Tag Archives: frequency

Low-rent acoustic receiver

Receiver Circuit

Transmitter (top) and receiver (bottom) circuits.

I’ve previously described the power supply and transmitter for my acoustic modem.

The receiver circuit completes the modem’s hardware design.  It is simply a two-stage amplifier that gives a total gain of about 2000, in series with a band-pass filter.

The acoustic transducer produces a beautiful sine wave with nearly no noise.  I found that I could apply a huge gain to its output and the amplifier’s output would still be clean: the raw (unfiltered) output has a 5 V offset, and the signal fits into the 5 V above the offset.  In other words, the output is at -5 V when idle and peaks at around 0 V when the receiver receives a signal.

The goal is for the receiver to output a signal that is around -10 V when idle and peaks at -5 V when it receives a signal.  These voltages correspond respectively to logic low and high on the microcontroller.

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Ruminations on guitar tuner mkII


The old guitar tuner I made works fine, but I’m thinking of some improvements:

  • The first priority is to switch the power supply from a 16 mm coin cell to a 20 mm coin cell.  20 mm cells are way easier to find: the dollar store down the street carries 2032 cells (2032 means 20 mm diameter, 3.2 mm height), but 1632 cells are expensive and hard to find.  Right now I’m clamping a 3x AA battery holder to the tuner’s + and – power pins, which is not comfortable.
  • The rotary switch is too expensive.  A 0.1″ two-row header with a jumper to select the tuner’s frequency will be cheaper, and won’t be an ugly blue box.  This is still not as flexible as the 7-segment display the original project used.
  • I’d like to use a low profile DIP switch to turn the power on and off instead of (or in addition to) mucking around with sleep mode.
  • It would be cool to use a surface mount microcontroller and crystal.  Getting an STK 600 routing card for 14-pin SOIC AVR chips might be worth it if I find money somewhere.

I considered replacing the microcontroller with a 555 timer, but I don’t think the 555 timer will generate sufficiently precise frequencies because of the tolerances in the resistors and capacitors.