through the Left/Right then the first LED would light during the positive half of the cycle and the second one during the negative half. This is because LEDs are conductive only in one direction.

You can watch a demonstration of this in the following video.

And as a bonus, we did a frequency sweep  from 1 Р30 Hz (Square Wave) and here is how that looks:

Hang on a second!

If you can do that, then you play songs and also visually witness Beats phenomenon right? Absolutely!

Visualizing songs using LED

Beats phenomenon

Headphone jack as a switch

In all our above setups, we connected the jack directly to the LED. But one might need the LED to be brighter. So, to do that we had to bring in a operational amplifier ( LM324 ). This can be powered using a OTG (On-the-go) cable or using an Arduino.

drawing-2

Now using this we can use the headphone to perform switching operations. And this is what we demonstrate in the following series of videos:

Schematics/Circuit diagrams will be uploaded soon! Thank you.

 

 

 

The headphone jack meets an actual spark gap!

So, we had the opportunity to test out the headphone jack with an actual spark gap and it was absolutely wonderful. Check it out:

With the data we can actualy find out the frequency of the spark occurrence. In our case it turned out to be ~ 34 – 36 Hz. And since this is in the Audible range we can actually hear this (somehow we missed this when making the video)

Screenshot from 2017-06-10 20:01:07

Audio file : GoogleDrive

**

Part – I – Lightning detector with a simple headphone jack

Part – II – Detecting switching ON/OFF of Tube Light using headphone jack

Part – III – Cigarette lighter spark detection using headphone jack

 

Cigarette Lighter spark detection using headphone jack

This is part-III of the post series on detecting electromagnetic waves using headphone jack. In this we capture the EMW that emanate from the spark gap junction on a lighter. This is analogous to our gas lighter experiment but conducted at a smaller scale.

Screenshot from 2017-06-07 11:41:35

We say that this is analogous to the Gas lighter experiment because the waveforms obtained are extremely similar in nature.

Screenshot from 2017-06-07 13:35:47

 

Check out:

Part РI РLightning detector using headphone jack 

Part РII  РDetecting switching ON/OFF tubelight with a headphone jack

 

Detect switching ON/OFF of Tube-light with a simple headphone jack

Now in our previous post, we established that the headphone jack can be used to successfully detect electromagnetic disturbances ( Sparks and Lightning ). In this post, we explore the interaction of the tube light with the headphone jack.

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Here is a close up of the peak that you saw in the video:

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Nowadays of course, we have moved on Non-flickering tubelights and it is highly unlikely that we might be able to detect the peculiar peaks that you see on this. But to be sure we are currently working on this and we will keep you guys posted on the results.

Also if we could incorporate this into a IoT network, things will go crazy!!!

 

*   Image Source

Lightning detector with a simple headphone jack

Okay, this probably one of those posts that is ecstatic to draft because of the shear wonder that it encapsulates. We captured lightning using nothing more than just a mere headphone jack and its so simple that anyone around the world with an access to an old headphone jack can do it too!

Setup

schematics

Take an old headphone jack and strip off the mic part and you are good to go OR if you have a dedicated USB sound card you can use that!

Theory

drawing

Sparks of any kind produce electromagnetic disturbances and it is these disturbances made by lightning that we will be detecting. That is the reason we are stripping off the microphone from the headphone jack and keeping only the wire.  The wire will act as an antenna to pick up the signal.

Just to be clear, this is NOT related to the sound of the thunder by any means.

Test with Gas Lighter

Before we test the headphone jack with lightning, we needed to know how the headphone jack reacted to sparks and how a spark looks like when recorded with a headphone jack.

Since gas lighters are capable of producing sparks, we thought that it would be a great place to start. Here’s what we observed:

** Although we use a USB sound card in our videos, this works with an ordinary TRS/TRRS headphone jack as well.

Capturing lightning

Now that we have a good idea of what is going on with a gas lighter, we can predict a similar pattern with a lightning as well. Why ? Well, because lightning is the same phenomenon but, at a much bigger scale.

How do you do it ? First things first, to state the obvious one needs lightning. But besides that the setup is similar to the previous one except that unlike the gas lighter, we have to use the human body as an antenna by holding the wire coming from the mic pin of the headphone jack in our hand

Processing the recording

The audio file that we acquired has been uploaded to Google Drive (links below) but we strongly suggest that you try it out yourself to get a feel for this powerful technology that many people disregard as quotidian.

This is how the raw audio file might look (recorded with Audacity):
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Now we amplify this signal on Audacity. (Effect –> Amplify)

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Now you see these three prominent peaks, now these are for sure caused by the lightning. How are we so sure? Well, we were able to visually validate the data. What are those other peaks ? They are lightning too (!!!), but ones that are happening at a distance (probably many kilometers away).

Now in order to be completely sure, we repeated the same experiment another evening.. And here’s what we got:

Screenshot from 2017-05-18 10:05:53

This was a much more dramatic day with lots of lightning! ( as is evident from the numerous peaks )

How cool is that you can something as simple as a headphone jack to procure information about lightning that is probably happens kilometers away. This was absolutely ecstatic!

What does one peak look like ?

Here is a close up of one peak that was recorded:

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Sampling rate: 44100 Hz

Screenshot from 2017-05-24 12:43:23

Sampling rate: 384000 Hz

This resembles very closely to a Guassian Wave packet . ( In physics, a wave packet (or wave train) is a short “burst” or “envelope” of localized wave action that travels as a unit )

Wave_packet_(dispersion)

We believe that the electromagnetic disturbance that is detected during a lightning / spark is a Gaussian wave packet.  (If you believe otherwise let us know why by pinging us at 153armstrong@gmail.com or in the comments section)

 

Video Demo:

Will be uploaded soon! (subject to environmental weather conditions ;P)

If you found this post interesting, check out

Part- II-  Detect switching ON/OFF of Tube-light with a simple headphone jack

Part – III – Cigarette lighter spark detection using headphone jack

Part – IV –¬† The Headphone jack meets an actual spark gap!!!!!!

Thunder Audio file (44100 Hz): GoogleDrive link

Thunder Audio file (384000 Hz): GoogleDrive link

Getting Started with the USB to TTL converter

So, I purchased one of these USB to TTL converters, It seemed like a really powerful thing¬† to work with. But I did not have the slightest clue on how to work with them. So, I played around a bit and was able to send and receive serial data using the converter.¬† Here’s what I did:

Step-1 – Finding the Serial port

There are ways to check the active serial port on Ubuntu using the command line but probably the easiest way to check is by connecting the converter and opening up the Arduino IDE.

Now if you have nothing connected to it, the Serial Port section would be greyed out.
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But once you insert your converter onto it, then you can immediately determine the serial port that converter has been connected to. In this case (see pic) it is ttyUSB1.
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Step-2 – Writing the client program

Now that we have our serial ports ready, we need to write a simple program in Python that to read the data that will be sent to us.

client.py 

import serial
ser = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyUSB1', 9600)

while 1:
    serial_line = ser.readline()
    print serial_line

Now our client program will print every line of serial data that is receives.

Step-3 – The server

Now that the client server is up and running, its time to set up the server. I just opened the serial port for transmission and left it at that.

Screenshot from 2017-04-15 00:09:05

The command for the transmission of serial data is write i.e

ser.write(data) 

data - Data to send 

returns the number of bytes written

Step-4 Testing

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Finally, the TX and RX pins of the converter are shorted by using a jumper wire. That’s about it !

Whatever is sent through the TX port will now be received through the RX port. Everything has been setup. Now we can transmit and receive data !
Video Demo: